Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Americans getting the shaft

Tony_56 Member Posts: 3
After reading a recent post from Tony I decided to check boiler prices on ebay.uk and then on ebay here. I then checked the exchange rate ...1 pound= $1.65. WHAT IS GOING ON!! I was actually considering having one of these units installed untill I read this post. This is obviously a case of simple abuse of Americans. I am going to buy a cast iron boiler from Burnham and the Europeans can shove it. Thanks for the heads up Tony.


  • Tony_56
    Tony_56 Member Posts: 3
    Americans getting the shaft

    After reading a recent post from Tony I decided to check boiler prices on ebay.uk and then on ebay here. I then checked the exchange rate ...1 pound= $1.65. WHAT IS GOING ON!! I was actually considering having one of these units installed untill I read this post. This is obviously a case of simple abuse of Americans. I am going to buy a cast iron boiler from Burnham and the Europeans can shove it. Thanks for the heads up Tony.
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,648

    How are we getting shafted? That Euro boilers cost more? I do know that all wall-hung boilers, no matter whom the manufacturer, cost more than cast iron appliances. Since the technology comes from Europe, and export costs are significant, this is not a surprise.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • bb_11
    bb_11 Member Posts: 39


    There are many reasons why prices may be higher here in the US over Europe that you may not have considered.

    1. Voltage is different
    2. US approvals can be costly
    3. Freight to ship said items to the US
    4. Import tariffs
    5. Measurements are different
    6. New literature has to be developed for the US
    7. Costs to make all of these minor changes adds up
    8. Inventory, both here (finished goods) and there (raw materials)
    9. Staffing in the US
    10. Office space...

    So, this is not an off the shelf item being shipped to the US, it has to go through a lot of time, effort and investment to get their product here. Then it has to sell.

    Just food for thought. I have worked for European manufactures. It's not as easy as it sounds to bring their product here since there are so many differences.

  • Matt_72
    Matt_72 Member Posts: 2

    Do the European products meet US regulations and codes? From what I have seen of European wiring and plumbing they are allowed to do all sorts of things that we would consider unsafe in the US such as installing permanent wiring without protection from physical abuse and their panelboards look like they are from a car. I suspect that there are significant modifications required to meet US safety regulations.
  • Jim

    Where have you been??
    It`s no mistake or surprise that exchange rates have always been higher in the UK.
    Just try buying a liter of petrol over there.
    BTW-3.8 liters is 1 US gallon.

  • CC.Rob_16
    CC.Rob_16 Member Posts: 2

    Those are good reasons. What seems to be different here in the U.S. is that boilers are not commodity items, as they seem to be in Europe.

    Perhaps one reason is longevity of this kind of appliance? I dunno.
  • CC.Rob

    Very true Rob,,, is the fuel-consumption glass half empty, or half full. ;-)

  • Rich Kontny_3
    Rich Kontny_3 Member Posts: 562
    Ralph Nader factor

    Could it be our approval requirements, ASME stamps etc. UL requirements, AGA requirements, etc. Look what has happened to cars that are sold here (Ralph Nader and co-harts have made them safer but more expensive)

    Now factor in warranty issues and recalls and you start to see that it is damn expensive to do business here.The pound buys more then the dollar.(was not always the case)
    Euro is stronger also.

    You do have domestic options but perhaps not the same quality.
  • KevinS
    KevinS Member Posts: 2
    I looked on Ebay.UK

    I searched for Buderus and Baxi,Grunfos, Wilo, Condensing and cast iron. I then looked at the exchange rate and did the math. It appears Jim is correct, The boilers are 1/2 to 2/3rds less expensive. I also looked at Tonys original post( i believe he is refering to Samsung and Navien from South Korea) Samsung mini splits are about the same cost as here, even a little more. Look at the cost of Navien compared with a condensing Bosch...Twice the technology and half the price.( also comes with all UL AND CGA stamps). I have to agree with Jim.
  • Rich Kontny_3
    Rich Kontny_3 Member Posts: 562
    As they say

    Fire them by speaking with your pocketbooks. Sometimes that is all they understand.
  • joel_19
    joel_19 Member Posts: 931

    WOW that's pretty funny stuff so your saying that any company that imports something here and makes you pay more for it then your not going to buy it?????

    Does that hold true for cars,clothes,alchohal etc???

    It costs me alot more to service my customers two hrs away , so i'm somehow an evil shyster for charging them more?

    I could care less what they charge over there compared to here. i'm not giving up my Grey Goose martini even if Vodka is half as much in France.

    a couple things nobody mentioned 1 it's an exspensive boatride and 2 How about warranty cost they are much longer here than across the pond.
  • EricAune
    EricAune Member Posts: 432
    Don't discount

    Don't discount the fact that our customers are not buying their components on the European market. Democracy creates competition, our vendors are where we control the pricing. I seriously doubt any European boiler manufacturer is marketing their product here with a "stupid American" false mark-up, just waiting to see how much we will pay. Their competitors would put them out of business. Period.

    Quality costs; and pays. Until we all trade in a common marketplace, have a single infrastructure (power requirements) and our safety regulations match up we will pay more here for their products than they do over there.

    "If you don't like change, your going to like irrelevance even less"
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666

    "Until we all trade in a common marketplace, have a single infrastructure (power requirements) and our safety regulations match up we will pay more here for their products than they do over there."

    That is going to be quite a change, though. Europe is pretty big. So is the USA and Canada. Can you imagine USA switching all its power from 120 volt 60 cycle AC to 220 volt 50 cycle AC. Or Europe switching the other way? I just do not see it. I remember when downtown Buffalo, NY, stopped supplying 25 cycle power to those users who needed it (for large motors). All those large motors had to be swapped out, essentially the same day. That was traumatic. And that part of Buffalo was certainly smaller than Europe, or North America.

    Safety regulations are concerned with both safety (good) and politics (probably bad), so it is difficult to get rational ones even here. Similarly in Europe. Changing those might be even more difficult than the power issue since it is politicians that would decide such things. They cannot even get daylight savings time to be uniform throughout the world. Some places require fluoride in the drinking water; others prohibit it. See what I mean?
  • Americans getting the shaft ??

    Not in the world of boilers. It is a free market where you can choose to buy boiler A or Boiler B. Where we are getting the shaft is in the financial and banking and mortgage arena.
    The boiler world in the US is a very miniscule part of our economy. The US gets more upset over pet food (a much bigger market) then about the price of some European heating equipment.

  • World Plumber
    World Plumber Member Posts: 389
    Price difference - American greed?

    On the other side of the coin. Why is it that an item manufactured in the USA costs $96.00 here and I can but he same item (same part # and manufacture) in France for the equivalent of $27.00 If they can sell it for a quarter of the cost after paying shipping and import tariffs. Where did the other $72.00 go here in the US? Maybe it's not the Europeans who are taking your money. Food for thought.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Just like wine.

    When I was in France enough years ago that they used the French Franc as the currency, the exchange rate that you could get at any bank varied between 5 FF to the dollar up to 9 FF to the dollar.

    Yet a bottle of wine there that cost 100 FF cost $100 in USA, and this applied to wines well enough known that you could get the same wine of the same vintage in both countries so it is an apples to apples comparison. Now perhaps USA has a higher tax on wine that France.

    A related question: why can you get the same drug, manufactured in USA in Canada for less money?
  • World Plumber
    World Plumber Member Posts: 389
    Drug cost

    Now that is a good question. Why is the same drug made in the US that sells for $200.00 here can be purchased for a mere $2.00 in Kenya. That's 1/100 of the cost. It's our marketing system everyone who handles it wants a 100% mark up some up to a 1000%.
  • KevinS
    KevinS Member Posts: 2
    I see your point Joel

    But it doesnt seem that Samsung and Navien have troubles converting voltages or getting approvals. The fact is it just seems to appear that these wall hung condensing boilers are just basic throwaway commodities in Europe, this is obvious. They cost the same as a power vent water heater here with a six year warranty. If I was only paying 900 bucks for one of these things I would have no problem selling them to all types of homeowners, not just the well to do. But over here we are suppose to marvel at the 316 titanium alloy and the variable inputs,as if just the word titanium makes it worth it, now thats a joke! I understand they have to make a profit but 300 percent. Im sure you dont charge your customers who are a little further away 300 an hour instead of 100. I dont think Harley Davidson gets 60000.00 for a motorcycle in Europe either.
  • Todd_49
    Todd_49 Member Posts: 1
    ebay. deutchland

    Check ebay.deutchland. Search buderus and viessmann, Cast iron boilers cost more than the modcons there. Cast iron boilers are the same prices as sold here. There goes all the theorys on testing and voltages. My german isnt that good but it appears the small modcons are their lower end products.
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    ... and don't discount our legal system.

    Non-tariff barriers to entry like ASME, UL, etc. are certainly time-consuming and expensive to overcome. Some further standardization/harmonization may yet occur between the various agencies around the globe but as you point out, local tastes influence choices considerably.

    In contrast, I'd argue that voltages and frequencies are almost speed-bumps by comparison... so many universal power supplies exist. The supply of pumps and motors isn't that limited either. Some even run on universal inputs.

    Scale certainly plays into the equation as well. In Europe, where 99% of all installs are hydronic, there are far more boilers being sold which means you get great economies of scale in production, distribution, and education. In the US, the hydronic industry continues to play a distant second fiddle to the AC industry, which features the kind of fierce competition that other posters research indicated happens in the boiler industry in Europe. I'd be interested to see what a furnace/AC system in the EU costs vs. one here.

    Lastly, consider the very real (and high!) cost of doing business in the USA. For example, there is the possibility of a product liability lawsuit for just about any defect (real or imagined). Payouts in the billions of dollars for damages not even caused by a manufacturer (see Dow Corning, for example) are symptoms of a greater problem. However, I doubt we'll see the emergence of a "loser pays" system since all lawyers benefit too much from the current system.
  • KevinCorr
    KevinCorr Member Posts: 106

    Rich Kontny: "...You do have domestic options but perhaps not the same quality..."


    Laars Heating Systems operates as a subsidiary of the Bradford White Corporation with manufacturing in Rochester, NH

    I have a 10 yr old Max 75. No problems, Costs less and uses less fuel than a Buderus or Viessmann.

    Energy Kinetics- From New Jersey. Mine is 25 yrs old and no problem yet, and uses as little or less fuel than Buderus or Viessmann.

    Burnham: I have been installing the LE and MPO, because the cost is so much less than the Germans. No problems so far.

    I thought Lochinvar was a US company.
  • kpc_75
    kpc_75 Member Posts: 37
    agin... look at it this way

    how many combi are there in the US and then in europe? What % of the market? most on the US is clearly FHA. Only 7% is Hydronic.
    How much is it to buy a 66 gal. electric WH and then a 80 gal.... the 80 is less money than the 66 gal by a lot! Why? because not many of the 66 are used/ bought. Therefore is cost more to make. If the the country was more hydronic as is Europe... they prices would be better. Not to mention the Dollar is not exacly faring well against the Euro do to a whole host of issues.... but that is another thread!
  • Jim_181
    Jim_181 Member Posts: 1
    I understand your

    statistics...but that doesn't explain why the cast iron Buderus and Viessman boilers are much closer in cost here as they are there and the mod cons are 3 times the money. Why are the mod cons cheaper than the cast in Europe. If all these reasons like UL approvals and your own statistics were true they would also apply to the European cast iron boilers. You would think shipping a cast iron boiler here would be more than a little wall hung. Why would Europeans pay more for a cast iron boiler with a lower efficiency? I am really stating to wonder about these things. I know the Germans like long lived quality things and I don't believe they feel these mod cons are going to last. I for one don't want to tell my customers in 10 years that they need another 10,000.00 dollar boiler job. A new boiler to most people is a major investment that they expect to do once or twice in their life, not every ten years. I can see no other reason for the Europeans to pay more for a cast iron boiler other than they know the little they save in fuel will never equal the replacement cost.
  • I t is a perverse world...

    We go through automobiles costing many thousands of dollars like they were disposable toys but we want to buy a boiler just once.

    Perhaps we have retained too well the notion that boilers last forever but everything else wears out or is no longer in fashion. Sort of like the time it takes to do anything I relate to the McDonalds Effect. You drive around a building, squawk in a box and are rewarded with fat and sugar. We have been trained to expect everything in the same fashion. ATM, email, texting, food service, boiler installs....

    The McDonalds Effect has distorted reality and people's perspective.
  • Jim_182
    Jim_182 Member Posts: 2
    I dont know

    about that. I have a 93 dodge ram diesel with 300,000 and a 94 ford ranger with just over 200,000 and I expect to get 20 years out of both of them. I don't use them just in the winter either, I use them every day and they both make me money and pay their own way. I am guilty as most of buying a diamond engagement ring worth nothing for thousands of dollars but you cant really compare that to a boiler. When I install a new bathroom for someone or even myself I fully expect 20 to 30 years out of it. When I have brick facing put up I expect a lifetime. A concrete walk I expect 30 years. When I go on vacation I usually spend more that what a new boiler install would cost, but that is time with my family and is priceless. Things that are fun and considered wasteful are usually the things that make life fun. Boilers don't make life fun, they are a necessity and a very mundane thing. I don't think asking 25 to 30 years from a boiler is excessive.
  • kpc_75
    kpc_75 Member Posts: 37
    as with....

    anything. Don't buy it... if enough prople complain the seller will change if they want market sales... Apparently enough of these are selling to warrant the price. Remember when PC computers 1st came out... iphones,GPS, anything electronic.... the price came down aftr a while AND the new cheaper ones are better and faster.... the day will come. Until then you can do as you wish. You have the money.
    Doug's comment is right on about the car thing....
  • As with all

    measurements and conclusions there is a wide spread. You represent a point towards the edge. You need to keep in mind that the automobile is the basis for much of the economy and the thing that consumes the highest proportion of oil.

    You need to go buy a couple of new trucks and drive thru McDonalds......
  • Jim_182
    Jim_182 Member Posts: 2
    I cant right now

    I want new wheels for the vette. lol
This discussion has been closed.