A Consumer Perspective

Most Canadian homeowners own their water heaters, except in Ontario where water heaters are predominantly rented. While the largest rental market is found in Ontario, there are also smaller markets in the Maritimes, Manitoba, and Quebec. Utility providers in these provinces, including Hydro Quebec, Manitoba Hydro, and NB Power, have offered water heater rentals, but seem to have had less take up than in Ontario. Rental companies have also recently targeted Alberta to expand their rental business.

While the water heater markets across Canada have traditionally been stable and relatively free of consumer complaints, new concerns have recently been reported, particularly in the Ontario market. Recent media coverage reflecting an increase in consumer complaints has led the Homeowner Protection Centre to examine homeowner discontent with the rental water heater market.

The objective of this report is to review water heater products available across the country, review the history of the rental market, especially in Ontario, identify homeowner water heater issues, and conduct an analysis and provide recommendations to improve the marketplace for consumers.

The Homeowner Protection Centre of Canada received funding from Industry Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations. The views expressed in the report are not necessarily those of Industry Canada or the Government of Canada.

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