Renting vs. Buying a Hot Water Heater: Which is Best for YOU?

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Posted on October 26, 2015 · Posted in Home Plumbing

To buy or not to buy, that is the question. Trying to figure out whether to buy or rent a water heater can be a difficult and confusing process. The first step in any big decision involving Toronto residential plumbing is always to do your research. So you’ve taken to the internet, googled “renting vs buying a hot water heater” and are hoping to find your answer here. Let’s see if we can help you decide!

With any choice, there are always pros and cons to both options and you should take a look at them:

Pros to Renting Pros to Buying
·        Affordable monthly rate

·        Convenient billing

·        Same Day service

·        No charge for parts or labor

·        Peace of mind

·        Newer and more efficient model

·        You get a warranty

·        You have options with contractors

·        You can finance the expense

Cons for Renting Cons for Buying
·        You’re stuck with the rental company

·        Contracts can be misleading, with high cancellation fees and aggressive retention tactics

·        Age of water heater can make it less efficient

·        Monthly payments can gradually increase

·        Hidden costs

·        Requires a large up front charge

·        Responsible for all parts and labor

·        Responsible for installation charges

·        Warranty may not cover costs if the heater hasn’t been properly maintained and serviced

When you look at the options and compare them you can easily see that both are equal in terms of pros and cons, whatever the reasons your hot water heater needs replacing. While it’s good to see it laid out, no decision of this size is easy but it might help you to make the best choice for your home.

The best solution will depend on 3 important factors:

#1: Your Living Situation

After taking a look at your pros and cons list, the next thing is to consider how long you’re going to be living in your current home. The average hot water heater has a 10-year life expectancy. Water heaters are expensive and when you add in all the installation charges, buying a water heating unit can cost between $1,200 to $2,000.

Comparably, renting one for 10 years can cost up to $2,880. On paper the obvious answer is buying. However, if you’re only going to be there for a couple years, is it worth it? No, not if you’re going to be there for less than 5 years. The general rule of thumb when it comes to your living situation and buying or renting a hot water heater is:

  • Less than 5 years equals renting;
  • More than 5 years equals buying.

#2: Your Options

Options are great, everyone loves options. Our entire capitalist society is built on options. Just going to the grocery store for milk, you’re given half a dozen options of what kind of milk you want. Some people love this while others hate it. Take a look into the company you’re looking to rent from and find out what models of heaters you’ll have to choose from. Then look into the types you can buy that are in your price range.

#3: Warranties and Guarantees

Unless you’ve never had something go wrong with anything you own and have never had the experience of dealing with warranties, you know that they’re not always chalked up to what they’re supposed to be. Read the fine print of all warranties and guarantees, and identify the loop holes that can result in you losing your insurance coverage or incurring hidden fees.

Talk to your family and friends, ask them what they did when they bought their homes and lastly, always be wary of door-to-door hot water heater sales reps.

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