AO Smith Gas water heater blower noise

AO Smith Gas water heater blower noise

by Dennis Auld
(Alecxandria, VA)

I just replaced a 15 year old AO Smith gas water heater with a GPVH-50-100 model. Since it's installation, it makes noise every time it turns on that can be heard in floors above the unit, and in rooms that surround it. The installer checked it, and I also got a second opinion from another dealer. Both said the fan was ok, and that these blower units, which are larger than the previous ones, make noise.

Several interactions with AO Smith service personnel result in, effectively, "it makes noise, live with it."

I find this response intolerable. I do not think that AO Smith should be selling these units to homeowners. There is nothing wrong with my venting, ductwork, etc. It gets down to the new units make noise.

I think my only solution is to get rid of this brand new water heater, and find another brand that is quiet.

Comments for AO Smith Gas water heater blower noise

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Nov 17, 2016
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Noise
by: Anonymous

Make sure the water heater venting pipe is not resting against a HVAC duct or a floor joust, otherwise vibration will be transmitted throughout the house.

Oct 10, 2016
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no replacement parts
by: AngryTradesman

I liked this 50 gallon A.O. Smith for its function. We never ran out of hot water. But the noise has driven me nuts for years. I laughed when I heard the comments saying it sounds like a jet getting ready for a takeoff because I have been saying the same thing for years. I laughed until I got angry. This should never have been installed in a home.

I hate the noise, but I got used to it. It is so loud, we can't hear the TV in the adjacent room when it is running. There is no warning before you buy it, just, SURPRISE!!!!!! Now get used to it. Horrible design.

Here is the final blow for me. The controller has a relay on the printed circuit board that turns on the fan. It has stopped working. I contacted A.O. Smith and they do not have a replacement controller. They say it is "obsolete". I am furious. I am a tradesman and could replace this controller in half an hour. But no parts equals no fix.

So, I have to get a new unit. Can you guess what unit I will never even consider for purchase? A.O.Smith!

I am warning anyone considering this product or company. Their customer service is terrible. Their parts department is terrible. And their product is terrible (for the noise).

Stay away from A.O.Smith

May 06, 2016
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Finally getting rid of this faulty tank
by: Carol

I have lived with this noisy fan for 8 years. It also has blown the pressure valve twice. What a mistake installing it in a new home. They, Bradford White Corp., take no responsibility in fixing, replacing, answering, or just being nice. I am out to buy a new tank today and it will not be a Bradford-White or any other brand they sell.

Mar 29, 2016
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change noise frequency
by: Ding

Those fans indeed make high pitch noise. Some people are very sensitive to noise of these frequencies. I just replace my old one with Bradford white gas water heater (75Gal) which also has high pitch noise. I try to use a piece of carpet to create a barrier around fans. The frequencies become lower, and you might be able to accept it. At first I thought I had to get rid of it ($2500). In the end it works fine. Try it to see if you can accept some noise at different frequencies. Hopefully it helps someone.

Jan 20, 2016
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AO Smith GPVL 40 Power Vent blows acrid exhaust in house
by: Anonymous

Our AO Smith GPVL 40 Power Vent water heater is two months old. We've had to replace a leaking gas controller. AO Smith was good about getting a replacement valve sent out, our plumber replaced it at 2 pm yesterday afternoon; at 9 pm we still didn't have hot water. We found out the controller wasn't sending or igniting gas and we had to turn the controller off and on again to reset it. This new valve still reeks of natural gas when working. The blower on top of the unit that takes in air exhausts some sort of burning, acrid exhaust when the unit is not running and has since the day it was installed. The only time this unit was livable was when the unit was not running after installing the new gas valve. AO Smith leaks gas and acrid exhaust on the power vent. Very displeased with this unit. Wish we would have gone with another brand.

Dec 18, 2015
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Bradford White also noisy
by: Wayne

Just had the 50 gallon Bradford White energy star model power vent installed and it is freakin loud, it is clearly the loudest and most annoying appliance in my basement. Had a direct vent Bradford White beige and that was so so quiet. The new power vent is louder than my gas furnace. I plan on dumping this for a on demand tankless at some point.

Mar 24, 2015
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AO Smith water heater noise
by: Anonymous

I also have one for 7 years, on my 3rd one as the other 2 leaked after a few years. Also had trouble with fan noise. Contacted AO Smith and they sent new blower at no cost. 15 minutes to replace and was better. I am a building contractor but easy to replace for novice who is handy.

Feb 21, 2015
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Extremely loud blower motor
by: Anonymous

our home built in 2012 has an AOSmith powered vent gas water heater in the basement below our master bedroom. The noise level is extreme, I added some sound insulation to the basementt ceiling, did not reduce the noise very much. This company produces junk, it will soon be replaced,

Nov 24, 2014
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Disappointed
by: Anonymous

I too just replaced my 14 yr old AO Smith gas water heater . I was pleased with he old one, but the new one can be heard from the floor above when it is reheating. Sounds like I'm firing up a small jet engine.

Jul 30, 2014
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Frustrated w/ AO Smith
by: Anonymous

I have to agree with all the bad comments, i will NEVER buy or say anything good about A O Smith again. replacement parts are very very expensive and do not last long and just live with it seems to be their motto!

Dec 06, 2013
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Wish I'd read this page before...
by: Jennifer

I wish to God I'd read this page before I had my AO Smith power vent water heater installed. I compared it to my neighbor's Bradford White -- mine is consistently 12 to 14 decibels louder, and at one point as I measured, it was 16 decibels louder. Intolerable! I'm in a small condo -- about 1100 sf, and I HATE, HATE, HATE this water heater. I'm furious at the plumber who installed it -- who is my neighbor (!) for not warning me! Everyone else I got an estimate from recommended Bradford White but couldn't tell me why they recommended it over AO Smith. I was replacing the AO Smith that was originally installed -- I bought this condo new 13 years ago -- and this AO Smith is WAY louder than my last one. I am angry and shocked that this is not something that a plumber would tell me about. I wish I read this page before I spent $2000 (water heater cost + installation.) Aaarghh!

Aug 13, 2013
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Blowered gas heaters
by: Sleepless in NY

New House.. new gas water heater and new "live with" noise that sounds like a small plane readying for taxi. Real nice at 2 or 3 am. These guys need to have a housewife test before they market these things. Want a ggod nights sleep do not buy "any" blowered water heater. opt for direct vent or electric...a little more cost but a lot more rest.

Jul 08, 2013
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Yep, it's noisy
by: Anonymous

It is noisy, for sure. Not quite hair-dryer level, but it's noisy. They used a cheap blower fan, and duct it through a weird small opening (air turbulence). The fan itself has both a blower sound, as well as a high-pitched noise from. The transformer also whines, but it's not too bad.

Here's my notes on the fan, and some potential (not drop-in) replacements. The unfortunate thing is that I haven't found a fan (doesn't matter about size - I'll create a shroud) that has an equivalent static pressure as the OEM. I don't know if it is necessary, but since it's pushing a large quantity of air, downward, through a weird diamond-shape opening, I believe it needs it (I'm not a fan expert, but know just enough...)

That said, the heater has a pressure sensor, and does a fan test for 5 seconds before firing the burner. If the fan isn't pushing a sufficient amount of air, the "Clean Filter" warning will come on, thinking the air inlet is blocked. I believe there is a fairly large variance of airflow that is acceptable to the sensor, so I might just try a lower-cfm equal size fan that has 3+ dB less noise as a start.

Quite a bummer for a $1k furnace!

Current fan is a Rectangular/Rounded 97mm x 93.5mm x 33mm

http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en/fans-thermal-management/dc-fans/1179730

24V x .64A = 15.36W (how much power the fan draws while on)

OEM (currently installed):
http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/BG0903-B054-000-00/P12909-ND/740266

Says 11.8W
1.373 in H2O (342.0 Pa)
54db
28.6 CFM

http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/ODB600PT-24MB/1053-1295-ND/2621200
120.5 x 120.5 x 32mm
0.470 in H2O (117.1 Pa)
42db
2wire

http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/BFB1024H-F00/603-1120-ND/1014451

Jun 14, 2013
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Thanks
by: Anonymous

Thank you for the warning, guys. I have a very noisy blower assembly on my Rheem water heater and it missed the 6-year warranty period coverage by few months. I will be looking for a new water heater and I will definitely keep AO Smith brand in mind - a product NOT to buy!!! Thanks again.

Sep 03, 2012
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A. O. Smith Noisy Vent
by: Dick

My builder installed a GPVH 40 100 beneath the bedroom in our new house.

I agree entirely with Dennis that A. O. Smith has lost touch with reality by selling these intolerably noisy units for residential construction.

My temporary solution has been to plug the Universal Electric Motor plug into an appliance timer that keeps it from running from 8:00 PM to 6:00 AM.

My long-term solution is to replace this piece of junk with an electric water heater which doesn't need venting when it fails in 6 years. (A tag on the heater says "A. O. Smith Res 6 yr gas.")

Jul 10, 2012
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AO Smith Buzzing Noise
by: PAT

So I contacted AO Smith and they're replacing the motor and said it was defective. I know there are some comments on board that state they got no response from AO Smith but it was shipped out right away and will let you know the outcome of the blower. It has yet to be installed.

Jun 20, 2012
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Blower - High-Pitched Buzzing Noise
by: Pat

A AO Smith power vented gas water heater was installed June 1, 2012. When the unit was initially installed, the blower did make more noise than the previous water heater, which was acceptable (better/new unit, blah, blah). A week or so later a high-pitched buzzing noise started. The installer came back and basically said "live with it" but I'm not convinced that something can be done to alleviate some of the NEW high-pitched noise. The motor is a Universal Electric. Is there a replacement part that can be made? Will the warranty cover this issue?
Please let me know how to proceed. Thanks -- PAT

Jun 19, 2011
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Don't Buy an AO Smith Water heater
by: PULELO@YAHOO.COM

I bought a new home that came with an AO Smith gas water heater. I think it is the Universal Exectric Motor on top that makes the loud buzzing noise. I have written AO Smith several times but never got a response. Like others, my builder said to live with it, that's the way they work! Well, I say, I may have to live with it but AO Smith will have to live without my future business and the business of anyone I can warn!

Jan 21, 2011
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A O Smith Water Heater Blower noise
by: Anonymous

My A O Smith GPSH water heater sounds like a siren when it is running.

My neighbor said he got a new blower unit under a recall program.

When I called A O Smith about the noise they said there was no recall.

Nov 29, 2010
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AO Smith Power Vent Blower Noise
by: Stan Mazur/Manahawkin, NJ

My home was built 4 years ago and the builder used the AO Smith Model GPSH 50-200 in the bigger homes. The hot water heater is in a closet in the 2nd floor loft. It has been very loud since day one. I had the installer check it out and stated they should not have used these units in a closet. Too late for that.

Called AO Smith and their reply was also they are big fans and just "live with it". Now the blower goes on, shuts off and then goes on again. I finally got in touch with the distributor in the area who just shipped me a new blower unit. I'm going to find a plumber to install it. Hope the new blower will cut down on the noise. I'm tired of the noise waking me up in the middle of the night. Cannot have a conversation in the loft when the blower goes on. VERY LOUD FANS!

May 26, 2010
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AO Smith ProMax Power-Vent
by: Zee from water heater reviews

This is ProMax Power-Vent model from AO Smith water heater manufacturer, for those who are not familiar with A O Smith products.

Dennis, sorry to hear about your noisy water heater problem and bad experience with the AO Smith customer service.

Here are my thoughts:

Even with the blower factory installed, did you check is the blower damaged and mounted securely? If it is under warranty, send it back.

Check do you have the same noise problem if the vent pipe is disconnected (temporarily).

I was just wondering about vibration that might be coming from the fan through the vent system, from plumbing if you are using the rigid black pipes or the bottom of the tank.

Check is your ProMax Power-Vent properly leveled, if it is out of balance the fan might be spinning wild.


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