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Reliance (water heater renter) is HUGE SCAMS. Avoid them and maybe help dispense some advice for us.

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 12th, 2018 12:54 pm
Deal Addict
Aug 22, 2007
1031 posts

Reliance (water heater renter) is HUGE SCAMS. Avoid them and maybe help dispense some advice for us.

Water Heaters, Reliance, Enercare and you.

Parents bought a new construction townhouse in 2007/2008 where Reliance was our only provider for water heaters. I do not know the history of what water heater equipmentwe’ve been through, but Reliance has replaced our faulty equipment at least twice now. We are presently on a Rheem tankless system that is routed to an open-loop hydronic coil for heating for the house, as well as an insulated unheated water tank storage system which is our source of tap+shower water. Yes, we are in fact using a tank with a tankless system and the tank is not even heated. We are being charged in the neighbourhood of $60-80/month for the rental of this equipment. It has been progressively been getting less effective in the past 3 winters. We’ve had countless clueless technicians from Reliance show up and never fix the problem. Our heating in the winter is pathetic and we have lukewarm shower water. We've started relying on electric space heaters throughout the house as the heating for the house is just not enough when the temperature drops below -5C. There’s absolutely nothing we can do about it via Reliance - short of requesting new equipment (this is a bad idea, keep reading).

Our original plan of action:
As a result of the above, we’ve started looking for someone to replace the water heater in our house. All of our quotes are between 7k to 11.5k for a new combi-boiler system that involves removing the tankless system. Home Depot/Lowe’s quotes appear to be the most expensive and least qualified people. There are a few other companies we’ve talked to which appeared to be more specialized, with better service, that charge about the same or less than HD/Lowe’s/Rona. This is quite expensive, TBH.

The dirt that Reliance, Enercare, etc do to you:
We’ve been warned by some of these private equipment installation companies (not reliance, enercare) that Reliance’s latest contracts lock people into minimum 8 year equipment contracts. The moment you get a new piece of equipment, you renew your lease (even if it’s piece of shiet equipment that can’t provide hot water) and if you try to get out, you pay hefty buyout prices. People are being asked to pay 3-5k to get out of their system even if they’ve had their equipment for 3-4 years. Worst of all, the Reliance customer service often fails to tell you that you have a hefty buyout price, leaving you to call in the contractors and replace the Reliance system with your own equipment. However, when you call Reliance to pick their equipment up, that’s when they hit you with the bill. You must ALWAYS ask for Reliance/Enercare to give you a written quote for equipment return since it appears they simply do not tell you about the cost until the last moment.

How companies like Reliance work is that they take on high interest loans to purchase the equipment up front. Apparently, their interest rates are around 18%. When you attempt leave Reliance early, you may not have crossed the acceptable threshold for them to break even, so they will pass those costs (and then some) on to you. When you are renting from Reliance, what you're really doing is taking on a high-interest loan on a shitty piece of equipment with poor installation workmanship.

My questions that have yet to be answered:
Has anyone like the CBC opened an investigation into these shady practices by Reliance/Enercare?
How do I diagnose an open loop hydronic coil system? Reliance apparently came by our house a few months ago and opened up a port and flushed our air handler - causing a bunch of rusty-colored water to come out. I was told by the private contrators that our open loop means that this coil hits our drinking water too which is very concerning. We’ve never noticed any rusty or dirty looking water.
Does anyone have any advice or reccomendations for combi-boilers in terms of contractors or DIY?
4 replies
Sr. Member
Jan 19, 2013
501 posts
I thought once they deemed the unit has failed/end of life you’re off the hook of the remaining contract.
If you choose to get a new rental unit from them obviously new contract.
Keep calling them to fix it. That’s why you pay the rental fee.
Tell them to send a hydronic heat tech. Not furnace techs.
Fine to use open loop system as long everything is potable rated and used from beginning.
Call reputable boiler companies, not furnace guys.
Decent boiler install your looking at least 8-10g’s
Nti Vmax units are nice. Fire tube heat exchanger and mini indirect tank

Never had issue with their customer service. Purchased a home with 9 year old reliance tank.
Besides the ridiculous rental rate and tank pickup fee.
They were clear on what I needed to do on my end to return the tank to their depot. The next month recieved a credit from them on my embridge bill for the pro rated days. Next embridge bill, reliance wasn’t on there. Happiest day of my life.
Deal Addict
Dec 19, 2009
3882 posts
Maybe take some pics of your setup so we can maybe give you some ideas on what's wrong with it or maybe just some adjustments are needed.
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
2744 posts
Boilers and tankless are similar but are designed for different functions and one costs over twice the other. The tankless needs to come out and a boiler installed if you want to keep the radiant heating. Tankless are not designed for the continuous re-heating of warm water, they also don't get water hot enough like a boiler would for storage. You can either replace the just the tankless with a boiler; OR replace the hydronic (forced air? furnace and storage tank) with a more typical GFA (gas forced air furnace) then keep the tankless for hot water only which will be much cheaper than the boiler route.

Biggest hurdle will be getting a deal with Reliance to get out of some or all the equipment that is currently on rental.


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