Listed here, you will find answers to common water heater questions. For additional information, please visit the Support & Service or Warranty section of our website. There you will find additional frequently asked questions as well as links to field service bulletins.

I found my model number on the water heater but I can't find it on the website. What type of water heater do I have?

Model numbers can change as a result of implementing new technology, updated parts as well as FVIR (Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant) requirements. If you cannot find your existing model number in Spec Sheets/Manuals/Parts Lists then contact your Regional Sales Representative or the Bradford White Product Department at 1-800-523-2931. The current model number may represent the next generation of your existing water heater. Here are some examples:

Older
M-I-TW-40L6BN
M-I-40T6EN

Newer
M-1-TW-40S6FBN
M-I-40T6FBN

What does the Energy Factor (EF) on my water heater mean?

The water heater Energy Factor (EF) is a measure of the overall efficiency of the water heater. This is determined by comparing the energy in the heated water used daily to the total daily energy consumption of the water heater. The EF can be used to compare the energy efficiency of water heaters. Water heaters with higher EFs will have lower annual operating costs than comparable models with lower EFs. A higher EF signifies a more efficient model. Water heaters with high EF ratings may cost more initially, but save energy and money in the long run. Eventually, they will pay for themselves through a lifetime of energy savings.

Click here for a link to our EF pages

Where can I find Bradford White water heaters and/or Bradford White water heater parts?

The best place to find Bradford White water heaters and water heater parts is to ask your plumbing professional. If he/she does not offer Bradford White products, you can find dealers in your area by contacting your local manufacturer representative.

Please click here to find your rep

Why doesn't Bradford White sell directly to the consumer?

The bottom line is at Bradford White we believe a water heater should be installed by a plumbing & heating professional. The Do-It-Yourself person may be able to handle many small household jobs, but the installation of a water heater could create a dangerous situation if performed incorrectly. There are many local codes and safety requirements that pertain to water heater installation and operation; without understanding these requirements you could be breaking the law as well as endangering yourself and your family.

Where is the “dip tube” on my water heater?

The dip tube is another name for the cold water inlet. If you are facing the front of the water heater (where the labels are), the cold water inlet, or dip tube, is on the right hand side.

Where is the “anode rod” and what does it do?

For most water heaters, the anode rod is attached to the hot water outlet of the water heater. If you are facing the front of the water heater (where the labels are), the hot water outlet is on the left hand side. The anode rod is often referred to as a “sacrificial rod”.

Most water is rarely “pure”. It can contain oxygen, magnesium, fluoride, chlorine and suspended particles. These components, in the concentrations in your water, are usually not bad for you. However, they do contribute to the taste and smell of the water. They also impart a slight conductivity to the water. Through an electrical process called electrolysis, this conductivity will eventually (over a long period of time) cause most metal to rust or corrode. When the water is heated, this electrical process can be accelerated.

Most water heaters are made of a steel tank with a porcelain enamel (glass) lining. However, due to production and assembly methods, it is not always possible to completely cover the inside of the tank. Therefore it’s important to provide metal that can be consumed by the electrical process. This is where the sacrificial anode rod comes in. By acting as a lightning rod for the corrosion process, the anode rod draws the harmful electrolytic process away from the water heater tank and focuses the corrosion on the anode rod. Even though the Bradford White manufacturing process is the best in the industry, our water heaters need this sacrificial anode rod to ensure that the electrolysis doesn’t affect the tanks. For more information on the anode rods, please see our technical support section for Service Bulletin #122.

What is the difference between the Hydrojet® and other cold water inlet tubes?

Unlike a conventional dip tube where the water exits with weak diffusing action, water exits the Hydrojet® system in complete turbulence. This turbulence provides more efficient mixing, yielding the following benefits:

Water heaters with the Hydrojet® system don't have to work as hard or as often to maintain a maximum supply of hot water at the desired temperature.

The resulting decrease in energy consumption saves you money.

The turbulent action also puts sediment (lime, minerals) into suspension, cleaning the tank of harmful deposits every time there's a call for hot water.

Why doesn't my old water heater make as much hot water as it used to?

You might have sediment buildup in your tank. As water heaters age, they tend to accumulate sediment and lime deposits. If the heaters are not cleaned periodically, the sediment may rise to a level that will act as a barrier between the burner and the water, making it harder to heat. An article published in a national ASPE plumbing journal states: for every half inch of sediment on the bottom of a gas fired water heater, it requires 70% more fuel to heat the water.

Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?

The combined presence of hydrogen, sulfur, and bacteria cause foul smelling water. The magnesium anode rod installed in the tank protects the tank surface but generates enough hydrogen to create an odor when it interacts with sulfur in the water or bacteria in the tank. Replacing the magnesium anode rod with an aluminum anode may minimize the problem. The most efficient method of eliminating the hydrogen sulfide odor is to control the bacteria. As a rule, chlorination of public water supplies kills the bacteria, but some private well systems may need to be purified by the use of chlorine injectors or ultraviolet light. This will destroy the bacteria.

If my basement flooded, do I need to replace my water heater?

The Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has determined that any gas appliance exposed to flooding should be replaced. In a press release, GAMA advised against do-it-yourself repairs:

“With heavy rains bringing the possibility of severe flooding, it is important to remember that all flood-damaged plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical appliances and related systems should be replaced, rather than repaired... (GAMA) stresses that the repair of flooded appliances and related systems (including damaged venting and electrical connections) is not a job for the do-it-yourselfer, no matter how skilled. This is particularly true of control valves, according to the GAMA official. These components are manufactured to extremely close tolerances. Once submerged in floodwaters, they must be replaced. Field repairs should never be attempted by the homeowner.”
(taken from www.gamanet.org)

Potential damage to controls on oil, gas and electric water heaters present an increased risk factor to the homeowner. This damage may be visible, but can also be hidden behind a cover or jacket. Exposure to flooding conditions can cause corrosion of controls and components, a build-up of dirt/debris or a short circuit situation. Even though appliances exposed to flooding may appear to be operational, the gradual buildup of dirt and corrosion over time can render safety devices inoperative.

What is AHRI?

The Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA) merged in 2008 with the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to become the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. This is a national trade association of manufacturers of residential, commercial and industrial appliances and equipment, components and related products. AHRI's scope includes oil-fired and electric equipment as well as gas-fired equipment. For more information about AHRI, please visit their website www.ahrinet.org/.

Can I use my water heater with a Solar heating system?

With the increasing costs of energy and a desire for environmental friendliness, some customers are turning to the sun as a way to heat their domestic water. While Bradford White Corp. does not manufacture complete solar heating systems, Bradford White does manufacture a solar water heating storage tank for use with solar systems. This tank takes the heated water from the solar panels and uses it as a heat source instead of conventional gas, oil or electric heat sources unlike other tanks, this water heater has an electric heating element for back up on cloudy days, and when the solar system is not providing enough heat. However, it is important that you use only POTABLE (or domestic use) water in this tank.

If you would like to use non-potable water as a heat source, Bradford White manufactures a single wall coil and double wall coil heat exchanger tank that ensures separation of heating medium and potable water. Please see our PowerStor, PowerCor and PowerStor2 sheets for more information, and remember, it is very important to follow all installation and operation instructions in the I&O manual. Please see your solar heating professional for more information.

Is a drain pan necessary?

A water heater should be placed in an area that will prevent damage to floors, ceilings, and furniture if the heater leaks. When this is not possible, a drain pan must be installed under the water heater. Since a typical drain pan doesn't hold that much water, it must have a pipe to a drain or other outlet for the water. When installed properly, a drain pan and pipe will keep any leakage under control and protect your belongings from water damage.

What type of maintenance should I do on my water heater?

Bradford White always recommends that you contact a plumbing professional to perform any maintenance or repairs to your water heater – from periodic checks on the anode rod to ensuring that all connections are secure. Recommendations for maintenance are in your Installation and Operation manual. However, there are a few things that you can do:

Ensure that there are no sources of flammable vapors in the same area as your water heater (this includes gasoline, heating oils, lighter fluid, propane, etc.).
Keep the top of the water heater clean. If you notice water dripping on the water heater from any piping, contact a plumbing professional to have the leak repaired.
Keep the space around your water heater clean and free of dirt, boxes, paint cans, aerosol cans, household cleaners and trash. It is important to keep the heater accessible for proper operation and easy maintenance.