Review: AO Smith Vertex Water Heaters

AO Smith Vertex water heatersAO Smith Vertex

Looking for the best of AO Smith, water heaters with the superior quality and performance? Check out AO Smith Vertex water heaters, from a series that offers advanced gas models for potable water heating; power vent and power direct vent.

AO Smith Vertex water heaters are state-of-the-art products, featuring a fully-condensing design with an incredible 96% thermal efficiency and high energy savings. Such an advanced construction enables Vertex to outperform many gas power and power direct vent models, including some popular tankless models.

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Vertex models come with the water storage tank, capacities of 50 and 75 gallons, where potable water is heated with natural gas or propane. The result of the great engineering is fast recovery and continuous supply of hot water - ideal for large homes and families with high hot water demand.

Models and features

The Vertex family of ultra-efficient water heaters comes in two types; power vent - GPHE and power direct vent - GDHE, and in two sizes; 50-gal and 75-gal.

Vertex GPHE

The AO Smith Vertex GPHE series includes only one 50-gal model that is built with the power vent system and in natural gas option only. A GPHE-50 model is equipped with the powerful and low NOx gas burner, called Green Choice, where the maximum gas input is 76,000 Btu. 

The combination of the powerful burner and helical internal heat exchanger allows high first hour rating of 119 gallons, recovery rate of 92 GPH, ultra efficiency of over 90%, and great 33% gas emission reduction.

In addition to the above quality elements and superb features, you can also find the Intelli-vent gas control, another important and convenient feature to have; that also comes with the durable and strong hot surface ignitor, accurate temperature control and diagnostics capabilities helpful when troubleshooting.

AO Smith exclusive Blue Diamond glass coating, together with the two heavy-duty anode rods provides superior protection against the corrosive effects of water.

Vertex 100 - GDHE

As opposed to the above GPHE series, the GDHE series (Vertex 100 series) offers more options; one model of 50 gallons and one with the 75 gallons water storage tank Both models have higher gas input of 100,000 Btu, energy efficiency of 96% and ultra-low gas emission, and first hour rating of 100 and 130 gallons, respectively.

What makes the Vertex GDHE 100 ultra-efficient is the excellent heat transfer with a specially designed helical coil heat exchanger, located inside the tank and surrounded by water, providing bigger contact surface than the standard straight flue tubes.

The top-fired gas burner and blower are running the hot gases through the spiral heat exchanger, so in addition to increased efficiency, gas combustion is much cleaner resulting in ultra-low gas emission.

According to the manufacturer, GDHE models provide an endless supply of hot water for up to 4 bathrooms, while GPHE-50 for up to 3 bathrooms in a duration of little above 100 min.

Other advantages of the GDHE series include the advanced electronic control and large LCD display providing excellent user experience, advanced diagnostic tool for troubleshooting and iCOMM to monitor the unit remotely. Both GPHE and GDHE have the side hot and cold recirculating taps, allowing water and space heating.

When it comes to venting, both types can use PVC vents with the maximum lengths of 128 ft - when 3" pipe for power vent system and 4" pipe for power direct vent models is used.

Comparing technical data

Models / Specs GPHE-50 GDHE-50 GDHE-75
50 50 75
76,000 100,000 100,000
Water flow (GPH) 3 4 4
Recovery Rate (Gal) 92 129 129
First Hour Rating (Gal) 119 100 130
Thermal Efficiency 90% 96% 96%
Vent type Power Vent Power Direct vent Power Direct vent
Gas type Natural Natural
Approx. Dim(Inch) 71x21 67x22 65X28

A video about AO Smith Vertex features and benefits

User reviews

Based on the online reviews, users are pretty impressed with the Vertex GPHE-50. They say that the unit is performing great, heats water fast, energy efficiency is high and operating costs are much lower; up to 30% when comparing to standard gas water heaters. They are pleased with the 30% tax rebate, but not happy with the initial cost. Reviews are mixed when talking about the noise level.

AO Smith Vertex GDHE-50, based on the owner's reviews, is also powerful and reliable unit that meets users' expectations. Some homeowners use Vertex for water heating only, while others for both hot water and home heating, such as radiant floor heating. The installation is easy, and they say that controls and menu are user-friendly. For some the energy bill was lower and based on their estimation, the unit can pay off in a year.

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