Welcome Guest! In order to take advantage of all the great features that Waterloo Region Connected has to offer, including participating in the lively discussions below, you're going to have to register. The good news is that it'll take less than a minute and you can get started enjoying Waterloo Region's best online community right away. Click here to get started.

Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Alternatives to Reliance for Water Heaters
#1
Are there any reputable companies that compete with Reliance for renting water heaters?

I've been dealing with them for the past two years and had 3 issues now, the latest the exact same thing they supposedly fixed a couple of months ago (and charged me because of course it wasn't covered by their warranty). After sitting on hold for about 40 minutes now I'm not feeling particularly inclined to keep giving them my money.

Maybe I should just buy a new water heater from somewhere else.
Reply
#2
If you're renting from Reliance you're om a contract. If you want to leave them you'll need to buy out your contract. You'll need to call them for details.

As for a replacement, if you have the money and intend to stay in your home for a few years your best option is to buy a water heater and have it installed. Most water heaters have a warranty of several years. The equivalent rental fees for that period are usually more than the cost of a new WH so in the long you're ahead to own rather than rent.

Home Depot has a good selection of gas and electric water heaters. They also can recommend an installer.
Reply
#3
Also, Kitchener Utilities rents out water heaters.

My only concern about buying a water heater outright is the extremely hard water in our region -- mineral buildup has killed one of my heaters I had in a townhouse in 3 years (yes, I had a water softener unit, although I was less than diligent in keeping it filled).
Reply
#4
We bought my parents' place when they moved into a retirement home about a decade ago. I have no idea how old the gas water heater was at that time but it's still going strong. We have a water softener and I do keep the salt replenished. But I've never serviced the water heater or even drained it of sediment as we're supposed to do. A decade's worth of rental at $20/month would have been $2,400. That's enough to replace two or three water heaters. As I understand it the typical rental fee is now more like $30/month. The buy vs. rent decision for us is a no-brainer.
Reply
#5
Yeah, we use to own our own but when we moved our new place had a rental so we just kept that.

I'm not sure what the contract details are, so I'll need to look into that. But definitely thinking of just buying a new one and being done with these guys. Our current rental cost is something like $32/month.

I was a bit skeptical when our very first problem involved a guy coming out to replace a plastic piece that had broken with a metal piece and him telling me that most of the time the plastic piece breaks in the first few years and needs to be replaced.
Reply
#6
I'm on my second water heater. First one lasted ten years, second one is in year 6 and counting. Seems to me that buying is by far the superior choice.
Reply
#7
Well, after 2.5 hours on hold I got a service appointment for this morning.  Good news: He fixed my hot water.  Bad news: He managed to totally clog my main kitchen faucet.  After spending 10 minutes fiddling with it I was told that he isn't a plumber and there's nothing he can do...

Buying is looking better all the time!

The funny thing is that this was another case of "I just removed a part that doesn't really do anything and seems to cause problems in this area.". Doesn't inspire a ton of confidence.
Reply
#8
(05-17-2015, 07:07 PM)SammyOES Wrote: I'm not sure what the contract details are, so I'll need to look into that.  But definitely thinking of just buying a new one and being done with these guys.  Our current rental cost is something like $32/month.  

You'll need to buy out the contract. If the unit isn't old then it may be worth doing that so as to stop the $32/month. If it's an older unit than you'll want to return it to the rental company, which adds to the buy-out cost.

But at $32/month or $384/year you could buy a new water heater about every 3 years and still break even. Considering that new heaters come with at least a 5 year warranty and typically last at least 10 years  it's obvious how big a rip-off renting is.
Reply
#9
Buy-out costs for these units are often not based in any kind of reality. I believe the companies' thinking is that a phone call is easy, so if the buy-out cost is at all reasonable many people may opt for that, but fewer will be willing to do the leg work of having it deinstalled, replaced, and sent back. Therefore the buy-out costs are not reasonable at all.

I inherited a Reliance tank when I bought a property a few years ago. It was a 9-year-old unit when I bought the house, and the buy-out cost was $880 with HST. Reliance claimed this high price was due to the fact that their units are somehow superior, which wasn't corroborated by anyone else's opinion. Cancelling the contract would have cost about $200 in cancellation/disconnection/removal fees- they would not let me (or a qualified installer) remove the unit and deliver it to them myself.

At ten years old, however (after over three thousand dollars in rental fees were paid mostly by the previous owner and some by me), the cancellation fee no longer applied, and I was permitted to remove the unit myself. They picked it up for a fifty dollar charge, but I would have been allowed to drop it off. So I went with that option. They never explained to me why this "scrap" unit (I was permitted to take it out and drag it to the yard myself because they're not using it again) would have continued to cost me $27/month in rent (plus increases). If the new unit lasts twelve years, and rental rate increases would have been similar to what they were previously, I figured the ROI of the new unit's price was 25%, not including the improved efficiency of the unit I chose, and assuming only modest servicing. This isn't taking into account my time, either: when I have replaced water heaters in the past, it was a one-day thing. Dealing with Reliance was a pain. But now I don't have that bill to pay, or that company to deal with.

I inherited another rented water heater more recently, and was going to insist it be replaced because I hated my last experience so much. It was not that old, though, so I accepted it in the end. It is from Kitchener Utilities, and when I called them after the close to get the info they were much easier to deal with, and their buy-out price didn't make me shake my head. In fact, I found it pretty reasonable. I'll likely buy it out towards the end of the year.

Sorry for the length of the post, but thought you might find it helpful to hear from someone who cut ties with Reliance. They will waste your time trying to pressure you and scare you, and waste your time with nonsense about their "rules." In the end, though, you'll be rid of them.
Reply
#10
Renting water heaters seems to be a triumph of marketing over common sense. It's also regional. The vast majority of water heaters in Ontario are rented but almost none are in Alberta.

TorStar's Ellen Roseman has been railing against rental water heaters for many years. Her condemnation includes everything from excessive fees (rental and removal), the difficulties of terminating contracts, as well as shady, high-pressure sales practices.

See e.g.
Water heater wars raged for 15 years: Roseman
Why I’m always writing about water heaters

If I was buying a new house or condo I'd make the deal contingent on there not being a rental water heater (or any other rented appliance) installed. Instead I'd buy a water heater and have it delivered to the job site for installation by the builder's crew. (I don't know how receptive they'd be, but I'd try hard.)  

If it's a resale property, I'd make it the seller's problem to deal with the rental, i.e. by buying out the contract. Then if it's an older unit I'd buy a new one after moving in.
Reply
#11
(05-20-2015, 08:01 AM)MidTowner Wrote: Buy-out costs for these units are often not based in any kind of reality. I believe the companies' thinking is that a phone call is easy, so if the buy-out cost is at all reasonable many people may opt for that, but fewer will be willing to do the leg work of having it deinstalled, replaced, and sent back. Therefore the buy-out costs are not reasonable at all.

I inherited a Reliance tank when I bought a property a few years ago. It was a 9-year-old unit when I bought the house, and the buy-out cost was $880 with HST. Reliance claimed this high price was due to the fact that their units are somehow superior, which wasn't corroborated by anyone else's opinion. Cancelling the contract would have cost about $200 in cancellation/disconnection/removal fees- they would not let me (or a qualified installer) remove the unit and deliver it to them myself.

At ten years old, however (after over three thousand dollars in rental fees were paid mostly by the previous owner and some by me), the cancellation fee no longer applied, and I was permitted to remove the unit myself. They picked it up for a fifty dollar charge, but I would have been allowed to drop it off. So I went with that option. They never explained to me why this "scrap" unit (I was permitted to take it out and drag it to the yard myself because they're not using it again) would have continued to cost me $27/month in rent (plus increases). If the new unit lasts twelve years, and rental rate increases would have been similar to what they were previously, I figured the ROI of the new unit's price was 25%, not including the improved efficiency of the unit I chose, and assuming only modest servicing. This isn't taking into account my time, either: when I have replaced water heaters in the past, it was a one-day thing. Dealing with Reliance was a pain. But now I don't have that bill to pay, or that company to deal with.

I inherited another rented water heater more recently, and was going to insist it be replaced because I hated my last experience so much. It was not that old, though, so I accepted it in the end. It is from Kitchener Utilities, and when I called them after the close to get the info they were much easier to deal with, and their buy-out price didn't make me shake my head. In fact, I found it pretty reasonable. I'll likely buy it out towards the end of the year.

Sorry for the length of the post, but thought you might find it helpful to hear from someone who cut ties with Reliance. They will waste your time trying to pressure you and scare you, and waste your time with nonsense about their "rules." In the end, though, you'll be rid of them.

Yep. I've always bought out water heaters as soon as possible as well. It's a nice way for companies to make money off us for not really providing service apparently.
Reply
#12
Just for the sake of completeness, after a bunch of running around they paid to fix the faucet.  

As for buying a house with a rental water heater - in the grand scheme of things its a pretty small thing and if you get too hung up on small things when buying/selling a house you end up costing yourself a lot more.
Reply
#13
(05-21-2015, 01:00 PM)SammyOES Wrote: As for buying a house with a rental water heater - in the grand scheme of things its a pretty small thing and if you get too hung up on small things when buying/selling a house you end up costing yourself a lot more.
I'm not suggesting that anyone "get too hung up on small things" but rather that they know what they're getting in the deal and that if it's a rental try to make it the seller's problem to terminate the contract. Of course I wouldn't make it a deal-breaker if for some reason the seller didn't want to do so.
Reply
#14
(05-21-2015, 03:17 PM)ookpik Wrote:
(05-21-2015, 01:00 PM)SammyOES Wrote: As for buying a house with a rental water heater - in the grand scheme of things its a pretty small thing and if you get too hung up on small things when buying/selling a house you end up costing yourself a lot more.
I'm not suggesting that anyone "get too hung up on small things" but rather that they know what they're getting in the deal and that if it's a rental try to make it the seller's problem to terminate the contract. Of course I wouldn't make it a deal-breaker if for some reason the seller didn't want to do so.

Yeah. I tried that but it was certainly not the #1 thing on my mind. It would have been a nice plus though.
Reply
#15
(05-21-2015, 03:17 PM)ookpik Wrote: I'm not suggesting that anyone "get too hung up on small things" but rather that they know what they're getting in the deal and that if it's a rental try to make it the seller's problem to terminate the contract. Of course I wouldn't make it a deal-breaker if for some reason the seller didn't want to do so.

Fair enough, and it is a good thing for people to keep in mind when buying/selling. It's one of those things to think about giving/taking when the other party is really hung up on a specific number for the price.
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

About Waterloo Region Connected

Launched in August 2014, Waterloo Region Connected is an online community that brings together all the things that make Waterloo Region great. Waterloo Region Connected provides a news reporting service, opportunities for event promotion and other user-driven content complemented by a lively discussion forum covering topics like urban development, transportation projects, heritage issues, businesses and other issues of interest to those in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and the four Townships - North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot, and Woolwich.

              User Links