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Buy, Rent or Lease?

Tough choices: buy, rent or lease?

Many utilities across Canada offer as a customer service, the option or renting, leasing, or purchasing outright a water heater. Water heaters can also be purchased at a retail outlet, from a contractor, a distributor, a wholesaler or a dealer. The most commonly installed water heater in Canadian households is the storage-type water heater.

To buy or to lease depends on whether or not you are prepared to make a one-time payment or pay small monthly sums. In this case, it may be cheaper to buy outright, if you consider what the accumulated monthly payments add up to over the years. The following are a few points to consider when weighing your options.

Renting or Leasing a Water Heater:

Most of the utility or energy supplier rental programs apply to storage-type water heaters. In some areas, they are often able to provide affordable and energy efficient water heaters through mass purchases.

Renting or leasing a water heater involves entering into a long term agreement with the supplier, therefore you should be aware that these arrangements can involve long-term commitments or expensive buy-out options should you decide to switch to a different energy supplier.

However, renting/leasing can be attractive for a number of reasons:

  • It provides peace of mind, since you have access to fast, 24-hour service, 365 days a year.
  • Installation is easy and convenient. There are no fees or delivery charges, the installation will be done by professionals, and removal of the old water heater is part of the job.
  • The equipment is often more energy-efficient. Renting or leasing can give you access to a good quality product that may not be available on the market.
  • No deposit is required, and payment can be made in convenient monthly installments as part of your utility bill.
  • If you live in an area where the water has a high mineral content, which typically shortens the useful life of the water heater, renting or leasing may be a preferred option.

Check with your utility or energy supplier to see whether renting/leasing is an option in your area. In some cases, there may be limits on the type, size and energy efficiency of water heaters available through lease or rental arrangements.

Buying a Water Heater:

More choice, product designs and sizes are available when buying instead of renting or leasing a water heater. While storage-type water heaters are the most commonly sold and installed types in Canada, a consumer has the option of considering other water heating systems such as heat pumps, solar assisted, demand water heaters and integrated space-water heating systems. However, this last list of models require specific sizing and installation considerations.

Source: Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) - Office of Energy Efficiency