Home & Garden

Water heater recommendation

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[OP]
Newbie
Oct 18, 2009
59 posts
8 upvotes
North York

Water heater recommendation

My parents are renting their water heater tank from Reliance Home Comfort. Today it started leaking and the tech. is coming to take a look. We want it replaced and actually had a tech over to look at it last year because it was making these weird gurgling sounds. And we knew something was wrong but Reliance said the opposite and did not want to replace it. Now its leaking water all over the place.

I was recommending that they replace the tank with a tankless water heater.

However my question has more to do with continuing with renting from Reliance? I've heard mostly bad things about it, but my parents like the rental as they can call if something goes wrong and a technician will come and fix it. (however in this case that didn't work out so well the first time they called when the initial signs of break down were observed - they did nothing)

I don't know if they are on a contract or not. The current tank heater is about 6 years old.

But anyway what alternatives are there if they are no longer on a contract?
Is there an alternative course of action to renting from Reliance that can also guarantee they get repairs if something goes wrong?
23 replies
Deal Addict
Feb 10, 2006
2294 posts
307 upvotes
Kitchener
Your choices are limited. They rent a tank or purchase a tank. Each has benefits and draw backs. And every person has an opinion on the subject.

If your parents are set on renting because they don't want to make the initial investment or have to worry about any potential repairs then there are numerous companies that rent tanks. Recently there was a thread about getting credits from rental companies and I had posted this image. If your parents are looking at switching then they could get an incentive by switching to Enercare. To be clear Enercare/Reliance or other rental companies are similar.
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Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
15647 posts
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Oakville
erotavlas wrote: My parents are renting their water heater tank from Reliance Home Comfort. Today it started leaking and the tech. is coming to take a look. We want it replaced and actually had a tech over to look at it last year because it was making these weird gurgling sounds. And we knew something was wrong but Reliance said the opposite and did not want to replace it. Now its leaking water all over the place.

I was recommending that they replace the tank with a tankless water heater.

However my question has more to do with continuing with renting from Reliance? I've heard mostly bad things about it, but my parents like the rental as they can call if something goes wrong and a technician will come and fix it. (however in this case that didn't work out so well the first time they called when the initial signs of break down were observed - they did nothing)

I don't know if they are on a contract or not. The current tank heater is about 6 years old.

But anyway what alternatives are there if they are no longer on a contract?
Is there an alternative course of action to renting from Reliance that can also guarantee they get repairs if something goes wrong?
They will save a LOT of money in the long run by not renting. As they just learned, the rental company will not help you when your tank is failing, and they won't do anything or cover a leak, other than sign you up for a new, more expensive contract.
I recommend they go with a purchased water tank.
A water heater will cost $1-2k to install, but will cost $8k+ to rent over it's life. The rental companies will not come and do free emergency calls when it fails.

More info here great-water-heater-rental-scam-1126945/
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 18, 2009
59 posts
8 upvotes
North York
engineered wrote: They will save a LOT of money in the long run by not renting. As they just learned, the rental company will not help you when your tank is failing, and they won't do anything or cover a leak, other than sign you up for a new, more expensive contract.
I recommend they go with a purchased water tank.
A water heater will cost $1-2k to install, but will cost $8k+ to rent over it's life. The rental companies will not come and do free emergency calls when it fails.

More info here great-water-heater-rental-scam-1126945/
For a new water heater (similar to what we already have) I got a quote for around $1500 including installation.

For Reliance we have been paying $18 per month including tax for the rental since 12 years when we first got it.
So I calculated around $2600 we payed out over the life of the unit.

If I get a new tank of same type the monthly price will go up to around $20.65 with a 7 year contract. Totalling $1735 over 7 years.
If the tank lasts all the way to 12 years like the current one did, that total goes up to $2976.

So really it all depends how long the tank lasts. If it dies at 7 years the price of buying it is very close to the total rental cost. If it lasts longer it is cheaper to buy outright.

When buying a new tank the warranty on the new tank and parts is 6 years so very close to the 7 year contract term.

I was also told the tanks Reliance provide are not guaranteed new, they could be refurbished (1 - 2 year old)
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Feb 11, 2007
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erotavlas wrote: For a new water heater (similar to what we already have) I got a quote for around $1500 including installation.

For Reliance we have been paying $18 per month including tax for the rental since 12 years when we first got it.
So I calculated around $2600 we payed out over the life of the unit.

If I get a new tank of same type the monthly price will go up to around $20.65 with a 7 year contract. Totalling $1735 over 7 years.
If the tank lasts all the way to 12 years like the current one did, that total goes up to $2976.

So really it all depends how long the tank lasts. If it dies at 7 years the price of buying it is very close to the total rental cost. If it lasts longer it is cheaper to buy outright.

When buying a new tank the warranty on the new tank and parts is 6 years so very close to the 7 year contract term.

I was also told the tanks Reliance provide are not guaranteed new, they could be refurbished (1 - 2 year old)
In both cases, you're better off with buying by your own calculations. Not to mention that tanks will easily last 15 years with proper maintenance (draining tank and and changing the anode once in a while.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 18, 2009
59 posts
8 upvotes
North York
engineered wrote: In both cases, you're better off with buying by your own calculations. Not to mention that tanks will easily last 15 years with proper maintenance (draining tank and and changing the anode once in a while.
Reliance never did that or told us to do that. This was the first time I learned about maintenance to extend lifespan.
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erotavlas wrote: Reliance never did that or told us to do that. This was the first time I learned about maintenance to extend lifespan.
That's because they don't care about your tank. They don't want it to last too long, like you just experienced, so they can resign you to a more expensive contract.
People have 20+ year old tanks with proper maintenance.
Deal Addict
Feb 10, 2006
2294 posts
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Kitchener
erotavlas wrote: For a new water heater (similar to what we already have) I got a quote for around $1500 including installation.

For Reliance we have been paying $18 per month including tax for the rental since 12 years when we first got it.
So I calculated around $2600 we payed out over the life of the unit.

If I get a new tank of same type the monthly price will go up to around $20.65 with a 7 year contract. Totalling $1735 over 7 years.
If the tank lasts all the way to 12 years like the current one did, that total goes up to $2976.

So really it all depends how long the tank lasts. If it dies at 7 years the price of buying it is very close to the total rental cost. If it lasts longer it is cheaper to buy outright.

When buying a new tank the warranty on the new tank and parts is 6 years so very close to the 7 year contract term.

I was also told the tanks Reliance provide are not guaranteed new, they could be refurbished (1 - 2 year old)
engineered wrote: That's because they don't care about your tank. They don't want it to last too long, like you just experienced, so they can resign you to a more expensive contract.
People have 20+ year old tanks with proper maintenance.
Reliance or any company wants their asset to last as long as possible. When it has reached it's end of life they want to retain you as a customer. Any other notion is foolish. They are not in business because that want products to fail prematurely. Maintenance costs often outweigh the limited life extension.
Deal Addict
Feb 10, 2006
2294 posts
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Kitchener
erotavlas wrote: For a new water heater (similar to what we already have) I got a quote for around $1500 including installation.

For Reliance we have been paying $18 per month including tax for the rental since 12 years when we first got it.
So I calculated around $2600 we payed out over the life of the unit.

If I get a new tank of same type the monthly price will go up to around $20.65 with a 7 year contract. Totalling $1735 over 7 years.
If the tank lasts all the way to 12 years like the current one did, that total goes up to $2976.

So really it all depends how long the tank lasts. If it dies at 7 years the price of buying it is very close to the total rental cost. If it lasts longer it is cheaper to buy outright.

When buying a new tank the warranty on the new tank and parts is 6 years so very close to the 7 year contract term.

I was also told the tanks Reliance provide are not guaranteed new, they could be refurbished (1 - 2 year old)
Based on your rental rate it sounds like you have a conventional tank. Those are the ones that typically require the least service repairs in my experience. Powervent or tankless is slightly more prone to failure and the parts are more expensive.

Also keep in mind every product can have an issue. While the tank may have warranty, it will not include the cost of the technician who does the repair. You'd be out those costs. Then you'd have to try an claim warranty depending on the situation.

There are more people who could have saved money purchasing a tank vs renting one. There are also numerous people who have had a new tank installed and failed within a few years and the repair costs are not cheap.
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Jan 2, 2012
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Double_J wrote: There are also numerous people who have had a new tank installed and failed within a few years and the repair costs are not cheap.

Stop with this bullshit.
Yes things do fail, but the propaganda being pushed out by rental companies that things are expensive to repair is a load. The whole reason their business model works is because they DON'T fail regularly. A HWT is nothing more than a giant kettle with a few electronic components and possibly a fan.
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Jan 2, 2012
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Tell Reliance to go copulate with themselves.
Hire a plumber to install a new tank (not tankless; your parents will never recoup the gas savings over the price of install) and be done with it.
Path of least resistance would be a box store consult/purchase, but the pandemic may have throw a wrench into that route. Lots of service plumbers are still working though.
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Double_J wrote: Reliance or any company wants their asset to last as long as possible. When it has reached it's end of life they want to retain you as a customer. Any other notion is foolish. They are not in business because that want products to fail prematurely. Maintenance costs often outweigh the limited life extension.
You're misrepresenting what I said. I didn't say they want them to fail prematurely, they just have no incentive to make them last as long as possible, when they can lock you into a more expensive contract. Quite the opposite in fact.
You're telling me a $20 anode isn't worth 5-10 more years of tank life? Even if you pay $100 to have it installed?
Are you shilling for Reliance with your signature?
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Aug 18, 2005
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If you buy your own tank, whom do you call if and when it malfunctions?
Last edited by Jucius Maximus on May 22nd, 2020 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
What if there were no hypothetical questions?
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Jucius Maximus wrote: If you buy your own tank, whom do you can if and when it malfunctions?
The contractor who installed it or any other plumber you want to want call in. With reliance, you're stuck waiting for them, regardless of how urgent it is as you've prepaid for their service. If you read RFD, you'll see many cases where reliance, enercare, or other rental companies are in no rush to come help you when you have no hot water, even if the tank is leaking.

That's like asking, if you're stove stops working, who do you call if it malfunctions? You don't rent your stove do you? (or your TV, or AC, or furnace, or fridge) So why rent your hot water tank?
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And you believe that the plumber who installed the tank will come right away. That one man crew who has commitments, a family, other customers can drop everything to be at your door in time of need? Things go wrong in any business big or small. The larger you are the more examples of good and bad will happen.
People like to complain, it is in our nature. And because of that we share our bad experiences readily. We are less likely to share positive ones, otherwise rfd would be full or glowing comments. There are some but negative sentiment sticks around in our heads longer and that is what we tend to share.

If you want do a search for any of those larger companies. You will see 10,000 of thousands of positive comments on Google. Far more than the negative reviews you see here. Are they perfect, no of course not. Do they want to make money, yes like any business that operates.

As I said in the beginning there are different opinions on renting tanks or purchasing. I work in this line of business for a living. I assure you I see far more situations thatln the average person on rfd does. I don't care what people choose either. The company I work for rents or sells tanks. But on a weekly basis I see people who have owned a tank and call for service when it fails. When it does fail they often do like the cost associated with repairing it. They either chose to purchase another one (if they have 1-2000) laying around or rent. RARELY does anyone chose to fix it unless it is a small repair.
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Feb 10, 2006
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MrFrugal1 wrote: Stop with this bullshit.
Yes things do fail, but the propaganda being pushed out by rental companies that things are expensive to repair is a load. The whole reason their business model works is because they DON'T fail regularly. A HWT is nothing more than a giant kettle with a few electronic components and possibly a fan.
How much does it cost to fix? What are the most common failures on tanks, and what does your business charge to replace these components? And can the average person diagnose, source these and re/re these parts? Or do you think the gas technician will roll his truck to your house for $50 a handshake and cup of coffee?

He would need to see a lot of customers to make ends meet at those margins.

I am not trying to sway the OP to rent a tank. I'm trying to give home both sides. He indicated his parents wanted to rent. I'm trying to paint the entire picture, not an idealistic one where every person who purchased a tank saves a life fortune because they don't rent.

OP if you'd like send me a message and I will give you a quote on a purchased tank or rental. Done by a licensed installer Grinning Face
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Feb 25, 2004
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Longueuil
Renting tanks seems mainly to be an Ontario thing (they can be rented in Québec but personnaly I don't know anyone who rents his tank and when buying a new house, you are not forced into renting) so I might be wrong but I don't see the benefits. Even if your tank fails, I have a hard time believing that the purchase + repair costs would be greater than the rental costs. On top of that, if it fails and you don't want to repair it yourself, you can hire any plumber that you want instead of being stuck with the rental company plumber so it seems like a definitive plus to me to own. A rented tank would also be negative when selling your house.

I know my tank is an exception but it is from 1998 and no maintenance was ever done (no anode replacement). I bought my house in 2012 and the owner told me he had never done any maintenance so I figured that it was not worth doing any maintenance on a 14 years tank and I would simply replace it when it would die (it is on a concrete floor next to the drain in an unfinished basement). It is still going strong in 2020, after 22 years. I simply installed a z-wave leak detector (which is always a good thing, even with a new tank) to monitor potential leaks. I am thinking of working on the basement now so I will probably replace it this summer (I will replace it before I do any work in the basement, no doubts).
Try not! Do or do not, there is no try...
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Feb 10, 2006
2294 posts
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Kitchener
Z wave is a great idea for sure. And I agree with your points about renting. I also think there are lots of things in life we could do differently to save money, and they are not for everyone. To me some things are not worth my time, effort, or brain power but I recognise we all draw the line somewhere.

Eating out - I could make my own steak cheaper
Leasing a car - why even buy new? A couple year old car is significantly cheaper
Locking in to a cell plan in order to get the latest device - Get last years model or pay as you go
Home monitoring - clearly they are making money off these services so why dont we just do it ourselves
Repairs/Maintanence/renos - huge savings to be had here. Cars, and houses are big debts.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 18, 2009
59 posts
8 upvotes
North York
we ended renting again from Reliance.
They came the next day to take the old tank and installed a new tank.

Reason was really we had very few options. The contractor I called to purchase a new tank and install would have had us wait for up to a week because they are too busy (also prioritizing air conditioning unit installs) Also didn't have too much time to research other companies plumbers etc. due to leaking tank + no hot water.

All in all so we will pay a bit extra for the tank/installation over 7 years (just over $200) Which was acceptable considering they came fairly quick to replace the faulty unit.
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Double_J wrote: And you believe that the plumber who installed the tank will come right away. That one man crew who has commitments, a family, other customers can drop everything to be at your door in time of need? Things go wrong in any business big or small. The larger you are the more examples of good and bad will happen.
People like to complain, it is in our nature. And because of that we share our bad experiences readily. We are less likely to share positive ones, otherwise rfd would be full or glowing comments. There are some but negative sentiment sticks around in our heads longer and that is what we tend to share.

If you want do a search for any of those larger companies. You will see 10,000 of thousands of positive comments on Google. Far more than the negative reviews you see here. Are they perfect, no of course not. Do they want to make money, yes like any business that operates.

As I said in the beginning there are different opinions on renting tanks or purchasing. I work in this line of business for a living. I assure you I see far more situations thatln the average person on rfd does. I don't care what people choose either. The company I work for rents or sells tanks. But on a weekly basis I see people who have owned a tank and call for service when it fails. When it does fail they often do like the cost associated with repairing it. They either chose to purchase another one (if they have 1-2000) laying around or rent. RARELY does anyone chose to fix it unless it is a small repair.
If you're worried about service than don't go with Joe Blow from kijiji. There's lots of reputable HVAC/plumbing companies with emergency service.
Even if you forget about service, you still save much more not going with a rental company. Renting is a total rip off, and it only exists because the rental companies bribe new home builders into FORCING the rental tanks onto the new home owners. Also from sleezy door to door salesman that fool under educated and elderly people into the contracts. There's a reason door to door sales were banned.

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