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Thread: Bradford White leaks from silver leg on top

  1. #1

    Default Bradford White leaks from silver leg on top

    I have a Bradford White gas water heater that just sprung a leak from the front right silver leg of that "chimney?" on top of the unit pictured. I shut off the white valve pictured which runs the hot to the house, and then drained water from the bottom drain to reduce pressure. The leaking water was luke warm, and the water coming out the bottom to relieve pressure is cold. I turned down the temper to "vacation." I've now closed the bottom relief valve and no more water comes up, but if I open the white one again, water comes from that same spot.

    Can anyone just give me an idea of what to expect or if this is any self repair opportunity. I've sweated copper, doing a full bathroom, but no water heater experience or knowledge.

    Naturally its the 4th of July and I have people coming over in 10 minutes, anxious kids, Ribs and chicken on the smoker and pastrami in the oven. Happy 4th and thanks for answering my first post. By the way, its rusty on the top, but not "rusted through" rusty. There are 4 of those "legs" and water only seems to come from that one on the right.
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    Last edited by 72lemanscvbl; 07-04-2010 at 01:58 PM. Reason: more info

  2. #2
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    The heater needs to be replaced. The tank is leaking and the water is finding it's way out through the hole in the outer jacket for the smoke hood.


  3. #3


    Thanks for the quick reply. We've thougth tankless might make sense should this ever happened but not researched it yet...and not a lot of time. Where would any of you start with looking at tankless features/benefits/brands? Thanks

  4. #4
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    The installation of a tankless will be quite an expense, since the entire flue pipe has to be replaced with stainless steel, and very likely a new, larger , gas supply pipe will be necessary.

  5. #5
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Yakima WA


    The supporters of the tankless claim they are wonderful, but the arguments against them are IMHO very compelling. As Jimbo suggests, a larger gas supply will be required as well as a new stainless steel flue. The heater itself is very expensive compared to a conventional tank, and the installation is also costly. They require frequent cleaning and it is often difficult to find a good serviceman. If you are in the north or anywhere that has very cold water, you will have problems. I would urge you to consider very carefully both sides of this issue. Don't just listen to the sales hype.

  6. #6


    Thanks guys so much. I hadn't done any research yet so you've probably steered me back toward conventional. Like I said, this happened an hour before guests, and about 14 hours before a weeks vacation, so at least it didn't do this while we were gone.

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    Unless you have had a lot of rain that might have found its way down your flue pipe, water there indicates either that the flue gases are condensing, and dripping down there, or more likely, the tank is leaking. The flue cap on the WH is only clipped onto the shell of the WH, it does not penetrate into the water vessel.
    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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