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Should I rent my furnace?

Posted by Christina Steinmann Lowry on September 28, 2021
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I have been questioned a few times by clients about whether buying or renting a furnace, air conditioner, water softener, hot water heater is better. These are large purchases and if a household hasn’t saved up, or been able to, then renting is an option that could really be helpful if a furnace breaks down mid-winter un prepared.

First, let’s take a look at the overview of both options:


  • Monthly payments vs big lump sum
  • Paying interest
  • When it is time to sell buyers may not want to take on payments
  • Contracts may have set timelines and require a penalty or buying unit out early to end contract
  • If something breaks the rental company will repair or replace at little to no cost


  • No interest payments on units
  • When you sell your house it is easier for buyers as they don’t have to worry about rental costs
  • Big lump sum to pay at once
  • Not tied into any contracts

The most common rentals we see in residential real estate are hot water heaters and water softeners. Even new home builds often use rentals for hot water heaters. A rented hot water heater can cost around $10-$20 per month and slightly less for water softeners. To purchase a water heater, it can cost anywhere from approximately $900-$2500, depending on the size of the tank and the features. Softeners can be purchased for between $500-$900.

The majority of furnaces and air conditioners in resale homes are purchased units. We will see homes with rental units quite infrequently, although it is seeming to gain more popularity. The price of renting a furnace can range from $50-$100 per month versus $5,000-$10,000 for a purchased furnace. This amount will change based on the size of the home and how energy efficient the unit is.

I recommend to my clients, when asked, to purchase these items instead of renting them. The big things like a furnace or air conditioner are best bought, in my opinion, while renting the smaller things if they prefer can be a good option. I would still suggest purchasing those as well. I am a believer in paying for something outright, if possible, instead of adding more monthly payments to your household.  

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