Bradford White Water Heater Thermostat Well Sensor Fault Fix

When it comes to ensuring a steady supply of hot water in your home, your Bradford White water heater’s thermostat well sensor plays a crucial role. 

This unassuming component is responsible for monitoring and regulating the water temperature, ensuring your showers remain comfortably warm and your daily tasks, like dishwashing and laundry, go off without a hitch. 

However, like any mechanical part, the thermostat well sensor is not immune to issues, and when it malfunctions, it can disrupt the entire heating system.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of troubleshooting Bradford White Water Heater Thermostat Well Sensor Faults. So without delay let’s get started.

Understanding Bradford White Water Heater Thermostat Well Sensor Fault

To effectively troubleshoot and address a thermostat well sensor fault in your Bradford White water heater, it’s essential to start by understanding the role of this crucial component and recognizing the signs that it might be malfunctioning.

What Is the Thermostat Well Sensor?

The thermostat well sensor is a small but vital part of your Bradford White water heater. It is responsible for measuring the temperature of the water inside the tank and transmitting this data to the heater’s control system. 

Based on the sensor’s readings, the control system adjusts the heating element to maintain the desired water temperature.

Common Signs of Bradford White Water Heater Thermostat Well Sensor Fault

Recognizing the signs of a sensor fault is the first step in addressing the issue. Here are some common symptoms to watch for:

1. Fluctuating Water Temperature

If you notice that the water temperature fluctuates significantly, going from hot to cold or vice versa, this could be a sign of a sensor problem.

2. No Hot Water

If your water heater fails to produce hot water, it’s a clear indication that something is amiss, and the thermostat well sensor may be the culprit.

3. Inconsistent Water Heating

Sometimes, the water heater may produce hot water, but it’s inconsistent. You might experience sudden bursts of scalding hot water or cold water, indicating a sensor issue.

4. Error Codes

Modern Bradford White water heaters often have digital displays that show error codes. If you see an error code related to the sensor, it’s a strong indicator of a fault.

5. Unusual Noises

Unusual noises, such as loud pops or banging sounds coming from the water heater, can sometimes be attributed to a malfunctioning sensor affecting temperature regulation.

Why Bradford White Water Heater Thermostat Well Sensor Fault Occur

Several factors can lead to sensor faults in Bradford White water heaters:


Over time, corrosion can develop on the sensor’s surface, affecting its ability to accurately measure temperature.

Wiring Issues

Loose or damaged wiring connections can disrupt the communication between the sensor and the control system.

Calibration Problems

Occasionally, sensors may require recalibration to maintain accurate temperature readings.

Component Aging

Like any mechanical part, sensors can degrade with age, leading to diminished performance.

Safety Precautions Before Bradford White Water Heater Thermostat Well Sensor Fault

Before you start troubleshooting the thermostat well sensor in your Bradford White water heater, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Dealing with a water heater involves electricity, gas, and hot water, which can pose risks if not handled correctly. 

Follow these safety precautions to ensure a secure troubleshooting process:

1. Turn Off the Power and Gas Supply

The first and most critical step is to turn off the power supply to the water heater. This can typically be done at the circuit breaker or fuse box. 

Additionally, shut off the gas supply to the water heater to prevent any accidental ignition or gas leaks.

2. Allow the Water Heater to Cool

Hot water heaters store scalding hot water. Give the water inside the tank time to cool down before attempting any troubleshooting. 

Waiting a few hours after the last use is advisable to avoid burns.

3. Use Appropriate Safety Gear

Wear safety gear such as insulated gloves and safety glasses. These will protect you from any electrical or hot water-related hazards during the troubleshooting process.

4. Have a Fire Extinguisher Handy

Keep a fire extinguisher rated for electrical and flammable liquid fires nearby. While rare, accidents can happen, and having a fire extinguisher ready is a precautionary measure.

5. Work in a Well-Ventilated Area

If you’re troubleshooting gas water heaters, ensure good ventilation in the area. Gas leaks can be dangerous, so a well-ventilated space helps dissipate any potential gas buildup.

6. Read the User Manual

Consult your Bradford White water heater’s user manual for specific safety instructions and troubleshooting guidelines. Manufacturers often provide valuable information for safe maintenance.

7. Be Cautious with Water and Electricity

Avoid coming into direct contact with water while handling electrical components. Use dry, insulated tools and keep your hands and work area dry.

8. Do Not Attempt if Unsure

If you are not confident or experienced in troubleshooting water heaters, especially gas models, it’s safer to seek professional assistance. Bradford White offers certified service technicians who can handle complex repairs.

Tools and Materials Needed for Bradford White Water Heater Thermostat Well Sensor Fault

Before you begin troubleshooting the thermostat well sensor in your Bradford White water heater, it’s important to gather the necessary tools and materials. 

Being well-prepared will make the process smoother and more efficient. Here’s a list of essential items you’ll need:


1. Multimeter

A digital multimeter is a vital tool for testing electrical connections and the sensor’s resistance.

2. Screwdrivers

You may need both Phillips and flathead screwdrivers to access and remove panels or covers.

3. Adjustable Wrench

Use an adjustable wrench to loosen and tighten nuts and bolts safely.

4. Flashlight

A flashlight can be helpful for illuminating the inside of your water heater, especially if it’s located in a dark or tight space.

5. Bucket and Towels

Have a bucket and some towels on hand to catch any water that may spill during the troubleshooting process.


1. Safety Gloves

Insulated safety gloves will protect your hands when working with electrical components.

2. Safety Glasses

Safety glasses or goggles are essential to shield your eyes from any debris or particles that may be released when working.

3. Replacement Sensor (if needed)

If you’ve determined that the sensor is faulty, having a replacement sensor ready will allow you to quickly install a new one.

4. Owner’s Manual

Keep the Bradford White water heater owner’s manual nearby for reference, as it contains valuable information on your specific model.

5. Pen and Notebook

It’s always a good idea to jot down notes, record measurements, and document your troubleshooting process.

6. Teflon Tape

If you need to disconnect and reconnect any plumbing connections, Teflon tape can help ensure a watertight seal.

Step-by-Step Bradford White Water Heater Thermostat Well Sensor Fault Troubleshooting

Now that you’ve gathered the necessary tools and materials and taken safety precautions, it’s time to embark on the step-by-step process of troubleshooting the thermostat well sensor in your Bradford White water heater. 

1. Visual Inspection

The first step is to visually inspect your water heater for any apparent issues. Follow these steps:

Power Off

Ensure the power and gas supply to the water heater are turned off.

Examine Exterior

Inspect the exterior of the water heater for any signs of damage, corrosion, or leaking water.

Check wiring

Examine the wiring connections for any loose or damaged wires. Tighten any loose connections if safe to do so.

Look for Error Codes

If your water heater has a digital display, check for any error codes that may indicate a sensor fault.

Inspect the Sensor

If accessible, inspect the sensor itself for corrosion or damage. Note any irregularities.

2. Testing the Sensor

If the visual inspection did not reveal any obvious issues, you’ll need to test the sensor’s resistance using a multimeter. Follow these steps:

Access the Sensor

Depending on your water heater model, you may need to remove panels or covers to access the sensor.

Disconnect Wiring

Carefully disconnect the wiring from the sensor terminals.

Set the Multimeter

Turn on your multimeter and set it to measure resistance (ohms). Most sensors should have a resistance rating within a specified range. 

Consult your owner’s manual for the exact resistance range for your sensor.

Test the Sensor

Touch the multimeter probes to the sensor terminals. The multimeter will display the resistance reading. 

Compare this reading to the specified range. If it falls outside the range, the sensor may be faulty.

Interpret the Readings

If the resistance reading is within the specified range, the sensor is likely functioning correctly. If it’s outside the range, it may need replacement.

3. Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular maintenance can help prevent sensor faults. If the sensor appears dirty or corroded, follow these cleaning steps:

Disconnect Power

Ensure the power and gas supply are turned off.

Clean the Sensor

Gently clean the sensor with a soft cloth or a brush. Avoid using abrasive materials that could damage it.

Check Surrounding Components

While you’re at it, inspect the area around the sensor for any signs of corrosion or leaks. Address any issues as needed.

Reconnect Wiring

After cleaning, reconnect the wiring to the sensor terminals securely.

4. Sensor Replacement

If you’ve determined that the sensor is faulty and needs replacement, follow these steps:

Order a Replacement

If you don’t have a replacement sensor on hand, order one from a trusted supplier or the manufacturer.

Power Off

Ensure the power and gas supply are turned off.

Access the Sensor

Remove the necessary panels or covers to access the sensor.

Disconnect Wiring

Carefully disconnect the wiring from the old sensor.

Remove the Old Sensor

Unscrew or unclip the old sensor and remove it.

Install the New Sensor

Place the new sensor in the same location and secure it as per your owner’s manual instructions.

Reconnect Wiring

Reconnect the wiring to the new sensor, ensuring a secure connection.

Test the New Sensor

Perform a resistance test on the new sensor using the multimeter to confirm it’s functioning within the specified range.

Common Bradford White Water Heater Thermostat Well Sensor Fault Scenarios

Sensor faults in Bradford White water heaters can manifest in various ways, and understanding these common scenarios will help you pinpoint the issue more accurately. 

Below, we address specific scenarios you may encounter and provide troubleshooting tips for each:

Scenario 1: Corroded Sensor


  • Irregular water temperature.
  • Visual corrosion on the sensor.

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Power off the water heater.
  2. Access the sensor as instructed in the previous section.
  3. Carefully disconnect the wiring from the sensor.
  4. Remove the corroded sensor.
  5. Clean the sensor using a soft cloth or brush, 
  6. removing all corrosion.
  7. Inspect and clean the surrounding components.
  8. Reconnect the cleaned sensor and wiring.
  9. Power on the water heater and monitor for improved temperature control.

Scenario 2: Loose Wiring Connections


  • Inconsistent water heating.
  • Possible error codes indicating sensor faults.

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Power off the water heater.
  2. Access the sensor as previously explained.
  3. Carefully inspect the wiring connections.
  4. If you find loose or damaged wires, reattach or replace them as needed.
  5. Ensure all connections are secure.
  6. Power on the water heater and check for improved performance.

Scenario 3: Calibration Issue


  • Frequent temperature fluctuations.
  • Inaccurate temperature readings.

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Power off the water heater.
  2. Access the sensor.
  3. Consult your owner’s manual for information on calibrating the sensor.
  4. Follow the calibration instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  5. Power on the water heater and monitor temperature control for accuracy.

Scenario 4: Aging Sensor


  • Gradual decline in water heating performance.

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Power off the water heater.
  2. Access the sensor.
  3. Perform a resistance test on the sensor using a multimeter.
  4. If the resistance reading falls outside the specified range, consider replacing the sensor.
  5. Follow the sensor replacement steps as explained in the previous section.

Scenario 5: Error Codes


  • Display of error codes related to the sensor.

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Refer to your owner’s manual for a list of error codes and their meanings.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended steps for addressing sensor-related error codes.
  3. If the issue persists after troubleshooting, contact Bradford White customer support or a certified technician for further assistance.

Section 6: Preventive Measures

Preventing sensor faults in your Bradford White water heater is essential for maintaining a consistent hot water supply and extending the life of your appliance. 

Implementing regular maintenance and following these preventive measures can help you avoid future sensor issues:

1. Routine Cleaning and Inspection

Make it a habit to visually inspect your water heater periodically. Check for signs of corrosion, loose wiring, or any unusual behavior. If you notice any issues, address them promptly.

2. Regular Sensor Cleaning

Clean the thermostat well sensor at least once a year or as recommended by the manufacturer. Use a soft cloth or brush to remove any corrosion or debris that may accumulate on the sensor’s surface.

3. Flushing the Tank

Sediment buildup in the tank can affect sensor performance. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for flushing the tank periodically to remove sediment and maintain water quality.

4. Professional Maintenance

Consider scheduling professional maintenance for your Bradford White water heater at regular intervals. Certified technicians can perform thorough inspections, clean components, and ensure everything is in optimal working condition.

5. Temperature Setting

Avoid setting the water heater temperature too high, as this can accelerate corrosion and wear on the sensor. Stick to recommended temperature settings to reduce stress on the sensor and other components.

6. Gas Leak Checks

For gas water heaters, be vigilant about checking for gas leaks. If you ever smell gas near the water heater or suspect a leak, turn off the gas supply immediately and contact a professional technician.

7. Owner’s Manual Reference

Always refer to your water heater’s owner’s manual for specific maintenance recommendations and guidelines. The manufacturer’s instructions are tailored to your particular model.

8. Timely Repairs

If you do encounter sensor faults or other issues, address them promptly rather than postponing repairs. Quick action can prevent minor problems from escalating into major ones.

9. Warranty Coverage

Check your water heater’s warranty coverage. Some sensor-related issues may be covered under warranty, and the manufacturer may provide free replacements or repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How often should I clean the thermostat well sensor?

Cleaning the sensor at least once a year is a good practice to prevent corrosion and maintain accurate temperature readings. However, the frequency may vary based on water quality and usage.

Can I replace the sensor myself?

Replacing the sensor can be done by homeowners with some DIY experience. Ensure you have the necessary tools and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult a professional technician.

What should I do if I smell gas near my water heater?

If you smell gas, immediately turn off the gas supply to the water heater and any nearby open flames or sources of ignition. Ventilate the area by opening windows and doors, and contact a professional technician to address the issue.

Can a faulty sensor lead to higher energy bills?

Yes, a faulty sensor can cause your water heater to work inefficiently, potentially leading to higher energy bills. Addressing sensor faults promptly can help maintain energy efficiency.

Are sensor issues covered under warranty?

Depending on your water heater’s warranty coverage, some sensor-related issues may be eligible for repairs or replacements at no cost. Check your warranty details and consult the manufacturer for guidance.


By following the advice and instructions in this guide, you’ve acquired the knowledge and skills needed to diagnose and address Bradford white water heater thermostat well sensor fault

Whether it’s corrosion, loose wiring, calibration problems, or aging sensors, you’re now better equipped to maintain your water heater’s performance.

Remember that safety should always be a priority when working with appliances like water heaters. 

If you’re uncertain about any step in the troubleshooting process or if issues persist, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance. Bradford White offers certified service technicians who can provide expert support.

In closing, addressing thermostat well sensor faults promptly can lead to a more reliable and efficient water heating system, ensuring that your household enjoys the comfort of hot water whenever needed. 

Scott Maupin