Water Heater Safety, Water Heater Tips, Water Heaters

AO Smith Water Heater Recall

AO Smith Water Heater Recall Resources

AO Smith Recall Website

Official A.O. Smith Recall Notice

On Nov. 8th, 2018, A.O. Smith announced it had recalled over 600,000 Ultra Low-Nox water heaters due to fire hazard. The fire hazard is due to the burner screen, which can develop tears in it. That can cause the burner to radiate excess heat and that could become a fire hazard for water heaters that are installed directly on floors made of wood or other combustible material.

According to the manufacturer, there have been six reports of fires, though no injuries have been reported. The size capacity of the water heaters being recalled are 30, 40 and 50 gallon models that run on natural gas or propane. They were manufactured between April 2011 and August 2016. An easy way to find out if your water heater is affected is to locate the serial number on the rating plate of your water.

How to locate the rating plate

Each rating plate can look a little different. Above is a sample of an A.O. Smith (top) and a Bradford White (bottom) rating plate (Bradford White Water Heaters ARE NOT Recalled).

For the A.O. Smith name brand units, the first four digits in the serial number represent the month and date. For example: a serial number starting with 1115, represents the 15th (April) week of 2011. The digits 1631 would represent the 31st week of 2016 (August). It can get very confusing, but if your serial number’s first four digits fall between those numbers, your water heater may be affected.

If you need help figuring out if your water heater is affected by the recall, go to the A.O. Smith recall website www.waterheaterrecall.com and put in your serial number. This will tell you if your water heater is part of the recall. All brand names manufactured by A.O. Smith are affected. So, it’s not only the serial number that you should be aware of you also want to make sure the brand you have is not part of the recall. See the list below for other brand names affected.

The brand names affected can include:

  • American
  • Whirlpool
  • Kenmore
  • Reliance
  • State
  • U.S. Craftsmaster

What to you do if your water heater has been recalled?

  • Turn off the water heater
  • Contact A.O. Smith
  • Work with A.O. Smith to determine if your unit is affected
  • Schedule a free A.O. Smith recall repair if your unit is affected

A.O. Smith recommends shutting the water heater down immediately by turning the water and gas off to the water heater. Please be aware that a short time after you turn the water heater off, you will not have any hot water. If you need assistance in shutting the water heater down give us a call at 1-866-946-7842 or follow our emergency shutdown instructions – click here. One of our water heater experts will be happy to help you. Once you have shut the water heater down, contact A.O. Smith. The company states that the issue can be resolved with a repair.

Water Heaters Only, Inc. does not repair the A. O. Smith recalled water heaters – please contact A.O. Smith directly. However, we are happy to help in locating the rating plate and deciphering the serial number of the water heater. For older units that are affected by this recall we can provide a replacement estimate and come out to replace the water heater, if that is preferred. However, we would not be installing another A.O. Smith brand water heater.

If your A.O. Smith water heater is still under warranty, we recommend dealing with A.O. Smith directly. We can not replace any A.O. Smith recalled water heaters under a warranty situation.

Water Heaters Only, Inc is and has been committed to water heater safety for over 50 years. You can always email or call us with any questions. We are happy to answer questions, help decipher serial numbers and guide you through the process of having a safe water heater operating in your home.

13 comments to “AO Smith Water Heater Recall”

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    • Hi William,
      With very few details, it sounds like you may have some sediment build happening which will cause the tank to “rumble and bang” when it’s heating up. This in itself is not necessarily dangerous, but make sure the tank doesn’t start moving on it’s own (from the vibration). You could attempt to flush out the sediment, but honestly I would guess it’s an older unit and your nearing replacement time. If this is a newer unit, it should not be “banging” and I would call the company who installed it and ask about that issue.

  1. Today I bought an AO Smith electric water heater from Lowes. It’s a 50 gallon short. I hooked up the water, then the wires. When I turned the breaker on, the wire began making a sizzling sound and smoking. I immediately shut the breaker off. Upon inspection I saw water in the electrical box on top of the water heater. I took the “trough” electrical box off to look deeper inside and found the entire electrical area and insulation completely full of water. Apparently when I filled the tank, there was some kind of defect inside which filled the insulation area and electrical with water as well. It’s a darn good thing I did not touch the tank or that my wife did not touch a faucet in the house. Potentially the entire plumbing system may have be electrified at that point.

    • Keith, I am so sorry for your experience with the A.O. Smith Brand of water heater your purchased from Lowe’s. We generally recommend the Bradford White brands. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  2. Water heater was making a loud bang when heating checked it out every time it lights fire shoots out from under it checked screen to see if dirty noticed couple of holes in burner screen.

    • Good Day Preston, Thank you for your comment.
      That sounds like the exact recall problem with the A.O. Smith water heaters, I would recommend you contact them ASAP and have an A.O. Smith service rep out to address that. That is not a normal function for a water heater. If you have any questions that we can help with feel free to give us a call.

  3. FAULTY AO SMITH 35500-BTU Natural Gas Water Heater
    Please advise. We purchased this water heater on April 1, 2021, and had it professionally installed. Immediately we smelled a dangerously strong gas odor. The gas company said it is a faulty water tank, tagged the unit, and turned off our gas. Our plumber advised us to return it to Lowes. We have not gotten any help from Lowes who told us we could not return it to them. They washed their hands of this and told us to contact AO Smith who gave us phone numbers for local plumbers to repair it. The plumbers were not able to schedule any appointments – said they are very busy. How do we return this product? Thank you.

    • Hi Charles,
      We are so disappointed to hear about your story and experience with a Lowes / A.O. Smith water heater. Unfortunately your story is not unique, we hear this situation happen frequently. However, I see that you stated you had it “professionally installed”. Why has the installation company not backed the warranty on there work? Was the installation also purchased through Lowes? We do not install or service that brand, but any tank we install, we back the warranty. I would recommend contacting your installation company and pushing for them to honor any labor or tank warranty that was provided. Again Charles, we are so sorry that this happen to you.

  4. Have had this water heater since 2014 when the townhouse was built. Noticed unit making noise like water cycling through…no leakes seen in adjacent closet. Unit is in the garage. What may be happening?

    • Hi Thank you for your question. There could be a few different things going on. First, are you getting good hot water? When you say sounds like water cycling through – do you hear running water? Do you know where your T/P valve terminates and have you checked to see if there is any water coming from that pipe. Feel free to give us a call for some trouble shooting help, it’s hard to trouble shoot via blog posts, but we are happy you have engaged with us!

      Thank you – The Crew From WHO Can Do!!

  5. Hi. We have the A& O gas unit from lowes. The temp of the water at kitchen sink was greater than 155 degrees.
    Plumber contacted company, the sent out a temp. Regulator I believe it was.
    It is down in lowest setting. It was installed yesterday.now the water is so hot it has steam coming out when we run water.
    No blockages in pressure valve.
    Not sure what to do?
    It always makes a low rumble sound most of the time.

    • Hi Jennifer,
      Thank you for your inquiry. Having water that is overly hot – usually is a sign that the gas control/burner are not regulating the heating of the tank properly. It could also be related to something going on in the plumbing. If you’d like to chat give me a call, I would love to help troubleshoot this issue. 1-866-946-7842 ask for Yana

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