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Old 10-11-2009, 09:04 PM   #16
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


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Originally Posted by redsky01 View Post
we have around 30 units in our community all with the same heater...have heard all of them having issues on and off
Bad batch of heaters?
Impure NG in your community?
Improper installations?

Maybe you need a community class action lawsuit?

Replacing it at 3 years would be a record for the replacement age data that I have.

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Old 10-11-2009, 09:59 PM   #17
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Did you clean the flame arrestor that you can't see under the heater? If all you have done was clean the plastic screen that you can remove then you haven't been fixing it. In the very center of the bottom of the heater they have a ceramic disc which you need to suck all the dust out of. A.O Smith was giving out a special vacuum attachement made just for this, I have one. you can make one with pvc pipe and an elbow if needed. you have to get all that dust from the flame arrestor because it will cause the heater to not get the right air to gas mix and over heat, Which will make it go out. It is a very well known problem with your heater.

Last edited by plumber Jim; 10-11-2009 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 10-11-2009, 11:03 PM   #18
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


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Did you clean the flame arrestor that you can't see under the heater? If all you have done was clean the plastic screen that you can remove then you haven't been fixing it. In the very center of the bottom of the heater they have a ceramic disc which you need to suck all the dust out of. A.O Smith was giving out a special vacuum attachement made just for this, I have one. you can make one with pvc pipe and an elbow if needed. you have to get all that dust from the flame arrestor because it will cause the heater to not get the right air to gas mix and over heat, Which will make it go out. It is a very well known problem with your heater.
Thanks for the quick replies !

I have tried cleaning the plastic screen at the bottom....
on a different note for the 1st one year there was no plastic screen....I never knew until the first time I had issues...

I have not vaccumed all the way till the center but have put in a vaccum pipe a little through the slots at the bottom....I cut the pipe on the end of an old vaccum and that helped me in reaching inside (not all the way to the center...)

the problem with the pvc pipe reaching inside is that I have a plate with a rim on the outside bottom of the heater....so have very little clearance for putting a pipe in for cleaning.....

I am so mad at the moment....

Horrible heater ...useless company !

Plumber Jim, can you please let me know if AO smith openly accepts that there is a defect in this heater ?

Last edited by redsky01; 10-14-2009 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:48 AM   #19
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


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Originally Posted by plumber Jim View Post
A.O Smith was giving out a special vacuum attachement made just for this, I have one.
It is a very well known problem with your heater.
A design defect, and the bandaid is this vacuum gadget?
http://www.ripoffreport.com/
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:04 AM   #20
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hello,

can you please let me know what is with the ripoff report ?

Thanks,
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:50 PM   #21
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


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Originally Posted by redsky01 View Post
hello,

can you please let me know what is with the ripoff report ?

Thanks,
People who bought this heater might feel AO Smith ripped them off.
Especially in that AO makes a special tool to lessen this problem [thereby acknowledging a design problem] rather than fix the water heater design or make some kind of customer restitution.

If this procedure is normal maintenance for this heater, I guess it should say it somewhere in the owner's manual or installation instructions.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 10-14-2009 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:31 PM   #22
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Hey guys and gals, first off I used to be a plumber but am now working towards a career in website design. I just registered here at diy because I'm having the same problem of the pilot going out in my '04 A.O. Smith 40 gal. water heater and found this topic pretty helpful. Thanksgiving, the in-laws were over the house and we notice no hot water in the evening. Well I went down and got her fired back up and all was well...for a day or two. A few days later we had a lot of wind here in OH and the wife and I woke up to cold water. Huh, went down and got the pilot going again. Since then it's been going out pretty much every day. That is kind of scary considering that if the gas valve doesn't end up shutting off for whatever reason, gas is going to get into the room. We're in a newer community here so I suspect a lot of the houses were fitted with these things. I'm going to make some sort of extension and vacuum out the center of the heater as has been suggested. I know the screen at the bottom is nice and clean. I'll let you all know if this fixes the problem. I would think that if the thermocouple has gone bad, it would not light the pilot at all. Ya know, I got out of plumbing for a reason...
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:29 PM   #23
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


I have a 40 gal AO smith Promax that just starting acting up today - pilot stays on but you need to turn the thermostat up above where it's been set to get the main burner to light . I've emailed AOSmith but no reply as of yet - It's frustrating when you buy what you think is a reliable brand/product.

Any ideas on whether cleaning/vacuming will help?
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Old 01-01-2010, 06:02 PM   #24
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


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I have a 40 gal AO smith Promax that just starting acting up today - pilot stays on but you need to turn the thermostat up above where it's been set to get the main burner to light . I've emailed AOSmith but no reply as of yet - It's frustrating when you buy what you think is a reliable brand/product.

Any ideas on whether cleaning/vacuming will help?

Are you saying that the water is cold and the main burner isn't going on?

If yes then, No cleaning the flame arrestor isn't the answer for that one. It would mean that the gas control valve is bad.
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:36 AM   #25
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Ok My landlord baught the A.o. Smith water heater and it was fine. Then six months ago it started going out. I would light the pilot and before it would tottaly heat the water it would go out. I have learned the easy way thank goodness. YOu have to vacumm out the bottom of the water heater at least every 3 months. There is a circle behind the black little screen on the bottom. I took a water hose and taped it to my vacumm hose taped one end then cut a little whole on the top that way I could vacumm out the little round screen thing hidden right in the compartment behind the screen . Sounds confusing but if you look at this website it will show you. All you need is an atatchment or make your own and a flash light. Girls if I can do it you can too.


http://www.broomfieldplumber.com/wat..._cleaning.html
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Old 04-17-2010, 12:36 PM   #26
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Iv also a AO smith. Same issues after 4 years..

Question. I want to pull out the burner and clean up the thermocouple and piezo ignitor which intermittently works. What should I use to clean the soot and deposits off?

You should be able to vacuum or blow out the flame arrestor from above as well. But it looks like a piece of 1" pvc could slide under and with a elbow could be cleaned out. Tape it on to your shop vac.

Can any modifications be done to the flame arrestor to prevent all this?
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Old 04-24-2010, 10:42 AM   #27
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Thanks to plumber Jim my AO smith Promax is working like new. Easy fix vacuuming the flame arrestor out unless you don't like getting on your knees with your eyeball on the floor.
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:22 PM   #28
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


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Thanks to plumber Jim my AO smith Promax is working like new. Easy fix vacuuming the flame arrestor out unless you don't like getting on your knees with your eyeball on the floor.
Glad to hear it!
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:59 PM   #29
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


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Originally Posted by joeyuk View Post
After removing the pilot assembly I decided this water heater was at the end the road. I replaced it with a A O SMITH ProMax plus high efficency 50 gallon also.

I do appreciate the quick good advice given and have listed the site in my favorites so I will be sure to pop in from time to time.

Joe


PS It's Joe Yuk..... as opposed to Joey UK
It's all a matter of spacing! (Joe Yuk vs. Joey UK)
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:23 PM   #30
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I'm a military graphics illustrator by trade but a reverse engineer by nature. in 2007 I and my wife brought a town house that was installed with a new AO Smith 40 gallon natural gas water heater that began having pilot blow out issues in the first year due to constant high winds. On advice of the warranty contractor for the area to remove the black screen in front, things worked great till the next year when we had our cyclic return of high winds. On our third year the pilot began blowing out on a regular basis with out the winds and of course our warranty was up for the home by then. This prompted me to do some research into the burner assembly of my own since being a soldier on a limited budget warrants me to fix broken appliances myself instead of replacing them. What I've found through web and trial and error research is the pilot is controlled by, not just, your thermocouple but by a self resetting temperature sensor poorly welded into the line of your thermocouple. When I pulled the burner assembly out my military troubleshooting skills kicked in and I began checking every part for tightness and feasability. That little disc clicked when I touched it and that prompted me to research the design for AO Smith burners. Turned out that this design is new and flawed. its designed to activate your auto gas shutoff valve if the chamer reaches a certain temp. The problem with that is that if your in an area like Colorado that has high winds this puts huge pressure on the already weak welds holding it in place. Upon removing that disc and joing the broken thermocouple wire together with a simple thermal resistant wire connector from Lowes my hot water has never run out yet. I can even fill my 60 gallon garden tub in my Master bath completely with hot water where I could only reach half way before. I have effectively saved myself over 400 dollars in costly replacement and disposal of my water heater. I hope this does the same for you guys. Good luck and God Bless.

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