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AO smith ECC code

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Katkota
Katkota Member Posts: 17
Hello folks;
I have a brand new home for 3 years and builder installed 50 gallon AO smith heat pump water heater which lasted for about 2 years then I got error code “ECC” which according to their manual means the compressor is not functioning properly… The AO smith issued RMA to replace but I have to foot the bill of about $$$$ a lot for labor and was replaced with the same unit which worked for about 7 months then 2 days ago I heard the same scary beeping and I saw the same darn code again ECC… The unit still working and I have hot water but again AO Smith said you may need to replace it again as I don’t believe they have a clue about their product… Anyone else have seen this? I honestly don’t think the unit is defective or the compressor could go that fast twice but I’m not an expert and the plumbers I called don’t seem to know much about that one … the unit is in my basement which is finished and air tight and big enough … Any insight or idea would be great as I’m not ready for another big labor bill to spend in less than 7 months (so much for saving money with new technology)
Thank you in advance 
RIRED
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Comments

  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,070
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    Pictures of the install?
  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
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  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
    edited August 2023
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    Here’s 2 pictures of the install… 
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,070
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    Looks well done to me? Assuming you have decent airflow in there and the ambient temps stay within range (I think it is like 37-120f) Generally not supposed to post charges for labor on this site, they will want you to edit it out (general etiquette thing) I am going to DM you some additional information regarding your labor. for right now are you able to switch the unit over to just use the electric elements so you still have hot water?
  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
    edited August 2023
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    Sorry about posting the labor… I will edit it… the temp in my basement is always within good range and never too cold… I think I have good airflow but I’m not sure how to measure that… right now I still have hot water fine but it’s blinking with the error code ECC and won’t let you make change so I can just reset it and change it to Electric only (which by default would go back to Hybrid after 48 hours)… I was just hoping anyone would have seen this before or could have any insight on a similar issue
  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
    edited September 2023
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    Any help here folks? My AO Smith Hybrid electric heat pump is back with ECC code again after replacing the control board and I’m out of ideas here… Tech support is not helpful at all and I honestly don’t believe 2 brand new units would have the same exact error code in a matter of 6 months… especially because the compressor was working fine after replacing the control board for about 2 weeks before coming back with the ECC code so I don’t think it’s the compressor then…
    Could it be lack of air ? (I’m attaching a picture of my basement to asses)
    Could it be condensation issue? It’s connected to the condensate line that’s connected to my central AC

    Any help would be appreciated 
  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
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  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,441
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    Only way to reset that is to cycle off the power to it....at the breaker.
    I have seen this w/ the same unit one other time.

    Make sure the filter (on top) is clean.

    The compressor is the issue. Problem is no one can really fix the compressor part.

    I am afraid that this whole heat pump water heater craze will have a rough patch here soon.


  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
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    I did reset it few times and after that , it works for a week or two then the same ECC comes back … I’m wondering .. if the compressor is bad then how come it works after reset for a week or two ? Also how can 2 brand new units have the same issue within 6 months? I have a feeling it’s something else but I can’t put my finger on it.. I think I have enough air with enough space around the unit so I’m just puzzled 
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,863
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    Is there a wiring diagram you could post? Not that it's definitely electrical, but it might lead somewhere, like what sensor or thermistor sets off that ECC code.
    Is it possible it's a refrigerant issue and the replacement was done incorrectly or reused contaminated refrigerant? What refrigerant BTW?
  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
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    The only thing we did was replace the entire unit with a brand new one like 7 months ago so I’m not sure about refrigerant to be honest … here’s the wiring diagram that’s posted on the unit 
  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
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  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,441
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    I am leaning that is more along the lines of not enough air flow.
    If there is not enough delta T from the air going through it will mess up the compressor.
    Most of the european / asian versions coming down the line are ducted. There is a duct kit available for that unit.
  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
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    I’m replacing the AO Smith unit with Rheem brand & will see if Rheem is a better brand (fingers crossed 🤞)
    HVACNUT
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,441
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    Looks like you have gas...Why not tankless?
  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
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    It’s electric hybrid water heater 
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,441
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    Ya I see... Why not ditch the tank and install a gas tankless WH. You have gas there.
  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
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    I don’t have natural gas here and if I install Propane gas tank will be a lot of work to switch
    HVACNUT
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,863
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    I thought only the compressor was replaced on the original water heater. It's rare they warranty the whole unit. 
    Good luck with the Rheem.
  • hansenjgh
    hansenjgh Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2023
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    My AO Smith unit was installed about a year ago. Ran great all that time until today got ECC code. Turned unit off, cleaned coils (not terribly dirty) reset it and it started up OK. I thought the compressor was a little noisy, but wasn't sure. Failed again with ECC within a couple of hours. The compressor has been running almost constantly for most of the year that it's been operational. That's probably because I have it feeding a hot water loop, have it set at 130 degrees, and have it on "economy" mode most of the time which means only the heat pump runs and the elements are off line. I bought the unit, had it installed by a plumber who was doing the whole house.

    Kotkota, if you got a replacement compressor unit was it the whole system (coil, compressor, expansion valve, etc)? Or did you have to have an HVAC company do the freon work? Right now I'm ok running on the elements and I also have a second water heater for backup. If the warranty replacement part doesn't require fooling with freon, I can do it myself.

    Thanks for any help.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,441
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    If the compressor is shot (sounds like it is) they will not fix it. They give you another water heater...
  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
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    Hello Hansenjgh
    they cannot fix the compressor .. They will replace the entire unit but make sure you get them to pay for labor .. they may try to mmake you pay for it but complain and don’t take no for an answer as this is expensive labor… I replaced mine twice then I was fed up with their unit (it never saved me any money anyway and I noticed that after going with Rheem unit)
    nicholascrosser
  • hansenjgh
    hansenjgh Member Posts: 2
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    Thanks for the advice Katkota. I feel like it has been efficient compared to a standard resistance heat unit, but don't know anything about the Rheems. I may have to adjust how I use it to make it last longer. I will let you know how I make out.
  • nicholascrosser
    nicholascrosser Member Posts: 1
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    I have had the same issue!  ECC error code every time. I’m now on my 3rd AO Smith Heat Pump water Heater.  It is in a 440 square foot garage plenty of air… The first malfunction was in the winter, second in the summer.  I have no idea why these compressors keep going out.  AO Smith just keeps giving us a new water heater (that we have to install) and will until the warranty runs out.  I’ll keep playing this game until the warranty is done then I’ll get a Rheem.
    Katkota
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,441
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    I have asked them this and I think the failures may be related to a transportation issue.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,619
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    My rule: Never buy new technology until it has been proven in the field........not in the lab.
    Intplm.
  • Mshook
    Mshook Member Posts: 1
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    Hi! I am having the same trouble with my AO smith model# HP1050H45DV 130. Usually run on hybrid mode. It has been installed for just over 3 years no problem. Then ECC code. Called tech services. Did a couple of diagnostic steps and they decided the compressor? was bad and gave me an RA # to get a new one. Sounds great but I have to have the old unit removed, haul it to store where purchased, get replacement, return to my home to have it installed. And pay for the labor which will not be cheap. I did check wiring from box and tightened a couple of things but nothing that could be truly causative? ECC code went away for about 12 hours but was back this morning. I was soooo hopeful. I am running it in electric mode for now and it seems to be keeping water at 130 degrees. I will try another overnight to see if it returns. Tech services said colder weather may cause it to be more problematic and throw the code again as winter hits. Tech services says RA# is good for 30 days. But if it is past that but still under warranty they will give me another. Basically, wanted to share another case of the “ECC” code.
  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
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    I think their products is basically not tested and they let customer be the test field engineers… They also have no experience with ECC codes and obviously no fix beside replacing the unit… I also noticed that even without the ECC code, I wasn’t saving any money on electricity .. the unit was running smooth but the electricity usage was as if it’s running as regular electric heater.. so I would suggest you keep an eye on your meter & I’d argue with them to pay for the labor .. it’s not cheap and I went through your pain more than once until I made a complaint and ended up buying Rheem.. 
  • wally476test
    wally476test Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2023
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    I’m having what I believe is this exact same issue. Brand new AO Smith hot water heater was working fine, but now almost exactly every 7 days it seems the heat pump stops working. Air is exhausted at the same temperature it’s going in and hot water availability is significantly decreased. However, there are no error codes. 

    If I reset at the breaker, it immediately starts working again (for 7 days). Seems almost like a software issue?

    I called AO Smith - they don’t have any certified technicians in the major city I live in, and will only cover $100 in labor otherwise…
  • herzigma
    herzigma Member Posts: 2
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    We had a different brand hybrid water heater that lasted 8 years until it leaked. Our (large well regarded) HVAC companies replaced it with an AO Smith 50 gallon one which worked great until the dreaded ECC after a year. 

    I'm going to take the installers deal with AO Smith (and insure won't pay any bills) but I'm not happy. 

    The technician just left and he could see (with a sensor) the coolant leak. 
  • noah9
    noah9 Member Posts: 1
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    Same issue here after 6 months of use. There aren’t any service options and AOSmith has offered a small amount of money for the replacement and reinstall. But as several of you have mentioned, the errors still persist.

    I did find an updated manual showing the compressor as a replacement part, but no resources for the part: 

    http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/AO-Smith-heat-pump-service-manual-321547.pdf

    I think that we should all try to make enough complaints to customer service so that we can get some satisfaction in the way of service or refund for a defective product.
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,173
    edited November 2023
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    Or put a timer control on the 220v input to cycle power every 6 days. It could become a thing “we put ‘er on a Smither clock and she works fine” 🙄
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 844
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    I have installed many dozens of heat pump water heaters of 3 brands: 1. Brad White, 2. A.O. Smith/State, and 3. Rheem. Most of them have been fine. I have had problems with all 3 brands. Motherboard replacements, and refrigerant leaks. With the units still under warranty, the manufacturers have all been cooperative with replacing both motherboards or whole units and they DON'T pay for labor. Sometimes they want the old unit returned, or just the mfg's label, or not at all. It seems that if something goes wrong with the compressor, they will replace the whole unit i.e. a new water heater. The compressors are not made to be repaired! Tech support is a mixed bag--mostly they are helpful. They of course generally want to be dealing with a field technician--NOT a homeowner. They want you to be on site and with diagnostic tools at-the-ready. Most of those experiences I have had, have been satisfactory. But...I generally feel "not right" charging the client for labor--and most times that is fairly extensive i.e. removal of old and install of new. I am now quite good at motherboard replacements. I am lucky if the board is at my supply houses! Sometimes the mfg. will send a new motherboard to me.
    There have been quite a few "generations" of these units now-- 5, 6, 7? Some generations have been notoriously problematic. When they are installed well, in the right setting, they are efficient and economical. Sizing is fairly critical--40, 50, 65, or 80 gallon. Rheem also makes a 120v plug-in model.
    I haven't handled any of these.
    WMno57PC7060
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,070
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    psb75 said:

    I have installed many dozens of heat pump water heaters of 3 brands: 1. Brad White, 2. A.O. Smith/State, and 3. Rheem. Most of them have been fine. I have had problems with all 3 brands. Motherboard replacements, and refrigerant leaks. With the units still under warranty, the manufacturers have all been cooperative with replacing both motherboards or whole units and they DON'T pay for labor. Sometimes they want the old unit returned, or just the mfg's label, or not at all. It seems that if something goes wrong with the compressor, they will replace the whole unit i.e. a new water heater. The compressors are not made to be repaired! Tech support is a mixed bag--mostly they are helpful. They of course generally want to be dealing with a field technician--NOT a homeowner. They want you to be on site and with diagnostic tools at-the-ready. Most of those experiences I have had, have been satisfactory. But...I generally feel "not right" charging the client for labor--and most times that is fairly extensive i.e. removal of old and install of new. I am now quite good at motherboard replacements. I am lucky if the board is at my supply houses! Sometimes the mfg. will send a new motherboard to me.
    There have been quite a few "generations" of these units now-- 5, 6, 7? Some generations have been notoriously problematic. When they are installed well, in the right setting, they are efficient and economical. Sizing is fairly critical--40, 50, 65, or 80 gallon. Rheem also makes a 120v plug-in model.
    I haven't handled any of these.

    American Water Heaters (AO Smith) DOES pay labor for complete changeouts under warranty I believe this has to be in the first year. You need to call tech support and get an R number that gives you a preapproved warranty for a replacement unit, then you need to pester your supplier to get you the labor forms, I imagine many suppliers just don't want to deal with it, many manufacturers reps will do this for you. It will not cover 100% of your labor maybe more like half or so, I think it is a set hourly rate if I remember correctly. I have processed 3 labor credits for contractors replacing defective heat pump water heaters.

    Mainly I just wish that somewhere in the line they had wanted to figure out what caused the failures, one of the claims I filed was a second unit that had failed under warranty. The contractor and I both thought something else must have contributed to the failures, 2 in a row defects are just so rare.
  • kjdiehl
    kjdiehl Member Posts: 1
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    Found this forum searching for ECC code on my State hybrid water heater. We've had it not even 2 years and it's throwing the code.

    It's only 2 of us in the house, so I've only ever ran the unit in Efficiency (heat-pump only) mode and it's always been more than sufficient, only running a little bit each day as needed, even through two winters now. I was quite satisfied because it generally was saving us around $50/mo on our electric bill from the 10yo electric water heater it replaced. It sits in an unfinished utility room in an otherwise finished basement that never gets below maybe 56 or 57 degrees and has plenty of airflow.

    About a month ago, noticed shower was definitely not warm enough. I let it go 3 days to confirm it wasn't a fluke. Then I power-cycled the unit and cleaned the air filter, (which had been recently cleaned, but anyway,) and finally switched to electric-only, which worked fine. Made an appointment 4 weeks out for plumber who installed it to come check it out. While waiting for the appt. I played around switching between modes to try to learn more. After a few days I noticed water leaking out from underneath. Took quite a few days to finally find the leak at the condensate discharge fitting. Examining it, I saw the white elbow fitting was 2 or 3 threads from being seated all the way. I gave it a twist with very little resistance and the bottom half of the black plastic threaded joint (part of the 1-piece molded condensate drip pan) snapped off in my hand. Called my plumber back to let them know and they said they've seen that failure on several of these units after about 2 years. Meanwhile, I continued examining and realized my external discharge pump wasn't running. I found that the end of the discharge tubing line into the pump reservoir was too long and sitting completely submerged, so that gunk had built up, completely blocking the line. I cleaned it and shortened it appropriately and it worked fine. When the plumber finally came to check it out, he decided it seemed like the clogged discharge line was likely the culprit for the initial ineffective heating. To fix the cracked thread fitting, he simply inserted a slightly narrower gauge PVC pipe directly into the hole and sealed it well all around with silicone, bypassing the threaded coupling entirely. Everything seemed fixed, so we put it back in Efficiency mode. Immediately after he left, I noticed the compressor was running constantly. I power-cycled the unit and it came back with Error HPO, claiming either water temp or ambient air temp was too low, which made no sense. So I power-cycled again and this time it threw ECC. I switched to Electric-only mode and it was fine. Called AO Smith and they claimed the compressor is bad and offered an RMA to replace the entire unit but won't pay the labor. I definitely complained to no avail, and of course they mentioned never hearing of such failures. Clearly they don't know how the internet works. And now, it's not throwing the error codes any longer, but it is still running constantly if left in heat-pump only mode. Electric mode still works fine if I wanted to leave it like that, but I'd really miss that $50/mo savings!

    The air blowing out of the fan feels basically room temp to the touch, so I suppose it makes sense that something in the compressor system is bad, but the compressor itself seems to be functioning just fine, if constantly, and is more than able to keep the water hot. The not-cold air blowing out of the fan might indicate a coolant leak, I suppose? I can't imagine what the plumber may have done in simply sealing that PVC pipe into the discharge line that could have caused a coolant leak. It's certainly the case that the leak or whatever else is causing the heat-pump system to fail could have started before the plumber came and it's only just a coincidence that it finally failed enough to throw error codes only just after he left. But is there any other likely answers?

    I suppose given the $1300 price differential over a plain electric model, I've probably just about broken even in two years. But if I have to throw a big service charge on the cost of the hybrid model every two years, suddenly it becomes much more expensive after all! I was really looking forward to saving upwards of $5K over the life of the unit, not $5K MORE than the electric would have cost me! I don't know how the people at AO Smith sleep at night.
    Katkota
  • JFDNH
    JFDNH Member Posts: 1
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    This is installed in my 85yo Dad's condo. I have a simple question, what happens if I just let it beep?
  • Katkota
    Katkota Member Posts: 17
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    JFDNH;
    Nothing will generally happens.. the unit will just revert to using electric element which is fine except for a higher electric bill since it's now becoming a regular electric water heater
  • floridaservices
    floridaservices Member Posts: 1
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    I just came across this thread because I'm troubleshooting the same ECC code. I was able to see the compressor fail to kick on tonight when I was working on the unit, cleaning the coil. So these units are not much more than a window unit on top of a standard water heater tank. The components are not much different. I tested the run capacitor on ours tonight and it was definitely bad(no capacitance left at all, it's supposed to be 12UF 450V. Amrad makes a 12.5UF that I have on the way. At least it will run in all electric mode in the meantime. Refrigerant capacitors are so failure prone on HVAC I would not surprised if that's all that is going bad in these units.
  • tatt2tony
    tatt2tony Member Posts: 1
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    My house is only 2 years old and I have a AO Smith heat pump hot water heater that throwing error code 120/ECC. It's located in a well insolated garage and never colder than 50F. After doing some research it looks like this model HP1080H45DV is a lemon and was discontinued by the manufacturer and Lowes (the only local authorized seller). Resetting the breaker clears the error but now it's happening more frequently. The unit has a 10 warranty but sadly only one year labor and it would be a substantial labor cost to get a replacement installed. I think I found a way to override the heat pump default and run it in electric mode only (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKHeIpvAQGQ) but hesitant because I have no idea how much it will increase my electric bill. Running in electric mode might be cheaper than paying for the labor to get a new one and only to have it fail again. I am still trying to get AO to pay for the labor but from the sounds of it that won't happen.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 2,006
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    If it's a direct replacement? And it should be that. It would be considered a direct ,or basic install.
    Ask AO Smith if they can help with said install as it is considered much easier than others. It's a direct swop.
    Hope things work out.