What type of water heater should I install?

There are literally thousands of models from which to choose. To find the best selection for your needs, we suggest you contact a contractor who installs and/or services Bradford White water heaters. Click here to find a contractor in your area.

Why does my red reset button keep tripping?

If button snaps back out, the temperature of the water is higher than the cut off setting of the limit switch. Allow water temperature to drop. The limit can be reset at 120°F or below.

See also:
Service Bulletin 120

Why does my relief valve keep popping out?

Recently, more housing developments are being constructed in areas where the local water utility is supplying these projects with extremely high water main distribution pressure. Contractors are installing water pressure reducing valves in the service.  These reducing valves are available with or without a back flow check.

In cases where pressure-reducing valves, backflow preventors, or check valves are installed; water pressure is easily able to build to levels which will activate the T&P valve.

To remedy this, install a pressure reducing valve with a back flow bypass built into it, and/or install a thermal expansion tank that is properly sized to your water heater.

See also:
Service Bulletin 105

Why does my pilot light keep going out?

Sometimes the pilot light simply gets blown out. Ensure that all covers are in place. Check the resetable thermal switch, venting, air supply, gas valve magnet, gas pressure, and for dirt in the pilot orifice.

See also:
Troubleshooting Gas

What is the energy factor of my water heater?

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 higher the EF, the lower the annual operating costs.

Click here for Energy Factor

Where is the anode rod on my water heater?

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” or “mag rod”.

Where do I find a licensed contractor in my area?

You can easily find a local contractor by visiting our find a contractor page.

How do I get/schedule service?

To obtain service, visit our support and service page.

What carbon monoxide readings are acceptable?

Water heaters are tested/certified to emit less than 400ppm. Generally less than 50ppm will be measured.

Note: Firing time and location of measurement will have a dramatic effect on readings.

I smell gas/combustion products, what should I do?

Do not try to light any appliance.

Do not touch any electrical switch; do not use any phone in your building.

Immediately call your gas supplier from a neighbor’s phone. Follow the gas supplier’s instructions.

If you cannot reach your gas supplier, call the fire department.

Why should I have a Bradford White water heater installed?

Not all water heaters are created equal. We believe our water heaters are of the highest quality, most technologically advanced, and backed by the best support staff available.

Why is my flame yellow?

Your pilot‘s flame should be about mostly blue. If it is mostly yellow the combustion system may require adjustment or servicing. Consult a technician immediately to check for problems.

See also:
Troubleshooting Gas

Can I put an insulation blanket on my water heater?

During times of energy crises and rising fuel costs, property owners tend to be more energy conscious. Water heater blankets are often considered for heat loss and conservation purposes.

Blankets for older fiberglass insulated electric water heaters make sense, especially since electricity is a much more expensive method to heat water than gas. Most electric water heaters insulated with foam (R 8.33 or higher) meet ASHRAE standards for performance (efficiency and standby loss) when tested according to Department of Energy procedures.

Many experts argue that heat loss in a gas water heater goes up the flue and therefore a blanket accomplishes no purpose.

Some local codes and utility company regulations may prohibit insulation blankets. Too often, the Do-It-Yourselfer has good intentions but unknowingly creates hazards by:

Covering safety warnings and operating instructions. (These labels are not to be removed from the heater and placed on the blanket or elsewhere.)

Covering controls, access areas, shut off devices, temperature and pressure relief valves, etc.

Blocking air passages required for combustion or draft resulting in unsafe operation.

Consequently, the water heater manufacturer does disclaim any liability for problems associated with the use of insulated blankets.

What do the temperature dial settings mean?

Refer to your I&O manual for more information on temperature dial settings.

Water Quality

Why does my water smell?

There are three common ingredients required to generate the hydrogen sulfide odor that gives water its rotten egg smell: sulfur, hydrogen, and bacteria.

It is possible to replace the magnesium anode rod that protects the surface of your tank with a special aluminum alloy that will reduce hydrogen creation and lower the potential for odor. You can also completely remove the anode rod, but this is not recommended as it voids your warranty and shortens the tank’s life.

The best way to control odor is by reducing bacteria that is present in the tank. Sulfur eating bacteria is resistant to high water temperatures, so the best way to combat it is through sanitation.

The following steps outline the proper procedure for chlorinating a water heater:

Turn off the water and power supply or gas supply to the water heater.

Drain several gallons of water from the drain valve on the water heater.

Remove the hot water outlet nipple and Magnesium anode rod assembly.

Pour a 1⁄2 to 1 gallon of chlorine bleach into the water heater through the hot water outlet opening.

Re-install the Aluminum anode rod.

Re-connect the hot water supply line to the hot water outlet on the water heater.

Turn on water supply and draw water at each hot water faucet in the residence until a Chlorine odor is noticed.

Once the Chlorine odor is noticed turn off the faucets and allow the bleach to sit in the water heater and water lines for a minimum of 3 hours, but a full day is desired.

After Step 8 has been satisfied turn on and draw water at each hot water faucet in the residence until a Chlorine odor is no longer present.

Turn on the power, or gas supply to the water heater.

What causes a milky/cloudy appearance when running my hot water?

This condition can be caused by various factors:

Aerators at faucets introduce additional air to the water and when collected in a glass the agitated water appears milky or cloudy.

Additional air can be introduced to city water supplies at the pumping station when air is pumped into the water mains to increase pressure.

In private well water systems, artesian pressure can cause air entrapment.

When water utility companies switch from one deep well source to another, excessive air can develop in the system.

Soluble gases such as Oxygen, Chlorine, Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen Sulfide and others may be present in the water. These gases may come out of solution as the water temperature increases.

Underground temperature changes in water sources (particularly in spring and fall) cause air to expand.

In these examples, the oxygenation causing the discolored water (small bubbles) may be unpleasant to look at but clears up in a short time. If not, the water company should be consulted. Any air found in the water is not considered harmful and will not cause any adverse effects.

See also:

Service Bulletin 114

Why is the water gray/black in color?

Magnesium, a harmless and colorless chemical, will occasionally mix with oxygen, which then creates a black color in your water. Even though a reaction has occurred, the chemical is still harmless, and the water safe to drink.

Why is the water rusty/brown in color?

This condition is usually caused by a buildup of materials inside of the tank. These materials can be comprised of water softener resin, rust from plumbing systems, sand, clay, and other naturally occurring substances.

A possible remedy for any of the above conditions is to drain the tank and thoroughly flush the inside surface. See flush procedure.

See also:
Service Bulletin 117

Why do I run out of hot water?

Either your system is not providing its maximum supply of hot water, or your hot water demand is too great for the system.

There is only one way to determine whether or not a water heater is operating properly. Immediately after the water heater has completed its heating cycle, all of the hot water should be drawn from the heater at approximately 3 gallons a minute, and the temperature measured in the process. This can be done with the use of a standard mercury thermometer and a standard 3 or 5 gallon bucket. Note the number of buckets of water drawn off to reach a point 30 degrees lower than the highest temperature. Multiply the number of buckets drawn off by 3 (or 5) (the number of gallons per bucket.) This figure should then equal, or exceed, 70% of the rated capacity of the heater.

If 70% of your volume capacity is efficiently drawn off and operating recovery time is normal, then it can only be concluded that your demands are greater than the water heater’s delivery ability.

See also:
Service Bulletin 111-1 | Service Bulletin 111-2 | Troubleshooting Electric | Troubleshooting Gas

Why is my water heater making noises?

There are two main conditions that may cause tank noise; Water Hammer and Mineral Build-up.

Water Hammer - Water hammer occurs when this non-compressible liquid, flowing through a pipe at a given pressure and velocity, is stopped abruptly by quick closing valves such as solenoid valves on clothes washers and dishwashers. Single lever faucets can also create these “shock waves.”

Consequently, damage can result to piping, water meters, storage tanks, water heaters, temperature and pressure relief valves and pressure regulator gauges.

This kinetic energy force can be controlled by installation of water hammer arrestors, expansion tanks, or pressure only relief valves in cold water make-up lines at 25 to 50 pounds less than the temperature and pressure relief valve setting on the water heater.

Mineral Build-up - The noisy condition is a result of lime formations or sediment collecting on the tank bottom or on electrical elements. It is not uncommon to find quantities of sand and other minerals settling out of the water and onto the tank bottom.

Hand cleaning of parts by scrubbing or vinegar may help to reduce build-up. Flushing the tank is also an option, but removing all of the materials may prove difficult on electrical models. If the build-up is not addressed, the system may require element replacements.

In hard water areas, the best solution for eliminating the noise problem is to install a water softener, to inhibit scale build-up.

See also:
Service Bulletin 121 | Service Bulletin 123

Click here for information on Service Bulletins

System Maintenance

What general maintenance should be done on my water heater?

Professional technicians should perform most repairs and maintenance. However, here are a few measures you can take yourself:

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.

Drain 1 to 2 gallons per month.

Have the anode rod inspected periodically.

Refer to the I&O manual for complete maintenance instructions.

Where can I get parts for my water heater?

The best place to find Bradford White water heaters and water heater parts is to ask your plumbing professional. If he/she cannot get them, contact a local dealer. Your local Bradford White representative can help you locate dealers who carry BW parts.

Find a contractor here

How do I drain my water heater?


On a gas water heater, turn the gas valve to the off position. On an electric water heater, turn the electric off to the heater.

Shut the cold water off to the water heater.

Open a hot water faucet.

Connect a hose to the drain valve on the heater and run to a drain.

Open the drain valve and allow the tank to completely drain.

Turn back on the cold water into the water heater.

Allow the water to run through the water heater and out of the drain valve. Do this for approximately five (5) or ten (10) minutes.

Close the drain valve and allow the tank to refill, keeping the hot water faucet open. When water comes out of the faucet, the tank is full.

How do I adjust the temperature on my water heater?

Locate the thermostat dial on the side of your water heater.

Rotate the dial clockwise to increase the water temperature, and counter-clockwise to reduce the temperature.

Check the I&O manual for proper operational adjustment procedures.

How often are you supposed to flush the water heater?

You should flush your hot water tank once every 6 months. If your local water is harder or contains more minerals, you may need to do so on a more frequent basis. At a minimum, drain 1 to 2 gallons of water from the drain valve monthly.

Click here for information on Service Bulletins

Warranty Support

What is the warranty on my hot water heater?

Click here to determine your warranty

How old is my water heater?

Click here to determine the age of your water heater

See also:
Service Bulletin 100

What is the life expectancy of my water heater?

Water heaters usually last well beyond the warranty period stated. However, the life expectancy varies greatly depending upon local water chemistry, system use, operating temperatures, and maintenance provided.

Where are the model and serial numbers located?

The water heater's model and serial numbers are located on the Rating Plate, go to our Find a Model/Serial Number page to learn more.

Click here for information on Service Bulletins