Bradford White Water Heater Troubleshooting [The Complete Guide] (2023)

This is a complete Bradford White Water Heater troubleshooting guide. In this guide I will reveal some common Bradford White Water Heater problems such as:

  • no hot water
  • Insufficient hot water
  • Slow hot water recovery
  • Superheated water
  • noisy elements
  • And a lot.

And the best part is that I will also guide you through the troubleshooting steps to solve these problems. So let's start right here.

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  • Bradford White Water Heater Troubleshooting [Top Issues]

    This chapter describes all common water heater problems and how to solve them. So keep scrolling.

    01. No hot water

    Don't get hot water from your Bradford White Water Heater! Then many things are to blame that prevent your water heater from heating water.

    For example, the device does not get power due to blown fuses or the circuit breaker on the service panel is tripped. As a result, the heater cannot heat water.

    Likewise, loose wire connections or corroded wires are blocking the power supply to your water heater. And without adequate power, you can't turn it on — let alone get hot water.

    Also, open ECO will also result in your Bradford White Water Heater not heating water.

    (Video) Bradford White Water Heater Complete Repair Guide - Error Codes, Troubleshooting, and More!

    How to fix:

    First check the water heater fuses and make sure they are not blown. Next I recommend you take a look at the circuit breaker to see if it is tripping or not. If so, fold it to the up position.

    For loose wiring, I highly recommend hiring a certified electrician to check the wiring and have them fix the wire connection issues for you.

    To fix the ECO problem, you need to check the ECO. Then reset or replace the thermostat to get the Bradford White Water Heater back in working order.

    02. Insufficient hot water

    Your Bradford White Water Heater is not producing enough hot water for the following reasons:

    • Heating element inoperable or defective
    • You have set the thermostat too low
    • Thermostat defekt
    • Limescale or sediment deposits form on the heating element
    • Period of high demand
    • Undersized heater
    • Very cold inlet water to heater
    • Sanitary connections are swapped
    • Dip tube defective

    How to fix:

    The heating element is the part of your water heater that is responsible for heating the water. If it becomes damaged or dirt and debris accumulates on it, the heating element will become inoperable. Consequently, it cannot heat the water properly.

    In general, all heating elements burn out like a light bulb. Most of the time older heating elements can burn due to their age. In addition, if the heating element is covered with sediment, it will not be able to transfer heat to water and cause it to burn.

    On the other hand, new heating elements are damaged or burned by dry fires. If the heating element is not immersed in water, it will burn in the air bubble, generating a lot of heat in a short time. As a result, the high heat melts the copper used in its construction, severely damaging the element.

    Therefore, there are other reasons such as high voltage situations, which can also burn the heating element. Bradford White has a full guide where they break down what makes the element burn. You can check this articleHere.

    It doesn't matter what is damaging the heating element, you will need to replace it to get adequate hot water. The following video will be helpful if you want to replace this part yourself:

    Second, make sure you set the thermostat high enough to produce hot water. If you have it set too low, simply set the thermostat knob to a high setting.

    Third, electrically test the thermostat to see if it will break or not. Use a multimeter and check the continuity of the thermostat. If the multimeter shows a voltage reading of 0, understand that it is becoming faulty and needs to be replaced. In this case, you can watch the tutorial below to learn how to replace the thermostat:

    For a period of high demand, I recommend reducing demand and avoiding running multiple hot water faucets or other appliances at the same time.

    (Video) Bradford White Water Heater Troubleshooting

    However, if the water heater does not meet your needs, replace it with a larger one.

    Don't forget to check the water connections. If they are reversed, correct the connections.

    And lastly, inspect the fork tube. If it deteriorates, you should replace it. I have already covered a guide onReplacing the Rheem fork tube. Although the brand varies, you may find this guide helpful to replace the fork tube.

    03. Slow hot water recovery

    You will get hot water from your Bradford White Water Heater, but it will be slow for the following reasons:

    • The heating elements become covered with limescale and sediment deposits.
    • Loose wiring
    • The thermostat is not working properly
    • You can install reduced heating elements.

    How to fix:

    Start by examining the heating elements for scale build-up. First, turn off the power to your water heater. Then remove the heating elements from the unit and check for debris or limescale build-up. Replace if necessary.

    If there are loose wiring connections, it is better to leave this task to a certified electrician. On the other hand, if this part is faulty, you will have to replace the thermostat. I mentioned a tutorial on this above. So check this out.

    Finally, make sure you install the right type of heating elements that provide adequate voltage and wattage to heat water. Just grab a multimeter and test the heating elements for the correct voltage and wattage.

    04. Overheated water or continuous operation

    Get too hot water! Then I bet that one of the following causes overheated water:

    • Thermostats are not in contact with the tank
    • You have set the thermostat too high
    • Grounded heating elements
    • ECO does not work

    How to fix:

    The thermostat flush should be in contact with the tank surface for proper water heater operation. So position it with the tank surface.

    Second, check the thermostat and see if you've set it to a higher setting. If so, adjust the thermostat to the desired setting. To do this, switch off the electrical supply at the main switch.

    Then pull out the access panel and remove the insulation. Now use a screwdriver and move the thermostat dial to the desired setting. To decrease the water temperature, move the temperature control knob counterclockwise.

    Third, the heating elements should be immersed in water to heat water. If left grounded they will not be able to transfer heat to the water and will overheat. In the worst case, the heating elements burn out. So make sure the tank is filled with water. If the elements become damaged, replace them.

    Nonetheless, a non-working ECO can also cause your water heater to overheat the water. Every Bradford White water heater is fitted with a safety feature called ECO (Electric Circuit Breaker). When it detects water that is too hot, it cuts off the power supply to the device. If it is to blame, you will encounter the water too hot problem. To solve this problem you need to replace the thermostat.

    05. Loud elements

    Does the water heater make a hissing noise? Then I bet that scale or lime builds up on the heating elements. In short, limescale and sediment deposits on the heating element or on the bottom of the tank lead to noisy operation of the water heater.

    (Video) Troubleshooting – No Service Code, No Hot Water

    How to fix:

    I recommend flushing the water heater to remove any deposits from the bottom of the water heater tank. In this case, you can use vinegar to dissolve the limescale and deposits. Luckily I already have a guide on coveredDoes vinegar damage hot water?. In this article I describe how to flush the water heater with vinegar. So it is worth reading the article.

    Tips:I highly recommend you drain your water heater every month. It will help you remove the limescale build-up from the water heater and keep the unit in top condition.

    Other Bradford White Water Heater Issues

    All of the issues we break down above relate to the Bradford White Electric Water Heater. If you have a gas water heater, you will encounter the following problems over time.

    Bradford White Water Heater does not heat

    Your Bradford White Gas Water Heater will not heat water for a number of reasons. Restricted Pilot is one of them. Carbon deposits can block the pilot flame and cause the gas burner to not ignite. Consequently, it will not heat the water.

    To solve this problem, you need to remove the gas burner from the bottom of the device. Then use a blower or vacuum to remove carbon buildup. If cleaning the burner does not solve the problem, you will need to replace the gas burner.

    Secondly, a faulty igniter or electrode can also be the cause of the no heating problem. I recommend you use a multimeter to electrically test the igniter. If it gives a negative result, replacing the igniter is the only solution.

    Therefore, a faulty gas valve, faulty thermocouple, and faulty pressure switch are other concerns that will prevent your gas water heater from heating. Once you have addressed and resolved these issues, your Bradford water heater will reheat the water.

    Bradford White Water Heater Pilot Light does not illuminate

    The indicator light on your Bradford White Water Heater will not come on for the following reasons:

    • The gas shut-off valve may be in the closed position, preventing gas from flowing into the burner. Or the gas pressure is too low.
    • Do not fully depress the pilot light button when attempting to light the pilot light.
    • The pilot hole can become clogged with dirt and debris. It turns out that a clogged pilot tube can also prevent the pilot from firing.
    • The piezo ignition button is to blame.

    First, make sure the gas shut-off valve is in the open position. If not, open it. Second, if you do not fully depress the pilot light button, relight the pilot light.

    Check the steerer tube or orifice for clogging. Don't forget to unblock the opening if dirt blocks it.

    Lastly, replace the piezo igniter button if it becomes defective.

    Bradford Whiter Water Heater Pilot lights but main burner does not

    Although the pilot light is lit, the main burner does not light. Sound familiar? Well, you will face this gas water heater problem when there is not enough gas supplied to the gas burner. If this is the problem, first check the gas tank to see if there is enough gas. Then open the gas valve to allow fuel to flow into the burner.

    If you set the combination thermostat too low, the burner will not get enough fuel to light. So make sure you adjust the gas valve to the desired setting to fix this problem.

    frequently asked Questions

    How do I reset my Bradford White?

    Follow the steps below to reset your Bradford White Water Heater:

    • Make sure the indicator light is on.
    • Turn the pilot light knob all the way to a very hot setting and hold for 10 seconds.
    • Rotate the pilot light knob to the lowest setting and hold the button for 10 seconds
    • Finally, set the pilot light button to Pilot and hold the button there for another 10 seconds. Now adjust the knob to the desired temperature setting, which will successfully reset the water heater.
    (Video) Bradford White Water Heater Troubleshooting

    What is the most common problem with water heaters?

    Water leaking from the water heater is the most common problem that every homeowner encounters. In general, the water exits at various points, e.g. B. top, bottom and the heating elements. It is better to check this articleRheem water heater leaking. In this guide I describe everything and expose the common places where the water leaks.

    Where is the reset button on a Bradford White electric water heater?

    You can find the reset button with the thermostat on a Bradford White Electric Water Heater. To access the reset button, you must remove the access panel. Then take out the insulation and you can see the red button right there which is the reset button.


    All electronic devices break down over time. And your Bradford White Water Heater is no exception. This Bradford White Water Heater Troubleshooting Guide will help you identify and solve a specific problem. So it's worth bookmarking this guide so you can refer to it whenever you run into a problem with your Bradford White.

    Also read:

    Bradford White Water Heater Status light shines

    Bradford White Water Heater Troubleshooting [The Complete Guide] (1)

    Eric Alvarez

    Eric Alvarez is an HVAC professional from El Paso, Texas, USA. He received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas at El Paso. Years of HVAC experience have taught him many lessons, not least that the value of quality and knowledge far exceeds any promised initial savings. He has a solid reputation for superior skills in heating, air conditioning, hot water tanks and indoor air quality systems.

    (Video) How to fix a Bradford White water heater pilot


    Why is my Bradford White water heater not heating? ›

    If the gas valve does not open, the burner will not light, and the water heater will not heat. First, ensure that the ignition source is working properly. Second, ensure that the gas valve has pressure. If the ignition source is working, and the gas valve has pressure, consider replacing the gas valve and thermostat.

    How do I reset my Bradford water heater? ›

    To reset, depress button on resettable thermal switch located on inner door. Pilot goes out periodically (after heating cycles, once a day, once a week etc.)

    Why is my Bradford White water heater status light blinking 7 times? ›

    If the “Flammable Vapor Sensor” is out of range, the control LED immediately flashes 7 times with 3 second pause.

    Why won t my Bradford White gas water heater ignite? ›

    If the pilot does not light, the water heater will not heat. Sometimes, carbon deposits can build up on the pilot and eventually create a restriction. If the pilot is restricted, try removing it and clearing it with a stiff brush and/or compressed air. If the pilot cannot be cleaned, replace it.

    Why is my water coming out warm not hot? ›

    Over time, sediment can build up in the bottom of the tank, where the burner usually is. This can lead to slower heating or poor efficiency in your water heater, meaning lukewarm water rather than hot water. The solution for this is to drain the tank and to use a water softener.

    What do you do if your water heater isn't heating up? ›

    If the water does not heat up when you turn up the temperature, you might be experiencing a faulty thermostat. The solution is to replace the thermostat. Other common issues we've found when it comes to water temperature fluctuations include: A leak in the water tank.

    Are there 2 reset buttons on a water heater? ›

    If you still don't have hot water and there are two panels on your hot water heater, an upper and lower one, reset the button in the other panel as well. Simply follow the instructions in Step 1 (make sure to cut the power OFF again) and Step 2.

    What does the reset button do on a Bradford White water heater? ›

    a) Depress the high limit “Reset” red button (with power on). If button snaps back out, the temperature of the water is higher than the cut out setting of the limit switch. Allow water temperature to drop. The limit can be reset at 120°F or below.

    What does a water heater reset button look like? ›

    Somewhere on your electric water heater, you'll find a reset button. It's usually red and often located near the thermostat. It may also be hidden behind a removable metal panel on the unit—and then behind some insulation.

    Why is my water heater status light blinking 7 times? ›

    Seven flashes every three seconds indicates that the Gas Control Valve has failed.

    What does a white blinking light mean on a water heater? ›

    Four Reasons The Light On Your Water Heater is Blinking

    A Thermostat Problem. The Pilot Light Is out. Empty Tank or Tank Won't Fill Up. Power or Electrical Issues.

    Is the status light on water heater supposed to blink? ›

    If the Status Light is flashing once every three seconds, the pilot light is lit and the gas control valve is working properly. Make sure the gas control valve is turned to "Hot" and wait for the water heater to heat back up. It may take several hours for the water to heat up.

    What causes a gas water heater to not stay lit? ›

    Your water heater needs a proper air supply for the pilot light to stay lit. If there is not enough air, the pilot light will go out. This mostly happens in direct vent gas water heaters (DV). The most common cause of this problem is the draft near the unit's base.

    Why does my hot water heater igniter not ignite? ›

    Some water heaters use an igniter to ignite the gas. If the igniter fails, the burner will not light. To determine if the igniter is defective, first make sure the igniter is getting voltage. If the igniter is getting voltage, but it doesn't glow, this indicates that the igniter is defective and should be replaced.

    Why is the hot water running cold? ›

    While not all water heater leaks necessitate a replacement, you'll want a professional plumber to determine the underlying cause and best fix. Common causes of water heater leaks include old tanks, excess pressure, faulty connections, or cracked storage tank.

    What is the most common problem with water heaters? ›

    Water leaks are perhaps the most common type of water heater issue you'll face. Any water heater will start to leak eventually, as by nature water will eventually corrode your tank and create microscopic cracks or fractures.

    How do I know if my water heater fuse is blown? ›

    A tripped breaker or blown fuse will result in total loss of hot water and is always the first thing to check. If, for any reason the tank gets too hot, the high temperature safety switch will shut off all power to the water heater.

    What trips the reset button on a hot water heater? ›

    When the water in your water heater gets too hot, it trips the emergency cut off, or ECO. In other words, water that is too hot will cause your water heater's reset button to trip. If your water heater is tripping the ECO repeatedly, there is likely a problem with the system that needs to be repaired immediately.

    How long does it take for a water heater to heat up after resetting? ›

    Once you've reset the system, you have to wait for hot water (unless you have an on-demand water heater), but for how long? It depends on the size of the tank, but with any unit, you should be able to get in a hot shower with gas water heaters within 30-40 minutes and with electric tanks, about 60-90 minutes.

    How long do you hold the reset button on a hot water heater? ›

    Some heaters may not click when you press on the reset button. If you don't hear the click even after pressing on the button for about five seconds, reassemble the heater anyway. It will probably still restore hot water.

    How do I test my Bradford White heating element? ›

    Remove the cover panel(s) from the front of the heater and then disconnect the wires from the heating element terminals. Using a continuity tester, available from electrical supply houses, place one test probe on each of the element terminals. If there is no continuity, the element is defective and must be replaced.

    What setting should my Bradford White water heater be set at? ›

    Recommended Water Heater Temperature Setting

    According to Bradford White, here is the average relationship between time, temperature, and scalding: 120°F - More than 5 minutes. 125°F - 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. 130°F - About 30 seconds.

    How do I reset my hot water heater? ›

    Somewhere on your electric water heater, you'll find a reset button. It's usually red and often located near the thermostat. It may also be hidden behind a removable metal panel on the unit—and then behind some insulation. Once you find the button, push and release it.

    What happens if I push the reset button on my water heater? ›

    Your water heater reset button is a safety device that shuts off power to your water heater when the water temperature inside it exceeds 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Side note: the reset button is also sometimes referred to as the ECO (emergency cut off) switch or “high limit safety thermostat switch”.

    How long does it take for water to get hot after resetting water heater? ›

    Once you've reset the system, you have to wait for hot water (unless you have an on-demand water heater), but for how long? It depends on the size of the tank, but with any unit, you should be able to get in a hot shower with gas water heaters within 30-40 minutes and with electric tanks, about 60-90 minutes.

    How do you determine if a heating element in a water heater is bad? ›

    Symptoms of a bad heater element include:
    1. Lukewarm water.
    2. Small amount of hot water.
    3. No hot water.
    4. Hot water runs out faster than usual.
    5. Water heater's circuit breaker constantly trips.
    Jun 4, 2021

    Can you change a water heater element without draining the tank? ›

    If you're only replacing the top heating element, you only have to empty the tank until it's not in the water. If you have to replace both or just the bottom one, you'll need to empty the whole tank.

    Will a water heater work with one element? ›

    With a standard electric water heater, one heating element is used to warm up water inside the tank (in a natural gas system, this is accomplished with a burner). With a dual-element water heater, there are two heat elements – one on the top and one toward the bottom of the tank.

    What number should your water heater be set at? ›

    120 degrees Fahrenheit is the safety recommendation against scalding, but 140° is the common default setting. Most experts agree that anything below 120 degrees creates a risk for bacteria to develop inside your water heater from stagnant water, such as legionella that causes Legionnaire's disease.

    What is the most efficient water heater setting? ›

    The Department of Energy recommends setting a water heater to 120 degrees to save on energy costs, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission advises the same temperature to prevent scalding.

    What is the best hot water heater setting? ›

    We recommend setting the temperature anywhere within 120 to 140°F. However, you can set your water heater temperature between 130 to 140°F, especially for large water heaters used in hospitals and industrial settings. If you have children at home, set it to 120°F as this is safe to the majority of the population.


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