Bradford White M45036FBN
What went wrong with it
D Vautier 3/2015
When my trusty hot water heater stopped producing hot water and just produced warm water I began the looking for a gas guy. My parts were still under warranty but I wanted to get the best possible service. I located Washington Water Heaters and went over to their store just to check it out. When you are looking at repair work like this it's worth the extra effort. They were actually surprised to meet a customer at their shop.
I was still able to get hot water by resetting the thermostat and re-igniting the pilot but it was a real nuisance and I was not sure how long it would continue to work this way. The Honeywell VW239-47463 unit has a bunch of hidden trouble codes on it that you can't find on the web. Technicians can immediately diagnose the problem. They like to protect the business.
When the gas guy came out he found that the light was making 5 flashes and then waiting 10 second. This is a code for bad heat sensor. He was initially going to replace the sensor but then wisely decided to replace the gas valve as well. Then things started leaking and he replaced the entire thermostat unit. In fact the plastic tip portion of the thermostat that had been exposed to hot water was completely degraded. It was totally brittle and crumbled to the touch.
My takeaway from this is that the plastic material used by Honeywell to protect their probe is defective and does not meet requirements. The plastic begins to degenerate after a few years. I have kids and have never run my hot water heater above 110 degrees. Those plastic probes are supposed to tolerate 140 degrees for many years or at least the warranty time you would think. I was fortunate in that the plastic failed within the warranty period. Anyway Honeywell and Bradford White need to get their act together.