Navigating the Pitfalls of Online Hot Water Unit Purchases in Australia

Hot water system

Uh oh, the hot water system has failed!

“That’s okay, I really enjoy long cold showers,” said no sensible person ever.

If the love between you and your hot water system suddenly cools, chances are you’ll want a new one as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Buy online with same-day delivery? Sounds perfect. But is it?

Buying a hot water system online, especially one that promises trade prices and same-day service, may seem tempting. However, the convenience might come with a side serve of hassle.

Before you head to the online checkout, consider these 5 potential pitfalls of online hot water system purchases. Then read what our friends the plumbing experts from  Conrad Martens had to say.

#1 The problem might not be as big as you thought

Did you know some valves on your hot water system need replacing every few years? Before you splurge on a whole new system, get a licensed plumber or hot water specialist who you trust to give your system a thorough check for any quick fixes. Even if your hot water system is on the way out, a short-term fix buys you time to shop around and do your research thoroughly.

#2 You may not get after-sales service

One prominent issue with online hot water unit providers is the conspicuous absence of after-sales service. While the initial transaction may be swift, you could end up stranded if you face post-purchase challenges. A bricks-and-mortar store is more likely to offer dedicated customer support so you don’t have to grapple with issues alone.

#3 Installation and other costs may not be included

It's not uncommon for online hot water unit purchases to exclude installation services. This could leave you with the burden of either navigating dangerous and complex installation procedures (which we definitely do not advise) or incurring unexpected costs and delays in hiring a professional.

Other hidden add-ons might also be revealed at later stages so that suddenly your bargain price turns out to be not so impressive after all.

Even if installation is included, there may still be surprises. Check out this review we found online:

When their representative turned up they told me I had to replace two valves at an additional cost when there wasn't anything wrong with them (as verified by another plumber). I was asked to pay a deposit and was provided with an invoice with no costs in the right column. I asked to be provided with a written quote with no more to pay. It wasn't provided so I didn't provide a deposit, as such I sourced another heater from another plumber. I have subsequently been given a $250 invoice for a callout fee.

#4 You might not get the best warranty

Warranty information is a crucial consideration for any new appliance. With online purchases, the details can often be murky or non-existent. Deciphering the terms and conditions becomes a Herculean task, raising concerns about the longevity and reliability of your new hot water unit.

#5 You might not be doing your family or energy bill any favours

The hot water system you had might have been meeting your needs. But are you sure it was the most energy-efficient? Will the same type still meet your needs in the future? If you make a quick online purchase decision based on what you already have, you could be paying more in energy bills than you need to or be stuck with a sub-par performer as your household needs change.

What are the main benefits of buying a hot water system from your trusted, local plumber instead of buying one online?

We turned to our friends at Conrad Martens to see what they had to say. They have been leaders in plumbing in Brisbane for more than 40 years and they have certainly replaced their fair share of hot water systems.

Their long-term plumbing product experts, Nathan, Bruce and Trevor, said that the main benefit was that you got everything you needed to complete the entire job in one quote. This gives you peace of mind.

Another thing is service.

Word-of-mouth referrals and a good reputation are important for your local plumber, so they will do their best to give you the best service and advice, specific to you.

Plumbing experts like Nathan, Bruce and Trevor aren’t interested in upselling. While they might suggest an upgrade for some customers, it’s not about profit or shifting stock for them, it’s about picking the right product for every unique customer and household.

This could mean things like:

  • The right type of system to suit your household needs and budget, including energy bills.
  • The right capacity storage to suit you now and in the future.
  • Recommending the most trusted brand for the type of system you need.
  • Making sure the system fits within the space you have.

And while they might not boast about it, they might still be able to offer same-day delivery, or at least fast service so that you don’t have to endure cold showers for too long. The recipe for good customer service is getting there quickly, making an informed recommendation, and providing a seamless solution as fast as possible.

Then, when the job is done, they can act as the trusted link between you and the manufacturer if you ever have any issues.

Tradelink hot water systems

At Tradelink, we sell a wide range of hot water systems from leading brands: electric, gas, solar, storage tanks, continuous flow, indoor, outdoor, and any size to suit households of one to 10 people. We supply local plumbers, and you can buy directly from us.

Shopping the range in-store or online is a great place to start your research to find the best hot water system for you.

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