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 Posted: Sun Oct 11th, 2009 03:47 am
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hyperlexis
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Hi there -- so glad I found your site!  Two questions:  My parents bought an AO Smith Conservationist Subchamber water heater about 13 years ago.  It was a closeout model but brand new and it came with two anode rods and a 10 year warranty.  It was their top-of-the line, highest tech, highest efficiency model.  My father, alas, has never changed either of the rods out and I am worried at this point.  Would it help to change out one of the rods at this point or are things beyond any hope to extend its life?  It's such a great, efficient water heater and they don't even make this this type of subchamber model anymore. I bought a generic aluminum anode rod at Home Depot and wonder if I should try installing it or just take it back.  Secondly, AO Smith cant find me a copy of the owner's manual, despite this being such a highly marketed model by the company.  They have scores of old models' info in their system, but failed to archive any info on their [entire] line of different subchamber models -- sheesh!  Shockingly stupid.  The internet is remarkably devoid of any information on this model.  Does anyone have a digital copy of manuals, materials, etc. on the model that I could get a scan of?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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 Posted: Sun Oct 11th, 2009 05:00 am
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elenano
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The manuals I can't help you with. But for the life of the heater, I'd say, "Relax, but do check the anode."

Water heater warranties are now six and 12 years instead of five and 10, as before, largely because one of the manufacturers started to offer it that way and everybody else had to follow suit. The water heaters didn't suddenly become better-made.

The odds are very good that your parents' water heater is fine, but it's best to check the hex anode, which will be full-length, and change it, if need be. The other anode will be a half-length combo rod in the hot port. The rule of thumb is, six inches of core wire exposed and you replace it.

I don't want to unduly influence you regarding your aluminum anode, but do go to my homepage, click on The Basics, then Anodes, to see what we think of aluminum ones. If none of that troubles you, go ahead and use the one you bought.

If you have trouble getting the anode out, go to Troubleshooting, then Tanklets, then read the one on Strategies for Removing Stubborn Anodes.

And if you found any of this useful, tell your friends and neighbors....;)

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Sun Oct 11th, 2009 07:50 am
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eleent
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Hello:  I do keep older literature on heaters.  What model is it?

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Mon Oct 12th, 2009 03:40 pm
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hyperlexis
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Hi thanks to both of you guys!  I really appreciate the advice.

Regarding the water heater, I think it is a PGCS-40 type model.  If critical, I can email my dad and get the entire model info for you.

Any technical documentation or marketing materials, etc., would be great.  All I have found on the internet have been old AO Smith Subchamber ads in newspapers of all things.   It's really upsetting that AO Smith has nothing archived on this particular model which sold for many years.  The company archived info on dozens and dozens of their other old models, but nothing at all on their Subchamber line.

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 Posted: Tue Oct 13th, 2009 07:54 am
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eleent
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Hello:  I've got AO Smith model data back to the 1970s and PGCS doesn't show up.  PGCG does.  I did find that the PGCS is not uncommon in Europe though. The "subchamber" bit may be where the "S" comes from.  This sounds a lot like the Nautilus heater, once made by American Water Heaters.  It too had a combustion chamber surrounded by water, making it rather efficient.  I don't see it listed in the current lineup of heaters.

I do think your heater is a ten year variety, which makes it a good candidate for maintenance.  Also, it is probably efficient and worth maintaining.  Hope my guesswork is of some use ;)

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Tue Oct 13th, 2009 05:14 pm
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hyperlexis
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Yes!  Exactly like the Nautilus water heater!  It uses an in-shot burner and has a plastic condensate tray at the front.  This was produced for several years and was such a highly promoted design I can't for the life of me understand why AO Smith has nothing at all on it and there is nothing on the web other than newspaper ads ([url=http://newspapers.rawson.libOLD .mi.us/chronicle/1987/Issues/01-21-1987_9.pdf]http://newspapers.rawson.libOLD .mi.us/chronicle/1987/Issues/01-21-1987_9.pdf[/url]).  I checked the PCGC model of that era and it looked like this: (http://mail.thermoflo.com/Images/HomeZone/LitAOS-A7091.pdf).  It was their traditional style heater with the burner on the bottom.  Ours is similar but the subchamber version.  I'll double check the exact model number again.

Any info would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

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 Posted: Tue Oct 13th, 2009 06:26 pm
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eleent
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Hello:  At this point, if you can find where the anodes screw in, all you need is to replace them with magnesium ones. If it's like the Nautilus, the anodes will extend down beside the combustion chamber.  Knowing you can get the old ones out would be an important first (or second) step :cool:   I'd check the relief valve too.

Yours,  Larry

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