Rheem used to be a quality brand of water heaters and is trusted by many plumbing contractors throughout the Kansas City area. Rheem and Bradford White were the two most common water heaters installed in new homes back in the 90’s. Many of those Rheem water heaters have made it 16 years without any problems.
Around the time that Bradford White took over a larger share of the market, Rheem began to manufacture water heaters for GE sold to the retail giant Home Depot. These models featured burners with 34,000 and 38,000 BTU gas valves. They also included a plastic drain valve and offered extended warranty for 6, 9, and 12 year tanks. Despite a hefty price tag, GE water heaters have some of the most persistent issues with the gas valve and pilot. They are often lacking in the service department for both parts and technicians.
After developing such a bad reputation, GE decided to focus on EnergyStar water heaters and Rheem would no longer produce tanks for GE. Rheem did however continue to produce water heaters for Home Depot. All the same model details seem to have been rebranded as Rheem. The Rheem water heaters sold at Home Depot are not the same Rheem water heater that has been sold at supply houses for the last 25 years.
Rheem 50 Gallon water heater sold at Supply House
Model# PROG50-38N RH58
Rheem 50 Gallon gas water heater sold at Home Depot