ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. - A new 50-gallon hot water heater with 90 percent thermal efficiency has been developed by A.O. Smith Water Products Co. in a three-year collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and TIAX LLC, a leading technology development firm.

To achieve the high efficiency with only a modest cost premium, the new hot water heater employs a glass-lined helical-coil heating element made from carbon steel, rather than stainless steel. According to the organizations, the new Vertex water heater combines high energy input with efficient combustion to deliver performance similar to a 75-gallon tank. The high rate of energy production also allows the tank to maintain a temperature rise of 45°F with a flow rate of three gallons per minute, which means that under most conditions, the water heater will endlessly provide hot water for a shower with a low-flow showerhead.

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Publication date: 05/22/2006