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Thread: Rheem or Bradford White

  1. #1
    DIY Member glnow's Avatar
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    Default Rheem or Bradford White

    From other threads it seems that Rheem and Bradford White are the two brands that are most recommended here. Are there any differences between these two brands in terms of performance, reliability, lifetime, etc. Or are they pretty much equivalent?

    Also, Iíll be using the new heater as a chance to have a PRV and expansion tank installed as well. Are there superior brands (or brands to avoid) when it comes to either of these two items?

    Thanks,
    Greg

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    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Make sure you need a PRV and an expansion tank before you fit them.

    Where I live, code does not require an expansion tank since I am on an open system. Water can pass both ways through my water meter and I do not have a PRV (which would necessitate an expansion tank) because my water pressure is spot on.

    I have Bradford White and am so far happy with it.

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    DIY Member glnow's Avatar
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    Thanks Ian, right now I have an open system (called the water co. and made sure there wasn't a check valve hiding in the meter) and the water pressure is ~95 psi (per a hose spigot just after the main shutoff valve).

    I might as well double check that I've read the other threads correctly:
    Adding the PRV to my system will also require the addition of an expansion tankÖthe two go together no if, ands, or buts, correct?

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    Journeyman Plumber jdgoodman's Avatar
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    Bradford White is my first choise.

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    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    For gas water heaters Bradford White would be my top choice and Rheem would be my second choice. Purely based on them being gas and those being the best FVIR designs.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    To the question regarding a PRV and expansion tank, the answer is yes, they go together. You definitely need this because you pressure is way too high. Pressure that high will damage your washer and other valves in the house.

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    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glnow View Post
    Adding the PRV to my system will also require the addition of an expansion tankÖthe two go together no if, ands, or buts, correct?
    Mine has a PRV but no expansion tank. It passed permit inspection after water heater replacement about 1-1/2 years ago and and home inspector did not flag it a year ago. I've never lived in a home with an expansion tank and I've moved quite a bit in the last 6 years.

    My old PRV actually has an internal relief back to the supply so the expansion tank is not absolutely necessary depending on supply pressure. My supply pressure is greater than yours (about 120 psig) so I'm presently running about 65 psig on the PRV. After a good tank draw it will pressure up to about 80-85 psig briefly near the end of the tank heating burn.

    As to whether or not it will damage anything... What you really don't want to happen is the water heater relief valve to open a little periodically (or for a line to fail due to pressure.) That could get ugly in a hurry.

    Although many state that appliances can't handle pressure above 60-80 psig I've never had any problem with that. The manuals for my dishwasher and clotheswasher spec the water supply max at 120 and 116 psig respectively.

    Counterintuitively, one area I have had some trouble with at pressures greater than about 60 psig has been the pressure compensation of some showerheads I've tested (pressure measured at the shower arm with flow to showerhead.) While one expects flow to rise with pressure (even with pressure compensation) I've observed permanent deformation that results in substantially lower than advertised flow. This has been confirmed by the makers and I'm testing replacement parts.

    At any rate, while my system overall seems to test safely without the expansion tank, I intend to install one when I replace the PRV (since it has trouble holding the dynamic pressure close to the static setting.)

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The relief valve on the PRV (if it has one at all) only opens when the house pressure exceeds the supply, so depending on how high that is, you may or may not see a benefit. As I was told, PRV requires an expansion tank, and keeping those peak pressures out of the system is a good reason to have one, regardless. You may have a toilet fill valve that releases some of the pressure, but it will stress the weakest point, and that may be the flexible supply line to it, or most faucets, or the washing machine. Safest to have one when a PRV or check valve is involved. New hardware should probably be okay, but it's only new the day you install it! It's all downhill from there.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Member glnow's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the comments thus far! Any comments on who makes reliable PRV and expansion tanks? At the "big box" stores I see mainly the Watts brand for both items. Good/bad?

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    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    Watts PRV and Armtrol tank.
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

  11. #11
    DIY Member glnow's Avatar
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    Sorry, one last question for the PRV?

    Should I get one with or without the internal strainers? I've read on other threads that the regulator should be serviced once a year. Does having a strainer increase/decrease the service frequency?

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default strainer

    It does NOTHING, unless you have water with a lot of sediment in it, in which case you will have to empty it periodically.

  13. #13
    DIY Member glnow's Avatar
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    So all the parts are pretty much ready to go in but a couple procedural questions:

    The PRV comes factory set to supply 50 psi to house. Now as I understand it, I need to charge the air pressure in my expansion tank to match the outlet pressure of the PRV. Problem is, I’m not sure if 50 psi will be the final final/optimal water pressure. In other threads, I’ve read that many people use 65 psi.

    Question 1: What’s the best way to change the outlet pressure on the PRV? (i.e. do I need to have some water running in the house as I adjust the screw, so that the water is not stagnant in the pipes?)

    Question 2: When changing the air pressure in the expansion tank, do I need to remove the expansion tank from the line to drain out the water? Or is just shutting of the water supply sufficient?

    Or should I just wait and install the expansion tank after the final pressure has been dialed in? Meaning I install the tee for the tank, but just it leave plugged for a few days?

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    YOu should be able to raise the pressure without running water, but you need to flow some if you lower it.

    You don't need to remove the tank to adjust the pressure, but you do need to shut the supply water off, then open a faucet somewhere to relieve the pressure. Then, you can adjust.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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