gas water heater- delayed ignition

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Clint380, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. Clint380

    Clint380 New Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    I have noticed a tendency for Bradford White residential natural gas water heaters (non-fvir) to have noisy burner ignition. Typically when the burner gas is turned on the pilot lights the burner instantly but only a portion of the round burner lights. And after a short delay and a buildup of raw gas the rest of the burner lights with greater noise.

    I have tried cleaning the pilot and burners but the problem still occurs. On central heating units I can normally correct this problem by cleaning the pilot or burner or adjusting the primary air shutter to a richer position. But the Bradford natural gas burners have no air shutter to adjust the fuel to air ratio.

    Has anyone out there had any success in correcting the delayed ignition on these water heaters? I have considered replacing the burner but my local supplier tells me the burners are no longer available from Bradford White.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
  2. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Probably not the burner

    Its probably best to leave it alone unless you
    are worried about it...

    sounds like the burner is not the problem,
    maybe its the gas valve acting up...

    how old is this unit???
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  4. Clint380

    Clint380 New Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    gas valve functions ok

    The Bradford gas heaters that typically do this are those that were made back in the 1990's before they came out with the "Defender" safety system.

    I have seen this problem before due to low gas pressure from a faulty main gas valve. But in this situation the burner flame is normal size and the manifold pressure to the burner is apparently normal. I tried even reducing the gas pressure to the burner but this only helped slightly and the problem still occurs.

    If anyone out there has experience with solving this problem let me know. I checked the Bradford White website and their listings of technical issues but this matter was not covered.
  5. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    replace the burner assembly

    I read your first post and thought you were talking
    about an old power vent unit....

    change the burner assembly, I have seen a lot
    of them from the late 90s that literally had
    started to melt away on the ends... and started to burn erratically

    try that first if you like...
    just go to a local junk yard,
    I am sure that their are plenty to choose from
    We get a few in every month from older units
    that look rather worn.....

    if you really want to get into some fun, try
    takeing the chimmney off the top and pulll out
    the baffle to see how stopped up the unit is..

    if it were me,
    I would probably change both the
    burner and thermostat....

    have fun
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    How old is this unit...
  7. Clint380

    Clint380 New Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    The Bradford heater i have checked the most was a residential 40 gallon 1993 natural gas standing pilot. I went ahead and replaced the heater but was just trying to get some insight on why this problem is so common with this particular water heater and if others out there are just ignoring this problem or able to repair it.

    There is no sign of any wear or heat stress on the burner itself. The original burner just seems to be poorly designed since it allows no adjustment of primary air flow like the LP gas burners allow.

    Some of the central heaters I have worked on have done the same thing for various reasons. And one reason has been the primary air shutters are opened too much. But these water heaters have no primary air adjustment.

    Most people though don't seem to notice the double ignition since they are not usaully around the heater when it lights up.
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