Bradford White Water Heater ???

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Master Brian, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Nov 13, 2008
    I have pretty much decided I am going to replace my crappy Whirlpool Flamelock water heater. It doesn't seem to be keeping up and it is just a piece of crap.

    I have all but decided to go with the Bradford White based on what I've read here. So here are a few questions to ensure I get the best model they have for my needs. I looked on their site and noticed a sizing guide and I went through it, but I am still a bit unsure.

    1) Someone mentioned to install a bottom fed heater to increase output. It looks like these are capable of doing either top or bottom feed. Is there anything I need to know when going bottom feed instead of top feed? I am also planning a hot water recirculation line, will that feed into the same inlet?

    2) What about venting? Are the power vents really worth the almost tripple cost? I can get a 50gal atmospheric for $430, the power vent runs $1384. I currently figure my hot water costs about $35 per month with an atmospheric unit. Thats $420 per year. If payback is 10 years, then I don't see the worth, if it's one or two, I could see that. Feedback?

    3) I have 4 people in my family. 2 adults and 2 small children. 2 current baths, with a 3rd planned for the basement. The 3rd may be a year away, it may be never as I have to move dirt to reclaim that space. The main bath has a clawfoot tub, which hold a lot of water and I am considering a jaccuzzi style tub for the 2nd floor, master, bath. It would be a medium size tub, at most a corner unit, maybe a clawfoot one as well.

    4) I would also kind of like to be able to use this heater for some radiant heat as well. Not primary heat, it would be purely supplemental. I might even decide just to use the old heater for this task, if I can keep it alive. I just don't want to trust it any longer for my showers and such.

    If you have a recommendation on a model from Bradford White, I'd appreciate a model # if possible.


    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2009
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    Some quick comments. Bradford White are highly regarded water heaters, but are supposed to be sold only to plumbers. This may or may not always be true and perhaps you are going to have a plumber do the job anyway. Point #1 I concede that fact that I am not a professional and that there are many things I am still learning. However, the cold water supply for all water heaters starts at the bottom of the tank. This is done with a dip tube which is a tube placed in the intake at the top of the tank and goes to the bottom. Therefore, having the intake at the bottom of the tank is really of no benefit that I can see. Here's how I plumbed my recirculating system. The return line is teed into the intake at the top of the tank. Works great and has been for 4 years. Point #2 Power vents are very efficient. They do not use a standing pilot light and are vented with PVC pipe. While they are more expensive, I recently priced a GE/Rheem and it was less than twice the price of a conventional vent heater. More expensive, but not 3X Point #3 You certainly have a lot of tubs! Do you really think you will want to fill them all at the same time?:p A big Jacuzzi might require a heater with some more capacity than conventional bathtubs, so you might want to figure that in. Point #4 I have no experience with radiant heat so I can't comment one way or the other.
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