Vertical (top mounted) heat traps have been used for years in most energy saver electric water heaters and many energy saver gas water heaters to reduce stand-by energy loss. To meet 1990 Federal energy requirements, some electric models with side water connections use spring loaded, horizontal style, heat traps containing two balls per nipple assembly.
On vertical models, the cold water inlet (blue cap) features a dip tube containing a thermoplastic ball which is lighter than water and floats to its seat when water flow stops. A heavier than water ball in the hot water outlet/anode rod heat trap (red cap) sinks to its seat in the absence of flow or pressure. Many installers believe that the plastic caps are to protect the nipple threads. DO NOT REMOVE these pieces as they contain the balls within the nipple assembly. Removal of these caps allows the balls to travel through the plumbing system creating restriction or blockage. There is no provision under warranty for consequential damage as a result of this condition due to installer negligence. Each heat trap fitting features safety relief ports to prevent accidental closure of the water way and each fitting is self cleaning because the inert thermoplastic lining prevents lime and scale build up. The steel to plastic construction creates a dielectric waterway. By preventing galvanic local cell corrosion, it provides proven protection for all dissimilar metal piping connections. From time to time there have been reports of these heat traps being noisy. This is usually caused by the pressure of the incoming water causing the balls to vibrate as the water velocity rushes around them. Most people tolerate the noise when they realize the heat traps translate to dollar savings on the electric or gas bill. Heat traps are estimated to reduce heat loss by as much as 12%. If the noise cannot be tolerated, the cold inlet/dip tube and hot outlet/anode heat trap assemblies can be removed and replaced with assemblies that do not have heat traps. Removal of the heat traps, (or the balls in the heat traps) is not recommended by Bradford White, and is not covered under the provisions of our warranty. Please consult a Plumbing Professional for assistance.