Leaking Bradford White Gas Hot Water Heater

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Mark in Virginia, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. Mark in Virginia

    Mark in Virginia New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Midlothian, VA
    Hi ya'll newbie here with a few questions....I have a 3 y/o Bradford White model # MI 5036 FBN which started leaking last Tuesday. I called B/W & they will replace under warranty but I have to pay labor. I asked about replacing it myself but they will not allow me to because of "safety reasons". I'm ok with that.....plumber say's tank has split & it will cost $600.00 for the swap.( I think that's a little steep) It's in the garage & easy access. The local supplier say's the water heater is on back order & I'll have to wait a week or more. The water heater still works & I have a bucket under it to catch the water. Now here's the questions.....The tank stopped leaking yesterday.......So if the tank is split how is it NOT leaking anymore??? Has the plumber missed diagnosed the problem??? He already has $100.00 of my money towards the swap of the water heater (service call) Am I being taken for a ride? It sure feels that way.

    Any and all comments would greatly be appreciated!

    Mark
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,055
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    $600 for labour? Ouch! When my water heater failed, I did the math and it was cheaper for me to replace it with a rental since there was no installation fee.

    Chances are the leak plugged up with sediment or mineral deposits and it's just a matter of time before it leaks again, maybe worse.
  3. Mark in Virginia

    Mark in Virginia New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Midlothian, VA
    Thanks for the reply.....You can rent a water heater in Canada? No such animal here in the US. Please explain.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,055
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Ja, the rental just gets tacked onto our gas bill. The gas company has a deal with the rental agency which in turn has a flat rate deal with the contractor. If a water heater lasts less than 10 years, we come out ahead on the rental.

    Only in Canada, you say? Pity!
    [video=youtube;NUnbJAWk6gM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUnbJAWk6gM[/video]
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,122
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    A water heater is covered with insulation and a metal covering. Without taking the outer covering off, it would be hard to guess.
    Most leaks on new heaters, is at the upper connections. If it leaks at the top threads, that water can drip toward the bottom.
    If your plumber came out and snugged up the connections, that may have fixed it.
    Some plumbers try to reuse the flex connectors from the old installation. I tell my guys that if a flex connector is ever removed for any reason, it gets tossed and a new one is installed. The rubber seals take a set against the inlet pipes, and unless you loosen and resnug without moving anything, they will leak. You may not notice right away, but then you get the phone call fifteen minutes later from the homeowner that it is. That added 1/2 for the call, maybe an added 1.5 hours if you got to the next job, and those turned out to be very expensive flex connectors. I want my guys to "Get er done!"

    The last Bradford White that I replaced was one I installed sixteen years ago.
    They used to rent tanks in Washington State. My mother was paying $12.81 a month. Her's lasted twentyone years. At $12.81 a month, she would be paying $3,228.12 for the next tank, except that they would be raising the rental fee every so years, so maybe her new rented tank would have cost $4,000.00 or $5,000.00
    If you have the money, you're better off buying a new tank.
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,055
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I have the money but I guess I should have bought a Bradford White instead of a State cuz the State tank didn't last nowhere near 21 years. With the water quality I have, I wonder what the inside of my State tank would have looked like after 21 years. I once lived in a rental where the old tank was so heavy from mineral buildup that they just left it in the basement where it stood and plumbed up the new one beside it. No idea how old it was.
  7. Mark in Virginia

    Mark in Virginia New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Midlothian, VA
    Terry,

    Thanks for the response...the technician just pulled the cover off the bottom & looked in the glass view port....never touched a fitting.

    The water heater has been in since the house was built 3 years ago.....I did snug up the fittings myself after he left. I did not see any wetness at the top of the unit however. I think I'll call the plumber tomorrow & see what he say's.

    This is very frustrating to say the least....as for the sediment plugging back up the split....I seriously doubt that.....We are on city water and after only 3 years of service I don't think that's a possibility.

    Mark
  8. SacCity

    SacCity In the Trades

    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    I agree the likelihood of a split tank is small and remote. Even further remote is that it would stop on its own...
    I had a leaking water heater last week, it was at one of the brass plugs inserted into a steel fitting on the side of the water heater.

    My guess is that you fixed the problem and do not need to replace the unit.
    Last evening I saw that Home Depot had a special where they would install a water heater for $159.
    I am assuming that by the time all the extras get added in the customer would be paying closer to $600
    Cost of the permit, inspections, earthquake straps, new flex hoses, gas supply hose, etc...

    Michael
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2011
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,055
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    You obviously have an advantage over me. I can only comment based on the info you provide but you have more info than I do. I hope your leak has been solved and you are only $100 out of pocket.
  10. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Many years ago, in MA, my folks rented the water heater from Essex County Gas. Whatever they paid over the years was well worth it to a retired couple. If it went out, it was replaced WITHIN THE HOUR! No worries mate!!
  11. Mark in Virginia

    Mark in Virginia New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Midlothian, VA
    Thanks LLigetfa for your input....I hope your right & it might be fixed!

    Mark
  12. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,122
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If you are the one that snugged the fittings, and the leak stopped, then pat yourself on the back. The plumber should have done that when he was there.
    I would cancel the new water heater install, I bet your current one will last a long, long time.

    The twentyone year old tank that I replaced for my mother was still good when I took it out. I just didn't want it to leak when I was out of town. It felt like a big gamble to just let it sit and worry about it, I mean, twenty plus years? What was I thinking?
    We just had her furnace replaced a few weeks ago too.
  13. Mark in Virginia

    Mark in Virginia New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Midlothian, VA
    !UPDATE!

    I spoke with the owner of the plumbing outfit today & explained that after his Tech left, the water heater had in fact stopped leaking, after I tightened the fittings at the top. I also told him that if Bradford White was to warranty the unit & found nothing wrong....his company would have to pay for the hot water heater & that would hurt his reputation with Bradford White. He was surprised to say the least....He also stated he would speak to his technician about his job performance. He also is returning my $100.00 for the service call. So after all is said & done this outfit is on the up & up & I'm glad to see he stands by his word!

    I want to thank ya'll for your input on my situation....it was much appreciated!

    MARK
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  14. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,358
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Well handled on both your part and the plumbing shop owner.
  15. Mark in Virginia

    Mark in Virginia New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Midlothian, VA
    :cool:

    Thankyou sir!

    Mark
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