Rheem Water heater models--Plumbing Supply House v. Walmart models

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by tcr, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. tcr

    tcr New Member

    Oct 24, 2013
    I am a homeowner replacing a 50 gal LP water at a remote cabin at 9000 feet in Colorado. I was looking into using a Rheem 42V50-36PF but can't find a source online that guarantees that it will be certified up to 10,200 feet (apparently some factories certify that model only 6000 feet--makes sense for the rest of the country).

    I happened to notice that Walmart has a Rheem model RHE1148 that is certified to 10,200 feet. It appears to have the exact same specs as the 42V50-36PF (as far as I can ascertain). It is a couple hundred bucks less than the online prices I can find, but at those online plumbing stores there is no guarantee that it will be a high elevation certified unit.

    Normally I am leery of Walmart products as I know how hard they squeeze their manufacturers and everyone in their supply chain, but I am wondering if these two models are entirely the same or not. Does anyone have any experience with Rheem hot water heaters at Walmart? Can anyone tell me if there is a difference in quality, repairs or performance?

  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    I have no direct experience, but if the thing was built for a particular vendor, and isn't a 'generic' version sold to everyone, it will have a different number...may be an extra digit or letter or some other change. The stores do this partly for price matching, even though it may be identical (or not), to them, it's not identical unless the entire part numbers are identical. It depends, sometimes, it's just which label the put on it, but sometimes it's actually different. For example, Home Depot sells GE WH (at least where I live), but if you happen to call the 800 number listed in the manual, they answer the phone Rheem. One difference is the ones labeled Rheem tend to have a brass drain valve, those at HD labeled GE, tend to have a plastic one, or at least a plastic handle. It's difficult to assess what other differences there are, if any. One may offer a different warranty, but at HD, for example, you can buy their 'lesser' quality version, and for about what you'd pay for the 'premium' one, you can buy an optional, add-on warranty to match it. Often, the difference in the WH is just the label they put on it when it comes to warranty (but not always ,a 'premium' one may have a bigger or a second sacrificial anode).

    Tough call...if you're lucky, someone that knows will respond, but in general, they are probably equivalent.
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  4. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

    Aug 13, 2013
    Why don't you pick up the phone and call Rheem.

    I wouldn't worry so much because it's sold at Walmart. You will get Rheem warranty regardless. If all the specs fit your objectives, go for it.
  5. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Mar 30, 2011
    Rocket Scientist
    Houston, TX
    As far as I can tell, they are not Wal-Mart Branded.

    Those little Appliance selling locations are Rented out by Wal-Mart. Just like the banks and MD food locations are rented.

    Just don't go near the indoor bank while it is getting robbed.

    You can pick up your heater in Layaway.

    You should make a copy of your disappearing ink receipt.
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