People grow, and often, our homes need to grow with us — or at least change. For whatever reason, you may decide to move your water heater or furnace, and the more you think about it, the better the idea seems. But there’s an issue: you don’t know how much it costs.
Moving a water heater could cost $1000 to $1500. It depends on how much plumbing you have near the new spot. Relocating a furnace may be $1000 or less. However, it’ll likely cost $2000 to $3000 due to reworking the duct system.
Reworking two integral home systems like the furnace and water heater could get pricey. But we’ll break down costs and why you’ll have to spend the amount on these projects to get results.
The Cost of Moving a Furnace
Moving furnaces isn’t something homeowners often request. Usually, expanding or renovating a house will never involve relocating a furnace. Sometimes, though, homeowners are looking to switch things up for whatever reason.
Regardless of the reason, you should carefully think about relocation costs.
It can cost upwards of $3000 to move a furnace. How close the furnace is to preexisting ductwork, water, and electrical lines all factor into your final cost. You should also think about how long you’re going to live in your home. If you plan to move soon, you might not want to move your unit.
Here’s a tip you’ll find handy — hire an HVAC contractor. Preferably one that’s licensed and insured.
Licensing means the contractor has the experience to move or repair your furnace. Insurance keeps both you and the contractor legally and financially covered in case of a mishap. .
There are various other reasons why you should hire a professional, but here are the two primary ones:
- Moving a furnace can be dangerous, especially if there’s electrical work involved.
- Relocating your heating unit can take a lot of time and result in ballooning costs.
All in all, you can expect a furnace unit relocation job to cost at least $1000. Spending one grand is the best-case scenario, provided there’s not much wall reconstruction, electrical rewiring, rerouting plumbing, or modifications needed to the duct system, of course.
If you require any of these modifications to move your heating unit, expect your final fee to be as much as $3000. Three grand is for any additional work the contractor needs to do, plus moving the unit three feet or so.
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Shifting your furnace any further can wreck your entire heating system. Your heating unit is where it is for a reason.
A furnace that’s moved too far from its original spot likely won’t distribute heat evenly. You may end up feeling cold spots and areas that are too warm in your home.
In general, there are five factors to consider when paying for furnace relocation:
- Is it close to preexisting ducts? The closer your furnace’s new home is to any existing ductwork, the less you’ll have to pay for installation. Contractors won’t have to add to, or otherwise, modify the duct system for the new location to accommodate your heater.
- Will you have to repair surrounding areas? Is the floor in the old or new locations needing repairs? How’s the drywall near where you’re moving your heating unit; do you have to fix or knock that down also?
- Is the heater close to water and electrical lines? Rerouting plumbing and rewiring electrical lines won’t cost as much as adding new ductwork. Still, it’s better that you have less new plumbing and electrical work to do.
- How long will you stay in your current home? Moving a heater is a lot of work. Moving a furnace may not be worth the time and cost outside a “forever home.”
- What’s the heater type and original location condition? The contractor will have to clean and repair your heater’s last spot. They’ll need to remove old gas, heating lines, and electrical lines that ran to the original location.
Something else to think about is whether your heater needs replacing. You’re going to spend a lot of money on relocating the unit anyway. You may as well consider if the current furnace you’ve got is worth keeping.
A mid-range or average furnace will run from $1500 to $2500. A high-efficiency furnace can be as much as $5000. Furnaces typically last 15 years, so if your furnace has already aged out of high school, it’s easier just to have a new one installed in the new location.
Newer mid-range models are going to run better than the old unit you have. There’s no reason to spend money on moving an inefficient model.
How Much Does It Cost To Move a Hot Water Heater?
Moving water heaters is a more commonplace occurrence than relocating a furnace. That’s because water heaters are generally more finicky than heating units. There are many situations that may require putting a water heater elsewhere.
It can cost as much as $5000 to move a hot water heater. Labor costs alone can reach $107 per hour. If you’ve got a water tank that’s over a decade old, you’re better off getting a new one. You won’t spend nearly as much putting it in whatever spot you like.
Pro tip: Don’t DIY the water heater removal and installation. In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that you can DIY relocate a water heating unit, but you shouldn’t.
Hire a licensed and insured professional contractor to handle the job. If you need specific reasons why doing the job yourself isn’t a great idea, here you go:
- Moving water heaters takes a lot of effort. Water tank relocation is a very involved process. A 10-year-old will need a replacement anode rod. An anode rod is a metal rod coated with aluminum or magnesium that keeps the inside of the tank from rusting.
- Rusted water heating units are fragile. Overly rusted tanks may break apart once you move them. Although, at this point, you should get an entirely new tank.
- Moving the tank on your own may void your warranty. Warranty can go a long way towards reducing the amount of money you pay for repairs or replacements. If an unlicensed plumber doesn’t handle the job, you’ll lose your warranty for future complications.
- Moving water heaters is dangerous. The most crucial reason you should let a professional handle the relocation is that it’s hazardous. Water heater relocation requires working with your home’s water and electrical lines. Electrification can be fatal.
Water Heater Relocation Costs
Moving a hot water heater can be as high as $5000. These fees don’t include extra work like rerouting preexisting plumbing and electrical wiring. Five grand only covers one hour of work and a shift of five feet (1.52 m).
You can hire three different contractors for plumbing, electrical, and gas, provided you have a gas water heater. An excellent general contractor may be able to accomplish all three tasks on their own. Regardless, all of these jobs are costly and pay on an hourly basis.
If you’re only moving the heater a foot or two, you could bypass electrical and gas work. You likely won’t be that lucky, however. Odds are, something other than the water heater and connecting pipes are going to need shifting around.
Contractors will need to extend supply and return lines before they commence any other part of the job. Next comes adding or relaying electrical and gas lines, and building a temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve.
Only the lucky you never need to use their TPR valve. The purpose of this valve is to relieve pressure build-up inside your water heater. A water heating unit will expand simply due to the tank doing its job — heating water.
The expansion takes more room than the tank has available and causes pressure to accumulate inside the metal drum. It’s not uncommon for some pressurization to occur, but too much can lead to leaks or explosions.
The final part of the job involves adding a new overflow. A hot water heater overflow pipe is where water flows out of the water tank after the TPR valve is released.
Opt for a New Water Heater
One final thing, do yourself a favor and replace your heater if it’s over a decade old. A water heater replacement is around $1500 to $2000. A new unit won’t require as much work to install and will be overall safer.
Old heaters can accumulate mold and bacteria. Bugs and rats can find their way inside the metal drum also. All this can contribute to making you and your family ill. You’ll spend less money on the heater relocation and have access to safer hotter water.
Relocating a water heater and furnace is both hard work. Both jobs involve rerouting essential systems inside your home. Moving a furnace and hot water heater will take rerouting electrical wires.
You may have to move pipes when relocating a furnace, and you’ll undoubtedly need to re-lay water lines when shifting a water heater. The sheer amount of effort contractors need to make will result in thousands of dollars spent.
Transferring a water heater can cost up to $5000, and a furnace can reach $3000. Water heating units generally require more work, so they’ll cost more to move.