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    New A. O. Smith Gas Water Heaters Designed to Increase Profits, Enhance Safety



    Ashland City, TN (Wednesday, 11 June 2003)

    A. O. Smith Water Products Company will launch its new, streamlined selection of Conservationist®, ProMax® Plus, Powerhouse®, ProMax® SL and ProMax® residential gas water heaters. The line is designed to maximize plumbing contractors' more profitable "trade-up" opportunities by presenting a clear choice of feature and performance options to consumers. The line also includes C3 Technology™ models with an innovative safety system that meets new ANSI flammable vapor ignition resistant (FVIR) standards.

    From the base ProMax units to the premium Conservationist, every gas residential water heater in the new A. O. Smith gas line includes standard features that are unavailable or optional on most other brands, including…

    * A. O. Smith's exclusive PermaGlas® Coating – a commercial-grade glass lining that provides superior protection against tank corrosion.

    * The patented, "eco-friendly" Green Choice™ gas burner, which reduces NOx emissions by up to 33%, and complies with Southern California and Texas requirements.

    * A durable, tamper-resistant brass drain valve.

    * Sediment-fighting DynaClean™ dip tubes made from longer-lasting PEX cross-link polymer.

    According to A. O. Smith Water Products Company Vice President/Marketing Mike Parker, "We set a goal to design a residential line that would allow plumbing contractors to increase their profits by increasing sales of better-grade models. The outcome of this process exceeded our expectations. Now even our least expensive water heaters are built on a foundation of premium-grade features."

    In addition to ProMax, the new A. O. Smith residential gas line includes…

    * Conservationist® – With two-inch-thick foam insulation, heat traps and a unique high-dome tank bottom for maximum heat transfer efficiency, the 10-year warranty Conservationist offers A. O. Smith's highest energy factors for maximum operating cost savings. Higher efficiency also delivers higher recoveries and first hour ratings than 40,000 BTU standard-efficiency units. Conservationist also features a new, upgraded DynaClean™ II automatic sediment-cleaning system, which provides an even higher level of protection against sediment buildup.

    * ProMax® Plus High Recovery – With storage capacities from 38 to 100 gallons and inputs from 50,000 to 78,000 BTUs, these units offer A. O. Smith's highest recoveries and first hour ratings, making them the ideal choice for big families and homes with high hot water demand. Six-year warranty.

    * ProMax® Plus High Efficiency – Economy-priced water heaters, with superior efficiency that qualifies for most utility rebate programs. Six-year warranty.

    * PowerHouse® – A complete selection of specialty-vent water heaters to meet a wide variety of installation requirements. Includes direct-vent, power-vent and power direct-vent models.

    * ProMax® SL – "Side-loop" gas water heaters, equipped with side-mounted recirculating taps for installation with combination space heating/potable water heating applications (with air handlers) or any system requiring a recirculating hot water loop. Includes standard-vent units, plus side-loop versions of PowerHouse specialty-vent models.

    All 30, 40 and 50 gallon A. O. Smith atmospheric gas models are C3 Technology™ water heaters, which meet the new ANS Z21.10.1 "flammable vapor ignition resistant" standards. All water heater manufacturers are now required to produce FVIR models to meet the ANSI standard, designed to provide homeowners with a new level of protection against accidental ignition of flammable vapors outside the water heater. All of the FVIR systems utilize a flame arrestor design to contain combustion inside the water heater if a flammable vapor ignition occurs. However, A. O. Smith’s "Corderite Combustion Containment" (C3) Technology offers unique advantages over other systems, including…

    * Non-metallic flame arrestor – At the heart of A. O. Smith's C3 System is a flame arrestor made from Corderite, a durable ceramic material which will not warp or overheat, all potential drawbacks of steel flame arrestors.

    * An air intake screen that can be easily cleaned – For extremely harsh environments, C3 Technology water heaters are the only ones with a removable air intake screen to prevent lint, dust and oil from entering the water heater. If lint, dust and oil particles have accumulated, the screen can be easily removed and cleaned.

    * Self-resetting temperature sensor – If lack of adequate combustion air or a flammable vapor ignition causes the system to shut down the water heater, the C3 Technology temperature sensor is automatically self-resetting, which makes re-starting the unit fast and easy.

    * Simplified parts replacement – C3 Technology water heaters feature a self-contained pilot burner assembly, which includes the thermocouple, the thermal cutoff switch (TCO) and the piezo igniter. The entire assembly (not just the thermocouple) is a standard replacement part. If service or replacement is ever required, there's only one part to deal with, eliminating time-consuming testing to determine which component is causing the problem.

    According to A. O. Smith Water Products Company President Ron Massa, "We're proud of our C3 design. But the fact is, all the manufacturers share the credit for the development of the new FVIR water heater category. Each company made its own refinements to the basic design, and every company's system passed a rigorous set of ANSI test protocols, including accelerated life cycle testing under extremely harsh LDO conditions. The most important result is that no matter which brand of FVIR water heater a consumer buys, it will provide a new level of protection against the consequences of using or storing gasoline and other flammable liquids the wrong way. However, our C3 Technology is unique and we believe time will prove it is also the most customer-friendly, reliable design in use.”

    A. O. Smith C3 Technology is standard on all the company's 30, 40 and 50-gallon standard atmospheric gas models. Larger capacity units, as well as PowerHouse® and manufactured home gas models, will be introduced with C3 Technology no later than July 1, 2005, in accordance with a schedule to be met by all manufacturers.

    Headquartered in Ashland City, Tennessee, A. O. Smith Water Products Company is a leading manufacturer and marketer of residential and commercial water heaters and hydronic boilers. For more information, visit www.hotwater.com .


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