Plumbing, Water Heaters

Are Bradford White Water Heaters Reliable & Good? (9 Helpful Tips)

Bradford White Lg

These days most families are putting their water heaters to greater use, ensuring they are clean and healthy. We often don’t think about our water-heater until it stops working and our lives are significantly interrupted. If you are here because your water heater has stopped working or you are thinking about replacing your current tank, hopefully, this article will help you in the decision-making process.

I did some research and here’s what came up about Bradford White water heaters:

Bradford White is one of the leading manufacturers of reliable and good water heaters. Bradford White is an employee-owned company that takes great pride in producing high-quality products here in the USA. The company is well-known for providing unequaled customer service and technical support. Bradford White is committed to continually growing in its production of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly products. 

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ll explore who makes Bradford White water heaters, their durability, cost, warranty, and how they rank against other water heater brands.

Who Makes Bradford White Water Heaters?

Bradford White is a team of American-owned companies that produced the Bradford White water heaters. From their humble roots dating back to 1881, the goal has been to provide quality, American-made products. 

Initially, the idea of a wholesale-only philosophy was not well received, especially by the banks. But their substantial growth has shown their determination has indeed paid off. The corporation has grown into a full-line manufacturer of residential, commercial, and industrial products. 

Despite this substantial growth, the corporation still places a high value on customer service. Feedback from customers has helped the corporation to improve and stand out in the market.

Bradford White is committed to continually growing in up-to-date technology that is energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The corporation prides itself in using the finest raw materials and components worldwide to deliver high-quality products that are Built to be the Best®.

Bradford White provides hands-on product and sales training throughout the year to contractors, engineers, wholesale distributors, and sales reps from contractors, engineers, wholesale distributors, and sales reps from their state-of-the-art training facilities in Rochester, New Hampshire, and Middleville, Michigan. 

The training center in Middleville, Michigan, also called International Technical Excellence Center (iTEC), is a cutting-edge LEED Gold certified complex. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building rating system used to certify buildings using less energy and water, avoid waste, save on maintenance costs, and create fewer environmental burdens overall on their community. 

This certificate is further proof of Bradford White’s dedication to providing innovative designs that meet and exceed the expectations of the green market.  

How Durable Are Bradford White Water Heaters?

While it’s impossible to know how long any water heater will last, Bradford White has shown their commitment to making quality products that last decades. 

Some of their exclusive features include:

  • ICON System – A control system that provides consistently accurate water temperatures and makes it easier for the homeowner to control. While being an electronic valve, it doesn’t require outside electricity. 

The control uses Bradford White’s proven millivolt technology to convert heat energy from the pilot flame into electrical energy. Hence the name ICON – Intelligent Control.

  • Defender Safety System® with ScreenLok™ – This patented screen prevents flammable vapors from exiting the tank. An essential feature considering our water-heaters are usually in areas where flammable items are also stored (i.e., paint cans in the garage).
  • Hydrojet® Total Performance System – This system alone sets Bradford White apart from other manufacturers. Over time, sediment builds up in the tank, putting a strain on the water heater. If the sediment is not removed, the buildup will eventually kill the water heater.

The Hydrojet® Total Performance System uses a cold-water inlet, or dip tube, with a series of “jet ports.” These “jets” create turbulence in the tank, preventing sediment from accumulating, essentially self-cleaning the tank. Another essential feature of this system is that it thoroughly mixes incoming water with stored water, evenly distributing hot water throughout the tank. 

Cold and warm water layers form if the water is not kept at an even temperature, creating the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to grow.

  • Vitraglas® – An exclusive enamel lining that protects the tank against the corrosive effects of hot water. The unique compound structure of this enamel allows the lining to expand and contract with the steel tank. It is standard equipment on nearly all Bradford White tank water heaters.
  • Eco-Defender Safety System® – A high primary air radiant burner design reduces Nox (Nitrogen Oxide) by 75%. A digital thermal sensor detects any changes in temperature within the combustion chamber. When a change outside of the normal use is detected, the information relays to the Honeywell gas control, and the system safely shuts down.     

How Long Do Bradford White Water Heaters Last?

Bradford White’s trademark is Built to be the Best®. A Bradford White water heater can easily last 10 years if: 

  • the water heater was installed by a qualified professional
  • has been properly maintained by a qualified Bradford White technician
  • has not been moved from the original install location

While most water heaters can last a long time despite being neglected in the corner of the garage, it’s a good idea to give your water heater a little attention from time to time. Here are few simple things to be on the lookout for to help gauge the health of your water heater, ultimately extending its life expectancy.

  • Appearance. Is the tank or water itself showing signs of rust? Do you see signs of a leak around the tank?
  • Temperature. Is your hot water maintaining or losing its heat? Is it taking a long time to get hot?
  • Noise. Do you hear a popping noise when the tank starts up?
  • Age. Is your water heater nearing the decade mark? Perhaps a little passed?

Some of these symptoms may be easy to fix, but it’s best to leave that to the professionals, especially if you have a warranty.  

Where Are Bradford White Water Heaters Manufactured?

Bradford White Water Heaters are manufactured exclusively in America. There are currently four locations: Middleville, Michigan; Niles, Michigan; Delton, Michigan; and Rochester, New Hampshire, with over 2,000 people employed.

The goal of Bradford White is not to be the biggest manufacturer but the best. This desire influences every decision from where they locate manufacturing plants to whom they hire. While other companies have chosen to sell products through large retail box stores, Bradford White Corporation has taken a different path. This decision has resulted in their products costing more upfront, but it has allowed them to maintain their high-quality standards for all their products. 

Cost Of Top Bradford White Water Heater Models

After learning about Bradford White’s water-heaters and what they have to offer, the next logical question is, “How much will a new water-heater cost me?” A quick Google search will yield results ranging from $700.00 to over $4,000, depending on the size and energy source of the tank you settle on.

Because Bradford White is determined to make the highest quality products, they do not make their products available to mainstream retailers. If you’re interested in purchasing a water-heater from the Bradford White Corporation, you will need to contact a trained and licensed plumbing contractor near you. Bradford White feels strongly about their products being installed and serviced by qualified, licensed professionals only.

An online search or even asking a friend will usually result in you getting several options for a local professional. However, if you are not internet savvy or are new to your area, you can always go to the official Bradford White website and use their search tool to find a professional in your area.

While this may not be as convenient as walking into your local Home Depot or Lowe’s, there are quite a few advantages of having a professional install your water heater. Often more is required than simply switching out units.

For instance, if you consider replacing an existing unit, this may involve running new gas lines, rerouting plumbing piping, and even retrofitting utility hookups. A licensed professional will be familiar with the code requirements for your local area. They will also be able to assist you in determining which water-heater best suits your needs based on the size of your home, amount of usage, installation requirements, and energy source.

Another advantage in hiring a professional is they will be familiar with Bradford White products, which will serve you well when it’s time to service your water heater.

How Is The Warranty On Bradford White Water Heaters?

Bradford White water heaters come with a limited warranty, meaning your water heater will be covered for either 6 years or 10 years, depending on the type of unit you purchased. 

One important fact that separates Bradford White from other companies is that they do not prorate the warranty, meaning their warranty coverage does not diminish over time. However, keep in mind that the warranty does not cover installation fees.

The limited warranty covers both the glass-lined tank and parts for leakage or other malfunctions caused by materials or workmanship defects as long as the unit is in its original installation site.  

A few details could void your warranty, such as having someone other than an authorized Bradford White professional service the unit and if the parts used are not purchased through an authorized Bradford White dealer. If it turns out you need a repair or replacement, this is where having a professional installer comes in handy – Bradford White works directly with contractors on all warranty claims.

To learn more specifics on your Bradford White warranty, visit Bradford White’s website and enter your water heater’s serial number in the Warranty Check Box. You can also send an email to [email protected].

How Bradford White Compares To Similar Brands

It’s stressful enough being without hot water, and now you are wondering which brand to purchase.

The final deciding factor comes down to what you are looking for in a company and which best meets your needs. Unfortunately, this will require a little research. To help lessen your stress a little, here is a brief comparison of two well-known companies: Rheem and A.O. Smith.


Rheem is an American-owned company that is one of the largest water heater manufacturers in North America. You can find Rheem products in most big-box retail stores. They provide many smart technology options so you can track usage, monitor the health of your tank, and even get alerts if there is a leak or other maintenance issue. 

You can even use your phone to check hot water availability. The Rheem website is highly user-friendly, with a wealth of information and helpful videos to educate you on water heaters and how they are reaching their goal of reducing greenhouse emissions and achieving zero waste by 2025. 

Read our full Rheem Water Heater Review

A.O. Smith

In 2004, A.O. Smith introduced its patented Blue Diamond™ glass coating on its best Conservationist® residential water heaters. This patented coating provides twice the corrosive protection compared to another industry-standard glass lining. 

Initially, you could only purchase an A.O. Smith water heater from an authorized dealer. In 2017, the company expanded to become the primary residential water heating products supplier for Lowe’s home improvement stores.  

Rheem and A.O. Smith both offer the ease of simply going into your local retail store and walking out with a quality unit. But if you prefer to use a company that prides itself on the quality of their products so much so that they only use authorized professionals, then Bradford White is your company.

Read our full A.O. Smith Water Heater Review

Known Recalls For Bradford White Water Heaters

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission website, Bradford White issued a voluntary recall of 1,220 75-gallon Power Vented Gas Water Heaters sold between April 2002 to May 2002. The issue was with the gas flue baffle. The flue baffle, or exhaust, is a helical piece of metal designed to slow down and aid the exhaust gases in exiting the unit. 

There was a concern that some models were fitted with incorrectly made flue gas baffles. This error could result in excessive carbon monoxide emissions, which could cause serious injury or death. Thankfully there were no injuries, deaths, or other accidents before the recall.

What Are Common Problems With Bradford White Water Heaters? 

Common problems with Bradford White water heaters ranged from leaks, bad anode rods, and the pilot light continually going out.

The Better Business Bureau took 30 complaints against Bradford White within the last three years. Ten complaints had to do with the warranty, while 20 complaints were with a product or service. Nine of those complaints were closed within the last year. With each complaint, Bradford White responded, resolving the issue. 

While it’s hard to know if these issues are specific to Bradford White water heaters or water heaters in general, you can be the judge.

Final Thoughts

Trying to determine which company to purchase your water heater from is like researching food – everyone has their own opinion. There is a wealth of information on the internet to help – or confuse – you in your search. 

Hopefully, this article has at least given you a good start in your decision-making process. But if you’re like me and get overwhelmed by the amount of information and personal opinions, your best option is to ask around.

Ask a trusted friend who they have used or would recommend. Or, better yet, call your local contractor and ask them since they will most likely be the one you call when you need help. 


Bradford White Water Heaters

A.O. Smith Water Heaters

Rheem Water Heaters


Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.