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A.O. Smith water heater. Big problems. No help. (JohnNY) **Updated 3/27/15, 11:30am**

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JohnNY
JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
edited March 2015 in THE MAIN WALL
There is a restaurant on the ground floor of a large residential building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side that I’ve been servicing for about 15 years now. It’s a busy place with a small kitchen and they’ve been there for many years. Located near the Metropolitan Opera House, they’re known in part as a pre-theatre destination so they’ve got very predictable rush times.
When I first started servicing the restaurant, they were making hot water with a gas-fired 80-gallon, 75,000 BTU A.O. Smith commercial unit which we would go on to change twice as management had this place on a 3-year cycle replacing water heaters to avoid doing it on an emergency basis.

Three years ago, we started having some venting problems as restaurants often do and so I got the idea on the next replacement to install a direct vent water heater and decouple the atmospheric pressure fluctuations happening within the building’s envelope from the water heater’s exhaust system.
A.O. Smith’s Cyclone water heater took combustion (intake) air directly from outside via a sealed pipe connected to the burner and exhausted the unit via another sealed pipe through the side wall next to which the water heater was situated.

Pricey at about $5,000, the BTH-120 Cyclone unit worked great and it made everyone happy. It was a 60-gallon tank and burned 120,000 BTUs that replaced the previous 80/75 unit nicely.
Best of all the venting problems associated with the old style natural draft water heater were now gone.

Fast forward to December 2014. Just three months ago. On that same 3-year schedule, we were contracted to replace the water heater again. The one in place, now three years old, had a sensor that needed to be replaced and management took it as a sign to replace the water heater since commercial water heaters are typically warranted for three years.

This one was a no-brainer. All agreed the replacement unit would be the updated version of the A.O. Smith Cyclone BTH-120.
So we scheduled for the kitchen to switch over to an alternate source of hot water they happen to have. Fortunately, we have access to the building’s domestic hot water, but it is metered and expensive and the building doesn’t let it go on for long anyway. We are all lucky that option exists.

The new A.O. Smith Cyclone water heater was a routine like-for-like replacement with some minor flue/air intake positioning changes, a routine job for our Journeyman plumbers.

Within just a couple days, the restaurant called to say there was no hot water.
The unit was in a hard “lockout” and needed to be reset, but the error didn’t make much sense. It cited the kind of condition that if were true, the unit would have never run. So we put the unit back into service, but a few days later, the fault returned and there was no hot water. A few days after that, another fault put the unit into lockout. In my 30-odd years of servicing heating equipment this was an infrequent, yet unfortunately familiar problem. This water heater had a bad circuit board.
A.O. Smith then directed me to call one of their service companies who suggested it may not be the circuit board, rather a sensor that they happened to have on their shelf.

(Continued)
Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
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  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
    edited March 2015
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    The company showed up promptly the next day and replaced the sensor.
    This didn’t work for long and the errors returned in short order. The service company then returned with a circuit board and replaced it.
    Things worked well for several weeks. At some point they charged us $375 but whatever. I needed this to be behind me.

    Still, the restaurant would occasionally complain that the unit would inexplicably run out of hot water at odd times. Some days, first thing in the morning when they opened up, there would be no hot water. They’d go to check it out and see the unit running but the temperature would be low for a long period of time. They’d switch over to the building’s metered hot water, wait for their Cyclone to heat up, then switch back for as long as the hot water kept up. Sometimes that meant all weekend, sometimes a week or more, but never for long.
    Meanwhile, the restaurant’s manager called to say there was now a steady drip of water from the unit that they were catching in buckets.
    I was actually relieved. This brand new water heater had a lot of problems and was clearly defective. The fact it was leaking meant it would be replaced under warranty. We could start fresh with a new unit.
    We called the service company back who said the leak was condensation dripping off the pipes and that since this was not going to be a warranty issue, they were charging our credit card $375 again (to schedule the service visit, you’re required to leave a credit card and pre-authorize a $375 charge). My brother took the call. When he was told this, he said something like “No way. That can’t be the problem. My tech saw the leak and it’s definitely not the piping. It’s clearly coming from inside the heater’s outer jacket. All the piping is visible and that CANNOT be the problem.”
    The owner of the service company then replied to my brother, “Fine. I won’t charge your card. Keep your money and go f*ck yourself! And don’t ever call me again.”

    So that happened.

    I returned and found the steady leak was the water heater’s insulation absorbing and slowly releasing condensation building up when the tank would go cold periodically.
    We then raised the temperature from 145° to 175° and installed a mixing valve to temper the water and lessen the draw while trying to keep the tank hot and free of condensation.
    That stopped the drip. Kind of.
    Mind you, we kept the old water heater at 145°-150° for three years without incident.

    Suddenly one day, the unit stopped working entirely. Blower “prover” errors locked the unit out for good.

    Surely, this was a warranty issue, so I called the second service company. They were professional and they came the next day to replace the prover switch.

    So now the circuit board, the temperature sensor, and the prover switch were all replaced. This water heater is less than 3 months old.
    My customer is losing faith in me and my company after all these years. It’s 4 degrees outside some days in one of the busiest heating seasons we’ve seen in years. Nobody, but nobody, is happy.
    The rep is not even pretending to help. Instead, they keep giving me A.O. Smith’s phone number.
    A.O. Smith keeps giving me phone numbers of other plumbers to call.
    I feel like I’m losing my mind.

    (Continued)
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
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  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    Finally, I turn to my supplier for this unit, West Side Supply in New Jersey, who is appalled at what’s going on and gets on his contact at the area representative’s office to help bring this to resolution.
    The first person they had me talk to at A.O. Smith said there was no record of the temperature sensor being shipped or changed in this unit and they insisted I take delivery of a new sensor, install it, and that will take care of the problems.
    He “overnighted” me the sensor even though it took 3 days to receive.
    I replaced it in the afternoon. That night I got the call: No hot water and the restaurant switched again to “building hot water” which they pay for.
    Again my salesman called the rep and was insistent something be done to bring this to resolution.
    The following morning the factory called me, this time a knowledgeable woman, the Team Lead of Commercial Tech Support.
    She’s got a pleasant southern accent and is making a real effort to get to the bottom of what’s wrong here. She’s clearly focused on my installation. She asks for pictures that I send immediately. Nothing wrong there.
    The next day she requests a fixture count and the model name and number of the dishwasher.

    Here’s where I finally stop being complacent. I explain that I don’t need AOS to do my engineering and we’re done with trying to divert blame away from this water heater. It is not working like the old one did. It is the same model, same BTUs, same recovery ratings, but it’s not working and their own factory service agents can’t keep it running.

    Now on everyone’s radar, I brought this update back to my salesman who called his contact at the rep’s office again. They contacted me immediately and met me the next day March 13th at the restaurant. He took all the info about usage, the most significant of which is a low-temp 2.2 gallon per cycle dishwasher. This one runs at 130° while most commercial dishwashers require 180° water.

    The rep took all this information and spoke to the chef and manager taking their account of how the water heater seems to behave. They explained that there was simply no pattern to when they would and would not have hot water and how the old unit was simply not something they ever had to think about. They admitted this new unit had been in service through several periods of extreme use and performed well. Other times, a light breakfast crowd would set the water heater back to 85° water where it would hover until the dining room emptied.
    Finally, I got someone to care and he took the time to come and see what was going on. The installation was fine. The application was typical. Yet, the water heater had big problems from day 1.
    He was going to speak to all concerned parties and get back to me “with some options by the end of the day”.

    Get ready. Here it comes.

    About 4 hours later, I got a call from Tennessee on my cell phone. I recognized the number. This wasn’t a good sign.

    The Tech Support woman greeted me, said that she received the information from the rep and continued simply with, “The unit is undersized. Would you like to discuss options for purchasing a higher output unit which would give your client more hot water?”

    Got that? 4 words. “The unit is undersized” and A.O. Smith walks away. They’re done.
    No accountability at all. No compromise. No talking about anything except selling me a new, larger water heater. No recommendations like maybe I can install flow restrictors on my faucets or piping. No solid numbers about recovery. I’m waiting for some tech-talk between two professionals that never happens.
    A.O. Smith is walking away.

    I explained that I understood her position as an employee of A.O. Smith but that she simply didn’t know what she was talking about.
    She was sitting with a list of fixtures and some sizing charts and those charts were very liberal, very vague, did not reflect the conditions here and we were not up against doomsday hot water conditions where every fixture is running at the same time, the scenario for which those charts lead you to size and purchase a water heater.

    A.O. Smith was done speaking to me unless I wanted help in selecting a new model water heater.
    I thanked her for her time, I really did, and I called the rep back.

    Towing the company line, it was explained to me that it’s a bad situation and that at peak demand the numbers suggest I “should be fine 90% of the time, but it’s that 10% that causes the trouble”.

    None of this is the problem. This particular A.O. Smith Cyclone water heater is the problem.

    My back is against the wall here. I’m being forced to remove this water heater and replace it with another product by the end of the week at the latest, and at my cost.

    This whole episode is costing me something near $10,000 out of pocket and it’s got to stop here.

    If anyone’s had a similar experience or knows a good contact at AO Smith I’d appreciate hearing from you.


    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
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  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
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    http://www.jupiterheating.com/pdfs/ao-smith-TC-044R2.pdf

    Here's a service manual if you don't already have it. I would look for a partially blocked exhaust or drain. I remember working on a similar problem before and have no recollection of what successfully fixed it.
  • wogpa67
    wogpa67 Member Posts: 238
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    I had a restaurant and bar that had an undersized water heater in it, 60 gallon 65k burner. Installed a 130/55 Htp Phoenix 5 years ago and haven't been back. Except to eat.
  • Shane_2
    Shane_2 Member Posts: 192
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    That is horrible. I use their products a lot. Especially because of availability in central NJ with 4 of my main suppliers carrying them. Going to PM you a couple of names you probably already dealt with.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    Thanks, Joe. We went through that along with the factory service company. Observing and testing the unit, I have my thoughts on why it's not heating but it's intermittent, may even be two problems, and it doesn't seem to be the flue. My issue here is how it's being handled of course.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
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  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    @wogpa67: I've heard good things about the Phoenix.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
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  • wogpa67
    wogpa67 Member Posts: 238
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    Possibly condensation in pressure switch tubing?
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    No. Clear as can be.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
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  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,416
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    A.O smith are a bunch of jack asses, there heartless that's why, I think the swan company dropped them, I was on there repair list for tankless, I came over from takagi, I had a guy call me up on a holiday weekend, I got them running and they still complained about my pricing so much that they took me off there service, they sent me a registered letter then when I called and left message he never called back. To me there losers. I try not to give them any of my business. I bend over backwards on some customers to get them up and running. The head guy doesn't see the big picture. Enough about me but you want to contact eother walsedarbey or Edward ,platt and deely. There both in nj and reps ao smith.
    I m going to private message you because I have other stories.
    George
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    It's Wales-Darby I've been dealing with. It's not their problem. As far as I can tell, it's AOS that's got W-D's hands tied.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
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  • wogpa67
    wogpa67 Member Posts: 238
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    Does hitting the hi limit cause a hard lockout?
    Any code on the display?
    Did the intake and exhaust possibly get switched by mistake with a concentric or flat termination?
    I've seen those water heaters never installed or worked on one.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
    edited March 2015
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    wogpa67 said:

    Does hitting the hi limit cause a hard lockout?
    Any code on the display?
    Did the intake and exhaust possibly get switched by mistake with a concentric or flat termination?
    I've seen those water heaters never installed or worked on one.

    No. We've been through all this. Believe me. And the water heater is not undersized.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,416
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    I worked on those you have to be good with your gas meter and electric meter. Where is this job located, did wd go to the job sight?
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    Manhattan and yes.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
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    Heating in NYC or NJ.
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  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,239
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    I have heard of similar problems with AO. I imagine you have checked pretty much everything about the heater. Two things I would look at to make sure of proper function from the flame sensor. Make sure the heater is properly grounded all the way back to the service and check the polarity across the low voltage transformer. Either of those would have the potential to cause eronious function. Of the flame sensor.
    JohnNYIronman
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,416
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    Where's the job sight.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
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    Amazing story! I'm surprised the wholesaler or the rep didn't just give you a new one. A.O. just lost a customer that has probably spent tens of thousands of dollars and paid "service" companies a bunch of money when they should have just provided a replacement and been done with it. I've had wholesalers kick a dent in the side of a unit for me so replacement would be honored.
    JohnNYIronman
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    Can you possibly check the firing rate? Maybe the output is nowhere near specification?

    This would leave everyone with the conclusion that it's undersized, when, in reality, it's just not giving the rated output.

    We did that of course. My guess is that there is more than one problem and they're both intermittent. Every single thing checks out on the heater and it will run for days or a week or so, then suddenly it stops heating the water. Put a test on it, and it's fine. One problem seems to be that it allows the temp to drop about 100° before it cycles back on. Then it has trouble recovering while in use.
    It's a nightmare.

    But honestly, I'm not looking to troubleshoot it any further.
    I want it off my job.


    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
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  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    Invite the nightly news to witness a madman destroying a 3 month old water heater. Film it as you take a sledge to it, and send a copy to AOS. Call the rep, and see if he wants to be present for it. Maybe they'll have a change of heart.
    SWEIkcoppIronman
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
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    Just poor customer service / support in my opinion. If it had been handled quickly and efficiently A.O. would still have a customer. If their own service people and reps can't get it figured out ASAP, it's time to step up and replace it. John's customer holds him responsible and they should jump through hoops to get the problem taken care of. JMHO
    JohnNY
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,416
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    Your right, Ao sucks, I just goggled AO sucks and found on the plumbing zone. There just mis managed. But that's what happens when your big like that.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    I would be curious if another identical unit would have the same issues. But then I certainly would NOT want to give AO another 5 grand on the pretense that unit would have no performance issues to prove them wrong, and maybe they would eat crow.

    And Johnny just so you know I appreciate the broken down posts, but I can deffinetly be drawn to longer postings from yourself. Very well written.
  • 4Johnpipe
    4Johnpipe Member Posts: 483
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    I had similar issues with the Vertex the residential version...I had AO service company out several times. They replaced the entire burner 2 times. Last one I put in. I can private message you the rep for HTP in your area. The Phoenix will fit in place with minor venting and gas piping.
    LANGAN'S PLUMBING & HEATING LLC
    Considerate People, Considerate Service, Consider It Done!
    732-751-1560
    email: langansph@yahoo.com
    www.langansplumbing.com
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,239
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    Thanks for sharing JohnNY. I have not had that experience personally, with a manufacturer; nor do I desire to. I'll be looking at new water heater manufacturers. I stick with people who do right by a person.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,701
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    I'd would probably put much more energy towards the local vendor and the local rep. I can't imagine how many factory people care about the contractors (well, when there's a problem that is). I would strongly be hunting for a new water heater. This is when you get rewarded for being a loyal customer....have your vendor do the leg work.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,113
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    Not for nothing i helped a buddy troble shoot a ao smith cyclone last year kept coding finally the management just had us replace it and it was a asme approved model .They had the original installation comp[any come n try and get her going but they seemed to give up quickly .My buudy did spend some time there replaced boards ,pressure switches and some sensors and it would run then code off .Finally they had it and said just replace i think we could n t get another ao and put some thing else in and have n t been back for squat .I know it was not another ao smith .If you would like i can try to get the specifics on the job if you need more powder for that cannon peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
    edited March 2015
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    Have had problems with AOS since forever . You have to question why one of the largest distributors gives up the line and takes on another . Especially when that company owns several brands and actually manufactures some products .
    Companies with boards of directors and shareholders suck , could not give a **** about us .
    Find a good american company who actually manufactures here with a sole proprietor and you have a shot . That would be HTP , the only manufacturer of water heaters that did not have to re engineer their whole product line for the new codes because they exceeded these new standards long before all others were told they had to . matter of fact , their stuff still exceeds .
    Did I mention that support at all levels is phenomenal ?
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
    icesailor
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,614
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    Trying to get help from a manufacturer is like swimming with your hands tied behind your back. Unfortunately most (but not all) don't care. They will scrutinize a job looking for something, anything to get out of it. It's never their problem.

    Maybe everyone here should stop buying AO Smith. Gauaranteed to work.

    The least they could do is get a professional service company or someone from the factory (if such a person exists) to make this thing right for you)

    I have been involved in something like this years ago with 6 million btu oil burner that you could only get 4 million through it. The factory denied, denied and denied for a year. Finally fixed it when threatened by court action.

    of course they dropped us a a rep/installer because we wouldn't fold on the back charge we sent them (which was peanuts and was 1/2 of what it should have been)

    I won't name names but it is one of the largest and most popular mfg of oil, gas and gas/oil burners

    Most of you would be amazed that MANY of these mfg. have very little or no actual factory support. It's hard to believe unless you visit the factory or have a lot of contact with them.

    Hope you get out of this John and get some satisfaction and resolution
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
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    Can't tell you what's going on with the HWH but If I wanted to make a point with AO I would install a flow meter on the incoming line and verify how many GPM is actually going through that heater when it's sitting at 85* and not keeping up.
    If you can prove what the flow is, and you have required gas pressure available the company doesn't have a leg to stand on.

    Another thing I'd investigate, or at least think about is if the failures are weather related. Cold temps, wind, even humidity can freak out some of the electronically controlled junk.......er.....product we work with these days.

    All in all though, sometimes you just have to take your lumps and move on. I know you're an upright kind of guy and you're not the type to just say "sorry" to the customer as you walk out the door. So you'll probably do right by them and get them into a different heater. I don't know if Bradford White is available in your area but I've had good luck with them.
    Our "go to" set up for most commercial jobs anymore is some configuration of a Lochinvar direct fired tank run by one of their DHW boilers. A regular boiler with an indirect might be great for this app if you have the space. You should be able to buy a Knight with an 80 gallon tank for about the same money.

    Good luck and I know your pain. Just ate a gas valve, control board and wiring harness on a Viessmann WB2B because I don't feel the customer should pay for a poor design by the manufacturer.

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    A.O. Smith and related brands started going downhill when the FVIR standards took effect. Their design was troublesome enough that they had to completely replace a lot of the burner assemblies. Our solution is to install a new Bradford-White unit.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    icesailorkcopp
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    Wow.. just wow.. I have had issues with AOSmith before, but this story will make me think twice about installing another AOSmith product. I do quite a few DHW commercial installations I've run into some problems with tech support from AOSmith and @JohnNY 's story may have just been the straw that broke the camel's back for me.
    JohnNY
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,578
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    The techs at Smith were certainly no use in this.
    Could there be another device, using the output of the water heater, unknown to the restaurant? That might explain the occasional loss of hot water, such as a cross connection with the building hot water supply.
    If you assertained that the water heater would deliver the whole 60 gallons, at the desired temperature, and that the cause of the cold water events was not some sort of burner problem, then the building connection may have absorbed all the hot water from the restaurant heater. If no one turned the building supply off, once the restaurant heater came back on line, then it's output may have ended up in mrs. Smith's shower.--NBC
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    I'm making this thread sticky for a while because I know John well. His work is superb. This is as horrible story, calmly told.
    Retired and loving it.
    JohnNYicesailorkcoppIronman
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    From reading your story and how you handled it,it sounds to me you are a hard working and good company....These big companies celebrate there big sales years out in Hawaii or someplace while the rest of are out fixing there crap,for free..Glen from Burnham was the best there was....the guy was beyond helpful and full Of knowledge....Me I have no use for A O smith.never did
    JohnNY
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,441
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    Now you can see another reason why tankless water heaters are getting more popular commercially. maybe a Noritz would be in order....
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
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    I too have experienced these intermittent problems with other "put manufacturers name here". Sometimes, it was their problem, and sometimes, not.

    As Mad Dog so eloquently pointed out, it's not a matter if IF you will have a problem with "X" equipment, but more a matter of when. Then it comes down to where the rubber meets the road as to how it is resolved, and those companies that have good resolution get my and other contractors business.

    Problems that have proven to not be the manufacturer's problem include sticky gas pressure regulators at the utility companies meter, un expected loads that were connected to a given source, and poor electrical systems.

    If it were me, and I am better equipped to deal with these situations that others are, I'd slap data loggers all over the system so I could SHOW everyone what the loads are (monitor water flow , gas flow, temperature differentials, gas pressure and gas valve on times) and PROVE what the deficiencies are. Then, there are NO questions. I realize that not everyone has the instrumentation that I have, and also realize that John is DONE with AO Smith and this job. Best that can be done now is for others to learn from his experience, and move on...

    I think that people also need to put themselves into the manufacturers shoes. They get bogus warranty calls on a daily basis, and must do full due diligence before complete replacement. As I explained before, it's not a matter of IF, but more a matter of WHEN, and then it boils down to the final resolution and keeping all people concerned satisfied.

    ME

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    Harvey RamerJohnNY
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    Aircraft "Incident" investigations are a really great source to help develop troubleshooting skills. None better for helping to get the idea out of the head that the problem is caused by some really complex reason. Its not. Its what some call "The Broken Shoe Lace". An untied shoe lace can trip you up and you fall down.

    Any fool could make a water heater work 50 years ago. If the pilot went out , you changed the thermocouple. If that didn't solve it, you changed the gas valve. Now, you have a brain. The "Brain" has to interpret all the signals from the neural pathways and make command decisions. If the brain has been trained to be too sensitive, all kinds of terrible things happen. If that FCB there now, has the same parts number after the part #, and doesn't have a "Rev #*" at the end, they might be using the same board as they did when they started. If the "Rev#*" is there and higher than #2, they probably have the same coding issue as all before it.

    I know that buildings in NYC can have some interesting power issues. All those services and all those connections done by others. Back in the earlier part of the last century, if you had a refrigerator that you got a shock off of, flip the two prong plug. Change the Polarity. Maybe those new units need filtered power. What's interesting is that it works for some period, then locks out. It must be locking out on a high set limit and not coming back on again SOMETIMES. The fact that you thought it had a leak and it turned out that the insulation was wet from condensation says that the burner didn't come on, or the tank wasn't hot enough to get rid of the condensation. The Brain issue can be something as the Hubble Telescope, where they designed a new reflective mirror so they could look deeper into space. They had the new one ground to precise specifications. It took them 2 years to grind and polish. They took it up into space and it couldn't see. Everything was all fuzzy. Someone had put in the wrong parameters to go from Inch to Metric. They fixed it with a Computer Program.
    Some Computer/FCG designer guy in Viet Nam, who still has a hair across his @$$ over the War in Viet Nam isn't going to admit that his low bid board has a defect and is going to replace the board for free. Detroit and all the other automakers rely In the fact that their warranties are mostly done after 5 years. Obsolescence solves their design problem. Switching to another brand like the HTP one is cheaper for AOS because It gets them out of trouble on the cheap. Until someone like the Consumer's Union or some arm of the Government finds out and orders a mandatory recall and repair.

    Look at Consumer's Reports used car buying guides and their "Frequency of Repair" records. Electrical problems lead the list. And there's no return on electrical parts at a parts store. That ought to tell you something.
    Hatterasguy
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,614
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    Well put by Mark. Any manufacturer can and will have problems. Lab conditions and field conditions are not the same and they all have there LEAMONS from time to time.

    AO SMITH sounds to me like they have had every opportunity to try and make this right and have not put in the effort.

    It's how the manufacturer responds to these situations that counts....And AO SMITH has failed to respond.
    icesailor