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Repair guides and support for gas and electric hot water tanks, boilers and household heat exchangers.

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7 minutes of hot water...replaced both elements and both thermostats.

So I have a week old AO Smith 50 gallon hot water heater that I used to replace a 10 year old leaky hot water heater. Installed it last week but I am getting about 8 minutes of hot water. I have done the following…

  • Replaced upper and lower elements (when I pulled the upper coil it was very hot and had a bronze finish to it, the lower coil was cold and looked brand new)
  • Replaced upper and lower thermostats
  • Checked emptied water and sink filters for signs of a broken dip tube
  • Emptied the tank and verified that the lower 2/3 of the tank is carrying cool water, upper 1/3 is hot
  • Checked that the wires on top of the heater are sending power
  • Verified that the unit is receiving 240

The old unit was connected with PEX which I cut and attached shark bite flex tube connection to the top of the new unit. So far, AO Smith have been a pain to deal with. I do have an appointment for a plumber to come out next week but it would be great if someone knew of anything else I am not testing.

Thank you!

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Why aren't you using the warranty on this? How about a model number?


I have replaced all parts under warranty. The manufacturer has been a pain to deal with and Lowes will not let me just do a return without an RA…which the manuf will not grant until a tech looks at it next week to verify that it isn’t working.


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Found the problem. The red wire from the top thermostat to the bottom thermostat is severed. The disconnected section was really tucked in behind the insulation and hard to see. You can see a black section inside the insulation and against the thermostat where it has arced. I am still dealing with the manufacturer to get an RA for return. Probably will never purchase an AO Smith hot water heater ever again. Glad my house didn’t burn down :)

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If it's not too late and you haven't already done so (apologies if you have), take pictures of it to show the manufacturer to point out the apparent oversight in their "quality control" procedures which should have picked this up before it left the factory.

Stir them up a bit ;-)


I had to send the pictures for them to provide me with an RA. They honestly weren't very apologetic, which isn't surprising.



Have you got a federal or state comsumer affairs commission or similar?

Here is Australia we have the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) where you can report unsafe/dangerous products to, if the manufacturer seemingly doesn't want to know. They seem to take a strong line on faulty/dangerous products.


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