A first time homebuyer client in Ottawa recently asked me about owning vs renting a hot water heater.
This is an excellent question with a few things to consider.
Renting your hot water tank
With a rented hot water tank, you are on the hook to pay a monthly fee. That fee is usually about $30/month depending on the type of water heater you have. If anything goes wrong or you need a replacement water heater, all of this support will typically be taken care without extra fees. You simply give the company a call and set an appointment with a technician to replace the defective part or tank.
If you consider that a typical hot water tank will last about 10-15 years at about $30 a month. The annual cost is roughly $360 a year. The total cost on the rental is about $3600-$5400. This is definitely a pretty hefty chunk of change considering a new hot water tank is about $500 from Home Depot. The only major benefit of renting is having the peace of mind when it comes to issues or repairs.
Owning your hot water tank
Alternatively, if you own the water heater you have no monthly service charges. If anything goes wrong or you need to replace it, you’ll have to buy a new one ($400-600 to start). You may also need to hire a contractor to install it for you. Whe you own the water heater, costs will likely be at least half, if not less than if you rented – even with having to pay a contractor to install it.
While nobody likes having another monthly bill, you are paying for much more than just the water heater itself. You are paying for peace of mind and support. Consider your comfort level regarding this scenario and decide what makes the most sense for your time and money.