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Vulcan Freeloader Gas Hot Water System

Vulcan Freeloader Gas Hot Water System

135L (648135) and 170L (648170)
3.9 from 22 reviews

Never stopped working.

My HWS started dripping rusty water and thought "that's it" time for a new HWS. Discovered from documents left by previous house owner that my HWS was over 18 years old and not once did it falter. Installed a new one the same as before Vulcan 135L and am delighted with it. Have had to turn the temp control down to 4 (old one previously 6-7) as the water was too hot. Great feature of "Vacation" setting where you can turn the system off and leave the pilot light on and it doesn't keep reheating whilst you are away. When you return home, the reheat time for the tank is about 45 mins. My plumber Nigel says they are the best and installs around 5-8 per week. Thank you Vulcan for a great & reliable product.

Date PurchasedAug 2018

Vulcan Freeloader Lasted 23 Years

Our Vulcan Freeloader 260 has finally died after serving us loyally for 23 years without a problem (july 1995). Other than regularly releasing the relief valve, no maintenance carried out during its life. Provided reliable service to family of 4 and its daily demands. Certainly cant complain about its performance and longevity of service.

Date PurchasedJul 1998

Excellent for price

Had this model installed in 2014 and it has been an excellent and efficient water heater. On half setting and my total 2 monthly gas bill is only around $80 to $90 to run it and my gas cooking as well. I will update the post if something goes wrong but as for the performance and efficiency I am very happy with it.

Date PurchasedSep 2014

Vulcan Freeloader Hot Water Service

I recently downsized to a unit and the hot water system there kept going out and I was forever relighting the pilot. Although it was only 4 years old I decided to replace it with a Vulcan Freeloader as I have never had any problems with them in the past. I have had 18 years out of my last one with only 1 anode replacement and my hot water was always hot. In summer I always turn the temp down, I think it is senseless having water so hot that you have to use that much cold to use it, apart from using less gas and water I feel that it saves wear and tear on the unit.

Date PurchasedJul 2017

Vulcan freeloader 170 swap with old one no pipe work required. 1 hr job . total price $1700 dollars

Old model lasted 13 years without anode change out. Went with storage system again for extra heat up to 70 degC - continuous gas heaters cheeper to run but was told only good for 50 deg C . Not hot enough for washing greasy dishers. I hope this new model last as long as the old. As it cost twice as much i am hoping it will last twice as long. Bunbury Hot Water and Gas - bunbury WA

Date PurchasedApr 2017

Twenty One Years Old and Still Going Strong!

Vulcan Freeloader Model 260 Gas Mains Pressure Outdoor Model Storage HWS: Manufacture Date 12/12/1996; So far have changed the Magnesium Anode regularly (three) at regular intervals of 6 or 7 years. No problems with the Gas Burner or Pilot Light. No problems with the Thermostat; No problems with the Pressure Relief Valves (Hot & Cold) or Yorkshire Fitting. (I'm a technical man and release the Relief Valves periodically to Gush-out the muck).
***Slight problem with the Non-Return Valve at Cold water Inlet (***verdigree ceased and could not shut-off) Changed it on 27th March 2017 $ 32.45 GST included. The Magnesium Anode last replaced 27/03/2017 $ 58.30 GST included.
This Gas Storage HWS has been reliable for a family of FIVE plus 3 grandchildren throughout many years including number of Guests. Originally manufactured by Southcorp.
Capacity has been sufficient throughout - i.e. Never ever ran out of Hot Water.

Date PurchasedJan 1997

So far so great!!

Our Dux Sun Pro finally died.
Our plumber recommended the Vulcan. Had it for a few weeks and it's been excellent so far. it was a quick changeover for the plumber and the water has been beautifully hot and ever so reliable. Made by Rheem now but because it is badged as Vulcan at the Rheem factory it's s little less expensive.

Date PurchasedFeb 2017

Vulcan Tough? Not mine!

The Vulcan website blurb states that Vulcan is "tough and built with the best".
Well, not the one I have!
After only 2 1/2 years the pilot light went out and would not re-light. Called the plumber who installed it and it was a failed thermocouple. Very poor quality to fail after such a short time - and of course warranty on parts is only 12 months. From other reviews this seems a common problem. Our old hot water service lasted over 12 years. I wouldn't buy Vulcan again.

Date PurchasedJul 2014

Poor Vulcan Quality

I've had the product 2 years. Recently had the issue where the pilot light would not stay alight. Had to call Vulcan maintenance who installed a new thermocouple.
Website proudly displays "5 year warranty" but surprise....this only covers the cylinder.
Repair cost me $170. This is poor after just 2 years of use.
The maintenance guy said this was "very unusual" but reviews on this website indicate otherwise.

Vulcan vs Vulcan Rheem

Our 2000 Vulcan 135 Freeloader has worked brilliantly. Now showing signs we need to have it replaced. Suggested to us were Rheem Stellar and Rheem Aquamax but I was unimpressed with reviews. Thought I should stick with what has worked well for us, namely Vulcan. Discovered that Vulcan has been bought out by Rheem. Interestingly, the reviews of Vulcan Freeloader have been excellent (as is my experience too), but only for people who have had them many, many years (as have I). I notice that the more recently-purchased reviews, presumably since having been bought out by Rheem, are not consistently positive. Could this be a coincidence?

Goodbye, farewell ...

After 20 grateful years, our Vulcan Freeloader 260 has finally given up the ghost. No pilot light that would or could be relit. The only issue a gas line one 2 years ago. I hope we have as much luck with the new one. Reviews sound rather debatable since Vulcan were bought out by Rheem...

Inferior Trash

Had this piece of garbage for two years
Started having problems only days after the 1 year warranty that they give you on this poor excuse for a Hot Water System
Pilot light constantly going out and is rusting
Our gas fitter could not believe the state that the internal parts were in considering its age
He said that he replaces the Vulcans quite often different brand systems
We are fed up with this piece of trash and we are having it replaced with a Rinnai continuous Gas hit water system
It's made in Japan and comes with a 3 year/12 year warranty
Our gas fitter said that these Vulcan hot water systems are the worst on the market
Be warned do not purchase one
Other people we know who also have these Vulcans are also having them replaced
Zero Complete trash

Vulcan gas hot water failed after only 3 years

The pilot light won't stay on plus Rheen can't respond for 4 days to fix it and want to charge $132 just to attend. This is a quality issue with the pilot light on newer Vulcan systems. Also I wonder if anyone working at Rheem would like to go without hot water for 4 days (tell my 4 daughters)! Totally unacceptable!!!!

Poor quality, pathetic service

All fixed!

As an update to my previous review. Had the pilot light serviced and now it is no longer blowing out daily. Still going strong!!! I love it!!!

1 comment
Now 2018 - still roaring away!

13 months installed and now broken out of warranty

We have been in our brand new house for 13 months and now our Vulcan 135l water system is broken, I called the Vulcan Rheem service warranty line and spoke to a lady to find out I have to pay $132 just for them to come out! As it only has a 1 year warranty, Then I have to fork out for parts!!!!! I explained what the problem was (pilot light switching off every day) to the lady and asked what she might think is wrong with it, she was very unhelpful and just wanted to hang up, I work for a leading retail company and I will definitely NOT be recommending this product to anyone!!!!

Bad warranty service, broken in 13 months

Dont argue with phone people,they are trained to explain charges to you,allow a service tech to come out and if its a known problem they would have fixed it under warranty at 13mths. phone centre personnel are not service techs. as for the product there is no better more cost affective water heater than a gas storage.We used have the Vulcan gas hot water system working very well for 10 years as it was said by the warranty.After it broken down so we changed another same Vulcan but the quality of this one has problems just after 4 years. The pilot keep gone off, We are quite disappointed. We think it may be not made by the same company. When we bought it brand new was very expensive about $1400.00 !!! I just replaced my 125 litre electric vulcan hot water system today after 12 years of continuous service feeding at time upto 5 people. A company came over within 2 hours and installed it for $1,020. Replaced with another Vulcan as the old unit lasted 12 years


It is now 16.5 yrs old and had a 10 yr warranty. Still going strong but looking to replace as it must be nearly time to retire.
It always worked and we never had a problem
nothing to dislike


I don't see any reason to look to another product when this has served us so well. Price is very reasonable approx $950 for a 135L unit. $32/yr is fine by me.
Thanks Vulcan for making a great product.
Look forward to another thirty years.
Our Vulcan Freeloader 110L is about to celebrate it's 30th Birthday. Still going like a true champion, recently the pilot light is going out,slight water leak and rust is starting to take over. So its time for a new Vulcan. Extremely happy with quality and performance servicing a family of five. Highly recommended.
No cons for Vulcan Freeloader.
No problems to report.
My experience has been excellent.


this was a good unit that served us well for almost 12 years.
the pilot light is at the base of the unit and if it went out for any reason you would only find out about it when the water ran cold.
towards the end of its life it tried to let us know that there was a problem. whenever you turned the hot water on it would run rusty for a few seconds. after about a month of this, on a saturday evening, it just started leaking hot water everywhere!!
lucky it was an outdoor unit.
these units came with either a 7 or a 10 year warranty and I think ours was a 7 year warranty.
worked well for 12 years.
gas pilot cut out once or twice and left us with cold water.


135L more than enough hot water for two of us.
I cannot believe it has lasted this long. Had expected about 8 years.
Rusty water for about the past 3 months has flagged its dying moments.
Will be replacing our home HWS with Vulcan again, if price is not too extreme.
I accept we only get what we pay for, no such thing as good and cheap!
Good price + have installed 3 in my rental properties.
One here at home has just died today after 15 years. Confirmed with our original AGL invoice.
Relighting the pilot-light is a challenge, not easily visible, and at times very temperamental.
Solution: About 4 years ago I punched the peep hole out and covered it with gaffa tape.
In fairness I can count the blow-outs on one hand during the life of the unit.

I wish they were still made by Vulcan and NOT Rheem

My Vulcan Freeloader has been in use continuously since 1991 (it is now 06/11) and is still going strong in my house, which is used as a rental property. I have never had any issues with it, other than poor placement for kitchen use, but it comes through instantly hot to the en-suite, which is how it should be for the wage earner.
Compared to my new husband's Rheem Off-Peak, that the bottom fell out of after less than 8 years service (5 year warranty) and the new VERY expensive Rheem heat pump HWS, which didn't work when it was first installed and has since had four repair callouts in the first 5 months, including a manufacturer re-call repair. I would definitely buy another "Vulcan" Freeloader, but NOT a Rheem Freeloader.
Totally reliable, cost effective, maintenance free, set it and forget it.
I'll agree with others about the difficulty seeing the pilot light, on the rare occasions I needed to shut it down, for holidays and short breaks between tenants.

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Questions & Answers

I read the reviews many problems with its pilot light, and other problems with this heater.
2 answers
I have never had a problem in 5 years with this model. Pilot light has never blown out and the unit has functioned flawlessly.Hi Zoey, sorry for delay, the email went into the junk file for some reason. Strange you mention the Pilot light. After writing my review, went on holiday and turned unit onto "vacation"and when I returned could not relight the unit. The Rheem man (thank you Bob) came promptly and replaced the lighter system and had a fiddle around with the pilot and since then (4 months) it has been perfect. Hope this helps. Am still giving this HWS a high rating. Cheers

How do I ensure that no hot water leaks when I turn off the cold water main to replace washers in a leaking hot water tap in the shower recess? The water heater is a Vulcan freeloader Gas 648135 NO. Reply to [email removed] Regards. Tony. I rent
No answers

Had a 10 years old vulcan gas water, now rusted hot water keep on coming out every time i use it?
1 answer
It's rusted out in the bottom. Time to buy a new one.

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