Reviews praise Rheem as a top brand of water heater and recommend this budget gas water heater in the Rheem Fury series as a good buy with excellent features for the price. The 40-gallon tank provides 73 gallons for an hour of peak usage -- more than most 50-gallon electric water heaters that cost much more to operate. This budget model isn't especially energy-efficient, but natural gas is the cheapest fuel for heating water in most parts of the country -- aside from solar. Features include a design that minimizes sediment buildup and tank rusting, and the brass fittings are also a plus in this price range. If you can afford to spend more, reviews recommend stepping up to a more energy-efficient gas water heater with a 12-year warranty, such as the GE EnergyStar SG50T12AVG (*Est. $650), whose installed price may be reduced by tax credits and rebates.
We found useful evaluations of Rheem as a water heater brand at BuilderOnline.org and at J.D. Power and Associates. A detailed article at 411plumb.com evaluates the Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) system used on Rheem gas models. An appliance expert gives the Rheem FVR NATGAS 22V40F1 water heater top ranking at Bestcovery.com, and more than a dozen owners review this specific model as Amazon.com.
Our Sources: Rheem Water Heater Reviews
In this 2007 survey of 3,428 builders and contractors, Rheem ranks highest among 11 brands for water-heater quality.
Review: 2008 Builder Brand Study, Editors of BuilderOnline.org, March 31, 2008
2. J.D. Power and Associates
This survey of nearly 900 contractors and subcontractors ranks Rheem/Ruud second only to Bradford White for overall satisfaction -- based on seven factors: warranty and repair service, ordering process, credit/billing, delivery, price, sales and marketing support, and the water heaters themselves.
Review: HVAC and Water Heater/Boiler Subcontractor Satisfaction Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, September 2006
When Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) safety regulations began requiring manufacturers to redesign gas water heaters to seal the pilot light away from exposure to flammable gases outside the water heater, major manufacturers scrambled to come up with viable designs. Although this review by an experienced plumber gives top ranking to the Bradford White design, Rheem's design is ranked a close second.
Review: Bradford White Water Heater Review, Editor of 411plumb.com
A household-appliance reviewer gives top ranking to the Rheem FVR 22V40F1 as the best tank-style water heater, based on analysis of features, specifications, price and reviews elsewhere. She praises this model as an excellent value, with brass fittings rather than plastic and good protection against rust and sediment buildup.
Review: Rheem FVR NATGAS 22V40F1 Water Heater, Mariette Mifflin
About a dozen and a half owners review the Rheem 22V40F1 water heater here. All are enthusiastic about the water heater itself (though one is disappointed that it's made in Mexico) but two report serious customer-service issues with a specific retailer.
Review: Rheem 40 Gallon FVR NATGAS Water Heater 6 YR 22V40F1, Contributors to Amazon.com