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Plumbing inflation relief on the way for consumers

Aug 16, 2023

GREAT FALLS — Inflation is hitting the wallets of many consumers across the nation, while also hitting plumbers even harder.

"It's affecting the customers for the most part, because the price of water heaters and the furnaces, the price of piping and fittings are all going up," said Michael Wadsworth, owner of 911 Heating and Plumbing in Great Falls.

Affecting Wadsworth's bottom line as he provides a service to customers.

911 Plumbing and Heating typically buys its pipe and fittings in bulk. Wadsworth believes that as a bulker buyer, the company should receive a discount; it's not. Most of the products he buys comes from the same manufacturer: PVC, fittings, and pex. The products he buys are already to most cost effective and highest quality, leaving no other options.

"We're going to have to make it up somehow in order to stay in business. So eventually we're going to have to raise our prices."

He also says that customers are unhappy with their estimates and when they find quotes elsewhere, their price is typically the desirable option.

With the way the economy and world are moving, inflated prices are more likely than not, here to stay.

The newly introduced Inflation Reduction Act offers several rebates to boost energy efficiency across the country. Beginning in 2023, it will offer tax credits to homeowners of 30% or $1,200 annually, eligible to the cost of the homeowner's improvements - a $700 credit increase.

The IRA also offers another 30% tax credit or up to $2,000 to purchase new heat pumps, water heaters, biomass stoves, and boilers.

Heat pump rebates are also offered to "low-or- moderate income" households. Families making less than 80% of a region's median income can qualify for a rebate up to $8,000 for a heat pump. Households making 81%-150% of the regions median income may be eligible for a refund up to $4,000 for a heat pump. The rebate also applies on heat pump water heaters, electric stoves, insulation, or electric wiring.

All of this information is courtesy of the Rainaldi Home Services website.

Rainaldi Home Services also reports that many of the programs do not begin until early 2023. The act also extends a $300 tax credit on high-efficiency heat pumps, which can be claimed on the next year's tax return. They also note that the cost of HVAC equipment is projected to rise 25-30% in the new year. Buying pipes earlier rather than later while the market remains constant.

For consumers, Wadsworth says, "…there really isn't a whole lot of options for anybody at this point going to have to do without or pay the price."

The Inflation Reduction Act is a temporary solution for what seems to be a long-term problem.


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