Should you invest in one?
Bradford White is a hugely popular name here in the USA. They supply households across the country with water heaters, essentially helping to fill thousands of baths with tons of soothing hot water, every day. They have a reputation for putting out innovative designs: these are not cheap, foreign, mass-produced heaters.
But just how effective and reliable are they?
How Bradford White Got Where it is Today?
Bradford White is based in Ambler, Pennsylvania. The company is owned by its employees. Bradford White doesn’t sell directly to the consumer: instead, they only supply licensed plumbers, who in turn are employed to correctly install the heaters in your home.
Here’s a quote from their website:
“The vision of our founders was simple and remains unchanged today – to serve the plumbing and heating professional with high-quality, superior products made by American workers. This unwavering dedication to product and service excellence has allowed us to enjoy strong relationships with out customers and will provide positive results far into the future.”
In short, they are Americans supplying Americans. They claim to know what you need out of a water heater, and have the skills and smarts to provide that and more.
The website also claims that they have refined their products to the point where they are “some of the most high-performing, energy saving products” on the market. In this article, we’re going to analyze Bradford White’s water heaters, and see if this claim holds up.
The Technology Behind the Brand
Bradford White owns a bunch of trademarked innovations that supposedly help their water heaters to stand out from the crowd. These smart designs stir water, prevent corrosion, control gas flow, and offer added safety. Here are some of their most popular innovations.
Hydrojet Total Performance System creates water turbulence that makes the heater more effective.
Flow-altering jet ports mix the water, preventing destructive sediment from piling up. This technology, exclusive to Bradford White, also helps the heater to warm faster and more efficiently.
Vitraglas protects the tank’s components.
This enamel coating, applied at ridiculously high temperatures, lines the tank, flue tube, head, and base. It prevents corrosive substances from contacting the steel and, they claim, has set the standard for glass-lining protection.
ICON System Gas Control Technology keeps operating your gas heater simple.
This software helps the heater produce water that’s an ideal temperature, monitors the pilot light, and trouble shoots if something goes wrong. It’s generally included in your gas heater package for free.
These designs sound awesome. A heater can be a hefty financial outlay, plus running it can bulk up a household’s energy bill significantly. Anything that helps a heater to last longer and run more effectively is a huge improvement.
Let’s plunge into a review of the actual heaters.
Bradford White Water Heater Review: They Offer Variety
There are loads of different Bradford White water heaters available to USA residents who’d like one in their home.
- Traditional gas heaters.
- Ultra low NOx water heaters: these heaters use special vents to highly reduce the amount of toxic nitrogen oxide gas emitted during the fuel burning process.
- Electric water heaters.
- A heat pump water heater: this highly efficient heater moves heat that would otherwise be lost in the air, into the water.
- Tankless water heaters: these heaters warm water instantaneously using a gas or an electric element, and save the owner money in the long run.
- Modern residential boilers.
- A residential solar water heater: this beautifully eco-friendly water heating option can save loads of moolah on operational costs.
- Residential combination water heater: they can warm both your water and your house, if you live in a smaller space.
- Indirect water heaters: the heating tanks store warmth and make the process way more efficient.
- A residential hot water storage tank.
- Some handy plumbing accessories.
So far, the claim of excellence seems to be holding up. There’s a ton of variety here, enough to suit nearly anyone looking to keep their hot bath or shower running. And an incredible amount of these are thoughtful, energy-saving or eco-friendly options.
Let’s take an in-depth look at their top models.
These are Bradford White’s Best Water heaters on the Market
Gas heaters: Residential RG2F50S6N
Bradford White’s gas heaters are highly popular, and we think this one takes the cake. It exceeds the Energy Star requirements for efficiency. Part of the reason for this is that it’s fitted with a low-energy blower that pulls in air to help heat the water. It also features the ICON tech mentioned above, which further reduces gas consumption. There are some superb safety features, the Hydrojet system that mixes the water, and Vitriglas to keep the heater in good shape.
Electric heaters: Residential Upright Electric Heater
This heater is fast, efficient and designed to be long-lasting. It’s insulated with 2-inch-thick foam that severely slows the loss of heat, and it uses the Hydrojet system to keep water circulating and stop sediment from accumulating. There are heat traps fitted into the inlet and outlet, which apparently also help to keep the heater running quietly (it’s a pretty peaceful-sounding machine). The heating element is immersed, contributing to the beautiful efficiency. There’s a fully automatic, fast-acting thermostat, safety features that kick in in the case of overheating, and that hardy, protective Vitriglas.
Heatpump Water Heater: AeroTherm Series Heat Pump
These are essentially the same heater in two sizes: a 50-gallon and an 80-gallon option. They are incredibly efficient, drawing heat from the air to warm the water, and cooling the space around them. Unfortunately – and predictably – they only really function in mild or warm climates. However, if you live in a location that would accommodate using a heat pump water heater, they are well worth the investment. They have four operating modes (you can choose vacation mode, for example), including a fast electric mode for times when the air-warmed heat pump mode isn’t ideal. There’s a slick little control panel with a digital display for operating the heater.
These heaters sound fantastic. But here’s how we can tell whether they live up to their claims… what are people saying about them?
Buyer Feedback on the Bradford White Water Heaters is Probably Not What you Expected
Bradford White makes a slew of claims, and it’s a highly popular brand. But many residential Bradford White heater owners don’t seem to feel that you should take the reputation and promises seriously. Shockingly, Bradford White appears to have mostly low reviews on online reviewing platforms.
By far the biggest complaint appears to be that parts break well before expected. This includes reports of tanks leaking… and we know how messy that can get. To add insult to injury, many buyers experiencing problems with their models found that Bradford White’s customer service was deeply unhelpful. And even if replacement parts were awarded to them, they still had to pay the plumber’s installation or repair fee out of their own pockets.
Bradford White: Great Ideas, Imperfect Execution
It’s impossible not to applaud the innovative technology powering the Bradford White heaters, or their ideals regarding keeping their manufacturing local. However, the company needs improvement in a couple of key areas: customer service, and quality control. Until the company can consistently put out non-defective models, and see to customers’ complaints in a way that settles all issues, buyers should beware when purchasing water heaters from Bradford White. You many get an absolutely stunning heater that lasts for years while easing your energy bills… or you may get a dud that’s leaky, or flawed in some other crucial department, and struggle to get your money back.