Rheem Water Heater Reviews
Rheem Manufacturing is an HVAC company that offers a full line of top rated water heaters ranging from electric, gas, hybrid, and solar options. If you've never heard of the company, you may be a newbie to the heating and cooling industry. Rheem Manufacturing has been producing water heaters since 1908 and has gained a reputation for brand recognition as a top performer in numerous category rankings. Do Rheem's assortment of hybrid, gas, and electric water heater systems live up to their claims? It's helpful to understand the many distinctions among Rheem water heaters and learn more about the warranty information, lifespan, price point, durability and performance of these popular water heaters to answer this question. Read on for an unbiased, in-depth analysis of Rheem's top selling water heater systems so that you can decide for yourself.
What Is a Water Heater and How Does It Work?
A water heater is a standard device in most homes, used to heat your home's water supply to a temperature that is comfortable for bathing, showering, and essential for in-home laundry. That figure hovers around 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water heaters gained popularity roughly a century ago with the rise of the industrial age, and are now utilized by nearly every homeowner who maintains proper plumbing, heating and cooling systems.
Traditionally, water heaters were available in gas-fueled models that relied on large tanks to operate. While these types of water heaters remain a popular choice, today's options are available in tankless, electric, and hybrid models. They offer several advantages over the previous ones.
What is UEF? Is UEF Rating Different From High Efficiency?
UEF ratings are intended to represent performance, energy efficiency accurately, and simplify the process of selecting a water heater. UEF is not a new feature of water heating systems but condenses most rating criteria that have been in place for decades.
First Hour Delivery And First Hour Rating
The terms first-hour delivery and first-hour rating refer to the amount of hot water a water heater can yield within its first hour of operation.
First-hour delivery (commonly abbreviated FHD) is included in most water heater product specifications. First-hour rating, or FHR, is an alternate term for first-hour delivery.
Rheem Water Heaters
Rheem Manufacturing is an industry leader in both water heaters and air conditioning systems. For our purposes, we'll be focusing on Rheem's wide range of water heater systems. To explain how Rheem's water heaters work in detail, it's helpful to break Rheem's water heaters into their respective categories.
Rheem water heaters are available in four main types, including:
These categories are further divided into classifications depending on efficiency, performance, and tankless models.
Generally speaking, Rheem's gas water heater models stand out among competitors as one of the most popular choices for homeowners in search of a mid-range price point, with varying class performance rankings.
Rheem's gas water heaters can be divided into the following categories:
These models rank incrementally: with Rheem's Performance water heater coming in with the lowest UEF rating, while Rheem's Professional Prestige model receives top ratings in UEF, warranty, and ENERGY STAR rating.
For single-family homes, the Rheem Performance gas water heater is a popular choice that efficiently accommodates the average homeowner with an output rate of 85 gallons/FHR. For families seeking an environmentally conscious yet affordable alternative, Rheem's Performance Platinum gas water heater makes the grade with .58 UEF and ENERGY STAR certification.
The Efficiency of Rheem Water Heaters
Rheem is also an industry leader when it comes to energy efficiency, and the brand offers numerous electric and hybrid electric models that receive top rankings.
The company's electric water heaters are also ranked by performance and class, falling into seven main categories:
As you can see, Rheem cuts no corners when it comes to offering an option to suit the needs of every homeowner, but do Rheem's electric water heaters live up to their efficiency and performance claims?
The short answer is yes—Rheem's electric and hybrid water heaters deliver on their ENERGY STAR ratings and performance expectations.
The more detailed, slightly longer answer is that Rheem's electric and hybrid water heaters often receive lower ratings when stacked up against hybrid and electric models offered by Rheem's closest competitors.
Depending on the series and model you select, ENERGY STAR and UEF ratings vary. During real-world performance tests, certain Rheem models earn less than impressive test scores for efficiency, output, and overall mechanical performance.
What Makes Rheem Water Heaters Unique?
Rheem stands out as a brand with a history dating back to 1908, first manufacturing water heaters and then moving on to produce air conditioning systems.
Rheem split into two sperate HVAC divisions around the year 1970, further developing each arm of their manufacturing centers and expanding product selection. The manufacturer has a reputation for producing durable water heaters at a mid-range price point.
Along with the durability Rheem has become known for, the company offers the largest selection of water heaters available and is the leading producer of water heating systems in North America.
Rheem offers a remarkably extensive line of water heaters that are classified by type, performance, and class. Rheem offers more ENERGY STAR rated electric and hybrid water heaters than any other manufacturer.
Rheem's products typically fall within the mid-range price point. While the company offers hybrid and solar options, these models weigh in at an increased cost over gas and electric alternatives.
Due to Rheem's extensive selection, the company can offer mid-range price point options for nearly every type of water heater they produce. Rheem offers more ENERGY STAR rated water heaters at low, mid-range, and high-end price points than any other manufacturer.
Rheem's Brand Reputation And Story
As mentioned, Rheem is a brand associated with durability and tradition. While the manufacturer's inception dates back to 1908, the company continues to produce modernized, contemporary water heating options to accommodate today's homeowner with ease.
Rheem is also a leader in corporate social responsibility, giving back the communities where they live and work.
Last year, Rheem opened an innovative hands-on training center located in Lewisville, Texas. The new learning center provides local residents with an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the HVAC industry with Rheem's industry-leading know how.
The facility includes state of the art virtual reality diagnostic testing labs, live demonstrations, and product showrooms. Rheem's Dallas Metro Innovation Learning Center is one of five training centers across the United States and Canada.
Rheem furthers their commitment to corporate social responsibility by working to produce eco-friendly products that reduce environmental impact. In Southern California, Rheem partners with local natural gas companies to develop low emission water heaters, a primary concern for those living in regions with poor air quality across the state.
Rheem is a favorite brand of many technicians in the heating and cooling industry, who prefer to work with Rheem water heaters primarily because the maintenance that they require is simple and straightforward.
Overall, Rheem's water heaters carry brand recognition, impressive warranties, and require little maintenance.
How Does Rheem Compare To The Competition?
Rheem RTE 13 Electric Tankless Water Heater
Rheem receives top rankings in nearly every category of rating including efficiency, performance, pricing, durability, and installation. Rheem is also favored for its extended warranty options.
Most of Rheem's competitors can't match their industry leading warranty and brand reputation, although homeowners in search of a top performing water heater that ranks far outside of a mid-range price point may prefer high-end luxury models.
Of Rheem's numerous top rankings, one of the notable disadvantages associated with their water heaters are the relatively shorter lifespans, when compared to similar models offered by other manufacturers.
Generally speaking, you can expect the average water heater to last between 10-15 years with regular maintenance. In comparison, a considerable number of Rheem's water heaters display a lifespan as short as five years and an average 5-10 year lifespan.
The most important factors to take into consideration when noting the (sometimes) limited lifespan of Rheem's water heaters, is its warranty: in most cases, the company will repair or replace a product that is covered under warranty, while manufacturers that average a longer lifespan may not.
Most manufacturer's warranty options do not compare with Rheem, a strong selling point for many consumers.
Service and Installation
When planning for the initial investment of your new water heater, future maintenance costs and service fees may not factor into your decision process. It's wise to factor the cost of repairs that may be necessary down the road into your purchasing criteria.
Fortunately, Rheem's water heaters generally require little maintenance and are ready for installation right out of the box—with no technician required.
Should your Rheem water heater require repairs down the road, parts are generally easy to locate and purchase, as Rheem is North America's largest manufacturer of water heating systems. This widespread presence in the US and Canada is an advantage over foreign manufacturers, who may offer similar products at a lower price point.
Easily Converted Between Gas And Propane Fuel Supply
Rheem's water heaters are easily converted between natural gas and propane, a unique feature that means potentially taking your Rheem on the road when moving to a new home, or different region of the country.
Possible Disadvantages of Rheem Water Heaters
Rheem water heaters demonstrate a few specific pitfalls when compared to similar models from other, other manufacturers. Specifically, Rheem's hybrid water heaters exhibit poor mechanical performance and receive less than satisfactory grades when stacked up against the competition.
If the primary focus for your home's new water heater lies within a hybrid model, Rheem models may pale regarding performance and ratings.
What We Think of Rheem Water Heaters: The Final Vote
Our verdict is that Rheem water heaters are a suitable, top-rated choice for the average homeowner and mid-size family that require little maintenance and stand out among competitors with the largest selection available.
That means that Rheem's wide range of water heaters will suit most families, but it doesn't necessarily mean that Rheem is the number one choice in every performance category, for all homes and families.
Factors including family size, indoor plumbing system, the size of your home, as well as the type of water heater you prefer will significantly impact your final decision and water heater purchase. For families in the market for a whole-house electric water heater, close competitors outrank Rheem models in efficiency and overall performance.
As previously mentioned, families who prefer to opt for electric or hybrid water heaters to reduce their environmental impact, especially large families, may find higher performance specs and grades on real-world testing from similar models offered by Rheem's competitors.
Outside of exceptionally large families and homes with highly specific requirements for their water heating systems, Rheem easily accommodates the needs of the average homeowner and offers the broadest range of models available at a price point to suit nearly every consumer's needs.
Ultimately, the durability of Rheem's water heaters and the reliability of its warranty and customer service reinforce Rheem's status as an industry leader.
Coupons, Deals, And Rheem Water Heaters At The Lowest Prices Available
An added advantage of Rheem's endless selection is that sales and discounts are frequently available when purchasing the Rheem water model that you are most interested in.
We recommended the Indoor Direct Vent Natural Gas Condensing Tankless Water Heater, a top-rated tankless gas fueled option from Rheem.