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  1. #1
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    Aug 2009
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    Opinions on AO Smith Vertex 100 96% Water Heater

    I have decided 100% to forget about going to a tankless water heater - some people love them, some hate them. In any event I am seriously considering the AO Smith Vertex 100 50 Gallon 96% Efficient 100,000 BTU Hot Water Heater. It claims to never truly run out of hot water. I need one that can be vented out the side of my house. I am planning to eliminate my chimney all together.

    While it carries a fairly good price tag, I would be getting 50% off of the cost going through the NJ clean energy program. And that is before any other rebates/promotions.

    So cost aside, is this the Mercedes of water heaters?

  2. #2
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    Sep 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomwk View Post
    I have decided 100% to forget about going to a tankless water heater - some people love them, some hate them. In any event I am seriously considering the AO Smith Vertex 100 50 Gallon 96% Efficient 100,000 BTU Hot Water Heater. It claims to never truly run out of hot water. I need one that can be vented out the side of my house. I am planning to eliminate my chimney all together.

    While it carries a fairly good price tag, I would be getting 50% off of the cost going through the NJ clean energy program. And that is before any other rebates/promotions.

    So cost aside, is this the Mercedes of water heaters?
    Unless you need a whole lot of hot water on a recurring basis, you will probably find that unit will short cycle under normal usage. Short cycling will affect fuel usage and equipment life negatively.

    Another make with a similar design is the Polaris by American Water Heater. They have a unit with a smaller 34 gallon tank (32% smaller). Even with a smaller tank it would be best to set a somewhat wide temp band so that when the unit does fire it has to raise the water temp a meaningful amount (on at 115* and off at 135* or something similar). This will help mitigate short cycling. Make sure you have a mixing valve on the output side of the unit to set the delivered water temp to avoid scalding.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cedar Grove, Wi-Sheboygan
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    Unless your going to use some of this hot water for radiant heat it would be too large a unit and as been mentioned will short cycle just like a over sized furnace would that is sized too large for a home, no difference. These type of HWH are designed for use with a radiant floor system in mind as it will delivery plenty of domestic and radiant heat for a family of 8-10 person. Have you watched the video on there website, or on HGTV they review this product as well.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2009
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    I will have to review the links on the model. I assumed since I already have a 50 gallon ao smith water heater, that I would just upgrade to this much more efficient and advanced 50 gallon model. My contractor never mentioned anything about short cycling.

    It will not be used for radiant heat, and there will eventually be 4 people in my household.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomwk View Post
    I will have to review the links on the model. I assumed since I already have a 50 gallon ao smith water heater, that I would just upgrade to this much more efficient and advanced 50 gallon model. My contractor never mentioned anything about short cycling.

    It will not be used for radiant heat, and there will eventually be 4 people in my household.
    tom,

    Your current water heater is probably about 40,000 BTU and at a much lower efficiency. With this new unit having 100,000 BTU burner and more of those BTUs being put into heating the water (much higher efficiency) then the unit has much higher capacity.

    The Vertex and Polaris both are using a somewhat smallish tank with a large high efficiency burner to provide you with all the hot water you could ever need as a tankless unit does, but since they do have a tank they resolve the cold water sandwich and other issues that people have with tankless units.

    But it is real easy to go over board with these. One thing to compare is the first hour draw. Assuming your current water heater is providing all (or nearly all) that you need, compare the first hour draw of it to the Vertex. You will see the substantial additional capacity of the Vertex.

    Sounds like your contractor is selling efficiency. As always there is more to it than that.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2004
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    Lancaster PA
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    Won't ba any worse then a 155,000BTU mod/con connected to a 40 gallon indirect.
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  7. #7
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    Sep 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Won't ba any worse then a 155,000BTU mod/con connected to a 40 gallon indirect.
    I would assume the typical household with family of four would find that set up over sized for their needs too. They would probably have all the hot water they need with a small 22-25 gallon indirect with a burner that size firing it (assuming the indirect had priority and maybe even without it).

  8. #8
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    Jan 2004
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    Lancaster PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by mchild View Post
    I would assume the typical household with family of four would find that set up over sized for their needs too. They would probably have all the hot water they need with a small 22-25 gallon indirect with a burner that size firing it (assuming the indirect had priority and maybe even without it).
    Oversized? maybe.
    Use more fuel because of it, or short cycle, nope. Its not like an oversized furnace running 3 times an hour. The water heater won't fire more then a couple times a day to maintain temp.

    Small tanks on mod/cons tend to short cycle while hot water is being used.
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  9. #9
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    I just watched the video for the vertex on the ao smith site. It was installed in a house for a family of 5. It has the ability to use an additional hot water out for radiant heat, but you don't have to use it. Obviously the video raved about it, and never mentioned short cycling.

    So why would this unit be considered oversized? My current 50 gallon ao smith water heater is 4 years old and has never run out of hot water since I installed all new low flow shower heads, but it used to before I switched them all. Plus I have kid #1 now which is starting to take a lot of baths. And kid #2 is on the way which will eventually mean more baths. And baths take up a lot of hot water.

    If everyone still thinks it is oversized, then should I just consider a smaller vertex model? I still want the high efficiency and performance.

  10. #10
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    Dec 2007
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    Cedar Grove, Wi-Sheboygan
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    Had you mentioned having alot of baths I would have then said go for it, Thats the other thing these type of heaters are good for, is to provide endless hot water and in your situation with possibly 2,3, 0r more baths per day plus a couple of showers, along with laundry, you would be able to do most all of these activities simultaneously daily.

  11. #11
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    Dec 2009
    Location
    McCook NE
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomwk View Post
    I just watched the video for the vertex on the ao smith site. It was installed in a house for a family of 5. It has the ability to use an additional hot water out for radiant heat, but you don't have to use it. Obviously the video raved about it, and never mentioned short cycling.

    So why would this unit be considered oversized? My current 50 gallon ao smith water heater is 4 years old and has never run out of hot water since I installed all new low flow shower heads, but it used to before I switched them all. Plus I have kid #1 now which is starting to take a lot of baths. And kid #2 is on the way which will eventually mean more baths. And baths take up a lot of hot water.

    If everyone still thinks it is oversized, then should I just consider a smaller vertex model? I still want the high efficiency and performance.

    Tom it would seem to me you are wanting to spend money for the sake of spending it. If you want true efficiency replace your hot water heater at the end of its life not at the beginning.

    Kids really don't use that much hot water. Trust me I know kids, I have 6 of them. If the water doesn't get cold they don't know the shower is over.

    Clearly you have noticed the technology is reaching the hot water arena. Are you going to need to jump into the next great new thing in another 4 years?

  12. #12
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    Jul 2008
    Location
    Washington, DC
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomwk View Post
    I just watched the video for the vertex on the ao smith site. It was installed in a house for a family of 5. It has the ability to use an additional hot water out for radiant heat, but you don't have to use it. Obviously the video raved about it, and never mentioned short cycling.

    So why would this unit be considered oversized? My current 50 gallon ao smith water heater is 4 years old and has never run out of hot water since I installed all new low flow shower heads, but it used to before I switched them all. Plus I have kid #1 now which is starting to take a lot of baths. And kid #2 is on the way which will eventually mean more baths. And baths take up a lot of hot water.

    If everyone still thinks it is oversized, then should I just consider a smaller vertex model? I still want the high efficiency and performance.
    water heaters are rated both on storage capacity and recovery rate. A higher efficiency unit will have a higher recovery rate, storage tanks are used to store enough capacity to meet peak usage at a given recovery rate. So basically sizing a hot water heater is picking one that meets your peak useage. The two things that get you there, storage and recovery rate, are inversly proportional.

    Some of the websites have calculators that you can size water heaters. I know Rheem has one.

  13. #13
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    Jan 2004
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    Lancaster PA
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    You're taking 20.8 pounds of water out of the tank every minute and if the incoming water temperature is 50 and you need to raise it to 120, that's a 70-degree temperature rise x 20.8-lbs. = a need for 1,456 Btu's per minute. Anything less and the tank is constantly cooling. Now replace that 40K burner with a 100,000 Btu burner and you're upped the Btu input per minute to 1,666.67. So you now have MORE Btu's available to supply that 1,456 Btu's needed. So you could, when using 2.5-gpm or less, actually have the burner fire, raise the tank temp and shut off during the 10-minute shower. Then refire, heat the tank up and shut off. That's short cycling, even with the same 50-gallons of storage.
    It would be an output of 1600BTU's at 96% efficiency.
    It would take just over 9 minutes( 9 minutes and 6.6 seconds) for the burner to heat that 20.85 pounds of water from 50 to 120. I don't see the burner refiring again in the next 50 or so seconds.

    The water heater isn't just heating up the water that has replaced what was/is used.
    It is also heating up the water higher in the tank.
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