Lower Merion, PA - right outside of Philadelphia.
Well, the first water heater I bought from a local heating and air conditioning firm (and plumber) was $1795, which included installation. This was for a 75-gallon water heater and it was manufactured by Bradford White.
The day after it was installed, I called the local vendor who sold it to me and installed it and said I was running out of hot water in about 10 minutes in my shower. It was only then I found out the WARRENTEE from Bradford White was worthless, and so was any guarantee from the installing plumber.
I wrote the following letters to document what happened when I thought this would be going to court. The time I wasted on this, plus the two months of cold showers me and my family endured, and the BS we got from both the Heating and Air Conditioner contracter who sold and installed the unit and from Bradford White were an injustice to paying top dollar to what I thought was a reliable vendor and manufacturer. I also found out how far Bradford White would go to invalidate any supposed warrantee that came with their water heater.
The second water heater I bought was $1,500 for a 74 gallon unit manufactured by A O Smith. It's been working fine and we get 3 or 4 showers with plenty of hot water to spare — no problem. Here are the letters. I have left out the name of the installing sales and supplying HVAC contractor because when they didn't cash my check after 6 weeks, and I finally stopped payment on it (first time I stopped payment on a check in 30 years). This is the ONLY reason I don't show their name. I can only surmise he sold me "gray goods" and/or knew there was a problem with the unit. I hope you didn't get this water heater installed in your home after me... Here are the letters:
This is to confirm what you already know, but I wanted to demonstrate a course of timed events in this formal correspondence.
In the beginning of this year I purchased a 75-gallon Bradford White water heater from you for $1,795. On Monday, January 7th your technicians delivered and installed it in my home.
Then very next day when I showered I found I continually had to turn down the cold water to maintain a constant temperature. My showers range from 10 to 15 minutes in time. It is in the same shower I have used in my house for the past 30 years.
I called and alerted you to this on Tuesday the 8th, and you sent a technician to resolve this. Your technician called technical support at Bradford White who gave him a few tasks to perform to figure out the problem. Among the first was supposed to be a definite test to see if the problem was the water heater: turn the shower on hot and wait, then feel the hot water pipe exiting the water heater. Initially it was hot, after ten minutes is was tepid, proving the problem was in the hot water heater unit.
A dip tube was ordered and a few days later installed. Thank you for this prompt service.
The problem continued, I called you and your technician came back. During this visit a temperature test of the shower flow showed after 3 minutes the water temperature dropped 10 degrees. After ten minutes the water temperature dropped 44 degrees, from an initial hot of 146 down to 102.
Bradford White on the phone then pointed in every conceivable other direction than a problem with the water heater itself.
During the next visits additional tests were performed. Tech support at Bradford White suggested the shower was using too much water and your technician measured the water flow from the tub (6 gallons/minute) and from the shower head (5 gallons/minute).
I assured your technician that it was the same shower I have been using. I also assured him I don’t turn on the hot water full on and take a shower, but mix the hot water 50-50 or thereabouts with the cold water. Their theory also doesn’t account for the recovery rate of hot water being made while the shower is running. Let’s face it: the problem lies elsewhere.
Tech support at Bradford White continued to query everything else but the water heater, looking for - searching for any other reasons a 75-gallon water heater of their manufacture was incapable of supply hot water for a fairly brief single shower.
If this water heater won’t perform for the reason I purchased it - plenty of hot water for showers for a house of 5 people (like the last one I purchased from you) I’d like it repaired. If it can’t be repaired - which is what I’m seeing, I’d like it replaced.
I definitely don’t want to be faced with only one person can take a shower without running out - or low - of hot water. Right now three people live here and the situation isn’t good: one person gets hot water, one gets warm water, and one person gets a cold shower.
And, XXXXXXX, I don’t want to worry about it in 6 months: two of my three kids are in college, they return for a month at winter break, a week at spring break and are home for 4 months in the summer. I purchased a larger 75-gallon tank for the reason of not running out of hot water for all of us. We all get up early for our jobs, and showers are taken in succession.
I’m not a water heater technician, and I have no idea why this
is such a poorly performing unit. It’s also not my responsibility to trouble shoot. I did my part, paid for the unit and the install. That was the hard part - paying one thousand seven hundred ninety five dollars. And the unit doesn’t work. It was DOA.
The ball is in your court. It’s been over a month, and I’d now like a resolution. Thank you.
Dear Mr. XXXXX,
This is to confirm the synopsis of our conversation of my
phone call to you on Tuesday, Feb 25.
It has been almost two months after the installation of the 75-gallon water heater I purchased from you, and you installed in my home on January 6th. It’s been almost two months since we have been able to take a hot shower without turning the cold water faucet down repeatedly so the shower water remains hot.
Only one person in the house is able to take a hot shower, and this shower lasting only ten to twenty minutes until the hot water runs out. The other two people living in this house take either a warm shower or cold shower.
Despite repeated calls to your firm, and outside of your technician making a single trip to replace the “dip tube” on the water heater, you have not made any effort to fix this condition.
You have, however, sent numerous people out to “measure the temperature” of the water, inspect the plumbing to see if they could find any possible other place in the house to blame for the hot water not working correctly, including looking at each faucet and water valve connection for a safety crossover valve (there are none) to see if cold water was returning to the tank from another direction (it isn’t).
In addition, the Bradford-White plumber-assigned technician was dispatched to my home, not to repair or replace the water heater, but to measure the flow, and take water and time temperature readings from the shower head I have been using for the past 40 years.
His findings showed a 27 degree drop in water temperature when you turn on the hot water (only) at full blast (5-gal/min) for 9 minutes.
I assure you my own findings are quite different: I can’t take a single shower for 15 minutes without running completely out hot water, and I turn the water on at about 1/3 flow. This condition is unsatisfactory on a brand new, one thousand, seven hundred ninety five dollar 75-gallon water heater.
You made 2 recommendations to resolve this problem:
1. To wait for the unusual and severe cold weather to subside so the water from outside entering the tank was not so cold. And
2. to get a smaller, lower volume shower head.
When I said I wasn’t willing to do either of these, you said I was “Not willing to work with you.” I informed you the resolution I now wanted would be replacement of the hot water heater that was not working since day one of its installation with a new unit from a different vendor (as I have already seen first hand the incredible hassle of the non-existent warranty from Bradford White).
I advised you I had on Monday, Feb. 24 stopped payment on the check I gave you until the issue was resolved. You called this “Theft of services.” I mentioned I was more than willing to issue another check upon a resolution of this problem. This is the first time I have stopped payment on any check in over 30 years.
In finality, you said you would talk to some “plumber friends of yours…” which didn’t sound like this faulty unit was to be replaced - only to look for more reasons it was fine.
As an aside, this is to let you know how dissatisfied I am with your not-so-professional services. While I paid list price for this unit because of a promise of a good product with a solid warranty from both you and your vendor, no warranty was provided at all. Instead, you pointed in every possible conceivable other direction in order not to replace the unit that was delivered DOA - not working on arrival. To add insult to injury, you had the gall to tell me I have to wait for warm weather to take a hot shower.
I have showed two months of patience by taking cold showers for both myself and my family, and by waiting for you to provide a viable resolution in a timely manner - which you haven’t. You can now argue with Bradford White as to who is liable for their - and your - warranty. As a consumer paying list price, I didn’t get any warranty at all from either of you. I just got excuses, a hard time, and two months of cold showers.
I will now see if I can find a solution from other resources. I am not willing to take cold showers after shelling out one thousand seven hundred ninth five dollars for a new hot water heater that failed to deliver a single hot shower from day one.
This is to confirm my disappointment that the 75-gallon water heater you installed in January continues to fail to deliver hot water for even one single brief shower.
Further, in our conversation on Wednesday March fourth, you continued to attribute the failure to deliver a reasonable supply of hot water to the two reasons you gave earlier: 1. The severe cold of the outside temperature introduces very cold water to the unit tank, and 2. the size of the shower head delivers too much water. You said you spoke with 5 plumber friends who also all agreed with you and said the same thing.
When I repeated my previous statement that I have been using this same shower - and shower head - for the past 20 years and my old water heater properly maintained a shower temperature across several showers, you said you didn’t care if the shower head was 20 years or 20 minutes old, this was the cause, and I needed a restricted-water shower head.
In this conversation, you introduced a new resolve: for you to install a mixing valve on the unit. I believe you said the cost was $529.00, in addition to the $1,795 dollars I paid you for the water heater.
You also said my outstanding balance was due (a result from stopping payment on the check I gave you - the first time I have stopped payment on a check in over 30 years) since the water heater is working. I said I’d gladly issue you a new check with payment in full as soon as the water heater was working satisfactorily, which it isn’t. You advised me it was working, as I could wash my hands and do the dishes or laundry in hot water.
Since you have failed to 1. deliver and install a satisfactory working water heater, and 2. failed to repair or replace the unit although I have requested this many times (I and my family have now been taking showers in cold water for over 2 months); and further 3. failed to insist Bradford-White, whose water heater you selected to install, replace the water heater under their warranty obligations, I have no other choice but to take the matter into my own hands. I have replaced this unit from another vendor and manufacturer.
To have your water heater removed from service and a new one installed to replace it was not a decision I made easily, quickly, or without grave concern; and I was sorry I had to do this. But I am not willing to take cold showers - or have my family take cold showers - for the next ten years.
This letter is to give you the option to pick up the water heater next week, please call for a time convenient to you and I will allow you access. If you are not interested in picking this unit up, I will have it disposed of in accordance with township regulations.