Is the GE smart water unit the one sold by HD? I just want to know before I decide to work on it. I am really trying to get this customer to replace it. Hate big box water heaters and stay away from repairing them
Yes it is made by Rheem but just like a lot of other things you might find in HD it is not of the same quality as a tank that says RHEEM or RUUD on it. Rheem is the most popular brand around here and it's a good tank. The Rheems I replace almost always exceed the 10-12 year average lifespan. The GEs I've replaced are more like 6-8 years. I guess the GE is just a stripped down cheapie tank that Rheem produces to reach HD's price point.
On the surface, the only difference you see on a GE is that all but the 12 year model come with plastic drain valves, where a Rheem Fury 6 yr comes with brass valve. The larger problem is how they are handled in the stores. They are sometimes stacked on pallets 5 high, which damages the nipples on the lower ones. And in general, they are banged around too much. Walk by and take a peek back into the receiving are and you will get the idea!
I've actually found that Rheem went down hill big time in the last few years. Heard they were bought by American standard which explains the rapid decline in quality. About 4 years ago, I started getting lots of rheems that were missing the anodes. I would hook them up and water would starts shooting out of the outer shells seems. I would pull the plastic cap over the anode and chip the foam out of the anode port only to find that the bung was empty! Foam had just filled in the hole where the anode should be. Now seeing as how the tanks are supposedly pressure tested with water before leaving the factory I find it funny that they are shipped anode-less. This happened to me on several occasions. The way I see it, there is no way that they are actually pressure testing those tanks if I get them without anodes but the foam has filled the hole(they couldn't of been robbed after the fact because the foam is unbroken).
I also seem to do more tank leaks that are only 2-4 years old on rheems than any other heater. It's sad. I used to love Rheem but my loyalty only goes so far. It seems like the new business model is to start a company, build it's reputation, then sell out.
I go with American water heater company now. I have had 2 heaters leak at the auxiliary t/p port, but it was a quick fix(remove plug and put ptfe tape on it).
I've never had an anode out of a Rheem and we install quite a few. I have noticed lately that the in and out connections aren't square with the gas valve. And the constant problems with the Robertshaw wiper controls on the power vent models are still haunting me. Pisses me off, costs me money but, people still recognize and want the brand. I'm torn. I've serviced them all. Just think, if they all would make them like an old Maytag washer, we would be sitting around complaining of nothing to fix.
I'm saying there is a bung hole on the top of the tank that has nothing threaded into it. If I'm not mistaken those heaters did not have factory installed nipples on them, so the integral anode thing is not possible (not that it would be relevant to my complaint)
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