Today, Rheem unveiled the new XR90 Extreme Recovery Gas Water Heater. Needing only 29 gallons of storage, the Rheem XR90 is unique to the marketplace because it can heat water faster than any standard 50-gallon gas water heater. Plus, the XR90 costs less annually to operate than any standard 30-, 40- or 50- gallon gas model.

The XR90 meets, and in most cases, exceeds the available hot water provided by a standard 50-gallon gas water heater. It has a first hour rating (FHR) of 90 gallons—meaning homeowners get three times the amount of hot water in an hour than what the tank actually holds.

In addition, the Rheem XR90 heats water 42 percent faster than a typical 50-gallon gas model. The XR90 has a recovery rate of 61 gallons per hour at a 90°F rise in temperature, whereas a standard 50-gallon gas model has a recovery rate of 43 gallons.

The cost and energy benefits associated with the XR90 can help contractors augment their product portfolios with a unique, cost-effective offering. The XR90 costs less to operate annually: only $261 versus $315 per year for a standard 50-gallon gas model—a 17 percent savings. The unit has an Energy Factor (EF) of .70, exceeding the requirements of ENERGY STAR® Phase II.

Depending on the municipality, the XR90 qualifies for certain local and state rebate opportunities, thereby lowering the up-front investment for the homeowner.

“Contractors can now offer homeowners a smaller, more compact water heater that doesn’t sacrifice power or performance,” said Tommy Olsen, Rheem senior product manager. “With the Rheem XR90, the household gets more hot water faster, at a lower operating cost.”

The Rheem XR90 is the only gas tank-type water heater that can fit in the same space as many 30-gallon and most standard 40- or 50-gallon gas water heaters, while still providing enough hot water for standard 50-gallon applications. The height of the XR90 is 65.56 inches, but the diameter is only 17.75 inches, versus 21.75 for a standard 50-gallon unit. The slimmer profile facilitates locating the unit in tight-fitting spaces, such as attics, utility closets and garages, as well as basement mechanical rooms. One-man installation is a practical reality, with an installer-friendly shipping weight of only 136 pounds.

“Although the XR90 will work in any residential application, it is especially ideal for retrofit situations in which a homeowner wants to upgrade to a higher-performing model, but has only a small footprint available or simply needs to save space,” said Olsen.

How it works: The XR90 is able to outperform a larger water heater because it features an eco-friendly, low-NOx (40 nanograms per joule) gas burner with an input of 60,000 Btu per hour (Btu/h). This represents a substantial increase over the 40,000 to 50,000 Btu/h inputs typically offered by 50-gallon gas models.

The key to delivering better than a 50-gallon performance in a 29-gallon package is the application of commercial water heating technology to a residential product. A proprietary baffle and flue design in the Rheem XR90 retains the burner’s heat longer and thus transfers more of it to the stored water. As a result, the by-products of the combustion process must be propelled through the flue. The XR90 does this with a 110-VAC, fan-assisted draft inducer, powered by a standard household current. All an installer need do is connect the factory-supplied eight-foot, three-prong power cord to the nearest available outlet.

“Manufacturers can drive energy efficiency only so far in a conventional, atmospheric gas water heater,” Olsen explained. “To reach our targeted .70 EF, we introduced electrical power to the unit to upgrade the venting process to handle the higher, 60,000 Btu/h input.”

The inducer is designed to work with a standard three-inch or four-inch Category I, double-wall B vent, usually the venting that is already in place in the home. “Not having to switch to some other material, such as PVC, saves time and money on a retrofit installation project,”

Olsen noted, adding that, “fan-assist draft induced technology must follow standard atmospheric venting practices.” A factory-supplied four-inch adapter is included with the XR90.

Other key features of the new XR90 include:

Integrated, self-diagnostic Honeywell® gas valve: This key control monitors all water heater operations, using an LED readout to identify problems and facilitate troubleshooting and servicing. Eight flash codes are programmed into the valve, some are functional and others are for service work. The system ultimately helps simplify installation, troubleshooting and servicing.
Guardian Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistance (FVIR) System: This maintenance-free protective system, which includes a flammable vapor detection sensor, automatically disables the XR90 in the presence of such vapors.
High Altitude-Compliant: The XR90 is certified up to 7,700 feet above sea level, so it can be installed in most homes throughout the United States.
Six-Year Warranty: The XR90 includes a patented magnesium anode rod with a special resistor to protect the tank from rust. The warranty can be extended to 10 years with the Rheem ProtectionPlus Kit, containing a second anode rod for inclusion at the time of the initial installation.

For more information on the new Rheem XR90 (Rheem Model No. 43V30-60), visit www.rheem.com.