Rheem Power Vent Water Heater Problems

Power vent water heaters are intricately designed to eliminate any backdraft potential, which lowers the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. They are also more energy-efficient than direct vent water heaters as they require less gas to operate. The Rheem Power Vent water heater offers these benefits but also presents some downsides.

Rheem power vent water heaters offer excellent performance and are eco-friendly, among other benefits. However, they also present some problems. The two most common Rheem power vent water heater problems are flammable vapor sensor issues and pilot light going off. Also, the water heater’s blower motor operates noisily.

Below we look at the various Rheem power vent water heaters, their pros and cons, and hour to troubleshoot issues that arise when using them.

Related: Rheem Water Heater – Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide

Rheem Power Vent Water Heaters Overview

The Rheem Performance series constitutes of the following four power vent water heaters:

  • Performance Power Vent 40 Gallon Natural Gas Water Heater
  • Performance Power Vent 50 Gallon Natural Gas Water Heater
  • Performance Power Vent 40 Gallon Propane Gas Water Heater
  • Performance Power Vent 50 Gallon Propane Gas Water Heater

Rheem Power Vent Water Heater Pros

  • Excellent performance: FHR of up to 88 gallons depending on the model
  • Low emissions making it eco-friendly
  • Self-diagnostic system for easy troubleshooting, monitoring, and servicing
  • Flexible venting options

Rheem Power Vent Water Heater Problems

The most common Rheem power vent water heater problems include;

Flammable Vapor Sensor Problems

They inhibit the unit’s ability to heat water. The two most common Rheem power vent water heater flammable vapor sensor issues are:

  • Flammable vapor sensor lockout (Error code 47). This error code may come up if there is gasoline or flammable gas nearby. To resolve, ensure there are no flammable vapors nearby and reset the gas control valve on the ON/OFF switch.
  • FVS fault (Error code 49). Error code 49 may be caused by faulty FV sensor wiring, faulty gas control, worn-out FV sensor. To resolve this, you might need to rewire the sensor or replace the FV sensor kit and the gas control valve.

Loud Blower Motor.

This is the unit’s design, and there is nothing much you can do to quiet the blower. However, you might want to install the heater away from your living area, e.g., in the basement.

Pilot Light Goes Off

Although the pilot light may go off erroneously, in most cases, thethermocouple may either be dirty, bent or damaged. The main risk with the pilot light going off is that the gas valve may continue to supply gas which can cause an explosion when relighting.

How Do You Light a Rheem Power Vent Water Heater?

If your Rheem power vent water heater pilot light has gone off, the system will not be able to heat water. This is because the furnace burners will not ignite and, therefore, will not produce any heat.

You will need to manually relight the pilot light for your Rheem power vent water heater to resume normal operation in such a scenario.

Below is the step-by-step process of light a Rheem power vent water heater:

  1. Put the gas knob in the “off” position by rotating it clockwise
  2. Set the water heater temperatures to the lowest setting by rotating the water temperature knob down in the counterclockwise direction
  3. Allow at least 5 minutes for any gas in the system to pass-through
  4. Open the outer door of your Rheem power vent heater
  5. Put the gas knob in the pilot light position by turning it in the counterclockwise direction
  6. Locate the red button that is on the left of the gas knob and push it down
  7. Locate the piezo ignitor striker on the left of the gas knob
  8. Continue to press down the red button and simultaneously press down the piezo ignitor striker repeatedly until the pilot light comes on
  9. Once the pilot light comes on, release the piezo ignitor striker but keep holding the red button down for at least a minute
  10. The pilot light should remain on
  11. Close the heaters outer door
  12. Put the gas knob to the “ON” position
  13. Finally, set the temperature knob to your preferred temperature setting

For further clarification on the process of lighting your Rheem power vent water heater, check the product’s manual or contact the Rheem customer service.

How Do You Troubleshoot a Power Vent Gas Water Heater?

Below are three ways you can troubleshoot your power vent water heater.

  • Check for an error code. In most cases, if your power vent gas water heater has a malfunction, it will display the relevant error code for easy troubleshooting and resolving of the issue.
  • Check your power vent water heater’s manual. Most water heater manuals have a “Use and Care” instructions section, which provides troubleshooting tips to help you identify the issue, its possible causes, and how to resolve it.
  • Check the blower assembly. The blower plays a crucial role in the operation of a power vent water heater. It draws air into the combustion chambers to facilitate heat production. If the blower is blocked or malfunctioning, the combustion chambers will not work efficiently.

To check if your blower has an issue, put off power to the heater. Then, remove the vent from the top of the blower. Detach the pressure tube that connects to the pressure switch. Connect a manometer to the pressure tap. Power on the blower and observe if it is working properly.

Why Is My Rheem Water Heater Not Heating?

The following are some possible reasons why your Rheem water heater is not heating:

  • Hot water usage exceeds the water heater’s capacity
  • Low gas pressure
  • The thermostat may be set too low
  • Leaking or open hot water faucets
  • Faulty valves
  • Unplugged blower
  • Limescale build-up on the heat exchanger
  • Restricted airflow to the combustion chambers
  • Blocked or restricted combustion air inlet or flue
  • Kinked pressure switch hose
  • Loose wire connections
  • Tripped combustion shut off device
  • Excess or low gas flow
  • Tripped reset button
  • Tripped circuit breaker

How Long Does It Take a Rheem Power Vent Water Heater to Heat Up?

The specific heat time depends on factors such as the temperature of the inlet water, hot water heater capacity, burner capacity, and the unit’s Gallons Per Minute rating.


Rheem power vent water heaters are a good option if you are looking to buy gas water heaters. However, you may encounter issues with the flammable vapor or flame sensor and the pilot light going off. However, with proper maintenance and working closely with a power vent water heater specialist to troubleshoot problems that come up, the hot water tank will serve you for a long time.

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