Are you thinking about, or worrying about, water heater replacement in Kansas City, MO? Saving energy has become complex, but there are benefits. As a homeowner, you encounter a lot more choices these days. Energy-saving technologies, smart home integrations, and improved performance have led to a variety of models to choose from, even for water heaters. It may be tempting to say “just replace it with a similar model.” Over the years, you’ll be glad you took some time to review your water heater replacement options. Looking at the costs involved in replacing your current water with a new model, then reviewing your long-term operating costs as well, will result in a choice that’s right for your budget and your family.
The Short Story About Water Heater Replacement
Even if you narrow down your choice to the simple economics of the present moment, the cost of another tank-based unit with a standard installation, you’ll be tempted away by two key considerations. First, some numbers, answering the basic question: industry surveys in Kansas City run between $1,400 and $2,100 for a standard, 50-gallon gas-fired water heater installed. Variations include the exact model installed and the location where the work is being done.
Recently, Missouri has offered $200 for tank-based, $300 for tankless water heater units that qualify. Ask us about the latest situation as incentives tend to change over time and can be available from multiple government and industry sources. Still, you can see a lot of important angles to a simple water heater replacement these days!
Bumping Up to Hybrid Hot Water Heaters
If you’re happy with your current tank-based hot water heater, perhaps you’ve been considering switching your energy source to take advantage of electricity or natural gas prices. We can make that changeover as part of your new water heater installation and even relocate the unit to a more convenient location. For tank-based units, the most convenient place is away from finished areas, storage, furniture, and living spaces. Costs for wiring to install an electric unit tend to run $500-1000. There’s another option, though. Energystar.gov notes that a typical hybrid water heater can save a family of four about $350 a year in energy costs, or $3,750 over the unit’s lifetime. Interesting? Other incentives for hybrid units often include tax credits and rebates. These hybrid water heaters, using electric heaters as backup, get their energy through heat pump technology.
Heat Pump Technology and Your Water Heater Installation
Hybrid water heaters start at about $1,200, though you’ll probably select one with a higher price tag for the features and brand name. The heat pump is the basic magic in these units, which fit in the space of a regular tank-based heater with a little headroom. That device uses a bit of electricity to perform the same conversion that home heat pumps that heat and cool in one unit do. It’s basic air conditioning principles, where heat is moved outside using refrigerant. In this case the heat is collected and transferred into your hot water.
As you can imagine, the power used to run the compressor in these units is a fraction of what a heating unit would use! That’s where the significant savings comes from. Maintenance is about the same as a tank-based unit: anode rod and tank inspections, safety valve checks and of course heat pump maintenance. Since these units have a control system managing operation, they often have a bunch of cool features, including service alerts and remote monitoring. What’s the catch? There has to be enough heat available in the nearby air to support the conversion. In your basement here in Missouri, there really should be. A hybrid system in your garage, exposed to the winter cold, would need a few calculations run to be sure.
A Different Water Heater Concept: Tankless
If you’ve been reading about how all the idle electronics in your home add up to a lot of power usage on standby, imagine what keeping 40 or so gallons of water hot costs! It’s something we’re used to living with for the convenience of hot water on demand. You know what waiting for recovery is like when the 40 gallons are gone. Hot water takes time. With tankless hot water, there’s a very different principle in effect. When the unit senses that hot water is needed, from a flow created when you open a tap or start up the dishwasher, it fires up a powerful heater and warms up the water as it passes through. As long as you want hot water, it keeps providing it.
Electric tankless water heaters cost as little as a few hundred to $1,200 and up, but the installation can run a bit more. Fast heating needs a lot of power in a hurry, even though it saves a lot of energy in the long term. That means a significant electrical circuit run to the heater, or a gas line with sufficient capacity. The cost varies widely based on your home, so ask us for details. Energy.gov says typical energy savings is 24-36% over traditional hot water for many homes, with 8-14% savings for homes that use a large amount of hot water per day. Comparison usage rates were about 40 gallons versus 86 per day.
Speaking of usage rates, tankless water heaters are rated by flow rates, the fastest that water can flow through and still get heated to the right temperature. You still get unlimited hot water, but flow rates affect simultaneous use, like multiple showers in the morning or dishwasher and washing machine use at the same time. These days, a typical shower runs 2.5 gpm or gallons per minute. Most tankless systems provide 2-10 gpm. In our experience, along with the math is the significant benefit of reducing sudden cold showers and related family conflicts, and having hot water always available for sanitary washing.
Summing Up the Cost to Replace Your Home’s Hot Water Heater
The savings makes the math worthwhile! You can go for the basic costs we mentioned up front, or run the numbers for your household use and the various savings newer hot water technologies offer. There’s another option, though. As you can imagine, as the Kansas City area’s top source for home comfort, at Summit Heating & A/C we help a lot of customers sort out this exact decision. We have the tools to run the numbers and provide clear, well-explained results for your situation. Ask us what tankless would cost if you choose electric, install near where your tank-based unit was, want 5.0 gpm flow, and qualify for incentives, and we can tell you. That’s what we’re here for! Keeping things simple and affordable for you at Summit Heating & A/C. Call today.