A.O. Smith water heaters at Lowes

The Tank A.O. Smith water heaters at Lowes

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  • #24116
    BobF
    Participant

    I was at Lowes last week and I noticed they now carry A.O. Smith water heaters. My impression is that they make decent water heaters (I need to replace our existing A.O. Smith manufactured in 1981). Googling revealed a couple of posts where it was claimed these are cheap water heaters rebranded as A.O. Smith. I know this happens with other products, but could that be the case here? Thanks!

    #24118
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hello, If you haven’t read this already: http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/Longevity/the-right-hot-water-heater.html it would be a good thing to do. My experience with AO Smith is they usually have aluminum anodes, which I replace with magnesium rods. Also add a second magnesium anode to the hot outlet to protect the tank longer before needing service.

    I don’t prefer one brand over another, just get one that has good local support and a full rather than a pro-rated warranty.

    Yours, Larry

    #24120
    BobF
    Participant

    Thanks for your response, Larry. I have read that section, and a great deal of the other material on the site; it’s very informative.
    I was planning on buying at least a magnesium anode, perhaps a whole kit, from here.
    My biggest concern was that this particular series of WH at Lowes was called out as ‘junk’, whatever that might mean. It looks just like the other AO Smith models, but all brands look unnaturally similar.

    #24121
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hello, Calling the AO Smith heaters junk is pretty broad brush, and needs a BIG grain of salt 😛 The more complex any heater is, the more problems it seems to have. So, get a basic heater with no electronics if possible. Get one with good insulation. And what I said before. Do that and you won’t need to think or worry about hot water for a long time! 😎

    Yours, Larry

    #24124
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    The reality is that any time anybody has a bad experience with a water heater, they decide the brand is junk, yet all the brands have been called junk at one time or another because they all make a certain number of defective heaters. A.O. Smith is the biggest manufacturer in the industry and I doubt if their banner brand is junk.

    It’s also true that most had a terrible time implementing the federal FVIR mandate in the early 2000s and people became very bitter at certain brands because they caused so much trouble. The Internet is forever, so the bad reviews go up and never come down. It’s a good idea to check the date of anything you read.

    Randy Schuyler

    #24135
    geno03245
    Participant

    AO Smith posts service manuals, and the FV system is basically an arrestor screen located on bottom of heater that is designed to prevent acceleration of flammable vapor ignition from leaving heater. Screen on bottom is relatively easy to clean without removing combustion parts.

    AO flue damper series is more efficient, possibly saving $10-12 per year over less efficient atmospheric heaters, but requires dedicated 120 volt outlet located within 10 feet of heater. It has more electronic repair parts.. cannot operate if electricity is off, and I suspect is susceptible to surge.

    AO Smith (and other brands) use the Honeywell electronic gas control valve that has been in use for a number of years. The valve for atmospheric-vented heaters can be replaced without draining tank. Error codes are handy.

    Rheem does not post service manuals, or show basic maintenance, and has the most difficult FV design for DIY repair.

    Bradford White uses a combo anode rod I believe, which means no anode port for second anode. They post service manuals, and the FV system is an arrestor screen located inside the combustion chamber under the burner. Probably the best FV design with air intake located on side of tank to resist dust infiltration.

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