Gas Water Heater

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Jan 13, 2016
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Northeast Nebraska
Anyone have any experience with Bradford White gas water heaters, I just had one installed. I wanted to get another AO Smith but he said they stopped using those about 15 years ago due to issues with them leaking. I was shocked when he read the date on mine, it was installed in 2000 so 20 years our of a water heater is pretty good.
 
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Joined
Apr 25, 2017
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Ohio
My understanding is Bradford White water heaters are very good. Only sold 'direct' through plumbing supply houses so a DIY'er can't buy them. Go to their website, first thing it asks is "are you a homeowner..." and gives you a link to plumbers or pick "no" and you can see specs, etc.
 

JC1

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Nov 29, 2008
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Oshawa, Ontario Canada
I had one. It leaked from the top inlets. My buddy cut it open after he replaced it and said there were bad welds at both top inlets.

Only had the tank for 13 months.
 
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Northern Utah
I have never heard of them before your post, but from online research, it appears they manufacture their own water heaters, and only sell them through plumbers. No direct sales to the consumer. They claim to be big enough to be competing against the big boys, such as AO Smith and Rheem.
 
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May 6, 2005
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I just got one this year. Seems to be pretty good. It's got an electronic Honeywell control unit that's powered off of a thermopile, although that's pretty common these days. I had to look up how it worked since I didn't seen any battery hatch or connection to electric power.
 
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It's basically marketing. Change out your anode rods and you'll get a long life out of them. I just changed out 7 anode rods in my water heaters. The two oldest were 18 and 20 years old. Turns out the last time I did this was 8 years ago, should have done it sooner probably could have saved a few more of them. It was a bear last time though so wasn't really up for it, tough getting the anode rod out. Got a Milwaukee 2767 just for this particular job, a little over but considering putting in a new water heater costs me at least $600-$700 each including installation and I probably saved myself at least 3-4 water heaters by getting more life out of them, it was worth it. That impact gun took them out like nothing.
 
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pa
using a Stiebel Eltron on demand electric since i put a harman coal stove in, they also do gas. on demand is said to be whats used in europe. works great + no heat loss as it makes hot water when you "call" for it, 14" X 8" X 4" deep!! they are sized by use + how cold the incoming water is + being a happy bachelor in Pa mine is not too big.
 
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NJ
I have a 70 gallon Bradford White. I think it's full of scale/sediment because I have to keep bumping up the temperature to get hot water. When it was new, the eco triangle was adequate. Then it was A, then B. Just turned it to between B and C. I haven't done any PM on it and it's almost 18 years old.
 
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The standard problems with on demand water heaters still apply. With gas, you need to vent it outside and it also requires 3/4 inch gas lines so you have the additional costs of adding gas lines and relocating it as most gas water heaters just use a 1/2 inch line. Plus the usual problems of them only have a 5 year warranty, you can get a regular gas tank water heater with warranties up to 12 years but if you change the anode rod, it could last 20 years. Plus because there are many manufacturers, when on demand heaters breaks, you can't just get a part easily and it's hard to find someone who knows how to repair them. Gas water heaters tanks are pretty basic, there's the burner assembly, the thermostat and the thermocouple, those are the three basic items that go and there's only a few big makers of them so it's not that hard to find parts. Easy swap out if they go bad. Also if you look at the costs involved, it can take years to make your money back and as a landlord, the tenants pay for the gas so any gas savings doesn't apply. I still see water heaters in most homes. You only see the on demand stuff in new construction and in the expensive homes.
 
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Los Gatos, CA
The standard problems with on demand water heaters still apply. With gas, you need to vent it outside and it also requires 3/4 inch gas lines so you have the additional costs of adding gas lines and relocating it as most gas water heaters just use a 1/2 inch line. Plus the usual problems of them only have a 5 year warranty, you can get a regular gas tank water heater with warranties up to 12 years but if you change the anode rod, it could last 20 years. Plus because there are many manufacturers, when on demand heaters breaks, you can't just get a part easily and it's hard to find someone who knows how to repair them. Gas water heaters tanks are pretty basic, there's the burner assembly, the thermostat and the thermocouple, those are the three basic items that go and there's only a few big makers of them so it's not that hard to find parts. Easy swap out if they go bad. Also if you look at the costs involved, it can take years to make your money back and as a landlord, the tenants pay for the gas so any gas savings doesn't apply. I still see water heaters in most homes. You only see the on demand stuff in new construction and in the expensive homes.
Not completely true. Noritz EZ series was developed to easily replace a typical tank water heater. Uses 1/2 inch gas line and comes with stainless exhaust flue that connects to existing exhaust. The one I bought is for smaller homes, about $1,100 (plus installation). 2 showers and dishwasher going at once is about it. 10 year warranty.

My issue is, the 1st shower takes at least twice as long to get hot water. And our kitchen and baths are really close to the unit.
I am very happy with the Noritz tankless water heater. I have never heard anyone who was unhappy with their decision, but this is a very small sample size.
I wanted to prepare our house just in case... The solar panels and water heater were 2 pieces. All good.
 
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A 40 gallon gas water heater is about $430 at Home Depot and I can get a handy man to install them in the $100-$150 range plus parts. Normally just use shark bite fittings but occasionally you need things like furnace cement, vacuum breakers, shut off valves etc. And that can last 20 years when you replace the anode rod. How does $1100 beat $430? Of course for me there's no gas savings as the tenants pay the gas. But if you look at the energy star label, the gas water heater tank is $208 a year, tankless 40 is $136. And the tankless is $700 more. So you'll break even after 10 years. Installation cost is also higher as they claim 2.5 hours. If you do it right, with shark bite fittings and the right height for the water heater, a quick swap can be done in an hour. Of course I have to pay them for more than an hour as they have to go to home depot to grab the water heater and to get rid of the old one.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
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There are only a few tank makers and they put many different brand stickers on various tanks. Bradford, AO Smith and Rheem are the most popular and are very good. I have been using AO Smith for many decades and never had a leaker. I replace them when they get very old so I can sleep at night. Y ou got 20 years from your AO Smith, so doesn't that tell you something?
 
Joined
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A 40 gallon gas water heater is about $430 at Home Depot and I can get a handy man to install them in the $100-$150 range plus parts. Normally just use shark bite fittings but occasionally you need things like furnace cement, vacuum breakers, shut off valves etc. And that can last 20 years when you replace the anode rod. How does $1100 beat $430? Of course for me there's no gas savings as the tenants pay the gas. But if you look at the energy star label, the gas water heater tank is $208 a year, tankless 40 is $136. And the tankless is $700 more. So you'll break even after 10 years. Installation cost is also higher as they claim 2.5 hours. If you do it right, with shark bite fittings and the right height for the water heater, a quick swap can be done in an hour. Of course I have to pay them for more than an hour as they have to go to home depot to grab the water heater and to get rid of the old one.
True professionals do not use push together shark bite fittings. They can easily leak and are made for a quick job and for people who lack the skills to properly solder a pipe together. You want a connection that will outlast the tank. If you do not have the necessary skills to do it right, hire a professional plumber.
 
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Hermann

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Been one in my house for 24 years since new. No strange noises and still allows for 20 minute showers no problem.
 

Duffyjr

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Now that I've had a little time to do some research it seems they all have a few bad reviews. While I do think it's a good idea to go with a major brand I think it boils down to "luck of the draw" now a days more than it ever has.

I've been using this guy for all my plumbing needs for a while now and trust him plus this was Friday morning when we figured out we had no hot water so I was thankful he came out the same day, plus I had him snake out the washing machine drain that started draining slow and actually coming up out of the floor drain, win win.

Good to hear most of you that have experience with Bradford White is mostly positive.

Been one in my house for 24 years since new. No strange noises and still allows for 20 minute showers no problem.
The first thing I noticed was how much quieter this one is, I had to go stand next to it to hear it.
 
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You are right about all three brands having a few bad reviews. These 3 main brands are a commodity built to a price point. The technology and fabrication all three use are probably very similar (IMO). Just a few years back Honeywell controllers used by all 3 were being replaced left and right for circuit board problems. I hope it is fixed.

In my recent research of best brands on consumer and professional plumbing forums, I slightly detected that "maybe" Rheem/Ruud slightly edges out the others. Those talking about their 20 year old AO Smiths have to remember how much things change in 20 years.

I installed a new Bradford White gas unit a few years ago to replace a 20 year old AO Smith because Bradford White's marketing looked o.k., LOL and I thought it would be good to support Michigan manufacturing. The one caveat I learned after the purchase that disturbs me is that the anode rod on the Bradford White is built in to the hot water outlet nipple, making it more difficult to replace. * Oh well.

Feel good about your purchase and see how it goes. It's not worth worrying about. Ford vs. Chevy type of thing.

* Link to anode rod removal: https://terrylove.com/forums/index....hite-water-heater-only-threads-exposed.80681/
 
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True professionals do not use push together shark bite fittings. They can easily leak and are made for a quick job and for people who lack the skills to properly solder a pipe together. You want a connection that will outlast the tank. If you do not have the necessary skills to do it right, hire a professional plumber.

I didn't trust them when they first came out, but they seem to have a pretty good track record and they were already on one tank that was already 6 years old so it was easy to use the release on them and just reuse the existing one. They're in unfinished basement so the leaks won't matter and I haven't had one fail yet.

And of all the anode rods I've done, none were under the hot water inlet so I guess I was lucky not to find a Bradford white although I've seen them around and maybe had one at one point but that was before I was replacing anode rods. The earliest I've had a hot water heater go is 5 years so I plan to replace the anode rods every 4-5 years, at least the original one. I think they're thinner. the basic cheapest replacement rod is the thickest and I had replaced them 8 years ago so I'll probably let a replacement rod sit for longer period of time.

The luck of the draw probably has many factors, the type of water your town/city has, the quality of the tank, the length of the warranty, those 12 year tanks sometimes either have longer anode rods or two of them, and maybe how much hot water you use. I remember replacing two hot water tanks at a time once, one of them failed after a few years and the other one is still going years later. I attributed the fact that one the one that failed early had a tenant that had 6 people in the unit and the other one which lasted had only 2 people in the unit. I think using more hot water leads to more ions going through the tank that can rust out the anode/tank. Or that's just the definition of the luck of the draw.
 
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I was told by several people in the plumbing industry that there's no difference in the internal tank between a 5 year or 12 year tank. You get more insulation making the tank look wider, a little faster recovery time(burner) and the additional warranty coverage. Their lifespans are basically the same.
 
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