Water Heater - Buy VS Rent ?

12 Replies

Hi BP,

I need to replace 3 water heaters in my building and considering wether I should rent or buy new ones. 

On one side, I could buy and instal new ones ; in terms of cost it's gonna be a 1 time expense and if anything happens I will deal with it and pay a plumber.

On the flip side, with renting, one argument I received is that I will have peace of mind in case anything happens as tenants can call the company 24/7 and support will be free of charge. However, by renting them I would have to pay nearly twice the price over a 10 year course.

I am leaning more towards the buying option, as it reduces my costs and in my situation, the water heaters will be installed in the crawlspace where there is a pit and a sump pump ; therefore, if anything would to happen and water starts to leak, it would simply go inside the pit and get flushed by the sump pump. What's the big deal?

What would you recommend?

Thank you,

@Axel Lafortune   hot water heaters don't really fail easily and don't cost a lot.  Assuming a rental rate of $35/month, you could install a brand new HWH every 3 years (which would be ridiculous) and still come out way ahead.

@Axel Lafortune

Buy. Buy. Buy. You can write off those expenses as well so not only do you get half the physical cost you get tax benefits too. Plus with some routine maintenance such as annual draining and valve testing, gas heaters can last 20 years, electric 12-15 if you replace the anode rods halfway through.

If you are worried about 24/7 coverage, around here there are plumbers that will do maintenance plans for $15-20/mo that would cover the building, provide free annual service inspections, and provide a 24/7 emergency number you can give to tenants. That would cover all of your HVAC and plumbing emergencies not just a water heater.

I rent. No upfront costs, and the rental fee gets added into the monthly bill and is passed along to the tenent. Also then reliance is on the hook for repairs and maintenance.  And if it's really dinkered,  they just replace it. 

If you can pass the rental expense onto the tenants then I would rent.  If you cannot pass it on then it makes sense to buy it - just like it makes sense to buy the house rather than rent it.

@Axel Lafortune

Renting hot water heaters must be a Canada thing. Never heard of that here in the US, and a standard 6 year warranty 50 gallon electric WH is $400.

Never heard of renting a water heater either. But if you can charge them water heater rent, simply buy them and then charge your tenants rent. It’s a win win. We go through water heaters extremely fast in vegas. We might get 7 years out of one. But with an installed price of $900 that’s $10 per month. In a normal market like MN, my water heater is 15-20 years old. So less than $5/mo. 

BUY!!!  doesn't take too much to maintain.. One of the most regrettable decisions I have made was to have a rental in a brand new home.. also I would consider on demand tanks for your personal residence..

You’re basically buying insurance on an appliance. You’re paying someone else to deal with the issues if they come up so you don’t have to pay for them. Is that worth $xxx to you?

Remember, many of these types of companies don’t make money when they come out and service things... so will they show up on a Sunday evening to replace the water heater? Or even the next day? Or are you going to have to call and coordinate, and deal with no-show, etc etc etc.

maybe they are a great company and you don’t have to worry about that... but for me, I’d rather risk it and have to call a plumber to install one when it finally does die.