A. O. Smith Aims to Revolutionize the Water Heating Industry with Four New High-Efficiency Products

April 9, 2010

A. O. Smith is taking energy efficiency to new heights with four new families of residential water heaters. Designed to provide contractors with the exact solution for every home, these new products represent the latest advances in gas, gas hybrid, electric hybrid and solar thermal technology.

“Energy efficiency is the driving force behind innovation in the water heater industry, and A. O. Smith is in the driver’s seat. We make it our mission to set the pace and direction for the entire industry,” said David Chisolm, brand manager for A. O. Smith Water Products Company.

First on the list is the new A. O. Smith EffexTM high-efficiency gas water heater, the most advanced and efficient conventional vent product on the market today. The patented air intake system turbo charges the combustion process to reduce energy costs up to 25 percent. It works by pushing air into the combustion chamber, creating a pressurized environment that allows hot gas to travel slower through the water heater. As a result, a higher percentage of the energy is transferred to the water and less is wasted. Effex operates at .70 Energy Factor (EF), making it the industry’s most energy-efficient standard atmospheric water heater.

Effex is the first standard vent product on the market that will exceed the certification requirements for the more stringent second phase of ENERGY STAR® (requiring .67 EF). It achieves all of this while installing the same as other standard gas products.

Up next, the NEXT HybridTM high-efficiency gas water heater raises the bar to 90 percent thermal efficiency by blending tankless and traditional heating methods. The NEXT Hybrid represents a new generation in water heating, bringing together a tankless engine with a small buffer tank in order to maximize the benefits of both technologies. A. O. Smith’s patented heat transfer process takes the exhaust gas from the tankless engine and routes it back into the buffer tank in order to extract additional heat. This product performs like a tankless model but can also handle peak demand periods because of its small buffer tank.

Operating at .90 EF, the NEXT Hybrid is eligible for a federal tax credit up to $1,500 or 30 percent of its total installed cost. The footprint is similar to conventional models with standard water and gas connections, making it much simpler and less expensive in replacement applications than a purely tankless system.

Third, the VoltexTM hybrid electric water heater integrates a new heat pump technology that makes it more than twice as efficient as a standard electric water heater. Voltex operates like an air conditioner in reverse, pulling heat from the surrounding air and transferring it to the tank. The result is a significant reduction in energy costs: $203 annually for a Voltex compared with up to $575 for an ordinary electric model. Depending upon the application, this water heater can pay for itself in less than three years.

Voltex operates at 2.3 EF, making it the only type of electric water heater that is ENERGY STAR® rated. It is also eligible for a federal tax credit up to $1,500, or 30 percent of its total installed cost, as well as many other state and local rebates. Voltex installs similarly to conventional electric models with the addition of a condensate drain.

Finally, the CirrexTM Solar Thermal Water Heating System is an all-in-one solution that makes specification and installation simple. Solar thermal collectors provide up to 70 percent of the energy needed for water heating from the sun, and they are only a fraction of the cost of photovoltaic solar panels. Available in 80- and 120-gallon models, A. O. Smith calls Cirrex one of the ‘greenest’ solutions available to homeowners today.

With a Solar Energy Factor (SEF) of 2.5, the Cirrex system is ENERGY STAR® qualified and eligible for a federal tax credit of 30 percent of the total installation cost without a cap.

“Choosing the right water heater is a matter of lifestyle as well as budget. We make it easy for contractors to find the exact energy-saving solution for each individual homeowner, no matter what their needs may be,” said Chisolm.

About A.O. Smith:
Headquartered in Ashland City, Tenn., A. O. Smith Water Products Company is North America’s leading manufacturer and marketer of residential and commercial water heaters and hydronic boilers. A. O. Smith offers contractors an additional competitive advantage in that the company designs, builds, distributes and field supports the world’s broadest and deepest line of residential and commercial water heaters, as well as commercial boilers. This single-source concept simplifies ordering, installation and service and is backed by more than 70 years of research and innovation. For more information, please visit www.hotwater.com.

A. O. Smith Aims to Revolutionize the Water Heating Industry with Four New High-Efficiency Products (PDF)