2 x 1-year old Bradford White water heaters leaking from bottom (Photos)

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BBdude

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Hi All - See photos. I have two (2) 50 gallon 40k BTU Bradford White water heaters (Natural Gas / Model No RG250T6N) that are leaking from the bottom. Noticed it this morning. They're only a year old. The heater on the right dried up pretty quick, but you can see where the cement is darker.

I checked the connections at the top and didn't notice any leaking water or wet spots. Considered it might be the overflow, but water is directly behind it and the water for the heater on the right was on the opposite side from the overflow. Any ideas? Only device using hot water this morning was my kitchen sink and dishwasher - not sure if related.

Thanks in advance for any input!

 

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Tuttles Revenge

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I would bet money its the Temperature and Pressure Relief valve that has opened up and spilled onto the floor.

Probably need a properly sized and pressurized expansion tank.
 

Fitter30

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Take a paper stick it in the end of the relief pipes loosely. Relief opens it will blow out or be wet if they just drip. Flue size 4"? How many feel tall is it? Any horizontal?
 

BBdude

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Thanks, guys. I'll give the paper a try.

Flue size is 4". Right side goes up 4" and then turns to the left. Left one goes up 4", where it meets with the horizontal piece from the unit on the right. From where they meet it's about 2' until it goes on its path out the chimney.
 

Jeff H Young

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I think its the T&P likely from thermal expansion , might need a regulator and or expansion tank. despite the OP says its from the bottom of heater the plastic relief drain piping against the tank explains that
 

BBdude

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Confirmed today it is the relief pipe. Only happening to the one on the left, despite them being run in parallel. Is this typical? My two older units never dispensed water out of the relief pipe so it this the result of the plumber changing something? Would I need two expansion tanks or just one?
 

Tuttles Revenge

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If your house is a Closed system where the water can come in but can not go backwards to the city main then that closed system needs some place for thermal expansion. Currently that thermal expansion is opening your safety valve which at this point I would replace both.

Expansion tank sizing can be done easily with this handy online Amtrol tool.
 

BBdude

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If your house is a Closed system where the water can come in but can not go backwards to the city main then that closed system needs some place for thermal expansion. Currently that thermal expansion is opening your safety valve which at this point I would replace both.

Expansion tank sizing can be done easily with this handy online Amtrol tool.
Thanks for your feedback - yes, it's a closed system.

Replace both meaning both hot water heaters? Both safety valves?

I guess I'm surprised this wasn't an issue with the old water heaters.

One random thing ... when I use the hot water in the tub of one my upstairs bathrooms the pipes shake until either the hot water has been on for a bit or I pop the valve for the shower head. Maybe related, maybe not.
 
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Jeff H Young

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Confirmed today it is the relief pipe. Only happening to the one on the left, despite them being run in parallel. Is this typical? My two older units never dispensed water out of the relief pipe so it this the result of the plumber changing something? Would I need two expansion tanks or just one?
Typical that only one drips yes because for whatever reason they arent exactly the same .
You said its a closed system so you need an expansion tank , possibly that will solve the situation. I would possibly change the t and p on one or both T&P's but on my own house I probably wouldn't change T&P I would want to get it in one trip rather than comeback and charge client another 100 bucks or more they might whine and say why didn't I change it the first time.
water heaters are fine btw I have had bad T&P's on brand new water heaters I shouldn't say many times but it happens maybe 1 percent or less
 

BBdude

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Plumber is coming out tomorrow. All I told him was the T&P is leaking so we'll see what he says.
 

Jeff H Young

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ok good report back like to hear his findings and recomendation . I will tell you on a closed system the expansion tank is required to meet code
 

BBdude

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He recommended a pressure reducing valve ($1,000 installed) and a plt-5 w/h expansion ($575 installed). It sounds like we could get away with just the expansion tank. Our water pressure is just right so I don't want to reduce if I can avoid it w/ just an expansion tank (not to mention it's a far more affordable remedy).
 

Tuttles Revenge

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Typically I explain the reason for installing XYZ as a remedy for ABC.. There must have been a reason they suggested the PRV besides just selling a service. Maybe there are fluctuations in the water pressure that the PRV would remedy?

Tho, I do also often offer a service that is kind a not necessary but maybe nice to do and I rate them as Need to do vs Nice to do and let the homeowner decide. Usually having something to say no to makes a sale easier for both sides.
 

BBdude

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Typically I explain the reason for installing XYZ as a remedy for ABC.. There must have been a reason they suggested the PRV besides just selling a service. Maybe there are fluctuations in the water pressure that the PRV would remedy?

Tho, I do also often offer a service that is kind a not necessary but maybe nice to do and I rate them as Need to do vs Nice to do and let the homeowner decide. Usually having something to say no to makes a sale easier for both sides.

I'm a layman so excuse my lack of jargon, but he said the pressure is higher coming into the home in the evening since less folks are using water in the township. Our pressure during the day he said was 'higher' at '90'. He said the PRV would ensure the pressure is cut in half and also ensure no major fluctuations (and protect our appliances). He said this may help the issue we're seeing with the t and p. He also said the PRV is aligned with current code that wasn't in place at the time our home was built in 1990.

He positioned the PRV as a 'nice to do' and the issue w/ t and p would likely be remedied by the expansion tank.
 

Reach4

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I would consider a bigger thermal expansion tank if the pressure coming in is more variable.

I suspect you don't live near a water tower.
 

WorthFlorida

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All comments by others are all valid and from my experience, the T&P does not just opens fully at 150 PSI or at 210º. Usually they will start to weep before the 150 PSI. Some places a small pail or large cup under the discharge pipe just to catch a little water.

I would definitely add an expansion tank. If you are handy one can be installed easily using sharkbite fittings. Sharkbite makes on fitting just for expansion tanks. The size of the tank needs to be followed by the chart from the manufacture, however, they all should be the same. I just installed one with my new water heater and with a 50 gallon tank, it is only a 2.1 gallon. with two 50 gallons unit you'll need 4.4 gallon. This chart is from PROFLO installation manual.

Screen Shot 2022-10-20 at 10.22.43 AM.jpg
 

BBdude

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Thanks, both. Plumber recommended a 2.1 gallon so will ask him about a larger 4.4 gallon tank. Looks like the difference is only an additional $25 for the larger tank.
 

Master Plumber Mark

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Thanks, both. Plumber recommended a 2.1 gallon so will ask him about a larger 4.4 gallon tank. Looks like the difference is only an additional $25 for the larger tank.


The larger therm tank would be wiser, and maybe 2 of them ..

If he was the person who installed these heaters less than 2 years ago he should Eat the cost of the therm tanks...because it is CODE to install them and especially when their are 2 units next to each other.... Also their ought to be pans under the heaters going to the nearest drains

Also, he is really screwing you pretty good and deep on the pressure reducing valve... considering they cost only about 75 bucks for a 3/4 wilkins ... It will probably take about 30 minutes to install the PRV valve so he hopes you go for the 1000k he quoted you

thought you might want to know...
 

BBdude

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Thanks, Mark. Long story short. The guy the plumbing company sent out did good work when my requests were basic (frost free hose bibs, water powered sump, etc.), but when I asked for a water softener it was clear he was in over his head. We're still working with the plumbing company to have the vendor replace the malfunctioning water softener valve. They been sending their master plumber and he's been great at fixing the mistakes of the previous guy and eating all the costs.

Based on your comments ... going to have two more plumbers out for their opinions. The PRV cost is concerning.
 
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