How much is a Hot Water Tank in Vancouver?

Are you thinking about replacing your hot water tank? For most consumers, the price is the key factor for choosing what tank and who installs it. Getting a deal is always great, but making a smart choice is usually better. Making a poor choice could result in higher overall costs, or worse yet, damn you to a life of lukewarm showers.

Usually, installing a hot water tank costs anywhere between $1200 and $2600 to purchase and install. Most homeowners end up spending around $1500. The final bill will often be driven by 4 factors.

  1. Size or Capacity
  2. Electric or Gas
  3. Installation Difficulty
  4. Plumber

By considering these factors, you will be able to make an informed decision about the kind of tank and installation you need.

Size or capacity

The most common sizes for hot water tanks in Vancouver are 40, 50 and 60 US gallon capacities. The following chart can help you decide how large of a tank you may need.

Hot water tank size guide.

The size is often dictated by how much water you typically use. Smaller tanks require less energy to heat and are cheaper than larger tanks by a significant margin, usually costing a few extra hundred dollars for every step up in capacity. Now you may be tempted to go for the cheapest option to save that few hundred dollars.

If family members or roommates use too much hot water in your household, the next time you take a shower, you may receive a chilling reminder of your mistake.

A household that uses more water at once will need a larger tank to tend to their needs. It may be a good idea to consider how often you have house guests and each family member’s usage habits as well.

Electric or Natural Gas

Typically, the upfront cost of an electric water heater is lower than one that runs on natural gas. The reasons for this discrepancy are twofold.

  1. The unit itself will usually be more expensive by around $100.
  2. If your home isn’t already vented, an additional vent will have to be added to prevent a buildup of lethal carbon monoxide in your home.

Now you may be saying to yourself, “Well I’m completely sold on electric then!”. Not so fast. Electric tanks typically have a tougher time recovering hot water and the cost of electricity is much higher than gas. This means electric units will have higher energy bills and slower recovery of your hot water.

The recovery rate of a hot water tank is often measured with a test called the First Hour Rating (FHR). If you’d like to learn more about the FHR you can read about it here. Without getting too technical, you could say that the FHR generally measures how quickly the water will reheat.

Type Typical FHR
Gas 60-70
Electric 50-60

Generally speaking, a 40G tank water heater that runs on natural gas can fill itself with hot water in less than an hour while an electric tank can take two hours or more.

Installation Difficulty

Not all houses are built equally. The same can be said for that house’s plumbing. Your house may have been built with specialized plumbing or it may have been built when different safety codes were in place. Pipe degradation may hamper the removal or installation of a new unit as well. Under ideal conditions, an installation can take around 2 hours. However individual quirks of the home, the condition of the piping, and the condition of the previous water heater will affect the overall installation cost.


Choosing a trustworthy plumber is the key to maximizing the efficiency and reliability of your investment. Hiring a plumber who isn’t properly trained or experienced can result in installation deficiencies. Improper venting and gas connections can cause water or gas leaks that could be disastrous for you and your home. The cost of repairing a flooded basement could run into the thousands of dollars. Poorly installed gas lines could drive up your energy costs, not to mention potential health or fire hazards. You’ll want to choose a company who holds a Contractor License and at least a Class B Gas Fitter license from Technical Safety BC. You’ll also want to hire a reputable contractor that guarantees its work and products. If you hire a small scale company with no track record, they may end up leaving you high and dry for additional repairs if it is not installed properly.

Milani Plumbing as had over 60 years of serving Metro Vancouver plumbing and HVAC systems. Our plumbers and technicians are licensed, bonded and have years of experience. On top of that, we also come equipped with a massive set of heavy-duty tools that we carry in our specially made trucks. Your most difficult plumbing, heating, and air conditioning issues are no problem for us!

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