Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

Rheem XR90 Extreme Recovery Gas Water Heater Preview

Rheem XR90 Extreme Recovery Gas Water Heater Preview

We’re big fans of instant, on-demand water heaters – but now there’s yet another option for energy efficiency. Now a new type of water heater, the Rheem XR90 Extreme Recovery Gas Water Heater. What it does is cut the storage capacity roughly in half, but it also heats the water at a much faster rate than traditional gas water heaters. That also makes it more energy efficient. For example, the XR90 Gas Water Heater stores just 29 gallons of water and can output more hot water, faster, than a standard 50-gallon gas water heater.

Rheem XR90 Extreme Recovery Gas Water Heater Features

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it is estimated that as many as 37 million residential water heaters are going to be replaced in the next 5 years alone. That number seems a little high to us, but nevertheless it’s a large number of water heaters that can be brought to greater levels of energy efficiency. In particular, the Rheem XR90 Extreme Recovery Gas Water Heater has an Energy Factor (EF) of .70, exceeding the requirements of ENERGY STAR Phase II.

The Rheem XR90 Gas Water Heater has a first hour rating (FHR) of 90 gallons. The first hour rating (FHR) is the amount of hot water (in gallons) that the heater can supply in the first hour after starting up. That means that the XR90 will deliver 3x the tank capacity in hot water in just an hour. Making it even more impressive, Rheem’s XR90 will heat water over 40% faster than your typical 50-gallon gas water heater. The recovery rate of the XR90 is 61 gallons per hour at a 90°F rise in temperature. To compare, your typical 50-gallon water heater has a recovery rate of 43 gallons per hour at the same temperature rise.

The estimated annual operating cost is $261 for the Rheem XR90, compared to $315 for a 50-gallon standard gas water heater (using the same rates for energy costs). The XR90 may also qualify for local and state energy rebates, and Rheem’s online Homeowner Resource Center lists all known rebates.

The Rheem XR90 is pretty compact for what it offers, fitting within the same space as many 30-50 gallon gas water heaters. The XR90 is 65.56 inches tall, but only 17.75″ across. Most 50-gallon water heaters are around 21.75″ in diameter, so the thinner profile means you can fit the XR90 in attics, utility closets and garages – but more than that, it’s perfect for upgrading older units to more efficient models while maintaining a small footprint. The dry shipping weight is just 136 lbs.

Rheem XR90 Features:

  • Honeywell gas valve
    This Integrated, self-diagnostic key control monitors all water heater operations, using an LED readout to identify problems and facilitate easier troubleshooting and servicing, should it become necessary.
  • Raheem Guardian Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistance (FVIR) System
    This maintenance-free protective system is a safety feature, which includes a flammable vapor detection sensor, automatically disabling 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 entire 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, which contains a second anode rod for inclusion at the time of the initial installation.

Rheem Specs

Energy Efficient / Low Emissions

  • .70 EF exceeds ENERGY Star Phase II
  • 29 gallon model with 90 gallon FHR performance, exceeds standard 50 gallon model by 10%
  • Recovery rate of 61 GPH at 90 degree rise, exceeds standard 50 gallon by 51%
  • Insulated for reduced stand-by heat loss
  • Eco-friendly burner, low NOx design
  • More hot water, lower operating cost

Compact Size

  • Small foot print, 17-3/4 inch diameter
  • Fast one-man installation, compact and light weight

Fan Assist Design

  • 110 VAC draft inducer (includes cord & plug)
  • Standard atmospheric double-wall B vent

Self-Diagnostic System

  • Integrated self-diagnostic system control for easy installation and service

Guardian System

  • Exclusive air/fuel shut-off device for double protection
  • Maintenance free – no filter to clean
  • Standard replacement parts

Flammable Vapor Detection Sensor

  • Protective control system that disables the heater in the presence of flammable vapor accumulation

Longer Life

  • Patented magnesium anode rod design incorporates a special resistor which protects the tank from rust

High Altitude Compliant

  • Certified for applications up to 7,700 feet above sea level


  • Brass drain valve and temperature and pressure relief valve are included
  • Standard 110 volt electrical outlet required for installation. Includes 8 ft. (3-prong grounded) power cord
  • Category I venting, double wall B vent
  • Meets or exceeds national appliance Energy

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

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