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The Workhorse of the Warmth Pump Water Heater World – Bradford White’s Aerotherm

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Whereas electrical vehicles and e-bikes get a number of consideration, there’s a forgotten know-how residing in your basement or storage that may assist considerably cut back your carbon footprint with out ever leaving house. Warmth pump water heaters (HPWH) not solely save 1 ton of CO2 emissions yearly in comparison with gasoline water heaters; in addition they cut back the typical family’s vitality payments by $200-$500 yearly. Oh, and there’s a 30% federal tax credit score as much as $2,000 for buying and putting in this environment friendly water heater. 

Producers of HPWHs proceed to innovate and are available out with nice merchandise, and in earlier CleanTechnica articles, I’ve reviewed a number of the newest fashions. So far, I’ve profiled the brand new Rheem 120V plug-in warmth pump water heater in addition to the A. O. Smith Voltex AL HPWH, and written about how central warmth pump water heaters act as big thermal batteries, making them a vital software to decarbonize water heating in residence buildings. 

On this submit, I assessment one of many workhorses of the warmth pump water heating world — Bradford White’s Aerotherm Sequence. I embody my very own observations in addition to suggestions from main installers who’ve expertise with the Aerotherm.

Bradford White’s Aerotherm warmth pump water heater. Picture courtesy of Bradford White.

Updates to the Bradford White Aerotherm Sequence HPWH

Bradford White is one in every of three producers producing nearly all of HPWHs at the moment bought within the U.S. The newest model of its HPWH, known as the Aerotherm, was launched in early 2023. It features a few important updates that enhance the connectivity and security of the equipment in addition to presents extra operational decisions for customers. 

Microban: The Aerotherm now comes outfitted with a Vitriglas sizzling water heater tank embedded with Microban — a product utilized in many family objects that helps “inhibit the expansion of microbes on product surfaces.” Microban is utilized to the within of the Bradford White tank throughout the manufacturing course of and protects towards the expansion of micro organism, mildew and mildew.  

Hybrid Plus Mode: Most warmth pump water heaters have 4 working modes which let you select how environment friendly you need your water heater to be and how briskly you need it to warmth your water (professional tip: I solely run my HPWH in warmth pump mode solely as it’s the most effective and heats water lots rapidly for my household of 4). Bradford White added a fifth mode known as “hybrid plus” mode that runs a modified algorithm that may result in an total sooner restoration throughout excessive demand conditions.  For my part, warmth pump mode ought to work wonderful for practically everybody, however it’s good to have further decisions.

System connector: HPWHs can act as“thermal batteries” that talk with the grid, heating water when energy is considerable and turning off during times of excessive electrical energy demand with out anybody noticing the distinction. Bradford White enhanced the Aerotherm’s grid connectivity by creating an improved “Join” gadget that may be positioned as much as 100 ft away from the equipment. This permits the water heater to take part in utility applications and get rewarded for utilizing energy at occasions when vitality demand is lowest. This Join gadget can be utilized by constructing homeowners to watch a whole bunch of water heaters and be taught when a water heater wants service.

Extra Advantages of the Aerotherm Sequence HPWH

With practically 1,500 union (UAW Native 1002) staff at its plant in Middleville, Michigan, Bradford White is the one producer producing HPWHs constructed solely within the U.S. 

Bradford White’s Middleville, MI manufacturing unit. Picture courtesy of Bradford White. 

Bradford White bought GE’s Geospring line of HPWHs in 2017. The Geospring was one of many first HPWHs in the marketplace, popping out in 2009, which suggests Bradford White has an extended and confirmed monitor report of producing HPWHs. 

GE’s unique Geotherm HPWH was bought to Bradford White and have become the Aerotherm. Pictures courtesy of GE and Bradford White

Bradford White doesn’t promote to retail shops, preferring as a substitute to associate straight with certified installers. To buy one, you’ll must work with an expert contractor who installs Bradford White merchandise (contractor finder right here). Whereas this is likely to be a little bit cumbersome to a shopper, this helps guarantee merchandise are put in accurately and guarantee points are addressed correctly. Bradford White presents 24/7 technical help help to contractors and a profit is that its HPWHs could be serviced within the house. Many different corporations will exchange a HPWH beneath guarantee quite than repair it, whereas Bradford White highlights the repairability of its product as a sooner, extra reasonably priced,and handy resolution for owners.

Lastly, electrical tank water heaters historically require a 30 amp breaker within the house panel field. Bradford White AeroTherm can even function on a 25 amp breaker that could be present in some older manufactured housing. Avoiding {an electrical} circuit improve can maintain the full set up prices for HPWHs down, which is all the time good. 

Assessments of the Aerotherm Sequence HPWH

Carbon Swap revealed a assessment of the three main HPWH manufacturers/producers, and ranked Bradford White final. They faulted Bradford White on:

Value: Carbon Swap reported that Bradford White’s HPWH was dearer than Rheem and A.O. Smith. On the time of writing this text, Rheem’s 50 gallon HPWH was listed at $1,699 on House Depot’s web site, A.O. Smith’s 50 gallon HPWH was listed at $1,950 on Lowes’ web site and Bradford White’s was listed at $2,226 on Ferguson’s web site. Bradford White responded that included in its worth are the options and contractor help. Bradford White additionally offers rebates to high-volume contractors. Subsequently, the value of hiring a plumber to put in the HPWH might be completely different from the retail worth on the Ferguson web site. Ben Larson from Larson Power Analysis – recommends going with the model your plumber recommends, “as a result of it means they’re conversant in the product, which in the end reduces prices and improves set up high quality.”
Guarantee: Bradford White has two guarantee choices: a 6-year guarantee (primarily for builders) which is a little bit cheaper, and a 10-year guarantee. Different main producers provide comparable guarantee choices.
Noise: When the Carbon Swap article was written, the Aerotherm’s noise degree was at 55 decibels, which created some sound issues (you’ll be able to hear what that feels like right here). To deal with these issues, in late 2022, Bradford White diminished sound to lower than 50 decibels, in compliance with NEEA Tier 4 requirements, so it appears like that downside has been solved. 

Ideas from a Main Installer on the Bradford White Aerotherm

The opinions of trusted plumbers who set up HPWHs every day clearly depend for lots. Because of this, I reached out to champion HPWH installer, Steve Brotton from Nice Northwest Installations, to offer us with insights into the benefits and downsides of the Bradford White Aerotherm. 

Steve (fifth from left) and his spouse Prima (fourth from left) run Nice Northwest Installations and set up a whole bunch of warmth pump water heaters yearly.

“All HPWHs are very environment friendly in comparison with commonplace resistance electrical tanks. They’re all good merchandise from respected producers however there’s nonetheless work required to enhance all of those product strains. All producers have to replace set up manuals and permit for tighter set up places as we’re studying about getting them into smaller areas. 

“For Bradford White’s Aerotherm I’ll listing a pair execs and cons. For execs, Bradford White fashions have a cleaner, extra industrial look and excel for ease of set up. The condensation line is extra sturdy and fewer prone to crack than different fashions in the marketplace. The Aerotherm additionally has a high connection for each cold and warm water strains. Given the Bradford White Aerotherm will not be as tall because the others, the filter can be extra accessible than competing fashions.

“The cons I discover with the Bradford White: It exhausts chilly air from the again, which impacts the set up location. It wants a 6” clearance on the again and either side, which is an issue for guarantee work as most installers put it up towards the wall. It’s additionally not the quietest warmth pump water heater, and doesn’t have an auto shut off/leak guard.”

In response to the clearance situation, Bradford White says it offers modified set up directions that may enable zero clearance in some functions. Bradford additionally recommends that contractors think about putting in an entire house steady circulate leak detection system that covers your entire plumbing system and never simply the water heater. 

Backside Line

Whereas buying a Bradford White Aerotherm requires working with a partnering contractor and could also be dearer, the advantages in connectivity, product historical past, microban know-how, and ease of set up make for an awesome water heater.

As with each assessment I’ve written for CleanTechnica, I hope this one helps you get began in your warmth pump journey. One remaining piece of recommendation: Be certain that your plumber is conversant in HPWHs (and received’t discuss you out of the know-how) and ask which model they’ve essentially the most expertise putting in. Some plumbers received’t have any expertise with HPWHs and in that case, don’t get pissed off. Search recommendation from others (attempt ENERGY STAR’s contractor finder) till you discover a good match. 

Whatever the HPWH model and mannequin you select, the essential factor is to assume forward. Get your HPWH earlier than your present rusty water heater leaks throughout your flooring and also you want one thing put in ASAP. Swap out your ageing, twentieth century gasoline, propane, or electrical resistance water heater for a HPWH and begin saving cash, vitality, and carbon emissions as quickly as potential. Bradford White’s Aerotherm is a good product that can assist you begin doing precisely that.

PS — Be part of me to rejoice HPWHs on Warmth Pump Water Heater Day October 25! It’s going to be an awesome day to share sources and find out about this unbelievable know-how. 

 

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