Rheem XR90 Series water heater

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by DIY729, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. DIY729

    DIY729 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Iowa
    Has anyone used/installed one of the Rheem XR90 extreme recovery water heaters? Do these really outperform 50 gallon WHs? Any quality issues?
    I am looking to replace 2 40 gallon WH with either a single 50 or one of these new XR90s if they have good reviews.
    Thanks.
  2. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
    The xr90 will deliver 61 gal of hot water per hour at a 90 degree rise in temp. What temp do you keep you hot water? How cold is your cold water? Does your family take back to back showers or have multiple hot water demands at the same time? Big tub?

    The xr90 is fine if you dont make large draws of hot water at once.
  3. DIY729

    DIY729 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Iowa
    Hot water temp 130º, Cold water temp 50º.
    House has 4 bedroom, 2-1/2 bath, master bath has a "Jacuzzi" style tub (used twice a year). Only my wife & I here now (back to back morning showers), but at the holidays the house is full. The Rheem model 43V50-50E2 50 gallon WH delivers 50.5 gallons of hot water per hour at a 90º rise in temp. How would these two units compare in actual use?
  4. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
    They would be very close to the same. The xr90 has the edge because of its input rating. Simply speaking that means it has a bigger burner. The 50 gal will have a recovery rating of 50.5 gph and the xr90 has a 61 gph recovery. The 50 gal model will deliver 87 gph and the 29 gal xr90 will deliver 91 gph.

    The larger tank of the 50 gal model allows it to almost deliver the same amount of hot water in an hour......but the larger burner in the 29 gal model allows for a faster recovery in gph. The xr90 will heat .42 gallons of water more than the 50 gal model will every 6 minutes during the 1st hour of use.

    All at a 90 degree rise.

    With the xr90 you could run a 105 degree shower with a flow rate of 2.5 gpm with a thermostat setting of 130 and a cold water inlet temp of 50 degrees for 52 mintues and 6 seconds.

    With the 50 gal model you could run the same shower for 50 minutes and 3 seconds.

    Thats at a flow rate of 1.73 gallons a minute of hot water and a mixed temp of 105.

    Efficiency wise they are about the same with the xr90 being .70 and the 50 gal model is .67 energy factor. That works out to about 11 bucks a year for the typical house.

    These numbers do not consider the heat loss of the piping.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  5. jjkrogs

    jjkrogs New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    My experience with the XR90...

    My fiasco with the Rheem XR90 began back in November when I decided to go a bit greener (and pay a lot more) for it instead of going with a much cheaper alternative for a tank water heater.

    The first XR90 was installed professionally and found to be defective. After several hours on the phone we were told that there were no parts available, and that the only way to fix it is to send an entirely new unit.

    So no hot water while I waited for XR90 #2 to arrive, and then a complete uninstall/reinstall of the defective unit with the new one.

    Unit 2 is intalled and, lo and behold, ALSO found to be defective (this time 2 parts were not functioning correctly!). They offered to take parts off the first one that worked to make the 2nd one work, and I said "hell no", so they offered a 3rd new one.

    I was given a very slight discount for my troubles (half of which was taken by the installers because their time was wasted as well), and a 3rd unit was ordered (again, no hot water for multiple days).

    The 3rd one had no immediate defects after installation, but it's a very inconsistent water heater, and frankly, I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it. Why I allowed a third attempt is beyond me...

    Anyway, one has to question Rheem's quality control (if they even have it). To get not one, but two defective water heaters from the factory says something. I've attempted several times to get an official response from Rheem over this mess, but have been largely ignored.

    Think twice about getting this unit, or a Rheem system at all.
  6. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
    So what was wrong?
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,642
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Unless this was a special order heater, the replacements # 2 and 3 should have been available from the supplier in a matter of hours, not days. And even then the representative should have had them available at least by the next day. The manufacturer should have given the installer a cash labor credit since the failures were withing the "first year", so maybe they just pocketed your credit. Rheem's site says the heater uses "standard replacement parts", so either someone was "funning you", or it is not this heater. As stated, the "first hour" supply of water is only 4 gallons greater than a standard 50, but the recovery is about 50% greater than a standard 50. Unless you are using more than 90 gallons at a time, the smaller heater may not be worth the additional cost.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  8. jjkrogs

    jjkrogs New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    As an update to this...

    Apparently my review on one of the sites got the attention of Rheem, and they (management, even) have since contacted me. Not only did they apologize, but they refunded the entire purchase price, which was completely unexpected.

    They claimed that there was an issue with the very first models that came out but they have since addressed the issues. It makes sense as I was one of the first to receive one of these units. Since then, the XR90 has won a very prestigious innovation award at a recent expo, so they must be doing something right.

    Anyway, my issues have been resolved, and my faith in Rheem restored. They do care about their products, and the feedback they receive from folks makes a difference.

    I thought it fair to Rheem to post a follow up.
  9. jjkrogs

    jjkrogs New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    (Hackney)

    It had to do with the burner assembly, which Rheem received defective from the supplier. They didn't catch it until several of the first units got released-- I just happened to get 2 of them. As mentioned above, they fixed the issues shortly thereafter.
  10. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    This is why I'm not an early adopter. With any product, being among the first to get a new model means you are serving as an alpha tester, and generally paying a large premium to do so. I prefer to wait until the early failures/deficiencies are ID'ed and corrected...and the price drops.

    Thanks for reporting back.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,642
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; With any product, being among the first to get a new model means you are serving as an alpha tester, and p

    That was my situation with my 1966 Buick Riviera. I had the 50th one produced and when I developed a brake problem, there were no local parts available, other than a complete master cylinder, because they had switched to a different system once they went into full production. THe new one did not cure it. I then figured out the real problem, but they said they tested their Riviera at the Mesa testing ground and it did not happen there. I told them, "Take mine out there and it WILL happen, give me back the money I paid to try to get it fixed". They did and told me if I ever had any other problems with it to bring it in and they would replace the entire brake system.
  12. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    Ouch, hj! A friend of mine had trouble like that with his GMC many years ago. Brake system gave him all sorts of trouble and would randomly lock on one side when he applied the brakes (he visited a ditch with it at least once.) They took it apart, replaced things, and it still did it. This kept happening and it spent more time in the shop than on the road. Finally he had enough and drove it some miles to the shop with his foot on the brake intentionally tearing it up. It didn't catch fire but when he arrived the shop manager said, "Well, we'll get it this time because the whole brake system is fried and will have to be replaced." The truck had a host of other issues too, electrical gremlins and the like. He's the only individual I personally know who has gotten his purchase money back via the state's weak lemon law.
  13. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
    One of my friends bought one of the first Dodge vipers to roll off the assembly line. They didn't come with A.C. and the engine gets so hot you almost cook in it. Its still a bad %^&** LOL
  14. dbestor

    dbestor New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    elk grove, il
    xr90 issues

    What exactly was the problem with the burner with the early models, do you know?

    I just had one of these installed by a licensed plumber (the 6G30-60 unit was bought from a local hardware store due to the high efficiency claims and $200 rebate from the gas company) that admitted he had never installed one of these before.

    Now I'm getting a total loss of hot water after about 15 minutes in the shower (the water does start out very hot).

    I've looked at the burner assembly through the viewing window, and the flame looks a lot more "sedate" than I would expect from 60,000 BTU's. What I mean by that is that there's a decent amount of yellow flame (I'd expect all blue), and it looks like a regular gas-top stove burner (I would have expected something more akin to the gas jets in a furnace). What does your flame look like?

    Anyway, I'm just wondering what my next best step is. Get that same plumber back out to try to diagnose a unit he's trained on and never installed before? Try to find some other licensed plumber in the area with more experience with these units? Contact the manufacturer?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated. Loved the specs on this thing, but not used to running into early adopter issues on water heaters!

    -Dan
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,017
    Location:
    New England
    The flame should be bluer. You may need a larger gas line - it could be starved, but worked with the smaller burner on the old one. Depends on how far from the meter, the number of turns/fittings, and the size of the pipe. Sounds to me like at the minimum, it needs the gas pressure checked and if good, the burner adjusted for proper CO levels with an exhaust gas analyzer. In the interim, if you don't have a CO detector, you may want to get one. If it is vented properly, it shouldn't be a problem even if the CO levels are high, but just to be safe, my personal opinion is that anyplace with an open burner should have a working CO detector.
  16. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    Observation: the flame on water heaters will sometimes be yellow on start up (or more likely a few seconds after what appears to be a good start up) when cold because of condensation falling into the burner pan. Once the water in the tank reaches sufficient temperature, the condensation stops and the flame should turn blue again. Unfortunately, this is NOT pointed out in most manuals. That puts one in the uncomfortable position of watching the yellow flame for some minutes until the tank warms...

    When you say you are losing hot water after 15 minutes of showering, what sort of flowrate are you talking about? Is this a single head shower with a modern showerhead (~2.2-2.5 gpm operating flow), or is it a multi-head shower or old 5 to 9 gpm showerhead?

    All that said, Jim's comment about the sizing of the gas lines is where I would start looking based on your description. I suppose it is also possible that the dip tube is missing or broken.
  17. dbestor

    dbestor New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    elk grove, il
    Yeah, modern showerhead, 2.2-2.5 GPM. Old 50 gallon water heater this one replaced was in the process of dying, but still lasted for at least a 30 minute shower before losing most/all hot water.

    I called Rheem and they're sending out one of their guys next week who has experience with these units. Will let you know what I hear, but the gas pressure issue sounds most plausible at this point...the guy who installed it certainly never measured it.
  18. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
    I agree. A manometer needs to be connected to the unit while its firing.
  19. dbestor

    dbestor New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    elk grove, il
    So, as an update, had Rheem send out one of their tech's for warranty service. They said the flame looked fine and refused to do any gas pressure tests.

    Also, they did a drop test and said the temperature drop was right on "for a 29 gallon tank."

    With that I got pretty upset given all of the "outperforms 50 gallon tank" claims in their promotional literature and press releases (one press release falsely stating that "Once the Rheem XR90 has been depleted of its available hot water, the unit can be ready with 90 gallons of available hot water in only 29 minutes.). I said the heater doesn't outperform my old 50 gallon (which gave me ~ 30 minutes of hot water in the shower). The tech put me on the phone with a Rheem rep, who stated that the XR90 will only match a standard 29 gallon tank for a continuous draw of hot water.

    He claimed the tank only outperforms the 50 gallon tanks on recovery rates (e.g., after you stop pulling hot water out of the tank).

    He concluded that a 15-20 minute shower using a 2.2-2.5 gpm shower head should be about all you get out of this tank. (then you have to wait another 30 minutes for the tank to heat up).

    Now I'm stuck trying to decide whether to raise hell and get a lower efficiency tank, or stick this one out and crank up the temp on the tank...

    But either way, Hackney Plumbing's calculations earlier in this thread of this tank supporting a 52 minute shower are way off, and should not be relied upon by those considering this tank in the future (assume 15 minutes).
  20. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
    My calculations are based off the manufacturers specs. If the specs are off then for sure my calculation will be.

    The unit with the much higher BTU rating will out perform the standard burner and the same size tank.......thats a fact.

    No one can simply start telling you maximum shower times without knowing how hot you like your shower,how much your flowing and the temp of the cold water. Without those its a guess.

    My wife and I can take back to back showers in the summer 15 minutes each and running about 4 gallons a minute....with a 50 electric. That works out to about an hour at 2 galllons a minute if we had low flow heads installed.

    Crank the heater up as high as it will go and install a tempering valve....you'll have enough hot water.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
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