Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Plumbing

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-17-2010, 10:57 PM   #31
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 1
Rewards Points: 0
Share |
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Great info on this problem. Is it me or is A O Smith a dishonorable company? They manufacture a defective product, fail to recall the product, provide a "tool" with which to address the problem albeit on a darned frequent basis, and the consumer is left holding the bag.

I'm a home inspector in Denver. A client family of mine who recently moved here from China and who have limited English skills called me a few months after moving in to tell me of the problem with their water heater. I went and checked it out and it appeared to be okay. After brushing off my cultural hubris thinking that the client was doing something wrong, I research on the web and find this story repeated often. Now it looks like they have either to become water heater techs or get a new water heater. If I had to play with my water heater every few months, I'd make a planter out of it.

Guess I can't do much more that feel for my client and warn future clients when I encounter any A O Smith product. This really stinks.

Dongus Eddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2010, 12:53 AM   #32
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 109
Rewards Points: 0
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Hey, I just noticed your post. The problem is not with A O Smith, it's with the design of these sealed flame waterheater. I just posted something similar a few hours ago regarding a GE (2 year old) and Rheem (4 years old) water heater. Here's what I wrote....

Can you believe a spider has the ability to break a waterheater?

I know that sounds weird, but it true. I worked on two waterheaters that would randomly shut off about once a day. These are the newer style water heaters that have the flamed sealed, and you can see the pilot through the glass. I actually called the manufacturer and they sent me a brand new gas valve. Even after installing the new gas valve, the same problem persisted. Well it turned out that a spider web blocked enough of the air vents on the bottom of the water heater to cause the problem.

To fix the problem, I used a Shop-Vac, and put the vacuum holes so it would be a blower instead of a vacuum. Then I put the vacuum holes on top vent of the waterheater. This blew the air through the waterheater and cleared the vents from the bottom of the waterheater.

I just thought I share this information, because this is one problem that was boggling my mind for about a week. I was ready to replace both of these waterheaters, until somebody suggest this solution. The older water heaters, the ones with the flame exposed and needed to be lite with a match, never had problems like this.

Last edited by stanlam; 08-18-2010 at 06:22 PM.
stanlam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2010, 09:18 AM   #33
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Central IL.
Posts: 163
Rewards Points: 0
Blog Entries: 1
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


the newer style gas water heaters are a pain in the ass !
rudolph58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2010, 09:44 AM   #34
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 0
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dongus Eddy View Post
They manufacture a defective product, fail to recall the product, provide a "tool" with which to address the problem albeit on a darned frequent basis, and the consumer is left holding the bag.
Be careful.
http://www.illinoisconstructionlawbl...oes%201-18.pdf
This gets pretty interesting after page 2.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 08-22-2010 at 10:03 AM.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2010, 12:00 PM   #35
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Central IL.
Posts: 163
Rewards Points: 0
Blog Entries: 1
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Gee,i did not indicate a particular manuf.even dough i think there are only3 or 4 of them and they can say ass on tv.
rudolph58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2010, 12:03 PM   #36
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Central IL.
Posts: 163
Rewards Points: 0
Blog Entries: 1
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


i am sorry. i think you directed that toward dongus eddy's post
rudolph58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2010, 12:18 PM   #37
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 0
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by rudolph58 View Post
they can say ass on tv.
This might come under 1st amendment free speech; no lawsuit there. . . Nowadays it might not even be "offensive speech."

The U. of MD newspaper is/was called The Diamondback.
One time a bunch of fraternity brothers wrote to the paper and said that the MD cheerleaders were "dogs" and that the cheerleaders from the visiting football teams were always prettier.
Does the proverb "the grass is always greener. . ." come to mind?

An engineer-turned-lawyer told me that this was "offensive speech" and that this is protected by law.

Protected or not, you can't imagine the firestorm after that letter was published.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 08-22-2010 at 12:33 PM.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2010, 04:09 PM   #38
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Auburn, KY
Posts: 1
Rewards Points: 0
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Just wanted to say thanks to everyone, especially Plumber Jim... glad I found this site.

Nearly a year after we bought our (1948 model) home in May 2003, we started smelling gas in the area of our water heater, which is downstairs in the unfinished basement. Since our home came with a "home warranty" (but that's another story, for another time), we didn't kick up too much of a fuss when the plumber we called replaced it with a newer A O Smith model. We got a good deal on the replacement under the warranty, so we didn't research the choice, but just went with what they installed.

All was well until about a month ago, when one day I discovered there was no hot water. We went downstairs, read the instructions, and relit the pilot. Unfortunately, we repeated this several times over a few days, and the pilot would not stay lit.

Jeff thought it might be the thermocouple, having dealt with this problem before. Unfortunately, this unit is new enough to be the closed-chamber type, and we did not feel comfortable messing around with replacement on these newfangled units. And with our being in financial straits, calling a plumber was not a viable option.

Fortunately, I found this thread. The first thing I did was vacuum the little air intake on the bottom of the unit. We have cats, and there is cat hair drifting around in the unfinished basement; this had totally clogged the intake, and I'm sure the pilot light and burner unit were starving for air. (Silly me did not even know about this filter, although it's probably mentioned in the manual somewhere). I also poked the crevice tool of the shop vac into the hole, and vacuumed up as much as I could. The unit is working fine now; but I suppose I need to figure out a way to clean that arrestor screen directly.

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks... you saved us a lot of hassle and expense.
Jeff&Zee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2010, 09:40 PM   #39
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 0
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


In the spirit of Thanksgiving I am thankful I found this site and this thread!

I too have an AO Smith water heater (GNR 50 100)! We have a newer home (built about 2 years ago) and haven't had any issues at all with the water heater. Yesterday we noticed there wasn't any hot water and I saw that the pilot light had gone out. I re-lit it but after about 2 hours we noticed it had gone out again. I re-lit it again and this time hung around in the garage to monitor it. After a while I started hearing a sizzling sound and after about 20 minutes it stopped heating and the pilot light was out, and after that I couldn't even get the pilot light to stay lit.

This morning, after researching online, I decided to replace the thermocouple. Once I got the burner assembly out I saw that the surface of the burner itself had some burnt residue and the bottom of the burner chamber itself looked as if something had dripped inside. Not a lot, and it didn't look fresh, but it still made me wonder about that sizzling sound I'd heard yesterday. There was also a fine green dust on the burner surface. Other than the residue and green dust the inside of the heater was actually pretty clean. Some regular dust but the flame arrestor was clear. I wiped away what was there and ran some compressed air on the flame arrestor just to be sure.

I replaced the thermocouple, reinstalled the burner, and relit the pilot light with no problem. I hung around in the garage again until the water heater stopped heating, and the pilot light had gone out again! I re-lit the pilot light and then played with the temperature settings and the pilot light stayed on the entire time. I watched it go through another heating cycle and this time the pilot light stayed lit after it was done heating. But a couple hours later the pilot light was out again and now I can't get it to stay lit at all! The one difference from yesterday was that I didn't hear any sizzling at all.

My best guess is that the gas control valve is bad. The thermocouple is brand new and there is obviously enough air flow to light the pilot, but it will not stay lit.

At this point I'm not sure what the best way to proceed is. The water heater is still under warranty from AO Smith but I'm concerned about how long it would take to get replacement parts. My local Lowe's has a gas control valve on the shelf for $62 but I'm not sure if it's the same as the one on my water heater. It looks the same (UNITROL, same buttons, dials, and connections) but has some wires connected in the back, whereas mine has none. Could I disconnect those wires and just use it?

I'm going to call AO Smith in the morning and search for a replacement part again locally. I just wish I could be 100% sure it's the gas control valve!

Any advice or suggestions?

Thanks!

FlypSyde
flypsyde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2010, 09:53 PM   #40
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 109
Rewards Points: 0
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by flypsyde View Post
In the spirit of Thanksgiving I am thankful I found this site and this thread!

I too have an AO Smith water heater (GNR 50 100)! We have a newer home (built about 2 years ago) and haven't had any issues at all with the water heater. Yesterday we noticed there wasn't any hot water and I saw that the pilot light had gone out. I re-lit it but after about 2 hours we noticed it had gone out again. I re-lit it again and this time hung around in the garage to monitor it. After a while I started hearing a sizzling sound and after about 20 minutes it stopped heating and the pilot light was out, and after that I couldn't even get the pilot light to stay lit.

This morning, after researching online, I decided to replace the thermocouple. Once I got the burner assembly out I saw that the surface of the burner itself had some burnt residue and the bottom of the burner chamber itself looked as if something had dripped inside. Not a lot, and it didn't look fresh, but it still made me wonder about that sizzling sound I'd heard yesterday. There was also a fine green dust on the burner surface. Other than the residue and green dust the inside of the heater was actually pretty clean. Some regular dust but the flame arrestor was clear. I wiped away what was there and ran some compressed air on the flame arrestor just to be sure.

I replaced the thermocouple, reinstalled the burner, and relit the pilot light with no problem. I hung around in the garage again until the water heater stopped heating, and the pilot light had gone out again! I re-lit the pilot light and then played with the temperature settings and the pilot light stayed on the entire time. I watched it go through another heating cycle and this time the pilot light stayed lit after it was done heating. But a couple hours later the pilot light was out again and now I can't get it to stay lit at all! The one difference from yesterday was that I didn't hear any sizzling at all.

My best guess is that the gas control valve is bad. The thermocouple is brand new and there is obviously enough air flow to light the pilot, but it will not stay lit.

At this point I'm not sure what the best way to proceed is. The water heater is still under warranty from AO Smith but I'm concerned about how long it would take to get replacement parts. My local Lowe's has a gas control valve on the shelf for $62 but I'm not sure if it's the same as the one on my water heater. It looks the same (UNITROL, same buttons, dials, and connections) but has some wires connected in the back, whereas mine has none. Could I disconnect those wires and just use it?

I'm going to call AO Smith in the morning and search for a replacement part again locally. I just wish I could be 100% sure it's the gas control valve!

Any advice or suggestions?

Thanks!

FlypSyde
I posted this earlier. I think it will work....


I know that sounds weird, but it true. I worked on two waterheaters that would randomly shut off about once a day. These are the newer style water heaters that have the flamed sealed, and you can see the pilot through the glass. I actually called the manufacturer and they sent me a brand new gas valve. Even after installing the new gas valve, the same problem persisted. Well it turned out that a spider web blocked enough of the air vents on the bottom of the water heater to cause the problem.

To fix the problem, I used a Shop-Vac, and put the vacuum holes so it would be a blower instead of a vacuum. Then I put the vacuum holes on top vent of the waterheater. This blew the air through the waterheater and cleared the vents from the bottom of the waterheater.

I just thought I share this information, because this is one problem that was boggling my mind for about a week. I was ready to replace both of these waterheaters, until somebody suggest this solution. The older water heaters, the ones with the flame exposed and needed to be lite with a match, never had problems like this.
stanlam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2010, 10:32 PM   #41
Picky Plumber
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 138
Rewards Points: 0
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


We do routine maintenances for our customers as part of a service contract and I've found that the easiest way to clean the flame arrestor is to have a shop vac that vacumms on one end and blows out the other. Take the door off, pull the burner/pilot assembly. (You'll need an extra vacumm hose for this) Stick the end of the hose that blows air out inside the combustion chamber blowing down, at the same time, stick the one that sucks in the bottom of the unit below the combustion chamber. Clean out the combustion chamber, clean soot off of t-couple w/ sand cloth or rag, reassemble, relight, check for gas leaks, the end.
Plumber26 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2010, 10:58 PM   #42
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 0
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


I'm pretty confident that the flame arrestor, all air vents, the igniter, and pilot assembly on my water heater are clean and unobstructed. When I had the burner assembly out I checked and cleaned what I could. I'll check it again tomorrow though. The fact that the thermocouple is brand new and the pilot does light but won't stay lit really leads me to believe the gas control valve is bad.

@stanlam
How long did it take for you to receive the replacement gas control valve from the manufacturer?

Last edited by flypsyde; 11-22-2010 at 11:07 PM. Reason: Added text
flypsyde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-2010, 10:13 AM   #43
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 109
Rewards Points: 0
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by flypsyde View Post
I'm pretty confident that the flame arrestor, all air vents, the igniter, and pilot assembly on my water heater are clean and unobstructed. When I had the burner assembly out I checked and cleaned what I could. I'll check it again tomorrow though. The fact that the thermocouple is brand new and the pilot does light but won't stay lit really leads me to believe the gas control valve is bad.

@stanlam
How long did it take for you to receive the replacement gas control valve from the manufacturer?
The replacement gas valve was sent to me priority so it came in a few days. However, the company was reluctant to send it to me because the representative kept saying it wasn't the control valve according to what I told them and they were right. No receipt was necessary, they go by the serial number to see how old it is.

I still think it's caused by the air flow being clogged. Here's something you can do to test the air flow. Remove the screws that connect the glass on the water heater. Then loosen the glass, that way the burner will have a little more air flow. If after you loosen the glass and the water heater stays lit longer or stay lit all the time, then you know it's the air flow and the shop vac should fix it. Removing the glass will make the water heater less safe. However, I won't worry about that, since all the water heater made 10 years prior didn't even have the glass that sealed the burner.

Remember that the water heater is made so precise that it has to allow enough air to allow the pilot and burner to work, but not enough to ignite a gas leak if there was one. All you need is a spider that spins a web to block the air flow. The water heater can look perfectly clean from the outside. It's the inside where it matters.

Last edited by stanlam; 11-23-2010 at 08:27 PM.
stanlam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-2010, 08:33 PM   #44
HVAC / Plumbing
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,801
Rewards Points: 0
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


whenever the burner assy is remover the seal should be replaced. I worked on some of these .Most of the time the problem is the way they set up the wh to put itself out in the event of a flash / fire. that device is usually part of the burner assy
kenmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2010, 06:53 PM   #45
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 0
Default

A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Well, my problem ended up being the gas control valve. I had a plumber come out and he came to the same conclusion and replaced it. Once the new one was in the pilot light lit up on the first try. The water heater has been working perfectly since.

-FlypSyde

flypsyde is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Water Heater troubles AZJD Plumbing 20 02-16-2012 10:10 PM
I would like to relocate the flue for my gas water heater Git HVAC 12 04-23-2008 09:37 PM
gas water heater testing MrLinux Plumbing 11 04-14-2008 07:07 PM
Electric tankless hot water heater former33t Plumbing 2 02-28-2008 11:40 AM
water heater issues Missydo Plumbing 17 04-05-2005 09:31 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.