Let’s talk about tariffs. I know this is the least sexy opening for a blog post you have ever read, unless of course you study eukaryotic organisms for a living. Perhaps you believe that unless you are an economist or doing business directly with the states you do not need to know about tariffs, but it needs to be discussed because it affects you in more ways than you know. For instance, that because of Canada’s retaliatory tariffs the cost of Heinz Ketchup and frozen pizza has left me without anything to make for my kids. For our purposes we will limit the conversation to the steel and aluminum tariffs that the US government has imposed on Canada. Don’t worry we are going to try and stay out of the political realm and stick with the good stuff, what it means to plumbing no matter how many great Trump memes there are. Bottom line a lot of plumbing material is manufactured in America therefore the cost of getting plumbing done around your home is about to go up.
Quite a few hot water heaters and furnaces are manufactured by the US using imported aluminum and steel. What this means to you if you need a replacement water heater or furnace is that these appliances will now cost you 10 – 20% more than they did before the tariffs came into place. There are brands that are not manufactured in the United States of America that will not be affected such as some Rheem water heaters, and Giant. However, these are not the brands that we would recommend. The unfortunate part of the tariffs aside from the price increase is the fact that quite a few of the better brands of water heater are manufactured south of the border leaving consumers with little to no choice but to choke on the price or purchase an inferior tank.The same is true for furnaces, the superior brands are manufactured in the united states, leaving either your home or your wallet colder with a 20% increase in price. Seems strange that in a county much colder than the most of the united states we do not produce our own furnaces.
An interesting side effect (depending on how you look at it) is that if you are in the market for a higher efficiency product such as a power vented hot water heater it will now be slightly cheaper to go with a tankless water heater. The amount of material used to create a tankless water heater is minimal compared to conventional sized water heaters which means the price increase puts these tanks below what was traditionally a cheaper tank. This plus the gas savings on a tankless water heater can save you even more money.
While it remains to be seen what will come of these tariffs and how long they may last there are still some options out there. Perhaps if they continue for a long period of time there will be more home grown options and voting with your wallet will become easier. For those stuck without a choice in an emergency you may unfortunately have to pay for the decisions of policy makers. Hopefully this will blow over and prices will return to normal but until then do as much research as possible and find a hot water tank that fits your budget and quality needed to last.