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A.O Smith Cyclone Fixed!

The factory rep tells me that no one else is has trouble with the A.O. Smith Cyclone water heater model #BTH-199A 200. This is the super fancy modulating water heater. Since day one this has been a problem locking out on blower prover error. That was three years ago. Symptom is the water heater work fine until the blower starts to surge as it runs. it will work in this state but starts to lock out. Also sounded like bearing noise when the blower stopped working correctly. Change the blower and it was good for another 6 months. at $800 a blower I could have heated the water burning dollar bills and been more cost effective.

I have replaced everything on this water heater, had the rep out, and had other Techs look at it. the A.O. Smith rep blamed the blower failures on humid air from our marine environment. So I disconnected the outdoor air intake and drew combustion air from the mechanical room. Problem solved, right?

6 months later. "blower Prover Error"

Another $800 combustion blower. This one was good for 2 months.

With out a new spare on hand and the hot water down all I could do was check to see if the last one I replaced would run for a couple days. Before going through the trouble of installing it I plugged it in to see if it would spin up.

I've been changing these so much I stopped changing the whole blower housing and started just changing the plate that the motor and impeller are mounted on. Much easier to get to those screws.

The used blower spun up fine. But when it turned off the impeller kept spinning. I checked the other blower and the same thing happened.

A little destructive testing made the problem obvious. The motor shaft is completely smooth! No spline, no flat, no key! the impeller is just friction fit on the shaft. Over time this gets loose and the impeller starts to spin on the shaft. The motor is surging because is over revs and does no see the right amp draw.

I cut a few slots in the end of the shaft and in the impeller. Then built up a good weld with Rapid Fix. Now it is working like new.

I still don't trust it and I'm going to replace the water heater. I'll never buy one of these again. It's a manufacturing flaw. No matter how many inducers I get they will all be built the same.

Sharing this so someone else can avoid all the stress.

Comments

  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Posts: 1,677Member
    Hi and thankyou for taking the time to put it all down. Seems it would be simple to design this problem away!

    Yours, Larry
  • Jolly BodgerJolly Bodger Posts: 209Member
    I bet A.O Smith will fix this on the next batch of blowers, as soon as they finish selling off this batch.
  • ScottSecorScottSecor Posts: 363Member
    Ask @JohnNY what he thinks of these water heaters...

    We've also had our share of problems with them. However, I visited a site for the first time yesterday that had one of these units and it installed back in 2008. It was an ASME model (thicker tank typically) and much to my surprise the head of maintenance told me it has been very reliable since the day it was installed..
  • Jolly BodgerJolly Bodger Posts: 209Member
    I have several more that are single stage. Not a single problem with them.

    I have also seen where it a generation issue. One generation of parts was build well. The next went out to bid and was total crap.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,573Member

    Ask @JohnNY what he thinks of these water heaters...

    We've also had our share of problems with them. However, I visited a site for the first time yesterday that had one of these units and it installed back in 2008. It was an ASME model (thicker tank typically) and much to my surprise the head of maintenance told me it has been very reliable since the day it was installed..

    Here's John's thread:

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/154183/a-o-smith-water-heater-big-problems-no-help-johnny-updated-3-27-15-11-30am
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • Jolly BodgerJolly Bodger Posts: 209Member
    Just talked with my local factory rep. He admitted this has become a problem. I was the first one to have it. The factory admitted something changed. We know what. They have not shared any plans to rectify the problem.

    DO NOT BUY A CYCLONE WATER HEATER UNTIL THEY FIX THIS! You will have problems and the replacement parts have the same defect.

    A.O Smith would be wise to recall these defective combustion blowers.
  • Rich_49Rich_49 Posts: 2,540Member
    Do what JohnNy did and install an HTP Phoenix .
    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
  • Jolly BodgerJolly Bodger Posts: 209Member
    update, the glue repaired combustion blower failed again. I'm surprised it lasted this long. That was good glue, but didn't have much to grab on to.
    I had a machine shop drill and install a roll pin through the impellor and shaft of another broken one. We will see how long this lasts. Sounds like this one is not perfectly balanced.

    Wish A.O. Smith would fix the design and issue a revised combustion blower.
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