Bradford White Anode Inspection

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Ĝan Ŭesli Starling, May 23, 2021.

?

Should a Bradford White water heater EVER be installed without a union allowing anode inspection.

  1. No, never.

    1 vote(s)
    33.3%
  2. Yes, aways.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Doesn't matter.

    2 vote(s)
    66.7%
  1. Ĝan Ŭesli Starling

    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2021
    Occupation:
    Senior Test Engineer, Turbine Fuel Combustion
    Location:
    West Olive, Michigan
    Here near Holland MI, the local vendor Baumann & DeGroot installed my Bradford White, power-vented gas water heater without any unions.

    On a Bradford White water heater, the sacrificial anode is integral with the hot water outlet.

    And so, for lack of a union, the sacrificial anode cannot be inspected, much less replaced. Not without first cutting the pipe.

    The vendor, however, grew incensed that I should find fault, and stands his ground. Only for $150 additional will Chad Baumann send someone to fix it. At this point I would rather pay double to have someone else come do it instead.

    But what, may I ask, is this group's consensus?
     
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I don't see a problem with the way they installed it. Most plumbers in non-earthquake states are solid piping to the water heaters. Flex connectors on the West Coast are because of the worry about earthquakes shaking things loose.
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    Unions are not used to connect to water heaters in the usually way, it is not the installer's shortcomings. Between all manufactures, the height and location of the T&P valve do vary somewhat so using unions is time consuming and most likely cannot be used when it is time for a replacement. 1/2 of the union connected on the WH side would have to be removed if possible and reused or replaced entirely. If you need access to the anode rod you would need to move the WH or put in two unions so you have access with a space open over the rod location. Most people cannot move a 50 gallon tank full of water where it will weight about 450 lbs

    There seem to be hundreds if not thousands of post about anode rod replacements on this forum. It's about 50/50 on the opinion to inspect it or leave it alone. The biggest hassle is it takes a tremendous amount of torque to remove one and the height of the ceiling above the WH may not be tall enough to pull out a 4-5' rod. There are replacements that are made of small links, and some are electric that will last a lifetime of the WH. More so than not, complaints about odors from the hot water seem to start after replacing the rod.

    Another opinion of anode rod replacements is the age of the water heater, either gas or electric. Gas WH's do get a lot of sediments at the bottom thus making them less efficient over time. Electric's will get sediment and it effects it if the sediment builds up and buries the lower electric element. Replacing the rod on an old water heater may not be practical if a replacement is eminent. My current water heater electric water heater is installed when the home was built in 2007, my last home I sold it with a 17 year old electric and I never even thought about changing the anode rod. Since the WH are installed in garages for most homes in the sunbelt without basements, a leak wouldn't hurt at all.
     
    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling likes this.
  5. Treeman

    Treeman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Michigan
    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling
    I live about 2 hours east of you near Moo U. If it makes you feel any better, the 4 water heaters I have had installed in my home/workplace over the past decades have all been hard plumbed in. Its how they do things in Michigan.

    I, too, last purchased a Bradford White solely to support a Michigan manufacturer, but missed the anode rod install method. If anything, one should probably blame BW for the dumb method or buyer stupidity for not checking it out. Having said this, I am somewhat lazy and have never replaced a rod (could not loosen the one attempt) and my heaters last at least 20 years, whether with hard untreated water or softened water.

    water heater.jpg
     
    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling likes this.
  6. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    actually, the dialectric unions cause more troubles than directly connecting the unit to the copper
    dialectric unions seem to corrode shut over time...

    if you absolutely have to have to inspect your silly anode rod, I suggest you do like Terry says and
    have the plumber install flex lines to the unit... they are far more user freindly than unions--- very easy to
    remove and re-install....


    [​IMG]




     
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling likes this.
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
  8. Ĝan Ŭesli Starling

    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2021
    Occupation:
    Senior Test Engineer, Turbine Fuel Combustion
    Location:
    West Olive, Michigan
    The issue is to do with the sacrificial anode. It cannot be inspected. The Bradford White manual calls for inspecting the anode every 2 years. Without a coupling it cannot be done. The reason is where Bradford White puts the anode. It's inside of the hot water outlet. Thus, for lack of a union (or other similar disconnection method) the pipe must be cut with a saw in order to inspect the sacrificial anode.
     
  9. Ĝan Ŭesli Starling

    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2021
    Occupation:
    Senior Test Engineer, Turbine Fuel Combustion
    Location:
    West Olive, Michigan
    There is a how-to video on YouTube where a plumber performs anode inspection and replacement on a Bradford White. He mentions repeatedly that a union must be in place for this operation. It didn't look difficult. He replaced the Teflon tape was all.

    The Bradford White manual specifies inspection every two years. This on a unit whose warrantee runs six years.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    But even with a union, how can the anode be pulled for inspection without damaging the thread?

    It was possible to use a Ceranode powered anode with that Bradford-White anode situation, but that product seems to be discontinued. I have one. The main purpose of a powered anode is to prevent a sacrificial anode contributing to H2S generation by SRB, while protecting the WH as well as magnesium.

    [​IMG]

    The stubby powered anodes would not fit the situation I think. Even with a dedicated anode port, I doubt the stubby powered anode could protect the lower part of the tank well.

    Powered anodes are sometimes called "electronic anodes".
     
  11. Ĝan Ŭesli Starling

    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2021
    Occupation:
    Senior Test Engineer, Turbine Fuel Combustion
    Location:
    West Olive, Michigan
  12. Ĝan Ŭesli Starling

    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2021
    Occupation:
    Senior Test Engineer, Turbine Fuel Combustion
    Location:
    West Olive, Michigan
    This YouTube video shows pulling the anode for inspection.

    Searching I find this Corro-Protect powered anode, which looks like it might be a good idea. I even find an instruction for how to install them on Bradford White. Although that might void my warrantee. I emailed Bradford White to ask if it would. And they answered with a definite 'maybe'.
     
  13. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Interesting. Sure pulled a lot easier than I would expect for real.

    I was also interested to see there was a non-threaded place to grab.

    Time 2:29 made a comment about "goes flat-ways, and not up and down". Strange wording, but that sure would seem to argue against stubby powered anode rods.

    "Aluminum" anode rods are really aluminum+zinc -- not that it matters. Those still can help produce H2S, but nearly as well as magnesium. Magnesium protects the WH better.
     
  14. phog

    phog Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling -- I feel your pain.. but I'd conjecture that if you ask 100 plumbers nationwide how they do that install, 99 of them wouldn't use a union. Correct or not, it's just the way things are done, and 99.9% of customers never notice the difference.
     
  15. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Master Plumber Mark likes this.
  16. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of

    Actually, I like to use the flex connectors which are basically dialectric unions too... I like them much more than those shitty dialectric unions that corrode shut after a number of years....

    Their has not been much of a debate about this issue.... but flex connectors--- like the copper ones that Terry uses ----and the SS ones that I use---- RULE...
    They are like a dialectric union on steroids with actually 2 ends that are dialectic and break the connection to the plumbing system with plastic grommets under the nuts and washers......

    Most bradford white water heaters have the anode rod built into the hot nipple going down into the water heater... they are very easy to get out.. I have seen some installed differently like on the Rheem heaters which are waaaaaay more difficult to get out....

    Personally I think you got to be nuts to want to inspect your anode rod every 2 years....
    you got to have better things to do with your time....
    Or You got too much time on your hands .






     
  17. Ĝan Ŭesli Starling

    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2021
    Occupation:
    Senior Test Engineer, Turbine Fuel Combustion
    Location:
    West Olive, Michigan
    What brand of flex connectors do you use?

    The every two years inspection suggestion is in the Bradford White manual. I was concerned for my warranty should I fail to follow directions. Plus also, my residence has a well. I have recently shock-treated it with vinegar and chlorine bleach according to another forum here. Results on my water quality were so much improved that I expect to do it now every year (half as often as some others do). What with vinegar being an acid, and chlorine being an oxidizer, I now think inspection of my anode every 2nd such treatment much less excessive.
     
  18. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    I dont know the brand off hand... Terry uses Copper flex connectors which are pretty good...
    Mine are corrogated SS which cost about 7 bucks each ... We buy in bulk ...
    The copper ones are more expensive..
     
  19. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling likes this.
  20. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Copper flexes are hard to come by now. I've been installing Stainless corrugated lately.
     
    Ĝan Ŭesli Starling likes this.
  21. Clog

    Clog Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2019
    Location:
    California
    I have a water heater that has the anode incorporated with the hot water heater outlet. Apparently, this KA-90 alloy anode is good enough to support the 12 year standard tank warranty that was included with the heater by the manufacturer at no extra charge.

    While it shipped with plastic lined hot and cold nipples, I went ahead and installed dielectric unions anyway, along with corrugated stainless steel flex lines. The former wasn't necessary, the latter was required in my jurisdiction. So now I have three dielectric separators, and several points of entry for service.

    Still, even with all those easy options to open the hot water outlet line already installed, I wasn't too enthused about regularly loosening and tightening threaded connections, so I moved the T&P relief valve from the top of the tank (as shipped) over to the side of the tank (in the plugged location provided by the manufacturer for the optional relocation of the T&P relief valve).

    Now, with an open port on top of the tank, I purchased a second KA-90 anode rod, in a length appropriately long enough for the tall tank, and threaded it into where the T&P relief valve used to be. I did this prior to installing the water heater in it's designated location, so that the solid straight anode rod could be inserted without any ceiling or flue interference.

    If one KA-90 rod is good enough for the manufacturer to roll the dice on a 12 year warranty, it is hoped that two KA-90 rods (same material chosen so as to have the same nobility of metal, to prevent any differences in potential between anode rods) will offer double the sacrificial material to protect the tank.

    When I do go to inspect the anode rod in a couple of years, I will pull the anode rod I added, and leave the anode that is incorporated with the hot water outlet alone.

    12 years from now, should the anode rod that I added become eaten down to the wire, it will be an easy matter to bend the wire as it is being pulled out, to accommodate the ceiling limitation. At that point, a segmented anode rod or a powered anode rod can be fitted in its place, still without having to muck with the hot water outlet.

    So, if there is an additional threaded port on top of the water heater you have, consider asking Bradford White if that port can be used for an additional anode rod, and if so, be sure and ask what type of metal the current anode rod with the hot water outlet is, so that you can match the same metal with the added anode rod (unless deciding on powered anode).
     
Similar Threads: Bradford White
Forum Title Date
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Powered Damper Bradford White water heater Jul 2, 2021
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Bradford White (Honeywell) Model #MI406TFBN; HELP!! Jun 30, 2021
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Opinion on old Bradford White, fix or replace? Apr 26, 2021
Water Heater Forum, Tanks ONLY got 44 years out of my WH. Now what - Rheem or Bradford White? Apr 5, 2021
Water Heater Forum, Tanks A.O vs Bradford White Mar 17, 2021

Share This Page