where can I get a Bradford White gas water heater to install myself?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by gnatlee, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. gnatlee

    gnatlee New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Hi all,

    I've been researching about water heaters, and have concluded that I want a Bradford White. So far, I can only get one from the plumbers who won't sell the heater by itself, but requires that they install it. At a labor cost of 500-600 hundred bucks for less than a day's labor. I can't afford that.

    Is there a source in San Diego to buy just the water heater, so I can install it myself?

    Thanks.
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    7,296
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    It is my understanding that Bradford White is sold only to licensed plumbers. I do not know if there is anything that actually prohibits a plumber from buying and then reselling a heater, but there may be something about the warranty that would also require them to install it. Probably one of the licensed plumbers can clear this up a little better, but I doubt if there is a way around this.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,230
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    heater

    If a plumbing supply house that sells BW heaters will sell to the public, then you can get one there. But I would hope they would raise the price to the point where it would still be more economical to have the plumber install it.
  4. mattbee24

    mattbee24 In the Trades

    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Fremont, OH
    Bradford white made us sign a contract saying we would only sell to plumbers. That said, we do still sell to some individuals that we feel are capable of doing the work. The problem is, if for some reason the customer screws it up and Bradford White doesn't give us the warranty money, we are out quite a bit of money. We would have to sell about 10 more heaters to make up for what we just lost. Profit margins on water heaters are VERY low. We only have them because we have to.

    Unfortunately, we are in Ohio. So not much help for you.
  5. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Bradford White Water Heaters

    The Better Question Is What Do You Know About The Ca, Plumbing Code The San Diego Amendments There To ? ? ?
    About Installing Water Heaters
    #1 What Is A P.r.v. And When And Why Is It Used ?
    #2 What Is A Thermal Expansion Tank And When And Why Is It Used ?
    #3 What Doe's All This Have To Do With Installing A Water Heater
    #4 What Is A T&p Valve And Why Is It Used.

    The Number One Thing Ever Mfg. Requires A Service Agent To Check Is Water Heater Installed To Local Code And The N.f.g. Code And Do You Know What That Stands For ??

    If You Can Answer All The Above Above Questions I Might Tell You Where You Can Get A New Bradfordwhite Water Heater,

    They Are Just Trying To Protect Their Good Name,
    To Keep D. I. Y. 's From Killing Their Family's Or Blowing Their House Up
    There By Endangering Their Neighbors.
  6. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Architect

    Messages:
    277
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    I got two BW water heaters and I'm not licensed... I did open an account and bought all the supplies for my entire house thru that supply house tho...
  7. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,780
    Location:
    USA
    A licensed plumber provided and fitted mine. He left it leaking, so I still had to cut pipe and solder.

    I have a shut off valve on the cold side. My neighbor has two shut off valves, one on the hot side as well. Is it worth me adding an extra one here or is this entirely unconventional?
  8. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Your neighbor has an installation that is not to code. The 2 valves create a closed system that relies very heavily on the proper operation of the T&P valve to prevent the water heater from launching through the roof.

    Nice video to watch here... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmJoyuUJj2Q

    Gnatlee,
    Bradford White Water heaters are only sold to licensed plumbers. Since your last water heater was installed I guarantee that there have been changes to the code regarding water heaters. Among those changes are FVIR, Low Nox and a few others. Bradford White IMHO is the best water heater on the market for the money and against many other brands like night and day. This is a gas water heater! Improper Installation can have serious ramifications for you and your family. If you are not a licensed plumber, please find one and ask him to install a Bradford White.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  9. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,780
    Location:
    USA
    Thanks Redwood. I completely forgot about the expansion problem although surely this could happen with just the cold shut or do pipes, fittings and angle stops on the hot side provide some protection as the pressure rises very high?

    We do not have expansion tanks because we do not have PRVs or meter check valves in our houses.

    I'll stay well away from a second valve. The last thing I want as a DIYer is anything that even looks unconventional.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  10. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Ian How did you like that video? Pretty impressive lauch huh?
  11. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,780
    Location:
    USA
    I enjoyed the video a lot. Particularly the wait for the WH to fall back down.

    I am reassured to know that my Bradford White should be able to take up to 320 psi, rather than the rated 150psi.

    If I had a PRV, I'd be tempted to crank it up a little!

    I can't help think though that at the 300 psi mark, fittings and pipes would begin to fail before the WH launched.

    Surely 300psi would make mincemeat of a compression fitting?
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  12. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,296
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    This is in answer to the questions Macplumb 777 asked. A PRV is a pressure regulating valve. It is installed when the city water pressure is too high. Pressure is considered too high above around 80 psi. Part of a PRV is a check valve that prevents back flow into the city main and creates what is called a closed system. Now the plot thickens. When a water heater kick on and heats water, this water expands. Before the PRV was installed, this expansion was absorbed by the city main so it was completely unnoticed, but now with the PRV, this expansion causes the pressure in the water heater to rise dramatically, so this water has to find a place to go and that place is the safety valve (T/P) on the tank. T/P means temperature/pressure. It trips when the pressure reaches the T/P limit and expels water to prevent the tank from exploding. The T/P also protects the tank from exploding if the thermostat fails and the water continues to heat beyond the safe limit. And yes, tanks can and do explode without this protection. Although the T/P will protect the tank, it is certainly not desirable to have water running out of the T/P every time the water heats. This is where the thermal expansion tank comes into play. This tank is placed between the PRV and the water heater and will absorb the expansion. When the water cools, the water is released back into the water system. I have no information regarding California codes other than they are quite strict. Oh yes, I should mention that at least some newer water meters have a check valve built in to them. This will also create a closed system even without a PRV. I have in information about California codes.
  13. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Bradford White Water Heaters

    You Left Out What Is The Meaning Of The Letters N.f.g.c.
    And The Dbl. Band Earthquake Straps Also Required In Ca. Since 1994
  14. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Bradford White Water Heater

    It's All Correct Gary But Unless You Are Going To Ca. To Install This Water Heater
    What Doe's Gnat-lee Know About The Above Items And How To Apply Them To Installing A Water Heater
  15. gnatlee

    gnatlee New Member

    Messages:
    19
    wow, thank you all for all the helpful responses. I'm quite handy with installations and work around the house myself. I agree with Macplumb777 that I do not know the CA codes yet. But rest assured, that I will read out on it. Thanks for the quiz questions. and a big thank you to Gary for clarifying them.

    My current water heater has a earthquake restraint on it, so I'll be using that. Despite of my limited code knowledge and my lack of a plumber's license, I will still install my own water heater. LIke I said, I'll read up on the codes and the PRV and the T/P and the expansion tank, etc. If I can't get a hold of a BW, I'll go with a GE from Home Depot.

    I realize that plumbers have to earn a living and that's why they would want to keep BWs to themselves. From my standpoint, I can't afford to hire a plumber for 500 bucks to do a day's work at most. So what can I do? I can read up on current CA codes and do things myself with a heater that might not last as long or be as troublefree as a BW.

    Again, I appreciate everyone's input and feedback.
  16. gnatlee

    gnatlee New Member

    Messages:
    19
    BTW, Redwood. That was a very interesting mythbuster video. Wouldn't the T/P valve work to release the pressure to prevent it from building up to 350 PSI? Or did these guys plug up the release valve?
  17. gnatlee

    gnatlee New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Hi Macplumb 777


    About Installing Water Heaters
    #1 What Is A P.r.v. And When And Why Is It Used ?
    #2 What Is A Thermal Expansion Tank And When And Why Is It Used ?
    #3 What Doe's All This Have To Do With Installing A Water Heater
    #4 What Is A T&p Valve And Why Is It Used.

    To add to Gary's answers.

    1. Pressure release /relief valve is to prevent backflow of heated pressurized water from going back to the city's water source. Mainly a problem if the new housing developments are highly crowded and the city need to increase the water pressure to feed the development's water pressure needs. I doubt that my existing water source in this community modified the water pressure, they would have notified the home owners to install or retrofit PRVs into their water heaters. But to make sure, I'll ask my water department tomorrow.

    IF the PRV is installed, the released water (very hot at this point, would drain to a plumbed drainage.

    2. The thermal expansion tank is pressurized tank with a rubber bladder installed between the PRV and the heater. it just collects the backflow from the water heater thereby helping the PRV and protecting seals and valves.

    3. number 1 and 2 are mainly to protect the city's water valves and safety of the house lines and helps prevent the collapse of the inner flue vent and prevents carbon monoxide being released into the home.

    4. T/P (temperature and Pressure release valve) comes into play to relieve the pressure build up in the heater. normally set at 150 psi.

    and yes, the T/P valve has to be plumbed to a drain as well.

    In addition, California requires two sesmic straps, with the lower one being at least 4 inches from the thermostat. and a drip pan is recommended. The heater has to be raised 18 inches above the floor.

    Short of buying a $135 2007 CPC book, I think I covered the important things.
    and I'll call the local water utilities to inquire about the city's water pressure. If it's above 80 psi, i'll install a pvr and an expansion tank too.

    So how about telling me where to buy a highly regarded Bradford White 40 gallon natural heater with FVIR, low NOX and at least 40000 btu in San Diego so that I can install one myself?

    Thanks
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  18. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    The 150# rating is the up to operating pressure ...the 320 is the tank test pressure.

    All water heaters must hold the test pressure of 300/320# in order to be used, however they are not rated for that use.
  19. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    You will have to find a supplier that is willing to break its agreement with Bradford White to sell only to licensed plumbers.

    Personally I do not advacate DIYers installing gas appliances! I would hope the supply house would think twice before selling you one. I know Big Orange won't... That GE seems to have a 6 year life by what I'm seeing lately.

    Yes the purpose of the T&P is to prevent the pressure from building above 150 PSI. Like any mechanical device it may fail and its protection may be lost. As I and others have stated there are ways that things are put together that can prevent its proper operation or, contribute to its early failure.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2008
  20. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,230
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    T&p

    I just recently replaced a water heater that had a completely sealed discharge line. If the customer had installed it himself he would have connected the new one to that unusable pipe and thought everything was cool, when in reality he had a very dangerous situation.
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