AO Smith ProMax Water Heater
Updated: Apr 15, 2016
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Overview of the ProMax
The A.O. Smith ProMax is a series of gas and electric water heaters. The electric models all come with a PermaGlas glass lining, a certified T&P valve, and low-watt density copper heating elements. Electric units include tall, short, and lowboy models and range in capacity from 6 to 119 gallons. The gas models feature FVIR Technology, which prevents against accidental ignition of flammable vapors, and range in capacity from 30 to 98 gallons. The ProMax line of water heaters qualifies for most utility and gas utility rebate programs.
ProMax gas units feature several venting options, including Direct Vent, which uses a one pipe dual-channel closed system; the Power Vent Higher EF, designed to deliver a greater energy factor; the Ultra-Low NOx Power Vent, which uses a combination of radiant heat and excess air to reduce emissions; and a Side Loop system available as a Direct Vent, Power Vent, and Power Direct Vent.
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Consumer Reviews of the AO Smith ProMax
Date created: 2016-04-15
Location: Springfield, MO
"New Water heater brings the heat!"
The original water heater in our home was old, probably at least 15 years old. It did its job, my husband and I didn't think too much about it. Last month, in March, we noticed the floor boards in the bathroom where the old water heater was located had begun to warp and "squish". After a plumber was called in, it was discovered that the old water heater was leaking and would need to be replaced. We replaced the old water heater with a new AO Smith brand water heater. The new water heater takes up less space and has added value to our home. The AO Smith is also more energy efficient, saving us on average $55 dollars a year in utilities. We've noticed that the hot water in the shower runs for longer and water to the sink faucets throughout the home run hot faster. Although a new water heater was an unexpected expense for us, it was well worth the cost, we would recommend this same brand/model to a friend.
Date created: 2016-04-11
Name: R. Malone
Location: Fort Worth, TX
When we bought our house in May 2008 the original heater was an AO Smith. The water heater then went out in April 2014, which was within the 6-year warranty timeline (13 days till the end). AO Smith replaced the heater under warranty with a new "same model". In April 2016 the second water heater went out. I called the plumber to replace it with an AO Smith because my understanding was that it was under the new 6-year warranty. Come to find out the 2nd water heater was put into the original heaters warranty (only 13 days). AO Smith never communicated this with me nor my plumber. AO Smith rep told me that the unit was not under warranty. In short I was out $1000 for a new unit. If I would have known this I would have installed a new one my own with a different brand. That's the 2nd AO Smith in less than 8 years. P.O.S product and service. You would think that they would at least prorate the 3rd unit installed. At least the 3rd water heater has another 6-year warranty. After this unit I am done with AO Smith.
Date created: 2016-04-08
Location: Milton, FL
"A good dependable unit for my home."
I have owned my GVC 50 100 AO Smith ProMax residential hot water heater for approximately ten years. I have never had any problem with it. Hot water is provided readily and reliably on demand in the taps in my house. The heating settings seem to function with complete accuracy. I like that the system runs on natural gas. My fuel costs seem reasonable for the market in which I am residing. I have overall been entirely pleased with the reliable, quiet, and useful performance of this unit for just over a decade of home ownership. It is my sincere hope that others who have also owned and installed this quality water heating system would agree that it has excellent performance, and is entirely suitable for nearly any residential home market application. When I need hot water for a bath, shower, laundry, the dishes, or just because, I know that this unit won't let me down. I have a lot of pride of ownership in my very special AO Smith ProMax water heater unit. My home would not be as nice as it is without it, and I dislike nothing about it. I have never had to repair it, or replace it. I would totally recommend the brand to friends and family, and would buy another in a heartbeat if needed.
Date created: 2016-04-04
Location: Waterford MI
"Performance of AO Smith Water Heater"
I have owned an AO Smith water heater since the summer of 2012. It was installed in my house by a family friend. I purchased this house the next year. The house was built in 1955, I do not know how many heaters that the house has previously had. My father owned the house before me. He is deceased. I have no complaints with this water heater. It does the job. For the first year, it would occasionally go out. This happened two or three times, but it is quite easy to reset/restart. It has not gone out even once over the past three years. Even after power failures, it comes right back online. Very nice. I have never required repairs for this water heater. I would probably buy another AO Smith heater should the need arise. I would recommend an AO Smith heater to a friend if said friend inquired.
Date created: 2016-02-08
Location: Blacklick, OH
"Not worth the money"
I have gone through two water tanks in 15 years. They last until they are 6 months out of warranty and then go out. Both have leaked from the tank, not fittings or valves. At about $900 dollars each plus installation you would be much better off with a Bosch tankless system and be done with it.
Date created: 2016-01-02
Name: Tom Bilan
Location: Longmont, CO
"Failed and flooded basement after 5 years"
The water heater worked OK, but the tank failed after 5 years and flooded the basement. Yes, it is being replaced with the warranty, so I have to pay the labor, but if I had a choice, I would chose a different supplier. I am stuck with the decision to pay $450 for labor to replace the water heater or $800 for the new water heater and $450 in labor to replace it.
Date created: 2015-12-25
Name: M Gregoire
Location: San Diego, CA
We have a 5 year old, 50-gallon A.O. Smith water heater. It has a broken thermocouple. This is a $10 item, and relatively available and easy to replace diy. But because of the design, the A.O. Smith thermocouple can only be replaced by ordering a complete new burner assembly, at about $100 and not available except by special order, so it takes several days to arrive. So we are without hot water for several days, unless we are willing to buy a whole new water heater for $500. We have opted for the new water heater, and we can guarantee that this will never be one made by A.O. Smith.
Date created: 2015-12-22
Location: Northern Virginia
Never, ever buy one. Worst decision I've ever made was letting someone talk me into an AO Smith hot water heater. Won't stay lit! Have had three different plumbers try to fix it!
Date created: 2015-12-11
"Great Water heater. Never runs out!"
This water heater is flawless. This water heater has been in use for about 8 years and never has had a problem. There are 4 people that live in this house and I don't recall ever being out of hot water. I am a lifer and will always buy A.O. Smith. It's not the prettiest thing to look at but it does its job. It's in the laundry room anyway so no one really sees it. Overall, A++ to the A.O smith guys. Flawless!
Date created: 2015-12-06
Name: W. Cho
Location: Edmonton, Canada
3 months after the warranty expired water is pouring out of the bottom, I was very lucky I noticed in time. I would never buy one or recommend it.
Date created: 2015-11-09
Name: Karen J
Location: Houston, TX
"Totally dissatisfied customer"
We built a home in 2008 and had an AO Smith gas water heater installed. The water heater had to be replaced in 2013 and now the 2nd unit's gas control valve has to replaced. I was told the warranty has now expired. (Why should I be surprised?) It's hard to believe that 2 AO Smith water heaters have lasted less than 7 years. I will never recommend AO Smith or use their products again.
Date created: 2015-11-09
Location: Buffalo, NY
"Good steady heat"
So I moved into my apartment about five years ago and this water heater had been here probably for about ten years. I've listed in a lot of places and I honestly haven't had many good experiences with water heaters in rental units. This guy was somewhat surprising. For the first few years I didn't know it was adjustable. The previous tenant set it up for me and I didn't touch it. It was chilly couple of years. My roommate and I would then eventually discover the very obvious and clearly worded control knob. After that, the freezing cold shower as a thing of past. This thing produces a ton of hot water very quickly and is a dream to adjust. The only time we ever had a problem with it was when they meter outside froze, which has nothing to do with the craftsmanship of this unit. I'd buy the exact same one again, if I was ever to move.
Date created: 2015-10-30
Location: College Park, MD
"Energy efficient heater with a quick recovery time"
I have owned this AO Smith water heater for around 15 months. I like that it is energy efficient and heats the water to the temperature that I have it set for. I have two young kids and it is important that the water stay at a safe level so that they don't burn themselves accidentally. The unit has a quick recovery time. I can drain the 40 gallon tank and it will be ready to go again in under 10 minutes. My only complaint is that the unit can be a little noisy while heating the water. I also should have purchased the 50 gallon tank instead of a 40 gallon tank. There have been no repairs to the water heater as of yet. I would buy this brand again as well as recommend it.
Date created: 2015-10-19
Name: JACK ASSDEPARTMENT
"All ProMax Water Heaters Junk"
Since not even plumbers can tell what is wrong with the AO Smith ProMax, let me begin. They leak water directly above the burner, when the burner is on, sometimes you can hear the dripping water sizzle when it lands on the burner. The dripping water will sometimes put out the pilot light, which would need to be relighted repeatedly. The tank and center column appear to be just crimped together, which leak under heat and pressure, even when brand new. My plumber even mentioned this the day he installed the unit. If a person is mechanically inclined you can strip the skin off the water heater. First remove the fittings and burner assembly. The top is the hardest to get off because they use spray foam on the top and sides slice the skin open with a grinder and pry the top off with a crow bar after the screws are out. The skin will peel off like a wrapper.with a little force laying on the ground on its side. Use a claw hammer to strip the foam off the tank. After a person strips it down, look inside the burner area; you will see the streaks where the water ran down to the sides. I'm talking about the area directly above the burner. If you try to call the warranty department they won't even replace it if it's a year old, they always blame something else. I don't think they even work for AO Smith, it's just some type of call center, like a boiler room, sort of like a telemarketer. LET'S FACE IT THERE CHARGING GOOD MONEY FOR JUNK WATER HEATERS, IT PROBABLY ONLY COST THEM $75.00 TO BUILD ONE. AO SMITH IS NOT AMERICAN OWNED. THEY ARE JUNK AND SOUNDS LIKE THEY DON'T HONOR THEIR WARRANTY EITHER. THEY TREAT THEIR CUSTOMERS LIKE CRAP........
Date created: 2015-09-11
Name: Atlas Plumbing
Location: Durand, IL
"Dont ever buy one"
Even being a plumbing contractor, A.O. Smith treats us like what sits in the bottom of the toilet. A.O. Smith's representative for this area, *** ******, refuses to pay us when their garbage fails within the 1 year time frame and we have to go out and fix them at all hours. Their cover answer to all questions is, the plumber did something wrong. Why yes, we did do something wrong; we bought one of your poorly designed units. They make us look bad to our clients, who we always strive to supply with the best equipment and service. Never ever buy an A.O. Smith. Period . Many of us have abandoned what was a good company years ago for Rheem or Bradford White. Good tech lines, answers and help.
Date created: 2015-08-22
Name: Alex Sleptzoff
Location: Eldersburg, MD
We have had our A.O. Smith gas Power Vent for 7 years. The very first year it failed 3 times and needed repair. Over the ensuing years it seems to fail about every 18 months needing some sort of fix. It just failed again - the gas control valve needs to be replaced. This heater is not what I would consider reliable. When it eventually dies it will not be replaced with an A.O. Smith product.
Date created: 2015-07-15
Name: Mark Crandall
Location: Napoleon, OH
After 3 years it started to not light. The plumber checked & tried everything. He called A.O. Smith. They suggested many things that did not work. They finally sent a rep out. After a few hours, they pulled the steel baffle out. Most of it was in perfect condition, but the bottom 4 inches got so hot part of it melted away. The next 4 inches was blue & black like sheet metal gets when overheated. One foot from the bottom to the top(about 3 more feet) looked like it was just put in. No rust or corrosion at all! The rep told the plumber & I the damage was corrosion so it will not be covered by the warranty. After we looked at each other in awe I said what are you talking about. That is clearly burnt! Here I am. It is now 6 years old doing the same thing. Pulled the baffle out. Melted the bottom off again. That can't be safe! I did call A.O. Smith again. Got nowhere. FYI: I own a machine shop, very familiar with metals. I visited a large steel mill shortly after the first baffle. I showed it to a certified metallurgist and asked if the damage was heat or corrosion. He said "Heat, but you don't need me to tell you that. Just look at it!"
Date created: 2015-07-14
Location: Los Angeles, CA
As I look online, I see that my very bad experience with A.O. Smith is far from unusual. They refused to honor my warranty. My excellent, patient, experienced plumber (30 years as a plumber), took a long time on the phone talking to a number of people. He explained, as a professional, in great detail why the heater needed to be replaced. They were not interested. They suggested sending out their representative, a Mr. Ray Blum, for a fee of $185. James, from Drains Unlimited, called Mr. Blum and was told there must be rust buildup inside the tank. So, therefore, it is not under warranty. He decided this on the phone. I have found out since that Mr. Blum has the reputation of aiding and abetting A.O. Smith. Ten days without hot water, I now have purchased a new heater. I have never gone online before this. But, in my many, many years, this has been the most blatant, dishonest business approach I have had to deal with. And, of course, there is no such thing as a customer service rep you can talk to.
Date created: 2015-06-30
Name: G. Westerlund
Location: Seattle, WA
"A good water heater"
My plumber selected this water heater to replace my water heater that had sprung a leak. The A.O. Smith water heater was installed in November 2004 and has worked well past its 6-year warranty. My only complaint is that the temperature control is a little too loose. One morning every 2 or 3 months, the water wasn't quite hot and resulted in a lukewarm shower. After raising the water heater temperature one notch, this problem went away. I am about to replace the water heater as a preventative measure. Water heaters eventually fail and not always in a nice manner.
Date created: 2015-04-24
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
"Reduces mulitple bills"
I am renting the house which I've currently lived in for 3 years. The ProMax water heater has been preinstalled in the house so I'm not exactly sure how old the water heater is. But still to this date it runs very well and I have no problems with it. The ProMax water heater is better than the old one I previously owned because this one conserves energy and uses less energy than the normal heater. It significantly reduces my electricity bill. However, it doesn't hold as much water as the normal heater. I love taking long, hot, scalding showers and it seems I can't do that as normally as I enjoy. The water maintains hot for about 30 minutes and then it starts running cold. But at the same time it reduces my water bill as well, because I'm not taking an hour-long shower. Yes, I would buy ProMax again when the opportunity arose.
Date created: 2015-03-22
Name: Kathryn T. Bergeron
Location: Clearwater, FL
"A.O. Smith electric 40 gallon tank"
This A.O. Smith 40 gallon water heater was installed on June 9, 2009 to replace another A.O. Smith tank. It is installed in our garage. Last night it started leaking rusty water (of course at midnight on a Saturday night!). Our plumber stated that they no longer use A.O. Smith products due to customer "dissatisfaction". It is within the 6 year warranty period, and our plumber said they would replace it but the labor charges aren't included & they don't have it in stock. We needed this done the next day, and we elected not to replace it with the A.O. Smith tank, which apparently is still being used. I would never buy another A.O. Smith product.
Date created: 2015-02-09
My experience with this company and their water heaters has been the worst. They do not stand by their products and will blame the company that installed the equipment. I have only had my water heater two years and I am on my fourth service call. The water heater is obviously an expensive piece of junk. I can't stress enough not to buy this brand.
Date created: 2014-12-27
Name: Mark T.
Location: United States
We had the first one of these power vent water heaters installed in our new build home. It had a 6-year warranty. After 5 years, it started to leak. It was under warranty, but we had to pay $575.00 for installation. We thought that was crazy. I said give me the water heater and I will have a friend install it. They said it could only be installed by him. We paid the $575 so we could have hot water. Now here we are again. 5.5 years into this water heater, and now it is leaking again. So frustrating.
Date created: 2014-12-14
Location: San Antonio, TX
"6-year warranty - it died at 6 years!"
We replaced a bottom-of-the-line water heater that came in the new house we purchased and which worked for 9 years. We bought the ECT 52 200 6 years ago. It worked great - until the warranty ran out. Planned obsolescence? Seems like it to me. The thing died a few days after the warranty expired. I will never purchase A.O. Smith anything, ever again, and I will not recommend them to anyone I know.
Date created: 2014-11-13
Name: JD Jenson-Greene
Location: Clev. Hts Ohio
"Subpar 75 gallon"
This is the second 75 gallon unit in 3 years. Recently installed in July. The 3 yr. old began with rust water coming out of the faucets. Now the tank runs out of hot water if hair is washed. Not good. I'm having 5 guests for Thanksgiving and definitely felt this size was great. I can't fill the luxury tub without running out of hot water. The whole house warranty forced us to take A.O. Smith again. It should not have.
Date created: 2014-09-05
Name: A. Spencer
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Water heater had rust stains on the exterior shell after only 3 years. I started experiencing problems 3 months after the warranty expired and, of course, was not able to get any assistance from AO Smith. They prefer to go "by the book" than do what makes sense.
Date created: 2014-07-22
Location: Cleveland, OH
"This tank sucks"
First year no problems, after that, constantly needing lit. Had new parts installed, lasted about 6 months, then same problem. Had it fixed again, then 1 month later-dead! Ripped it out and installed a Rheem. Now I am happy. I never want to see one of these again Doug
Date created: 2014-05-29
Name: J J Mauro
Location: Turner, Oregon
We have a circulating pump on 7/24. We never know how hot the water will be even though we have temperature select valves on showers. The heater has a 15 degree difference before it goes on. Smith recommends to raise temperature at tank. Same results. Next recommendation get a mixing valve; cost $400.00. This tank sucks. Letter to the President of Smith..no reply. The 15 degree swing was done with a week long recording temperature probe.
Date created: 2013-12-18
Name: andy mather
Location: calgary ab canada
"This is a John Wood"
This product ran fine for three months than required it to be relit on a weekly basis until it would no longer lite. Called the warranty department who gave me a run around I took the unit out myself and basically dropped it at the suppliers and gave them the choice to replace it or have them served with a legal action. They not John Wood sold it to me and I was not interested in dealing with anyone but the company that sold it too me! I got a new one that has the next generation thermocoupler< which is scientific name for you are going to get a screwing!
Date created: 2013-10-18
Name: Unsatisfied Customer
Location: Yorba Linda, CA
"Didn't Honor Parts and Warranty"
I am a homeowner and we have a 75 gallon AO Smith ProMax water heater that is 5 years old (with 6 year warranty). The issue was that, we would set the temperature to 130 degrees but the resulting water temperature (measured at the tank) was only 100 degrees. So instead of having a hot water heater, we have a "warm" water heater. Per AO Smith, we contacted their local approved plumber and started paying close to $500 in labor charges to diagnose and fix the issue (over multiple visits). In the end, something is wrong with the water heater that is difficult to diagnose. So we are stuck with the defective water heater. AO Smith refused to provide us a new water heater and said that the water heater is within their specifications. Bottom line is that, we are tired of taking "warm" showers and will be forced to pay full price to replace the water heater that is still under warranty. Needless to say, we will be picking another water heater vendor that stands behind their warranty.
Date created: 2013-04-10
Name: J Tendler
Location: Austin, TX
"Smith did not pay labor"
We have 2 units of 75 gallon water heaters in series. We replaced 1 unit 15 months ago with an A.o Smith water heater gcv-40 300. My wife has been complaining about the hot water. Last week the water was cold as we were running it for a long time. The licensed plumber said we needed to replace the pilot assembly and the control valve (under parts warranty) but the labor was not covered. A.o Smith says that the labor is not covered but as a "courtesy" they cover labor for first 12 months. They also said that it is rare to replace both parts. They do not recognize the unit most likely failed within 12 months and says that they no longer need to be courteous. I need to cover labor charges. Their rules say that the courtesy only extends for 12 months no matter what. No real customer focus here.
Date created: 2011-12-06
Location: Indianapolis, IN
"AO Smith Water Heater Review"
This was the water heater in the house I bought about 2 years ago. Initially, I was considering upgrading it to a tankless model, but decided to give this one a fair try first. We are a family of 5 (Mom, Dad, and 3 boys), and 2 of the boys were recent additions. We had also had a 40 gallon unit at our previous residence, and we found we were constantly running out of water. When we moved and had two additions to the family, we thought for sure we'd need something tankless or bigger, but this unit has been adequate. On most evenings, we can do dishes and give everyone a bath/shower. This heater is 7 years old, and it does not appear to have ever been repaired. I would buy the same brand again, as this 40 gallon unit seems to outperform our previous 40 gallon unit. The only downside is that, when all are bathed and dished are done, usually the last person to shower will get a bit of a cold one at the end. If I had to replace this, I most certainly would go tankless, but for what it is we have been surprised by it's performance.
Date created: 2011-12-02
Location: Atlanta, GA
"We trust our plumber: He recommended the A O Smith Pro Max"
When our old 25 gallon gas water heater needed to be replaced, I called our plumber. He recommended we replace with Pro Max. He assured us we were choosing the "best." Indeed we have been pleased. Mr. C also suggested we install a 50 gallon heater to guarantee hot water would always be available. The heater was delivered and installed that afternoon over six years ago. Everything about the Pro Max has met our expectations. It is energy efficient and the recovery time for hot water is less than 40 minutes. The controls are easily accessible, enabling us to regulate the temperature as needed or to lower the temperature when we are away. Also the operation is very quiet. In our yearly home inspection, the Pro Max passes with flying colors. Should we ever need to replace, I will choose a Pro Max. I can recommend it as highly as did Mr. C.
Date created: 2011-05-06
Location: Milaca, MN
"My Water Heater Review"
I have owned my electric water heater since I purchased my home in August, 2009. My house was brand new when I purchased it, so the water heater was brand new as well. I like my water heater because it is very efficient and reliable. I have never had any issues with water heater. That could be that it is quite new still. My water heater had a great temperature control system and it can put it to any temperature I want it at. It also is a fairly large unit. We are able to take fairly long showers without running out of hot water. Typically I am able to run the dishwasher and take a shower with no issues of running out of hot water. I have never had to fix or replace anything on my hot water heater, so I do not have any reason to dislike it. I would definitely recommend this to friends and family looking for a new water heater and I would use the same brand again.
Date created: 2010-09-19
Name: L. Broome
Location: Midland, TX
Quiet and trouble-free, the ProMax 50 gal water heater is the most efficient unit we've experienced in the 28 years we've owned our 1,700 sq ft home. In an area usually plagued with hard water difficulties, this unit has been in service for over five years with no problems.
Other ProMax Reviews
Based on online comments, it sounds as though professionals and consumers like the ProMax and think that A.O. Smith has a good warranty. Members on several sites ranked the ProMax favorably against other models, although it was not an overwhelming choise. For those with problems, faulty installation appeared to be a common cause. A consumer on doityourself.com had a problem with a ProMax gas water heater, and it turned out to be a combination of a bad pressure switch and faulty installation.
A.O. Smith provides a 6-year and a 10-year warranty on the ProMax water heater, depending on which model is purchased.