"Life Time" Warranty Water Heaters?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Mike Swearingen, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. In order to keep from regularly changing out my electric water heater located in the utility room inside our home, I brilliantly switched to a Whirlpool 50-gallon "Life Time" Warranty Model # EE3Z5ORD055V in Dec 1994. (It's just my wife and I, and a rare house guest, using it.)
    Yesterday, June 30, 2007, I removed the 4th and installed the 5th one in 12.5 years! I have the paperwork to prove it. I've never had a problem getting a free replacement authorization from Whirlpool or a new water heater from Lowe's, but it is a real hassle to pull out the old one, do a 90-mile round-trip to the nearest Lowe's to exchange it, and then install a new one so frequently.
    The replacement heater is "free", but that does not include any labor or expenses (I DIY anyway).
    Does anyone have a good recommendation for a reliable "Life Time" Warranty water heater? I average having to change out these Whirlpool wonders in less than 3 years each. Unbelieveable! The only plus is that I get the latest, more energy efficient version of that model.
    I'm just tired of dealing with this junk. LOL
    Thanks.
    Mike
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2007
  2. Those Whirlpool water heaters are AKA Craftmaster. Craftmaster is made by American water Heaters.

    Home Quarters sold that,
    Central Hardware sold that,
    Builder's Square sold that,
    Furrow's sold that.
    Lowe's currently sells it and it's always cheaper than the competition. For every person that installs one, 4 will keep buying not knowing they have warranty options to cover the cost. In the grand scheme of things this means that they take their chances knowing that they can keep selling them and make money at doing so. The odds are in their favor.:mad:

    That tank is the notorious for being the most inexpensive built tank, ever.

    To give benefit of the doubt, hard water/high water pressure, lack of dielectrics, grounding issues..........do any of these play a part in its failure?
  3. American is junk

    American water heaters are junk...

    but even those pieces of junk should last
    5 years or more......


    As the noble and wise MR Rugged stated,
    their is probably an issue
    other than just the junk you keep buying......


    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/generalinfo/



    was anyone aware that A>O>SMITH has
    recently bought out AMERICAN???
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2007
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Yes, in agreement with RUGGED and MPM.

    Any heater should last 6-7 years. You have something else going on there.

    What is the water pressure?

    Throw a copper jumper between the hot and cold above the heater and install brass nipples. Also install a jumper over the incoming water line and the PRV, check, and ball valve.

    I would also check the ground to the heater and be sure it is working.
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    You are the exception to the normal consumer! The reason that stores tout "lifetime warranties" is that ALMOST NO ONE will ever make a claim on the warranty, so their exposure is minimal, and the advertising hype is priceless from a marketing standpoint.

    Naturally, the try to ensure that no one can make a claim.....original purchaser only, need the receipt, etc.
  6. It's the heater brand itself then.
    I have a whole house water softener, so hard water isn't the issue.
    The public County water pressure is only about 50 psi or so way out here on the end of the string in the boonies.
    The water heater has a good ground through the nearby electrical panel (30 amp breaker, 10/2wg wire), properly wired and tested by yours truly (50-year+ DIYer).
    And it has dielectric nipples at the hot/cold copper water line connections on top of the heater.
    I think the real problem is just as you all have said...these particular water heaters are junk. Who knew? I thought Whirlpool was a good brand name.
    However, as they have found out, I'm not the "average consumer". They aren't making any money off of me since the first buy because I keep and have kept every piece of paper related to tools, equipment, appliances, etc. in my home since I built it in 1977. I can bury them in corroborating paperwork and will get a free one every time. One bought...four "free" so far. LOL
    However, my question still stands....in your professional opinions should I go with another brand "Life Time" Warranty heater next time, or just stick with the latest version of this "free" Whirlpool/Craftmaster frequent flyer junk for life? (This last one actually lasted almost six years.) What would you do if it was your problem, and what would you pros recommend to a customer?
    I guess that it's just ultimately a "my call". Thanks.
    Mike
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2007
  7. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Messages:
    1,404
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    Licensed Grump
    Thith ith an intheresthing thopic.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,510
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    heater

    Is seldom recommend longer warranty heaters because they are usually the same heater as the short warranty, with and added premium to pay for the extended insurance policy. In the case of lifetime heaters, until recently, they had to be registered when installed or they reverted to the six year warranty, and it only applies to the original purchaser anyway. Most lifetime heaters, I don't know if Whirlpool is one of them, have a plastic tank so the entire heater only weighs about 40 pounds.
  9. ChuckNJ

    ChuckNJ Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Somewhere near the Soprano's
    Speaking of "lifetime" water heaters:

    I met someone a few years ago who said that his hot water heater was around 50 years old. He said that it had a copper containment area for the water.

    Do such animals exist? Were they produced 50 years ago? are they still produced?

    I had never heard of anything as such and yet to have seen it. I guess under the right conditions, copper should last 100 years or more? NO?
  10. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Messages:
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    Licensed Grump
    I've seen old State heaters last 20 years on an original 6 yr.
    I think MFG's caught on to that, not very lucrative, but 50 years?!?
    If so...WOW!
  11. Thank you everyone. You've answered my question.
    Apparently, water heaters are exactly like light bulbs. They can and have made them to last 100 years+, but instead they deliberately make them with short-life built-in obsolescence so that we have to replace them over and over and over and over and over....
    The only Catch 22 for these Whirlpool/Craftmaster people with me is that I'm going to get FREE water heaters for the rest of my life because I've got their game nailed! (This last one at Lowe's was $477 total.) LOL
    Mike
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2007
  12. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I saw a copper water heater once. It was around 1997 plus or minus. The house dated from pre=WWII. The tank was still fine, but the gas valve acted up. It did not have safetied like today, and of course based on the age of the heater, I declined to work on it as far as trying to repair, so a non-leaking copper tank went to the scrap yard. Even then the price of copper made the guy's eyeballs light up at the recycle place. They did not PAY for water heaters. They send them to Tijuana where they strip off the insulation, find any leaks, patch them up, and good to go!
  13. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    No........you should be getting more than 3 years out of even these junk heaters.

    Try the jumpers.

    The fact that you have dielectric unions does not negate the jumpers.
  14. O.K. Cass. Thank you! I'll try the jumpers. Mike
  15. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,510
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    heaters

    Servel made the copper water heaters and they also made gas fueled refrigerators.
  16. ChuckNJ

    ChuckNJ Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Somewhere near the Soprano's

    Must be from that era. The person who said they had one of these also had a house built in the late 30's early 40's





    So they really did exist. Are they still being produced? IF so, by whom?

    Last edited: Jul 1, 2007
  17. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,510
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    heaters

    Not since the early 50's.
  18. dubldare

    dubldare Plumber/Gasfitter

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    MN/ND
    Just a couple points off the top of my head.

    ~10 years ago, I remember picking up a water heater with an extended warranty at a supply house. I was supplied with a water heater and an overlay sticker to indicate the extended warranty.

    I look at extended warranties like this: Unless you are recieving a heater with a composite tank or a conventional heater with additional anodes, you are basically funding an annuity the company runs. You should not expect that your heater will last any longer than normal, you will only get extended coverage.

    Another nasty tidbit of information is in the warranty itself. The warranty start date is when the original heater was purchased. Lets say you purchase a water heater with a 6 year warrany, it fails after 3 years. The replacement heater only will only have a 3 year warranty (from the 1st unit). Let's say that heater fails after 3 years, it's replacement will be full price (and then the 6 year cycle will begin again).

    Companies also are now limiting warranties to the original purchaser, as noted above.


    Check out this link http://www.hotwater.com/bulletin/bulletin44.pdf concerning water heaters and softeners. Methinks that's where your problem lies.
  19. I AM the original 1994 purchaser, so they are obligated to keep replacing this "lifetime warranty" junk as long as I'm living and using their warranty system under their rules (which I am). There was no time limit with the original purchase of this "lifetime" junk other than "lifetime". I may be 64, but I may have a little bit left.
    As I said, I will never have to buy another water heater in my life. LOL
    Mike
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