Critical Review - Rheem Stellar 50-315L Electric Hot Water System

Rheem is one of Australia's longest living hot water systems starting in Australia making steel products in 1937 and then moving into water heaters in 1939 before developing the Glass lined system's we know today all the way back in 1954. What we all think of as an Australian brand is actually American company based in Atlanta and ultimately owned by Paloma a Japanese company. Nether less the are still making the majority of the storage systems right here in Victoria with the same quality we have expected for close to a century.

The Rheem Stellar is Rheem's premier electric storage range released in the early teens and expanding throughout metropolitan centers across Australia. Available from 50L all the way up to 315L and in multiple element configurations from 1.8kw to 3.6kw, single and twin element, there is a Rheem Stellar electric hot water system to fit most households.

The Rheem Stellar is separated from their other range of water heaters by a stainless-steel inner tank for enhanced corrosion protection and reduced maintenance. Without the requirement for a sacrificial anode to protect the hot water system the Rheem Stellar saves you around $200 every five or six years on servicing. With an increase in insulation valve about the minimum MEPS (maximum energy loss per L per day) requirements the Rheem Steller generally saves the average family around $30 per year on operating costs and factored in with reduced maintenance can save you over $700 over the first ten years of operation, not bad for another $150 over the standard system.

With an industry first 12-year cylinder warranty including 3 years on labour and 1 year on electrical components when installed in an approved installation area your family will have great reliable hot water for years to come. 

The major drawback on these systems is suitability. They are only warranted for installation in approved generally metropolitan areas where water quality is deemed suitable and won't affect the stainless-steel inner tank. The Rheem Stellar is suitable for a large portion of greater Brisbane with the exceptions being the 4114, 4300 and 4520 postcodes.

Installation is a breeze for plumbers with the systems upto 42% lighter than traditional units meaning less issues with access and bad backs. The Rheem Stellar range 80L and above also has a top outlet connection for maximum hot water though this can cause issue with nylon seals blowing out were used and the constant expansion and contraction can loosen the service nut. All of our installers have developed their own methods of counteracting this issue though. All units are also dual handed so inlets on both sides of the unit makes keeping neat pipework nice and easy and the addition of an off centered power connection does make retrofitting from an old Saxon hot water system which generally was set up with a short power connection a simple task. The offset power can cause issues when exiting the wall on the right-hand side of the unit depending on length and may require an unattractive unit orientation or the Rheem Stellar requiring an electrician to extend the power supply.

Atheistically they are definitely one of the more attractive systems, tall and sleek and thankfully in a modern neutral gray colour. We can't believe some companies are still running with diarrhea yellow, yuck. Coupled with an AVG valve kit and integrated valve insulation the system will do its part and blend into the background and well as possible.

Running the required incoloy elements as standard has improved lifespans over their copper-based cousins and the Robert-Shaw thermostat is about as reliable as they come with dual pole overheat protection limiting the chances of a heater fire. The fire protection is also drastically reduced with a front conduit access creating nice tight gaps and nowhere for the old gecko to climb in and short the system out.

What's the reliability like? In our opinion great. We install hundreds of Rheem Stellar electric hot water systems a year and over the last decade only one warranty claim comes to mind which was a blown element welding itself to the tank after 4 years. Compared to every other electric non-heat pump hot water system on the market it's the one on our Christmas list each year.

Installation costs compared to the cheapest electric hot-water system are as expected more expensive for a high end product. Generally setting you back around $350 more than the cheapest option is definitely worth the investment with reduced running costs, lower maintenance, longer warranty and the Rheem quality we all expect. Starting at around $1700 installed for a system to suit a family it only equates to around 50c per day over the life of system compared to 40c for an entry level product. See our full range of Rheem Stellar hot water systems available for same day installation here at JR.

Finally, would we have one at our house? If we were going to go down the electric route 100% but we have and would recommend a heat pump system due to the 65-75% reduction in running costs. The Rheem Stellar is though a great system and highly recommended to those wishing to stay with a solid, trouble free system.