Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Gas Hot Water Heater!

I just got a very good house improvement and it should cost me very little if anything. I get credited for carbon offsets, and I might even save money every month.

A guy from livclean came by on Wednesday (Sept. 16) to offer me a new gas water heater (Energy Star-rated), at no charge to me upfront. I don't think very many of my neighbours took advantage of this offer, although quite a few people rent their gas hot water heaters from Enbridge. I imagine that callers going house to house are not fully trusted, especially considering some reports of unscrupulous natural gas marketing firms. But I fell for it, so to speak.

My furnace, kitchen range, and hot water are gas-powered. My 5-year fixed-price contract with Direct Energy will end next month, and I'll be billed again by Enbridge, Toronto's gas distributor; they'll charge 19.9 cents per cubic meter (I'm now paying 27.9 cents/cM), at least for the next few months: http://www.thestar.com/article/699257).

Anyway, I used to rent the water heater from Enbridge. That heater was more than 15 years old and it was putting out calcium deposits that clog up my low-flow faucets and shower head, and some of the laundry was getting a bit of a brownish stain.

livclean is an independent Canadian company that has partnered with Enbridge to take over their water heater rental business. So instead of renting my water heater from Enbridge I'll be renting from livclean. The monthly rental charge will be $5 more but I will save some money on the gas to heat the water (maybe $7.00 per month). And livclean offers carbon offsets.

Two installers came yesterday (Sept. 21) at about 1 pm. Considering that I made the appointment the previous Wednesday for between noon and 5 pm, that was quick service. They did the work quickly and neatly, cleaned up after themselves, showed me how to operate it in vacation mode, when to do my own maintenance (drain a bucket every six to 12 months), and how to restart the pilot if I have to turn it off. I asked if it was safe to replace the insulating blanket I'd had on the old heater, and they said I could, but the new heater has good insulation (I put my hand on it once the water was heated---which took about 30 minutes from cold---and the surface was cool).

They also replaced the foam insulator with a nice thick new piece. One of the installers offered me the spare pieces. "Cats like to play with them," he said. Imagine my dismay---I thought my two girls had invented those games!



Anonymous said...

Actually, you used to rent your water heater from Direct Energy which is a separate company (not partnered at all) from Enbridge just like LivClean is.

Enbridge does not rent out water heaters. You, however, get billed by Enbridge for your water heater regardless of whether you rent from Direct Energy or LivClean. To you, there should be no difference in billing method.

KarenInTo said...

Thanks, Anonymus. I figured that out shortly afterwards. When I called DE to ensure that they got my non-renewal letter, I also talked to DE customer service and told them about the replacement. I'll be getting a refund (they SAID). When I bought the house I was indeed renting the water heater from Enbridge, but DE took over a number of things from EN over the years.