BW water heater tank cracked? (pics included)

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by snayak, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. snayak

    snayak New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    MA
    A couple days ago I noticed some water on the floor of my utility room, around the water heater. I also noticed some corrosion around the T&P valve.

    At first I thought it could be a bad T&P valve dumping water, or the lack of an Expansion tank causing the T&P to dump. I took some pictures and showed a friend who said that he thought the anode was done, and that was causing the corrosion.

    So I put a quart sized paint cup under relief pipe to catch any drips and when I got back from work today it had overflowed again. Nobody was home all day (7am - 5pm) and I just took a quick shower (my wife showered at work after her morning workout).

    Anyway, any ideas as to whats causing this? I did call the local plumber, he said he can replace the whole tank under warranty, but labor will come out to $300, including haul away and dealing with the warranty paperwork. It also included a $100 fee for swapping tanks from the distributor (or something like that). So $400 total for a warranty replacement. He said to shut off the cold water input to the tank while we're out to stop it from leaking (not a huge deal).

    In any case, my main concern is that:

    1. Bradford Whites are prone to failure (anecdotally based on the reviews I've read online - but I assume people only complain online)
    2. This could get very expensive, fast, versus just replacing it with a different brand
    3. Does it make sense to just have an expansion tank installed too, while they're doing the work? I don't think the main inlet has a check valve, this would just be precautionary.
    4. what can I do to prevent this in the future, other than telling my wife to take shorter showers?
    5. Does the $400 seem crazy?
    6. Is the expansion tank worth it? I can ask him to estimate tomorrow and how much should it be? $150?

    EDIT:
    This was installed new, into a new construction condo in September 2011. Warranty info has it built in June 2010 with warranty expiring Sept 30, 2016.

    40 gallon, natural gas water heater.

    Appreciate any help!

    photo 5.jpg
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    photo 1.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    If the water is coming from the T&P valve, the cause is too much pressure or a defective valve. A pressure gauge with a 3rd hand to record the highest pressure can be left on any spigot in the house for a day or two so you can see how high it goes. This can indicate the need for an expansion tank or a PRV.

    When the tank fails the water seeps down the insulation and runs out the bottom of the tank onto the floor. It does not come from the piping for the T&P valve.
  3. mountain-top mike

    mountain-top mike New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Lake Arrowhead California
    Please do check your house pressure. Although it seems some Bradford Whites have early failure rates for whatever reasons, they should be rated to at least exceed the pressure of your house supply unless you do not have a regulator, but the tank may burst if that was the case. Check your anode for wear and that the plumbing lines in and out are not leaking there.
  4. snayak

    snayak New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    MA
    Thanks for the ideas guys - I did schedule the plumber to come out tomorrow and replace the tank. I showed my friend the pictures I posted here, and he noticed the rust on the black iron gas pipes, and said I might have a humidity problem down there.

    BTW, I think most of the water is coming out of the T&P drain, though you can kind of see where its dripping out behind the gas control box. I will ask the plumbers to check the house water pressure, and whether I need to replace those rusted gas fittings.

    I put a garbage can below the T&P drain and it leaked a couple inches of water in it overnight (almost none onto the floor), but it could just be dripping cause that valve is shot - will keep an eye on the new one and consider an expansion tank too. And a humidifier. Ah the joys of home ownership.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,932
    Location:
    New England
    A momentary check on the water pressure won't tell you the whole story...it can vary quite a bit over a 24-hour period as the use patterns and the utility refills the water towers, which is why the recommendation to buy yourself a gauge (they're in the order of $10-15, so not a huge expense). If you get one with a tattle tale hand (peak reading), it will let you see your instant and highest value since you reset it. If you have a closed system and do not have an expansion tank, you WILL get water out of the T&P valve after moderate hot water use (unless you have a leak somewhere else in the house). If your water pressure ever exceeds 80psi, you are required by code to reduce it and limit it to NMT 80 (most people use 55-60psi when they gave a PRV).

    FWIW, BW tends to be one of the better NG water heaters, but they're all a shot in the dark.
  6. snayak

    snayak New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    MA
    yea, that makes sense. I'll go to Home Depot on the way home Watts 3/4 in. Plastic Water Pressure Test Gauge and put it on one of the utility faucets since they're the closest to the main input. I'll leave it on for 5-7 hours tonight and run the house as normal and see what happens. I'd rather not leave it overnight in case THAT starts leaking, and the plumber will be here tomorrow at 8am.
  7. snayak

    snayak New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    MA
    Just got home with the water pressure gauge - its reading about 85 PSI sustained from a hose connection, I'm not sure exactly where in the line that is, so I guess the pressure could be reduced somewhat from the main.

    The M1TW40S6FBN heater I have is certified for 300PSI with a 150PSI working pressure (not sure what that means though).

    I do not have lawn sprinklers, but I do have fire sprinklers throughout the condo unit (townhouse-style, share 1 wall with neighbors, nobody above or below). Utility room is behind garage on ground level, 2 living levels above.
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  8. SHR

    SHR Member

    Messages:
    96
    Location:
    Minnesota
    If the problem was just the T&P valve leaking there would not be significant rust around the connection to the tank and no water would be leaking out around the gas valve. Your tank is shot. Replacement is the right choice.
  9. snayak

    snayak New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    MA
    Totally agree - I'm just trying to figure out if there's a reason it failed after 30 months of use versus the stated 60.

    I realize that sometimes defects happen during manufacturing, but wanted to make sure there's no underlying issue causing failure again, especially since I'd be hoping to sell (or rent) the unit around mid 2016 as we transition into a single family home.
  10. Wallijonn

    Wallijonn Member

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Arizona
    Water softner in the house?
  11. SOFT WATER is the biggest problem with Bradfords...

    Bradford white heaters are notorious for going out under 6 years old
    it does not matter wether you have a prv valve and a thermal expansion tank....

    In my own personal home I am on my second 75 gallon gas heater .
    ..the first one lasted approx 3 years and almost flooded me out.. I have the second . one installed in a washing machine pan piped to a drain,
    so I dont come home to a flood someday.

    I got the prv valve set at 70, I got the thermal exp tank at 79
    and I even have flexible connectors on the heater for better control of electralysys...I am watching this one real close for trouble ... I
    t was installed in june of 2012

    You SHOULD---MUST have the new warranty heater installed
    on bricks and in a catch pan going to the nearest drain...or you will .
    regret it some day witn a large flood into a nearby carpet...

    What I have found in the hundreds of warranty heaters I have changed for Bradford. is they cannot handle soft water.....

    If there is no water softener, , they seem to last 10+ years or more
    If you have a water softener, the SODIUM in the water eats the inside glass lineing up VERY FAST...

    Bradfords do not have a thick inner hide, THE STEEL MUST BE VERY CHEAP
    and they really, really need to fix this problem
    Presently, they will not last out the warranty in SOFT WATER...

    I see this every day,
    and I change out probably 10 or more a month in warranty






    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,127
    Location:
    IL
    I would try to pull the anode on such early-failure units. If it is all eaten, then I would expect the water was more corrosive than average, or that the tank glass liner had more cracks than average. Your comments about softened water being harder on water heater leaking makes sense. On the other hand, softening will prevent scale buildup, so that is a plus for efficiency.

    I put in a powered anode for sulfur before I got my sulfur filter, but I am still glad I have it for water heater longevity.

    Pulling an anode that has been installed from the factory for several years take a big impact wrench, for those who do not know. They really overtorque these things, and a cynic suspects they do it to make inspection and replacement hard.
  13. Wallijonn

    Wallijonn Member

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Arizona
    Is the WH rounded back to the power pannel using a separate wire?
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