Rheem Australia Pty Ltd, or simply, Rheem, is a well-known manufacturer of Australian hot water heaters. With more and more citizens looking for environmentally friendly and affordable solutions, Rheem has premiered and installed thousands of solar hot water heaters in homes and businesses all across the country.
Not only are Rheem’s products designed to ensure hot water without unnecessary carbon emissions, but they are also marketed to help system owners save money on the building’s utility costs. After all, sunlight is free, and solar hot water heaters can last for over a decade.
In the quest to save the planet and their wallets, most Australians that are familiar with Rheem know the company for:
- Producing Affordable Water Heaters
- Continuously adapting and Releasing New Products
- Decades of Brand Recognition Across Sydney and Beyond
If you’re looking for the best solar hot water heater in Australia, Rheem is probably not going to be the manufacturer you choose. Rheem’s products are affordable, but they do not have the best reputation for living long or problem-free lives. With this in mind, they are also not the cheapest solar hot water heaters on the market either.
If you are looking for a mid-level solar hot water heater, a Rheem system will still likely cost less than traditional gas or electric heating in a home. Rheem’s product recognition and network of technicians make it possible to quickly fix any malfunctions if they were to occur. To get the maximum return on investment of a Rheem solar hot water, frequent checks and system maintenance is recommended.
So is Rheem the best solar hot water system for your situation?
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Rheem Solar Hot Water – Company Background
Rheem’s origins began in the United States as a premium drum manufacturer. In 1931, Australia was chosen as the first international expansion for the company, which pivoted to installing water heaters within the decade.
Over the last 50 years, Rheem has changed hands though a number of different controlling bodies including BHP, Southcorp Limited (South Australian Brewing Holdings), and most recently Paloma Co Ltd.
As they have been around for almost a century, Rheem has manufactured and sold many different lines of products on the Australian market. Today, the company’s solar hot water heaters are primarily divided between hiline, loline, standard, and premier systems.
Rheem Hiline Solar Water Heaters
To start, Rheem’s Hiline Solar Water Heaters are one of the company’s most popular products for heating Australian homes with pure solar power. With an upgrade, systems are available to be modified to fit practically any Australian home or climate.
Rheem’s hiline heaters are reasonably priced, not too expensive, but also not too cheap. With each system, a 3000L tank comes standard, which is great for homes of two to five people. Rheem’s Hiline systems are certified and eligible for green energy upgrades available federally and with most states.
All in One – Hiline systems are perfect for homes without a lot of space on the property on the ground in the home or backyard. Instead, the tank and system can all be installed on the roof of the home, which allows the sun and gravity to perform most of the work for heating your water.
As an all-in-one rooftop system, Rheems solar water heaters take up less space and also shorten the amount of time it takes for the system to be installed or repaired. This compact system is designed to minimize water lines and connections that may break or leak.
Optional Frost Protection – The standard Rheem Hiline solar water heater is meant to be used in the warmer climates of Australia. However, in areas with cold winters, frost protection can be added to a Rheem’s tank and components to shield the system from the elements.
This protection is standard in Rheem’s Premier Hiline Solar Water Heaters. Although this may cost extra to add upfront, it is well worth the cost of potential repair from frozen water lines.
Boost Flexibility – Rheem’s Hiline system can be tied into both gas or electric lines to activate a boost for your home’s hot water. This makes it possible to maintain hot water levels during periods of prolonged cloud coverage, seasonal darkness, or bouts of increased demand.
Having the option between gas and electric makes it that much more affordable and convenient for homeowners to install. This also means that a system can be dried in with a PV electric solar system for pure sun heating.
Rheem Loline Solar Water Heaters
On the other side of the product line, Rheem also manufactures and installs hundreds of Loline Solar Water Heaters around Australia each and every year. Loline solar water heaters are designed to essentially have two separate components: the solar collectors and the compressor/hot water tank.
Rheem’s loline solar water heaters are essentially made with the same technology that is behind their hiline systems. However, their loline systems come with a few distinct advantages including increased flexibility and added protection.
With a standard loline system, Rheem has included frost protection measures for continuous running water in low temperatures. The loline can also be upgraded to a Premier model which adds “complete frost protection,”which utilizes a unique Drain-BackTM heat exchange technology.
Various Tank Sizes Available – More than anything, Rheem’s Loline systems are great for anyone with a little extra space either inside their house, basement, or backyard. Tanks of various sizes can be installed to specifically meet the hot water demand of practically any Australian property.
With this in mind, homeowners do not have to pay for a water tank that is too large, just because it is part of an all-in-one system. Instead, systems can be optimized to fit both the water and aesthetic needs of a home.
Suitable with Multiple Collectors – Beyond the tank size, Rheem’s Loline system is also flexible in its ability to connect with multiple different solar collector models. Although their website only lists compatibility with SPA2000 and CSA2007, we suspect that Rheem’s systems will be backwards compatible if more efficient collection systems were to premier in the forthcoming years.
Here, Loline systems make for a great total or partial replacement of an existing solar hot water system. Rheem’s products have been around for long enough that most licensed technicians should be able to retrofit standard solar collectors to a Rheem tank and compressor.
Rheem Commercial HS Series
Lastly, for large buildings that need a lot of hot water for full system operations, Rheem provides the Commercial HS Series solar hot water heater. Rheem’s HS series is designed to work in all climates and weather conditions across Australia.
These enormous solar hot water systems are generally built to fit by Rheem, as no 2 commercial buildings have the same hot water demand. In addition to various sized solar arrays, Rheems specialized hot water tanks come in sizes with capacities of up to 5000 litres.
Although these systems are much too large for single family homes, Rheem’s Commercial HS Series solar hot water heaters can be installed to lower the carbon footprint and energy operating costs of apartment buildings, nursing homes, office buildings, factories, and more.
Rheem Heat Pump Systems
There are many times when solar collectors on the roof are not suitable to use. Lack of a north-facing roof area, or problems with shading can count out roof-mounted collectors. So can local planning regulations, such as declared Heritage areas. Sometimes you’d just prefer nothing on your roof!
Luckily Rheem offers a range of heat pump hot water systems. These clever units work like a refrigerator or air conditioner in reverse. In simple terms, they use a small amount of electricity to capture the heat that the sun has put into the atmosphere.
The savings from using a heat pump can be similar to those expected from units with standard collectors.
Rheem supply 3 different domestic heat pump models, to suit different sized families, and different climatic areas. There’s one that will suit your family.
Accounts In the Wild
Okay, now that we’ve covered each of Rheem’s product lines, it’s time to see what people actually think of them. In order to get a good idea of how well Rheem’s systems actually perform, we dove into the deep end of online product reviews from some of the company’s most popular models.
To start, here is a review for the Rheem Solar Premier from tholland44 in Sydney. After a scathing 1 star review, this homeowner has decided that he may start exploring a lawsuit against Rheem. Ouch!
This review not only criticizes Rheem’s systems but also its technicians. After 3 failed attempts at getting his solar hot water heater up and running, this reviewer simply had had enough. Speaking from experience with his four other systems, it is clear that Rheem may be a bit more unreliable than the rest of the lot.
Next, we decided it would be best to find some reviews for Rheem systems that had been in homes for a while now. In this review for the Rheem Solar Loline with gas boost, jo123 accounts his own experience with a Rheem system over a 7 year span.
At first, this review sounds great, because the solar water heater is easy to use and saves money on energy costs. But suddenly, annual malfunctions with expensive and ineffective fixes cost this homeowner heaps of money. With this in mind, it may be doubtful that jo123 is still able to save money, even if they do the hard work themselves.
Alas, there is a bit of light in the dark tunnel of Rheem solar hot water heater reviews. This customer review of the Rheem Solar Hiline gives the system 5 stars and cites a 10 year tank warranty (which is NOT standard with all of Rheem’s system). As an alternative to a system from conergy, this customer seems satisfied with their Rheem solar hot water heater.
Of course, this review kind of reads like someone at Rheem wrote it, doesn’t it? Not to sound too suspicious, but the review here hits on all of the good talking points of the system, without a ton of originality or flavor. With that said, they do make a good point about the currently available hot water rebates and subsidies.
Lastly, it was not difficult to find a negative review for the Rheem Solar Loline (Electric Boost), which had many one star reviews that probably wish they could have been rated zero. For instance, a review from LaurieH in Perth is simply titled, “Hopeless.”
Not only is this reviewer upset with the “lukewarm” performance of their Rheem system, but the customer service that they have received has been even less impressive. To a lot of people, how a company acts when things go wrong is a strong sign of the overall credibility of the manufacturer, and unfortunately for Rheem, they may have shown their true colors here.
Performance Notes–How does it stack up where it matters?
So although many Rheem systems have been the victim of bad online reviews, so have a lot of other products on the market. Let’s get a better look at the important operating aspects of Rheem solar hot water heaters in order to get a better idea of where they stand amongst the competition.
First, one of the best things about Rheem heaters is their sheer adaptability. Unlike other manufacturers who produce “one size fits all” systems, Rheem provides a plethora of options to meet the specific hot water demands of a person’s home and climate.
With this in mind, you never end up paying for features that you do not need (such as frost protection) when choosing the right Rheem solar hot water heater. The combination of loline and hiline systems make it possible to fit the hot water heater’s components anywhere on a person’s property.
Water Tank Shape, Size, and Material
Rheem systems generally come with a stainless steel hot water tank that is rated for both indoor and outdoor installation. In terms of tank materials, this is among the highest quality but Rheem still is able to provide the tanks at an affordable price.
If you do not have space in or around your home, Rheem’s Hiline systems can be installed on roofs that are capable of withstanding the weight. On the ground, Rheem sells hot water tanks of all sizes and capacities that can meet the requirements of a home’s hot water demand.
Rheem’s systems are designed to be efficient in both capturing the energy from the sun and transferring it to the water in a home or commercial building. As all of the parts are specifically designed to work with one another, Rheem systems rarely see a lot of energy loss when running as normally.
With this said, Rheem systems do not advertise a Coefficient of Performance, which is a strong selling point of many other highly efficient systems. So although Rheem allows consumers to access strong technology at an affordable price, there are many more efficient hot water heating systems available on the market today.
While the compressors are doing their job, Rheem’s solar hot water systems tend to be as luod as a standard air conditioning system. Although this may not be a problem for systems located on the roof and outside of a home, indoor use of a Rheem solar hot water heater may be a bit loud and invasive within the walls of a living space.
Compared to the “whisper” operating noise levels of some of the other competitive solar hot water heaters on the market, Rheem’s systems almost seem dated. When it comes to small properties looking for solar energy hot water heating, a Rheem system may be too loud for most people when considering alternatives.
In general, Australian solar hot water heaters typically last from anywhere between 10 and 20 years of total lifespan. If you take a look at Rheem’s 5 and 3-year warranties, it may become clear that the company does not have a whole lot of faith in their systems to last at least a decade.
Although it is true that malfunctions happen and systems must be properly maintained, the overwhelming number of complaints from Rheem system owners make it hard to believe that the company’s solar hot water heaters are built to last.
Overall, Rheem’s products do not have a practically high level of value. Although they are reasonably priced, it is not the upfront price that really drives the value of Rheems systems down. Instead, a history of frequent breakdowns, paid plumber visits, and out of warranty parts replacements cause the overall value of Rheem’s solar hot water heaters to be somewhat low.
More often than not, Australian homeowners may be better off installing a more expensive system than a Rheem. Although premium products may cost more upfront, reliable systems are more likely to guarantee a higher overall ROI for heating a home’s hot water. “Buy once, cry once.”
Although Rheem is a large company, they are not well known for their customer service. In case you didn’t get the idea in the screenshots above, Rheem’s customer support team does not have a great track record for timely fixes or reliability.
With that in mind, the warranty included with most Rheem systems can be considered below average when looking at other solar hot water systems on the market today. Although it can vary slightly by model, most Rheem solar hot water systems have the following covered by the factory warranty:
- 5-year cylinder and collector supply
- 3-year cylinder labour
- 1-year collector labour
- 1-year parts supply and labour
Thanks to its size, Rheem has a national network of licensed operators that can fix any system under warranty. All of the company’s contact infraction, as well as owner’s manuals with specific product warranties, can be found on their website. For the quickest claim, you can call service on 131 031, which is available 7 days a week, from 8 am to 8 pm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Looking for a quick answer? Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Rheem solar water heaters.
Are Rheem water heaters reliable?
Yes and No. Rheem water heaters are reliable in climates that do not experience a ton of variance in temperature and conditions. However, system owners with varied seasons tend to view Rheem water heaters as less reliable than other premium, manufactured systemed.
How long do Rheem water heaters last?
In general, Rheem water heaters last between 5 and 10 years. Well-maintained water heaters are nearly guaranteed to last 8 years and often last much longer with regular maintenance and upkeep.
Who makes Rheem water heaters?
Currently Rheem is owned by the parent corporation of Paloma Industries. Palmoa is based in Nagoya, Japan, and is the world’s largest producer of gas appliances.
At the end of the day, there are a few ways that you can heat your home’s hot water in an environmentally friendly way. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to do so, a Rheem solar hot water system may just do the trick. However, if you’re looking for something without a lot of upkeep, you should look opt for a higher performance and more reliable system like the Reclaim.
We can help you get free quotes on installing a new solar hot water system in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, and most Regional and rural areas.