Polaris Water Heaters Review and Buying Guide
(updated 2018)

A review of Polaris water heaters, the most energy efficient tank-type gas model from the American water heating company, and in the industry. Explore the superior features and amazing specs of this condensing unit. See how Polaris is a great solution for those homeowners looking to buy a unit for water and space heating that can last and save tons of money, year after year.

Polaris water heaterPolaris

Polaris is not an ordinary gas water heater with the cheap components, average quality and that can last only 10 years. Polaris is a beast. It is expensive but for a reason. Once installed you don’t have to worry is it going to leak, corrode or break apart.

Why?

Read the review further to explore the commercial quality elements and superior features.

Also, you don’t have to worry is it going to provide enough hot water for your large home, large bathrooms, Jacuzzi, hot tub or demanding teenagers.

Keep in mind when searching to buy a Polaris water heater, this brand name is also offered by AO Smith, Giant, John Wood, and GSW. AO Smith is actually a parent company of these four mentioned.

Highlights

Why Polaris

According to the American manufacturer, Polaris heaters “are one of the main reasons behind the American brand’s great reputation.” This actually explains how great these units are. Polaris is coming from the Proline XE series – and is considered by the manufacturer as the “BEST”.

Polaris water heaters are gas-powered and condensing units that can use both natural and propane or LP gas – great for regions where the electricity rates are high. It is recommended for both residential and commercial applications. If you are the owner of a large house, have a big family, and would like to have plenty of hot water not only in one or two fixtures but in multiple demanding applications; dishwasher, bath, shower and washing machine – this is the heater for you.

One of the reasons why Polaris is the best choice and desired unit for demanding applications is its ability to provide up to 253 GPH in recovery, which is substantial when comparing to the conventional models.

Selecting the right model

Polaris water heaters are designed in two tank sizes; 34 and 50 gallons but there are seven residential gas models to choose from, with the power ranging from 100,000 BTU to 199,000 BTU:

  • PG10—34-100-2NV-34
  • PG10—34-130-2NV-34
  • PG10—34-150-2NV-34
  • PG10—50-130-2NV-50
  • PG10—50-150-2NV-50
  • PG10—50-175-3NV-50
  • PG10—50-199-3NV-50

Models with the tank size of 34 gallons are shorter and lighter, only 48.5 inches in height and 150 lbs in weight, while 50-gal units have the height as most of the conventional type - around 64 inches and are heavier by approximately 30 pounds. 34-gal units are recommended for families with up to 4 members and 50-gal units for a family size of 5 members.

Model PG10—34-100-2NV-34 is the only model which has the rated First Hour Recovery - 179 gallons, for other is not provided by the manufacturer. When it comes to the recovery rating it is in the range from 129 to the maximum of 253 GPH (90 F temp. rise), found on the model PG10—50-199-3NV-50.

All the models come with the same warranty of 10 years.

With over 95% thermal efficiency, Polaris models are Energy Star approved and eligible for rebates and even more savings.

Features

What makes the Polaris water heater to stand out from most of the gas models, no matter is it AO Smith, American, Rheem, Bradford White, State, Kenmore, John Wood or any other, is the innovative design utilizing amazing commercial-grade features.

Innovative design for better heat transfer

The submerged combustion chamber and helical flue are the main reasons why the unit has a superior efficiency of 96%.

Thanks to the spiral flue design which makes the tube longer and with the larger contact surface, the heat from the flue gases can be almost entirely transferred to the surrounding water, instead of wasted outside.

According to the manufacturer, the stand-by heat loss is only 1% and the exhaust gas temperature is very low. This is what allows the use of cheaper and simpler vents.

As the water heater, due to the lower temperature of the exhaust gases, produces condensate, a proper drain line is installed.

Quality tank

The water storage tanks are long-lasting and reliable as they are built from the high-grade 444 stainless steel, resistant to corrosion and rust. As the unit’s tank is not susceptible to corrosion an anode rod has been eliminated. This results in less maintenance and service, also no worries about the rotten egg odor and rusty water.

Efficient and clean combustion system

Another element with the superb quality is the metal fiber burner, with an excellent resistance to thermal and mechanical stress and corrosion. A burner that is located in the sealed combustion chamber works in the high-intensity blue flame mode, resulting in a clean, uniform and high heat production and transfer.

A radial brushless DC blower is combined with the gas burner, mixing air and gas in the right ratio for a clean and quiet operation.

As opposed to most of the economy models, which are equipped with the pilot light, Polaris utilizes the hot surface igniter for gas ignition, which is more durable and reliable.

Due to the clean combustion, there is less pollution. So it can be considered that Polaris water heater is an ultra-low NOx unit, recommended for regions with the strict emission rules, such as California.

Flexible venting system

Polaris is an indoor water heater that removes the gases using the direct venting system. All of the products of combustion are vented out through the spiral flue pipe.

Due to the flexible vent installation options, Polaris hot water heaters can use the affordable PVC, CPVC and ABS plastic pipes with the maximum length of 120 ft. (40 m), through the roof or outside wall.

At the same time, the air for combustion is taken from the outside atmosphere utilizing the air inlet.

While Polaris is mainly used in residential applications for water heating and radiant floor heating, they are not certified for mobile homes (RV).

Electronics

With the advanced electronic system, control, monitoring and troubleshooting become easier. The microprocessor collects all the information from the sensors while overseeing the operation of the unit. If there is a failure, the microprocessor shuts down the unit. With the diagnostic system and large touchscreen display, a technician will have a better understanding of the problem making it easier to repair it.

Polaris is equipped with the configuration key, located inside the control box, and it collects all the information about the process and over its lifetime – even if the control board is replaced.

Easy installation and service

When it comes to the installation, Polaris gas water heater is not different from the conventional models. As long as the air inlet, exhaust, gas, electricity, and water are connected properly, there are no other adjustments needed. As opposed to non-condensing units, a condensation drain must be provided.

If any repairs are required simple remove the front access panel to allow an easy access to the heater’s elements.

Safety Devices

  • Polaris water heater is FVIR or "flammable vapor ignition resistance" compliant, a revolutionary technology that ensures that the flame can occur only inside the combustion chamber. Without the FVIR, problems can arise due to the improper storage or use of gasoline and other flammable liquids near the gas-fired water heaters.
  • Thermister temperature sensor.
  • 24-volt thermostat control.
  • Zero clearance to combustibles.
  • TPR valve factory installed to relief the system from the high pressure due to water expansion.
  • Factory provided tempering valve.
  • For the safe and proper operation all the units are equipped with the two switches; blocked outlet and blocked intake switch. In a case of the obstructed exhaust or air intake pipe, or the blower fails to operate, an outlet or inlet switch sends the signal to the controller preventing the unit from igniting. 
  • Energy Cut-Off or ECO is a high-temperature limit switch, used to automatically shut the heater off when hot water exceeds the maximum factory set temperature.

How Polaris works

After blower at the bottom of the Polaris water heater tank pre-purges the gas combustion chamber, the hot surface igniter is energized to fire the mixture of air and gas, delivered by the blower.

The hot surface ignitor ignites the gas on the main burner and if there are minimal impurities in the combustion chamber, a blue flame is developed. The flame covers an entire burner evenly resulting in the clean gas combustion and low NOx gas emission. The status of the ignition and gas burner are displayed on the control panel.

Where to use and buy

Built as the versatile unit, and thanks to the side mounted hot and cold connections, Polaris is used not only for water but space heating, utilizing an air and radiant hydronic heating systems. With the installation of the circulation pump and recirculation system, the heater can deliver hot water faster. The additional savings can be achieved when combined with the solar water heating system where it can be used as a solar storage heater or as a backup.

If you wonder where to find a dealer who sells Polaris, or where to buy it online, my recommendation is to check an online store Amazon.com, where you can find the available models, prices and user reviews and of course buy one.

Summary 

Polaris water heaters, no matter of the selected models or sizes, are your best choice for residential hot water. Made of commercial-grade components, innovative features, and amazing specs, these versatile units are ideal not only for water but space heating, recirculation and solar heating in large homes.

When you buy a Polaris, and according to the user reviews, you are getting a reliable, long-lasting, eco-friendly and ultra-efficient unit that ensures a continuous supply of hot water, savings, potential rebates and enhanced comfort.

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