This week my water finally died and it needed replacing. As a DYI’er I knew Rheem, American, and Bradford and White were good brands. I also know when I need to let a professional plumber do his job for me.
I ordered an equivalent Rheem water heater from Smarden Supply Co. in Fountain Valley, CA. My plumber friend of 10 years, Jose of J to Z Plumbing, who also buys and works with Smarden Supply.
As a DYI’er I can tell you that Jose performed a beautiful install. We turned on the water and fired up the heater and it immediately started making this loud and very annoying high-pitched noise. My plumber was mystified as I was, in my 30 years of plumbing and his longer time of experience we had never hear this noise.
I called the Smarden Supply and they had not heard of it and referred me to an 800 number of Rheem. This is where it gets good. I spent 20 minutes waiting for a guy that said he knew about various places that have had this issue and he wanted me to try all kinds of external tests, like bending the flex gas line or turning down the valve. I said this is really ridiculous, this has something to do with your design. I had called from work and they needed me to get the model and serial number off the machine and call back. I got a case number for the call back.
I called back the next day and got a new person and they said that she could not authorize a guy to come out and that she had not heard of this issue and wanted me to call my plumber out at my expense to troubleshoot the issue. I said, this is a bloody water heater, it is not rocket science, it is a thing you plug water into and give it gas and light it, nothing more. I asked to speak to her supervisor and she sent me unannounced to 2nd tier support and it took 45 minutes to get the call actually transferred. 2nd tier gave me the same brick wall as to they could send someone out but if it is anything that we did, we would have to pay for the call. I again explained that the gas and water hookups are all standard and there is no reason for any variations and that I was not going to be responsible.
I patiently spoke to her for about 30 min and then I asked her to speak to her supervisor which she did not want to, and had me on hold for 10 min and came back with the same answer that she could not guarantee, I was getting angry and upset and reinforced that I wanted to speak to her supervisor. She put me on hold for another 15-20 min and finally came back and said she would have a very top notch plumbing, Collier Plumbing come out.
Collier Plumbing was courteous and came out and fixed the issue in less than 15 minutes. The service representative said that this was common with the Low NOX Rheem water heaters do thousands, not hundreds, but THOUSANDS of these heaters. There is a plate that is near the gas outlet inside the burner area that needs to be tweaked because it resonates from the gas and fire flowing past it. Crazy.
After the service call was done and we had a few days of no noises, I then I called Smarden Supply, in Fountain Valley, CA and let AJ Benton, one of the head Managers or Owner about how badly I was treated and had I not had any DIY experience, Rheem would have walked all over me. As it is my time that I bill out for my services is around $80/hr. and these guys burned up about 3 hrs of my time, not to mention the Good Will I was not going to pass on about Rheem. AJ of Smarden Supply was very interested about the issue as this will kill his sales if there anyone gets hold of this review.I have worked with Smarden for many years and they are a good company with great customer service. Think that Rheem should have put in a factory insert or bulletin about this issue so Smarden could help and not end up with an upset customer. I will not purchase Rheem products and will change over to buying and installing American or Bradford and White products, which are equally as good.
A important aside : The service guy told us to expect this water heater to fail within 5 years and if you get it repaired it will not last much longer. He said they just do not make water heaters to last like they used to.
In conclusion, and with the note from the service person, I think that Rheem should consider some kind of compensation for this horrible missing Customer Service and I will consider changing my review.
so, don’t get Rheemed, by American