Ontario family pays $4,000+ renting water heater for 28 years

Ontario is one of the few provinces in Canada where millions of residents rent their water heaters rather than own them.

While renting can give you peace of mind if you break down or need service, the cost of renting can add up over time and it’s generally a reliable piece of equipment, typically lasting 15 years or more without many issues .

“The thing about a rental is that they just keep going and going and going,” said Gary Burger of New Lowell, west of Barrie, Ontario.

Burger and his wife, Gloria Booth, have rented the same water heater that came with the house when they moved in for the past 28 years. Burger said the water heater still works great and has never required a service call.

“We really think we should have bought this water heater a long time ago. That’s all we want to do is buy it and get rid of that bill,” Booth said.

Booth said she decided to add up rental fees over 28 years and was shocked when it came down to $4,162.

“I was sitting there doing a new budget and I said to Gary, ‘We’ve got to get this done once and for all, let’s just get on with it,'” Booth said.

Burger said he made several calls to Reliance Home Comfort, the company that owns the water heater, but said he couldn’t reach the right department to get a price for the amount of the acquisition.

“We’ve paid all of this money over 28 years and the acquisition shouldn’t be anything because of all the expenses that we’ve already paid for,” Burger said.

CTV News Toronto reached out to Reliance Home Comfort on Burger’s behalf, and a spokesman said there was no record of Burger contacting them about an acquisition.

Visit the Reliance website for information about returning your water heater and a 1-866-767-1702 to answer questions about water heater returns.

MORE: Ontario woman shocked at $6,200 water bill she didn’t know was used

Mike Kolatschek, Head of Corporate Communications at Reliance Home Comfort. CTV News Toronto said in a statement, “Our buyout prices are calculated fairly and reasonably, based on the value of the equipment installed and considering its age. Taking into account the facts of Mr Burger’s situation, our calculation results in a payment of zero and we have informed Mr Burger that there is no amount.”

That was good news for Burger, who said he would consider buying a water heater rather than renting one when the 28-year-old water heater needs to be replaced.

Customers renting water heaters can have them repaired for free if there is a problem and there are no additional charges for parts or labor.

Water heaters sell for between $500 and $1,500 depending on make and model, and installation costs start at around $500 and increase depending on the complexity of the installation.

Owning a water heater can also be a selling point when listing your home because the new buyer doesn’t have to take over an existing lease.

On-demand instantaneous water heaters cost more to rent and buy.

Not only are water heaters available for hire, many companies are now offering air conditioner and furnace rental options. While you don’t have a large upfront cost, over time you’ll end up paying more for rent rather than owning the equipment.

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