Need advice on Bradford White vs Kenmore

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by vtxdude, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. vtxdude

    vtxdude New Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    NH
    Hi..I'm sure a lot of you have seen my postings on the trouble I am having with the Kenmore Power Miser 9 I had installed about a month ago.

    Based on some of the things I have read maybe some of the issues I'm having may have not happened with a Bradford White....

    Is the secondary air intake different on the Bradford White so it allows more airflow? It looks like there are vents on the side near the bottom that allow for air to get into the burn chamber that way? On the Kenmore it looks like it has a grate at the very bottom of the water heater underneath not all that big to allow secondary air. And then the Kenmore has that double mesh screen to supposedly keep dust and lint etc from gathering and clogging this grate.

    I'm thinking my 20 year old water heater worked fine because it had more of an "open" chamber and could get as much air as it needed? With these new design water heaters it seems they have a more daunting task of getting sufficient air flow?

    When I look through the sight window sometimes the flame is almost all yellow...other times it is mostly blue with orange in it. I can see no rhyme or reason why it isn't consistent but that what it is. The bottom of the water tank where it is heating (flames look like they can lick at it) is black but not sure if soot because I can see some writing what looks like white marker on there also.

    I guess a few real main questions

    1) Does secondary air flow effect how well that the water heater vents/drafts?
    2) Does secondary airflow determine the color of the flame?
    3) Is the Kenmore design inferior to the Bradford White design as far as secondary airflow?
    4) Will a BW allow more secondary air than the Kenmore?


    I'm trying everything possible to avoid going to electric.....If the Bradford White would improve what I am having now (yellow lazy flame, combustion smells etc) I would rip the Kenmore out in a heartbeat and have the BW installed

    The only thing that has changed in my cellar is the 20 year old water heater that worked great until the TP valve went on it. Ever since I have had the Kenmore installed it has been nothing but trouble as far as what I have mentioned above...

    Can anyone verify that the BW secondary air intake is superior to the Kenmore?


    Thanks for listening guys...I know I ask a lot of questions but really do appreciate it
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,298
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    As you probably already know, Kenmore is a house label. Kenmore appliances are made by various manufacturers to Sears' specs. They are usually not superior products. Water heaters in particular are suspect. If yours was made by Whirlpool, I'm afraid you likely have a lemon since even the heaters sold as Whirlpool are junk. I can't answer all of your questions, but I can tell you that a Bradford White would be head and shoulders better than what you have. Some of the pros will likely chime in on this, so stay tuned.
  3. vtxdude

    vtxdude New Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    NH
    Mine said it was a State Water heater and also has an AO Smith sticker on it

    I am intrigued by the BW air intake systems...it looks like it pulls air from the side vents and channeled down and around the combustion chamber and then through holes at the bottom of the chamber. It then is pulled up through the louvers on the bottom of the chamber.....from the pics and description it looks like the bottom of the whole chamber contains these louvers?? Is this correct? If so that is a heck of a lot more air to draw on than the small slits in the bottom of the Kenmore/State/ AO Smith one I have.

    Can anyone who works with Bradford Whites confirm or deny this or perhaps chime in that the BW has a much better air drawing system then the Kenmore?? I'm hoping it does


    Thanks so much
  4. micp879

    micp879 New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Martinez, CA
    Unfortunately AO Smith isn't much of an improvement over Whirlpuke. If you go to any search engine and google "water heaters" you will find alot of comments regarding the good ones and the bad ones. The air intake system on the AO Smith units seem very poorly designed. Whether it be the small size of the external air intake, or the issues with the flame arrestor, there are plenty of reported issues with them. In general, the water heaters made by BW, Rheem, or GE (made by Rheem) that have the aforementioned louvres seem to have alot fewer reported problems.

    I have an AO Smith that came with my house, and I despise it. I am looking forward to having it yanked out and replaced with an actually good water heater.
  5. vtxdude

    vtxdude New Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    NH
    Yeah the air intake system of the Bradford White does look better than the Kenmore that is for sure.......I'm just wondering if the bottom of the BW is more open? Their literature sure makes it look like it can accept a lot more air than the AO Smith brands and if so I think that would aid in combustion and venting?
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
  7. vtxdude

    vtxdude New Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    NH
    That article is one of the reasons the Bradford White caught my attention! It just seems superior to the Kenmore as far as secondary airflow goes......I'm kicking myself for not going this route in the first place.

    I think I have a decent case with Sears on returning this water heater based on the horrible install job and the botched venting job by the second plumbers that were sent out

    I have a plumber on stand by with a BW Defender ready to put in...just got to give him the word


    I'm hoping a BW will perform better
  8. you should be fine with the Bradford

    just tell sears to stick their heater up their.... I thought that sears would always take back anything that the customer wasnot happy with... just do a full court press on them...dont let up


    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2009
  9. vtxdude

    vtxdude New Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    NH
    Sure gonna try mark..as far as I'm concerned they really dropped the ball on this from the crappy installation to not recognizing the secondary air issue to the unbelievable venting job the second plumbers they sent out where they just fitted a 4 inch pipe OVER a 3 inch one and sealed it with foil tape


    I know they don't pay these guys a lot but the slap chop job that was done is an insult to all the plumbers here


    I'm sure they aren't gonna go "ok we will be right over" I'm sure it is gonna take a bit of work... Doing a chargeback is first step once they give me grief. Not sure if I will get it all back but I'd like to recoup some of my losses...a hard lesson to learn for sure


    Just to clarify...does the BW have a better secondary air system or just a safer one? To me it looks like it has the ability to draw more secondary air over the Kenmore with the slot on the bottom and surrounded by the mesh...am I off base there? Is the BW slot exposed on the bottom too?

    [video=youtube;nfcbZqRSKIQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfcbZqRSKIQ[/video]
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2010
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