Bradford White Tankless 
Water Heaters 
Review and Buying Tips

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A review of the Bradford White tankless water heaters for home use. Find out how on-demand water heating and condensing technology can bring you great benefits and savings.

Bradford White, a manufacturer of the best-rated water heaters in North America, offers high-performing tankless water heaters for residential and commercial use. Tankless are grouped into two categories; non-condensing or mid-efficiency, and condensing models or ultra-high-efficiency models. While the former is efficient, it is not Energy Star compliant, while the latter is.

Bradford White on-demand heaters are coming from the Infinity and new Infinity K series. They can be used in indoor and outdoor applications, using natural or propane gas, or both. The first group of heaters is backed by a 12-year warranty, while the Infinity K series has longer 15-year protection and offers several innovative features.

Models

Non-condensing series (mid-efficiency)

  • RTG-199ME (available in both natural gas and liquid propane)

Condensing series (High-efficiency)

  • RTG-199HE (available in both natural gas and liquid propane)

Condensing K series

  • RTG-K-160 – (both indoor and outdoor models are available in natural gas, while only indoor can be converted to use propane)
  • RTG-K-199 – (both indoor and outdoor models are available in natural gas, while only indoor can be converted to use propane)

Features

Tankless technology

Bradford White tankless waters operate with no water storage tanks but using tankless technology and one or two heat exchangers. Such a design allows combined space and water heating, delivering hot water on demand and in endless supply. If you need more info about gas tankless heaters, check out this article.

High efficiency

Non-condensing models that utilize only one heat exchanger come with a lower energy efficiency of 0.82 but still heating water efficiently and with the reduced energy consumption and decent energy savings.

There are also ultra-efficient models with an energy factor of 0.96 (UEF), known as condensing water heaters, and they come with significantly lower heat losses and greater savings than non-condensing. Those models with the high energy factor make them Energy Star compliant and eligible for additional savings through the rebates and incentives. Look for the models from the Infinity K series.

Green technology

Thanks to the advanced design, eco-friendly gas burner, and accurate air-fuel mixture, tankless water heaters operate with lower greenhouse gas emissions, making them environment-friendly or "green." All the models comply with the latest ultra-low NOx requirements.

Modulation

A modulating gas valve allows water heaters, such as those tankless from the Infinity K series, to operate within the power range from its minimum of 9,000 to 199,000 BTU. That means when the water flow changes, the heater adjusts its power to provide hot water with less temperature fluctuation and as accurate as possible to the set temperature. For other models, the minimum and maximum gas input are different.

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Controller

A digital controller allows you to control and monitor hot water temperature, which can be set from 100 F to 140 F in residential applications, or if used in commercial applications, and with a separate controller, from 100 F to high 185 F. The controller is built-in into the front panel of the interior models, while exterior models are shipped with the primary remote controller.

The controller also makes troubleshooting easier as it notifies the user if it malfunctions and displaying one of the error codes, such as A2, A3, C7, E1, E2, and others.

Features for the great performance

Even without the storage tank, tankless water heaters are prone to lime and sediment build-up. Still, the SRT or Scale Reduction Technology found in Bradford White tankless units helps in reducing the build-up and keeping the performance high. Each model is equipped with the SRT system.

The heat exchanger, which is made of corrosion-resistant copper, installed turbulators and even heat distribution from the vertical burner design, ensures quick heat transfer, efficient water heating, and reduced occurrence of the mineral build-up.

Condensing models are equipped with two heat exchangers; primary - made of copper and secondary - made of aluminum as the lighter version, but still resistant to the mechanical and thermal stress. Condensing models from the Infinity K series have a secondary heat exchanger made of stronger stainless steel for better efficiency, performance, and longer life.

Water flow

Models are intended for variable flow applications. The maximum water flow at 45 F temperature rise can reach 7.3 GPM for the RTG-199ME model and 8.3 GPM for the RTG-199HE model, which is sufficient for multiple applications. If the cascade feature is used (optional), hot water delivery can be significantly higher because the cascade option allows the combination of up to 24 units into one system.

Temperature stability has been achieved by using the automatic bypass system, which is found on the RTG-199HE unit or water adjustment valve utilized by the non-condensing RTG-199ME model.

Venting flexibility

Interior gas tankless models must vent the flue gases out and take the fresh combustion air in. This is done by using the power venting system with the twin-pipe or concentric termination, which runs horizontally through the walls or vertically through the roof. The outdoor units do not require a venting system but an outdoor kit.

Models from the Infinity K series can use both direct and power venting systems with the approved PP, PVC, and CPVC venting material, with lengths up to 280 feet.

Advanced features

Tankless and condensing water heaters from the Infinity K series, in addition to the above features, also include STEADYSET Technology, which can significantly reduce the temperature fluctuation, also known as the "water heater sandwich" effect. Other manufacturers use built-in buffer tanks or recirculation pumps.

The best tankless models are also equipped with the self-calibrating fan and a gas valve, which ensures proper air-fuel mixture that is important when installing a unit at a different elevation, with longer vents, and when using different gas types.

Such models have the recirculation wiring installed to connect the unit to the external pump, and therefore deliver hot water fast. This is a great feature that allows users to save water, energy, and time.

Specifications

Model/Features RTG 199 ME RTG-199HE RTG-K-160 RTG-K-199
Type Mid-efficiency Condensing Condensing Condensing
Power (BTU) 19,900-199,000 19,900-199,000 9,000-160,000 9,000-199,000
Efficiency (UEF) 0.82 0.92 0.92 0.96
Water flow (GPH) (@ 45 F) 7.3 8.3 7.0 8.7
Energy Star No Yes Yes Yes
Weight (lbs) 67 74 79 79
Warranty 12 12 15 15

Features highlights

The best models utilize the following features:

  • Scale Reduction Technology – SRT
  • STEADYSET technology
  • Self-calibrating fan and gas valve
  • External recirculation pump wiring
  • Dual fan configuration
  • Dual heat exchanger
  • Ultra-Low NOx
  • Great temperature stability
  • Venting flexibility
  • Advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting system
  • Superior protection
  • High energy factor
  • 15-year warranty

Related: Rinnai tankless water heaters

Summary

Due to the compact and small design, Bradford White tankless water heaters can be easily mounted on the wall and in tight spaces, saving you the floor space for other use. As with most tankless heaters, they are reliable and durable, which allows the Bradford White manufacturer to offer up to a 15-year warranty on the heat exchanger and five on parts.

And thanks to numerous advanced features and safety elements, outstanding performance, ultra-high efficiency, and gas emission, Bradford White tankless water heaters can be the right choice for many.

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