Everything you need to know about renting a furnace for your home or business.
NOTICE (Feb, 2018): The province of Ontario has passed a new law with more stringent rules on heating & cooling systems that are sold door-to-door, including rent to own programs. These new rules are designed to protect consumers, and eliminate aggressive sales tactics. We continue to urge caution when dealing with door to door HVAC salespeople. Always do your research, and never sign anything at the door.
The province of Alberta has previously passed similar legislation.
Furnace Rental Companies
There are an endless number of HVAC rental companies operating in different areas. Here are a few of the top providers that have a service area that spans multiple Canadian provinces:
(Please note that this post is for informational purposes only, we cannot offer any guarantees or endorsements of these companies or their services)
How Much Does it Cost?
The cost of a propane or natural gas furnace rental, or rent to own financing as it is sometimes called, varies somewhat depending on different factors including the length of the term and the company you choose. For the most part, prices range between $49.99 per month to $89.99 per month, usually on a 7-year, 10-year, or occasionally a 15-year term. Installation costs are generally included and most companies don’t require any down payments, so all you pay is the agreed upon flat monthly fee.
TIP: Make sure it’s an Open Agreement, meaning you can buy out or pay off the unit at any time without penalty. It’s also a good idea to choose a company that offers Transferable rentals, so you can transfer it to a new home owner should you sell your home.
Furnace Manufacturer, BTU Output and Efficiency Rating
The monthly price will also depend on the brand or manufacturer of furnace you choose, with higher-end models manufactured by a company like Lennox typically costing more than Goodman, for example. Although companies like Carrier and Lennox do make good products, in most cases you’re paying for the brand name as much as anything so consider whether the added cost is worth it. Because rentals are generally ‘full-coverage’, you don’t really need to be as worried about reliability since any repairs should be taken care of anyway as part of your rental agreement.
The energy efficiency or AFUE rating, as well as the size and BTU output of the unit will also affect the price. Larger units and those with higher efficiency ratings are more expensive.
Do you have good credit or bad credit?
For some people, paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for a new heating system isn’t an option. And securing traditional financing or loans may be difficult for a variety of reasons, including a low credit rating or past bankruptcy.
Although companies like EnerCare (formerly Direct Energy) and Reliance Home Comfort may only accept people with a high or good/excellent credit score, certain companies are more forgiving and will accept anyone as long as you’re the homeowner (i.e. you don’t rent your house or condo).
Are you converting from oil to propane or natural gas?
Another consideration which will affect the cost is whether you are doing an oil to gas, oil to propane, or propane to natural gas conversion. Conversions are more complex and will often result in higher installation costs and therefore a higher monthly rate.
Do you have ductwork in your home?
If you currently have baseboard heating, radiators, or otherwise have no ductwork in your home, you must also consider the cost of having heating ducts installed throughout your home. Alternatively, consider a ductless heat pump rental instead.
Are Furnace Rentals a Good Idea? – Renting vs. Purchasing Your Furnace
Should you rent your furnace or buy it? When comparing the cost of a rental to ordinary financing, or the cost of simply purchasing one and paying upfront for it, rent to own programs might seem quite expensive. You may be tempted to compare the total cost of renting a furnace (over the 10-year term, for example) to the cost of purchasing one outright, however there are a few things you should consider.
- For one thing, rentals allow you to pay for the unit over an extended period, meaning you don’t have to pay upwards of $3000+ all at once for a new HVAC system.
- Second, most rental programs come with full-coverage protection on all parts AND labour, meaning you don’t have to pay for service calls, repairs or even full unit replacement in the event it breaks down and can’t be fixed. Given the amount of use a furnace usually gets in Canada and the potentially high cost of repairs (usually anywhere from a few hundred to over $1000 dollars for something like a cracked heat-exchanger), this should not be overlooked.
- Many rental companies also include complementary annual maintenance, which helps keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently.
- No Protection Plans required. Some companies charge up to $50/month for “Furnace Protection Plans” when you own your furnace, in case it breaks down. This type of coverage is included in the price of a rental.
Is renting right for you?
In the end, it all comes down to what best fits your life, financial situation, and personal preference. If you have the cash to replace your furnace and worry about any maintenance and repairs as they come, then buying outright may be the best option for you.
However an increasing number of home owners have been opting for the apparent ease and convenience that rent to own programs are designed to provide. In many cases the entire process of singing the paperwork to having your new system installed can be completed in as little as 24 hours.
People with disabilities or senior citizens may also benefit from the hands-off servicing and repairs that comes with rental programs, in case the unit malfunctions or breaks down.
Businesses, Rental Properties & Commercial Spaces
Additionally, some business owners (or tenants) prefer rentals for their commercial space or rental property. The main advantages for businesses and landlords is that furnace rentals provide a simple hands-off solution, which is often tax deductible. This is especially true if the houses or buildings you rent out/lease are in a different town or city than you live. If there are ever any problems with the unit, the service calls are taken care of, which means one less headache to deal with.
Key Advantages of Renting
In particular, furnace rental programs usually have:
- No upfront costs, including free installation and no down payments
- Peace of mind. Predictable cost, making it easier for budgeting. Don’t have to worry about unexpected expenses and repairs.
- Most also include a protection plan to cover any cost of repairs or unit replacement.
- Unlimited service calls, and many offer 24-7/365 service.
- Some may also not require credit checks, which is a bonus for people who may be having difficulty securing traditional loans or financing. So this may be a good option if you have bad credit or a recent bankruptcy, or no credit history.
- Relatively quick and easy process.
- Save money on heating bills. By making it easy for anyone to replace and upgrade their furnace to a newer high-efficiency model, you can start saving money on your energy bills (sometimes hundreds of dollars annually) potentially offsetting most of the cost of the rental.
- Higher overall cost. Like anything else, it’s always cheaper if you pay upfront in full vs. spreading payments out over several years. However this doesn’t account for the cost of repairs or replacing your unit if it ever breaks down, which you don’t have to worry about with renting.
- Less choice. Most rental companies only offer a few major furnace brands, so if you have your heart set on a less popular brand, it may not be an option.
- Somewhat less flexibility. Although most rental agreements can be transferred if you ever sell your home, it does add an extra step as opposed to just owning your furnace outright.
How Furnace Rentals Work
Most furnace rental programs are fairly straightforward. Generally the home owner must be the one signing, meaning if you rent your home, you may need the landlord’s approval and signature. After the contract is signed, the new furnace will be installed at a scheduled date.
You will get your new furnace immediately and then pay a set monthly fee for the agreed-upon period. This can make things simple from a budgeting perspective as there are no surprises and you know exactly how much you’re going to have to pay every month, and you don’t have to worry about any unexpected costs.
For additional savings, the government may provide a cash rebate or tax credit for upgrading your furnace. In Ontario, the Ontario Power Authority currently offers a rebate of $250 (plus an additional $400 if you replace your central AC with a new energy-efficient model). This rebate is generally applied for on your behalf by the rental companies, after the system is installed and you receive a cheque in the mail within a couple months.
Other provinces may also have furnace and air conditioner upgrade rebates, however the availability of rebates will vary.
Essential Things to Consider
Once you have finally decided whether furnace rental services are right for you, make sure you consider the following:
-Find a company offering a hassle free set-up and installation. Make sure they’ll also remove and dispose of the old unit too!
-Make sure the company is TSSA-certified (Ontario) or applicable licenses and certifications for your region
-Get a free quote or consultation! (Most companies should provide a free quote)
Ultimately, furnace rentals aren’t going to be the right option for everybody. But many home owners reportedly enjoy the simplicity and convenience, affordability and low upfront costs, and peace of mind.
Availability (as seen here)
Other Products Available for Rental: Ductless heat pumps/mini-split systems, central air conditioners, hot water heaters & tankless hot water heaters, boilers and combi boilers, water softeners, HRVs/ERVs
Geographical Availability: Across Ontario including Toronto, Ottawa, Barrie, Belleville, London, North Bay, Sudbury, Brockville, Windsor, Sarnia, Leamington, Trenton, Brantford, Chatham, Owen Sound, Timmins, Sault Sainte Marie, Thunder Bay, Cornwall, Guelph, Renfrew, Hamilton, Kingston, Napanee, Cambridge, Oakville & Burlington, Kitchener, Stratford, Muskoka, Niagara, Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Pembroke, Petawawa, St Catharines, Norfolk County, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Woodstock, and so on.
Some companies have also recently started offering this service in Western Canada in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Edmonton, Alberta; Calgary, Alberta, and the Vancouver, BC area (including Richmond, Surrey, and Burnaby), among other places.