When Rheem heard families were going without hot water this winter as a result of COVID-19’s economic impact, they acted quickly. Their idea was to donate water heaters to Kiwis in need, but the first hurdle they faced was installation – something which can only be done by registered plumbers and gasfitters.
They approached Master Plumbers hesitantly, knowing their members lost a significant amount of their regular workload during lockdown. Master Plumbers, however, were 100% behind the initiative and put the word out to their membership. Amazingly, a whopping 72 plumbing and gas companies from all over NZ offered to install the water heaters free of charge!

“We think that’s remarkable considering there was almost a complete loss of income in the lockdown period, and we asked them to help out by volunteering to donate their time,” says Brian McFarlane from Rheem.

The ‘Steady, Hot and Strong’ initiative was launched, and Rheem & Master Plumbers asked the public to nominate households which are in desperate need of a water heater.

The response was overwhelming. They received around 30 entries a week, and all were deserving nominations.

“It’s been quite tough for everyone doing the selection,” says Brian. “You’re looking at someone who has lost their job or both partners have lost their jobs… it’s just not something we’ve seen in NZ.

“One guy who had written in about his family had lost his job at the beginning of lockdown. Their old water heater had failed and they didn’t have the money to fix it, so they would boil the jug to bathe or wait in line at the local swimming pool to wash with their young son.”

With this just being one of many heartbreaking stories, Brian’s glad to report they’ve already donated more than their allocated water heaters – including one to the family noted above – and are hoping to have enough to make a real difference to many families nationwide.

After seeing the struggles of so many Kiwis throughout the country, Rheem and Master Plumbers are now considering how they can continue to assist local communities.

Thanks to the Rheem and Master Plumbers ‘Steady, Hot and Strong’ campaign, one more family can enjoy hot showers again.