I believe Rheem is losing their Reputation in Quality

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Dunbar Plumbing, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. And I'll tell you why:

    We're speaking specifically about these GE water heaters sold at Home Depot.

    The electric ones? If they weren't awkward to carry, you'd see how little weight these tanks have. What does that mean? Very thin rolled steel for the tanks.

    Every now and then I'll get one I installed that will have electrical problems, then it will need repaired. I either toss the call to my authorized rep in the area or I'll do it myself, unwillingly.

    On the gas models that are standard vented, I don't have a lot of issues "yet" with the gas valve or FVIR technology on them, but the audience is still in suspense over this waiting for the timelines to show their longevity.

    On the gas PowerVent models,

    FAIL. You've missed the boat and here's numerous examples why:

    Constant tank failures, leakers
    Constant problems with the gas valves

    Just in the past 3 weeks, I've had two GE heaters, 1 I installed a couple years back where there was a wiring problem. I sent the authorized rep out for this one and I'll soon have statistical data as what was done.

    On the one I'm working on today,

    Lady called stating she's getting the error code 4-2 which is ECO failure, call for help.

    GE stated that they'll send her out a wiring harness, I get there and the box weighs almost 4 pounds. I know damn right well what is inside it, it's a complete burner assembly along with guess what? Intelli-Vent gas valve. $500 roughly in the mail for free.

    Anyone get the feeling this is a Whirlpool nightmare starting to reoccur through a different product name? Same exact situation; sent the products no questions asked even with some tools. ????!!!!

    I asked the lady where the wiring harness was, she said that is what chuck from india told her she'd get, and that my job is simple. What I'm being asked to do isn't simple; I have to drain the water heater, change out the gas valves, change the burner assembly because nothing will work by just changing part of it. Nothing matches and I wouldn't even try that.

    So now, intelli-vent gas valves that are normally found on Sears/Kenmore water heaters, along with A.O. Smith heaters....now have the same gas valves. Pretty sure the same company owns all of them but you can see the problems mounting.

    When we called GE today, they told us straight up, "The Robertshaw Gas Control Valve on your GE Water Heater is no longer made, and that the new Intelli-vent Gas Valve is the only product that will work on your Gas PowerVent Water Heater."

    Now with this being the cure to the defective gas valve problem, you also have to rework the gas line because the two don't line up.


    You'll regret that move. I'm going over to this property, taking pictures and maybe video of this situation to scribe the walls of the internet with this useful information about what lurks in your basement as a soon to be problem.

    This woman will end up paying me what it takes a McDonald's worker to make in 2 weeks to get this water heater back operational...with no guarantees.

    My statement to Rheem is a simple one: You are not making money on the design flaw of your product, you should of tested your components long before putting them in the field in regards to product liability. I would think that making a "cheaper" product wouldn't have so many problems within the term limits of your warranty.

    There was a woman who worked at Home Depot at the time, didn't listen to me about what product choice is better for her home and family.

    She bought that 75 gallon gas powervent water heater,

    Leaked twice in 3 years
    Malfunctioned at the gas control valve after the two leakers
    Paid me 3 times to install/service that water heater.

    Every time, you supplied her a new water heater, new electronic parts.

    Whatever your margin was, you pissed it away on the first screwup. She's not alone as it's becoming more obvious that your product is living true to big box reputation.

    If you know this is a problem, why can't you bulletin the problem and get these people some recognition of your failures? Don't think the Intelli-Vent is without problems, my area rep stated to one of my customers that the wiring harnesses are having problems with separation in the jackets. ???

    You're adding bad to bad. Who in the hell, where, and why do you pay engineers to build a product so unreliable? Don't think for a minute that someone doesn't sit at a drawing board figuring out how to get something to last a little over warranty expirations...we all know you do that already. Proof is in the pudding, or lets say, you're tech support daily lives answering the phones to your product failures..yeah?


    GE, you can build an jet engine that soars across the sky, but you sure in **** are having a bad way about building a reliable water heater at this point...and this is by far isolated. Just thought I'd give fair warning before you delegate your top gun to show up here or anywhere trying to deny what's really going on here, and I for one am not making it up. Put a damn product out there that gives the property owner a reason to buy it twice, that's all you have to do. Shouldn't take a internet forum user to get the message across to get someone to listen, if you even are.

    Please build a airplane that drops hot water into tubes on the rooftops of homes. Maybe you'll get that right, maybe.
  2. Me thinks rugged had a bad day.........

    GE power Vents are junk... this is true, true , true...
    but GE dont make them, they have Rheem make them for GE......

    I think that Rheem makes the GE units at a steep discount over their own brand.....

    RHEEM MAKES A VERY CRAPPY POWER VENT, ...... and I dont understand why......
    I have tangled with the Rheem power vents a
    while back and it was with that stupid robert shaw valve on it..
    they are very crappy.

    it was bad from the get go and I had to change the valve that first day,
    then it lasted about a year and went out again,
    I went ahead and tore it out and installed a
    BradFord white Power vent..... problem solved at my expence...

    the only power vent on the market right now that
    i will put in is the Bradford White....

    RUGGED....no one in our town will work on a GE unit or a
    Richmond unit because GE AND Richomnd dont pay shit to
    do their service work and it takes months to ever get paid..

    you are beating a dead horse, GE dont care .

    I personally dont need that kind of greif.

    stay away from them and tomorrow things will get better....
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  3. [​IMG]




    This is the start to finish of the replacement of this gas valve replacement, along with a burner assembly. You will have to rework the gas line into this to make it work, no way around it.​

    Make sure your gas line from the burner is super tight into the gas valve, and be extremely careful you don't cross thread it. I tightened it really tight and still leaked a little gas; went and tightened it up till it stopped leaking.​

    The valve on your RHEEM water heater is no longer made. The one I installed is the new retrofit model, and you'll have one 3 pin line not in use when you install this new valve. Make sure you set the gas valve to 120 degrees AFTER initial firing of the gas thermostat.​

  4. I agree. Customer of mine years ago had to fight like mad hell with HD/GE and they would of given her 10 water heaters, but no way in hell was they giving her money back. Almost an atrocity.

    I'm starting to think I'm a social worker in the plumbing profession with all the damn victims of product reliability issues that I see.

    The days of water heaters lasting 15-30 years are GONE.
  5. You worked your ass off today

    I dont think I would want the liability of fooling with
    that GE power vent heater....

    That is the exact valve that gave me troubles two years ago... it chattered like a box of bolts when it ran... I have a brand new one in the box in my office.....

    You certainly worked your ass off fooling with that
    power vent unit.....

    I assume that GE pays the bill or
    does the home-owner have to pick up the labor tab here????

    I dont really like that new valve any better that
    you have installed on that unit either... it scares me.....

    becasue that is what A.O.Smith has on all their
    power vent models, and I dont trust anything that has anything to do with A.O.Smith either.

    Also, I dont like the way all that wireing harness has to be crammed into behind the heat
    sheild on that FVIR heater either.....that does not look like a wise design.... Almost better
    to leave the front heat sheild off the unit than to risk overheating those wires.....

    Rugged, of course this is in no way criticism of your work....

    but you do what you got to do ........... to win the day.........

    the next question is how long
    before it breaks down again.?????

    are you some sort of GE service and repair man for your area
    were you having a slow day , or did you feel sorry for this person???

    as far as being a social worker, I get about 5 calls a
    week calling about Whirlpool water heaters less than two years old...

    what can you do for them???


    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  6. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Chicago, IL
    I already ran into troubles with the Rheem FVIR system. That is how I found this forum. Unit was less than a year old, Rheem called me, and begged me to go out and service this heater for them. That was a bit over a year ago, and I have yet to see a check from them for the parts I had to buy and my time.
  7. Thats a dirty rotten shame....

    I recently went out on a gas heater, and after I faxed the bill to Rheem about 3 times I did get their min that they pay to service tech $85.

    it was only a small issue I fixed, but still it was looking like I was gonna have to pull teeth to get a lousy $85 out of them

    the 85 finally showed up in late march for a call that was done in December...

    My advice, fax them the bill over and over and over again..........

    that is why they cant get anyone to do their service work here in indy

    and this is why I only install the Bradford white power vent,

    they REALLY DO TEST THEM out very well

    before they flood the market with them.....
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  8. I usually "pass" these PowerVent water heaters on to somebody else, I don't like working on them at all.

    But this lady had been without hot water since the weekend, and when we called today to reach him, he had his phone off the hook.

    The customer did pay for my time, out of pocket. She would of in same fashion with the authorized rep of the heater since it is a parts only warranty. She just had the product in hand to solve the problem.

    But, given the situation and the fact I didn't have to troubleshoot the unit, I went ahead and did it just so the next one and the price reflects what I encountered, anything less and I'm giving it to someone else.

    Really effing sucks that now both of these big box stores are plagued with almost identical problems at this point.

    We are forced to deal with these because after hour purchases of these units, along with the best price attitude is why they sell them all the time.
  9. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    You're a patient man Mark. My advice / policy is this, anyone who takes ninety days to pay a bill shall pay me in full before I even go out to the job in the future. Period.
  10. $85 is not enough to deal with these problems. I won't even be a part of that foolishness. $129 to show up on a call to work on these because it will definitely extend into that second hour, the time to get parts and come back and implement another charge.

    If you don't, you're going to lose big time and the customer isn't going to care because they were in a no-spend zone from the go.
  11. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    I'm a firm believer that there is no good reason to offer a cheapened down version of your probuct...

    Personally I think that if I was making a product and big box was offering to pick up the line if I built a cheapo plastic version I'd tell them thanks but no thanks..

    Go get your cheap stuff in china.
  12. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Thanks for the great info on the GEs...very good to know...

    Rugged...why do you do drain the heater....I haven't drained a heater to change a gas valve since I was a kid learning...If I don't pull the burner assy. I just cover every thing with a plastic bag...I never have any problems not draining the heater...never...and if it is water on the floor thats a concern...I just place towels on the floor then just pick them up and install the burner assy......
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona


    I don't do it for ANYTHING, other than standard heater replacements.
  14. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Chicago, IL
    I did a warranty repair on a 9 month old Bradford White water heater and I sent them my invoice for my labor. They mailed me a check for ¼ of what the invoice was for with a letter explaining to me that my invoice has went beyond their maximum payout for labor paid on warranty work. I mailed them back a balance due invoice explaining to them I do not live in a part of the country where cost of doing business is not that low. After we sent them the balance invoice for the 5th time they finally remitted payment for my total invoice.

    Their are maintenance companies that try to dictate our prices to do work for them with low DNE (do not exceed) I just call them back explain to them our rates and if they want us to do service work for them the DNE must be set to cover an hour of our labor rate plus service call. 9 times out of 10 they fax over the new DNE, usually after they try to find another plumbing company that will go out to a job site to rod a main sewer line for $75.00 and failed.
  15. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    That is a cool gas valve. Can I get one for my Bradford?

    All the warranty work I have ever had done was not to code and illegal.

    The only people I hire now are trusted local, firms.

    Or I DIY. It's the only way to be sure.

    In Europe, if it ain't done right people go out of business. The police knock on the door. Not here. It's outrageous.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  16. Cass

    Cass Plumber


    That is why I don't want / like any European influence in this country...I don't want Socialism or Marxisms here I like Capitalism and Freedom as defined by the Founding Fathers...it is found no where else in the world...and I like it...When some country in the world is in trouble the first door they knock on is the USA. The USA has given to and helped more Countrys around the world than any other Super Power bar none...

    But it may not be that way much longer...

    All of Europe would most likely be under the boot of some Comunist Dictator right now if it hadn't been for this Country...

  17. Well, for one main reason, I'm assuming you mean that no water turned on in the house, water turned off at the water heater to cavitate the water inside the tank.

    That works, but here's the problem with that IMO,

    Water has the capability of hitting the backside of that new gas control valve, and since it is a myriad of electronic components, I don't want to take any chances of getting it wet and possibly failing someday.

    A regular gas control valve back in the day without all the FVIR nonsense? I would.


    That water will instantly hit the insulation inside the water heater and leaves me wide open for a callback because that water will suck up in that insulation and may appear something is leaking for days.

    They won't believe me, I'll have to come back and prove what I already know.

    The water heater was two years old and was due for a draining like just about every other heater I come in contact with because people simply do not drain them.

    People freak out when they see water in front of a heater. Poses an uneasy feeling for them especially when they've spent 100's with the plumber to
    fix it and make it work.

    So it's mainly to protect my initial profit made for the work. No matter how far away, a callback is a strike against your performance whether it's your fault or not, let alone destroying the profit margin following the amount of work against the amount of time taken to do the task.
  18. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    The trick for the valve is poking the probe through a sheet of plastic and after installing it just pulls away...as far as the wet insulation from 2-4 seconds of water dribbling outgoes, the heat from the burner and tank will dry it out lickity split...in all my years of plumbing I have never had 1 call back because they thought it was leaking...but it is your way of doing it so say la vie or how ever it is spelled...
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