Bradford White Direct Vent Water Heaters Review

Bradford White direct vent

A review of Bradford White direct vent water heaters, used for whole-house home water heating, and manufactured homes - all run by natural and propane gas.

There are two groups of direct vent and indoor models that we are going to review here; water heaters built for residential homes only and models built exclusively for the manufactured or mobile homes.

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What is direct venting?

Direct vent water heaters utilize mainly concentric or coaxial venting systems where the inner pipe is for the air intake while the outer pipe is for the exhaust, with no need for the electric blower.

Direct venting models require a lot of fresh air for proper gas combustion, and the air is coming mainly from the outside atmosphere through the venting pipes. More about direct venting here.

Direct vent for residential homes

The first group of Bradford White direct vent models consists of conventional type water heaters that utilize Ultra-Low NOx combustion, where greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced.

There are three models designed for heating potable water; 40, 50, and 48-gal, where the last model is the most powerful – 50,000 BTU. It has the greatest first-hour rating (FHR) of 93 gals and recovery of 54 gallons. It utilizes the side water connection for plugging into the space heating system.

All direct vent models used in residential homes are equipped with the company exclusive features, including the Defender system and FVIR technology, with the following advantages and benefits:

An ICON system – is an advanced system where the heat energy from the pilot is used to create electrical energy to operate the gas control valve and a microprocessor, making the system independent of the electrical grid.

A Defender system also improves the first-hour rating, provides more accurate temperature control with less fluctuation, convenient troubleshooting with an intelligent LED diagnostic system, easier maintenance - than the models without this feature.

As said, direct vent water heaters are electrically independent; all of the needed electricity is coming from the heat energy generated by the built-in piezo igniter, gas control, and thermopile. The units also utilize the sealed combustion chamber, so no electrical fan or chimney is needed with the direct venting system.

Water heaters use coaxial type vents - pipe within a pipe, and from the combustion chamber, products of combustion are removed directly outside, through the inner pipe. The outer pipe is used for the outside air intake, leaving the inside air untouched.

The maximum length of the vent pipes is 8 ft. and the pipe can be rotated 360 degrees for added flexibility, convenient installation, and service.

As mentioned in the above text, Bradford White direct vent heaters are great performers, and one of the main reasons is the Hydrojet Total Performance System – a system that prevents sediment buildup within the tank and its elements. The problem with the sediments is that mineral deposits can cover heating surfaces and significantly reduce the heat transfer to the water, heater’s efficiency, and durability.

Water, on the other side, due to its aggressive action, can affect normal operation if the tank corrodes. This is why the Bradford White manufacturer builds heaters with quality Vitraglass lining and standard magnesium anode rod for protection against corrosion.

Direct vent for manufactured homes

The other group of Bradford White direct vent water heaters is designed for manufactured or mobile homes that follow H.U.D standards. These units are suitable for potable water and space heating, utilizing a direct venting system for the safe extraction of products of combustion to the outside by using the roof jack. The same system is used to get the fresh air in for combustion.

As with the previous models, the combustion chamber and gas-burning do not get in touch with the room air – the unit is a closed combustion type.

Two models are available for the users; 30 and 40 gallons, both having the same power of 30,000 BTU, the energy efficiency of 0.62-0.63, FHR up to 59 gallons, and recovery rate of 32 gals.

The warranty on all direct vent water heaters from Bradford White is 10 years.

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