My experience with Rheem RTGH-95XLP tankless WH

Discussion in 'Tankless Water Heater Forum' started by NowhereMan, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. NowhereMan

    NowhereMan New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2016
    Location:
    California
    I installed this model of tankless water heater myself. It was a fairly involved job, with water lines, propane, electrical, and even some carpentry. It's an exterior unit. We're in the Santa Cruz mountains of California, and at our altitude (about 1600'), freezing temperatures should never be a problem. The unit went into service at the end of January 2017.

    When I first installed it, there was a fairly loud clunking noise each time it came on. I contacted Rheem, and they walked me thru a fairly lengthy diagnostic process that showed it was a pressure surge. So, I put in a surge protector, and it has worked (nearly) flawlessly ever since.

    The only issue we ever had was a couple of times we got an error code "29", which is something about the "air inlet" and doesn't seem applicable, since it's an external unit. In any case, I think that has been resolved, although I want to talk to Rheem to be sure (I haven't had a chance to contact them about it yet).

    Other than that, there is only routine maintenance--occasional vinegar flush, clean the water filter screen, and change the scale inhibitor. The vinegar flush takes a while, but that's only once every 6 month, and the other stuff is trivial.

    So, was it worth the high price? If I'd had to pay somebody to install it (which would have at least doubled the price), I'd probably say no. But since I did the install (and actually enjoyed most of that work), I'd say yes, definitely. Part of the reason is due to the space we saved from getting rid of the old water heater tank, which occupied a big chunk of our laundry room. And, BTE (before tankless era, as we say around my house), we were also without hot water when the power went out--which happens all the time here, thanks to PG&E. Our previous WH was electric, and required too much juice for our generator. Since going tankless, we're never without hot water, which makes it much more pleasant on those occasions where we have to go 3 or 4 consecutive days without electricity.

    The tankless will probably never pay for itself, but I'd do it again.
     
  2. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    as long as you are willing to baby the unit and do all the de-limeing and maintain it properly
    you might actually break even on the unit... if you were not handy then it would certainly cost you
    dearly and you will never see the light of day
     
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  4. NowhereMan

    NowhereMan New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2016
    Location:
    California
    In my experience, the routine maintenance is pretty trivial, and I'd say that aspect shouldn't deter anyone from getting a tankless WH.

    Installation cost, on the other hand, could be an issue, especially if you don't already have water, gas, and electric at the location where you want to put it.
     
    Master Plumber Mark likes this.
  5. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of

    as long as you are willing to baby the unit and do all the de-limeing and maintain it properly
    you might actually break even on the unit... if you were not handy then it would certainly cost you
    dearly and you will never see the light of day

    the normal price to de-lime a tankless heater around here is about 275.00
    so you better be willing and able to do it yourself
     
  6. NowhereMan

    NowhereMan New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2016
    Location:
    California
    It takes 5 minutes (or less) to hook everything up, and then you wait 45 minutes for the flush to complete, and it's another 5 minutes (or less) to disconnect things. Then you're back in business.

    This guy has a video that's less than 4 and 1/2 minutes long, and it shows the whole procedure, with lots of talking.

    If a homeowner can't handle that, they'd be better off renting, IMHO.
     
  7. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Now that is a great video......
    and I am 100% all for you or anyone else who wants to do this themselves.
    I think the guy should have put on a blindfold to show everyone how easy
    and simple it was to do this job.....
    ..
    I know a lot of people who just dont want to fool with them and want someone to service them..
    all I said is if you call someone in to do this ----at least in the mid west ----the average price
    is about 250-275.... I personally do not want to mess with them, but their are many in
    our town who are eager and willing to do it..... for around that price..


    call around yourself in California and ask what they charge in your area......
    just for shits and giggles.

    .



     
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    When Mark stayed with me last Summer, my tankless was intermittent. You would be showering and it would turn cold on you. I could run down and unplug the unit and it would light up again.
    After Mark left for the rest of his trip, I troubleshot it and found that the air filter on the incoming screen was blocked. I cleaned the filter and it was like new again for me. What we're finding out, is that they do have their tweakiness about them. And yes, a homeowner doing a de-liming by themselves saves having the plumber drive out, set up, watch the pump run for a long, long while and then move to the next job. That time and the use of the pump and tools doesn't come free though. And Mark's point has been more that a tank water heater doesn't need much. They pretty much work or they don't. No electronics, or the circuit board brain to run it, no air filters, and no fan that needs electricity when the power has gone out. If I lose power, I don't shower. It's different to be sure.
     
  9. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Terry, what do you think the cost would have been for someone to come out and figure out what
    was going on with your tankless heater....?? You figured it out yourself and I think that took some calling
    tech support but now its working great.... but once you got up to speed it was fairly easy to take care of it.
    It probably a lot more complicated if the circuit board fries out on one........

    it makes me wonder What would some other plumber have charged to do a service call ?/
    Someone homeowner without any hands on
    knowledge would surely have been at the plumbers mercy---

    and of course you hope that plumber is honest and trustworthy and basically
    does not just bend you over and break it off in you...... :(:(:eek::eek:



    Example..
    I have paid 175 to just have someone come out and re-set the high limit on my shitty LG gas dryer... The guy showed me how to take the back off and do it myself and I was able to get by for about 3 years before the bearings went out on the piece of junk......
    Of course he saw my plumbing truck in the driveway and knew he was not gonna be doing any shady stuff with me.....:D
    I thought the service call was kind of high but at least he did provide me with
    the knowledge to do this myself--which I did do about 10 more times...

    Eventually we threw out the LG and just bought a used Sears old style gas dryer for 185.... and it has
    been chugging along ever since...

    The point being.....its best to ------- keep it simple stupid..... KISS
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
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