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Question DetailsAsked on 10/5/2016

Ihave a 50 gallon AO Smith hot water heater that is only 4 years old. It quit producing hot water. Why?

Yesterday I got up to no hot water unit is only 4 years old but it replaced another 4 year old unit on warranty therefore I have no warranty

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3 Answers


Never install an AO Smith water heater. They seem to be installed by plumbers and made to last about four years so that said plumbers have to buy new ones to replace them and charge you. They also can use a LOT of electricity. I once had a new one removed for that reason. Buy a Whirlpool or some other brand with a lifetime warranty. Ask your plumber to install it. Tell him you don't want AO Smith! Then, you should just have to replace the elements if they go bad. You live, you learn...

Answered 3 years ago by Grimmy51


I agree on AO Smith not being a brand I would choose - though a great many plumbers carry that as their stock brand.

Assuming the tank was not leaking, it should not need replacement - just find out where the problem is and replace that component - heating element, thermocouple/thermopile are the usuall culprits.

If you have gas or oil water heater - you may not realize, but thermopiles and thermocouples commonly last about 3-4 years, and need replacement routinely - about $150 job typically, or if a bit home handy and not afraid of working around minor gas fittings, about $10-15 tyo replace yourself. If you have never done it, probably better to watch plumber or HVAC contractor do it once, then DIY from there on. Commonly replaced at annual cleaning, though whether you do that or not depends on how important not being out of hot water is to you. Boiler certainly do annual thermocouple replacement (thermopiles tend to last a bit longer) so you are not out of heat on a cold night or while away from home - water heater a lot of people wait till it fails before replacing it. Does not involve draining the tank.

It is also possible that the thermocouple failed because it is buried in rust from the crown sheet or tank flue that blocked the pilot flame heat from it, if you do not clean your water heater combustion chamber regularly.

Another possibility is your flame rollout or combustion chamber overtemp sensor failed (if your unit has one) - ditto easy to install, typically last 4-10 years.

None of these are major repairs, - certainly a lot cheaper than replacing the water heater in its entirety, assuming the tank is not leaking.

For the future, when your water heater does need replacement - I would not recommend a 4 year heater. I typically get about 50% more life out of an 8-10 year heater than its warranty - but 3-6 year life heaters seem to be built to just barely reach their warranty life. I recommend the extra $100-150 and get a Whirlpool or Kenmore 8-12 year range water heater, and expect to get may 10-16 or so years out of it and only have to pay for replacement maybe 1/3 as often.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services

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