Whirlpool Flame Lock water heaters, reviews, troubleshooting, repair and support.

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Terry, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. Sounds Good Furd But.............

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  2. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Cincinnati OH
    Oh No

    My brother emailed me last night & asked me to help install a new W/H.
    He called me to go take a look & told me that the owners purchased
    A whirlpool W/H:eek:.They were going to have L***ws install it but they
    wouldn`t due to flue issues that I will go look at this morning.
    It is still in the box and going back:DI will recamend rheem as I have
    never had a problem with them.
  3. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Cincinnati OH
    New Rheem W/h installed took whirlpool back still in box.The person was
    confused as to why we were bringing it back.I said it was not a good W/H.
    He said OK.Installed new Rheem,corrected flue problem.New Rheem was
    $10.00 less.Time wasted 1hr to take back whirlpool.All went well.
  4. Pauleyman

    Pauleyman New Member

    what an education

    Yet another victim, sort of. I have the new style BFG unit. It uses a standard thermocouple without that stupid bump in it. The thermal cutoff switch wires into the gas valve. I purchased this unit in Nov 07. Pilot would not stay lit as of last week. I didn't even bother testing it I just replaced the thermocouple as it seemed like the only possibility on a water heater 4 mos old. It was only a 7$ part anyway, didn't want the hassle of calling whirpool etc. Didn't work. Then I found all the internet info and this site. Went through the diagnostics after I found out I didn't have one of the older units. Found out I had a bad gas valve. Whirlpool dispatched a plumber at thier cost, I TOLD him what was wrong and be sure to have that part. 5pm he shows up, no part, says he can't fix it will return tomorrow. GRRR. I went back to lowes and they do not stock a gas valve. They DO stock the old one with the left handed thermocouple. Surprise, with no arguing they took a gas valve off a new heater and gave it to me as I had the return number from Whirlpool. Few hours later I took a hot shower. I don't care for the grill design but kept clean I don't see how it can be a problem. I am a mechanical engineer by trade so I'm a little overly analytical at times. Maintenance sucks but that will be another battle. I'm more concerned this gas valve won't last. It has never tripped the thermal switch, the inlet is clean, the flue drafts well, no big deal. Even now with the new gas valve a few days ago it doesn't seem like the hot water lasts all that long. Before I had ocassional problems also but could not pinpoint it, always blew it off thinking I had just used it all. Bad dip tube would show up all the time. Now I don't know what to think. It is working, just not sure if it's working right. Big clue might be the brand new units at lowes have a honeywell gas valve instead of the robert shaw I have. Any clues? If it fails on me again it's coming out and I'm demanding satisfaction out of lowes. Especially after the thousands I've spent there.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    I had my first one today, and Whirlpool is sending me a thermocuouple with a manual reset instead of the fusible line one. In order to get it before next Friday, which would have meant the customer would be using cold water for a week, I had to pay them $35.00 for overnight shipping to get it here Monday. You would think that the company would automatically send them overnight rather than create bad relations by either charging or inconveniencing them for a week.
  6. HJ---35 bucks is 35 bucks....never give a sucker an even break..

    HJ.... They dont care about their image anymore....

    if they can make you pay 35 bucks to ship something
    overnight that costs them 20 to ship ...thats great.....

    they already KNOW its not going to solve the problem for long,

    but it gets you out of their hair..and they hope that you
    finally just give up and go away.......

    its all about damage control
    ....any way that they can stop the
    bleeding over the next few years on this nightmare
    is really all that matters to them...

    they cut a deal with the lawyers and they bribed someone
    high up probably in congress to let them off the hook in that class
    action lawsuit...

    they should be made to change them all out
    but they probably have 10- 30 million of those heaters out
    in the field that are all needing love and attension

    and if they had to pay shipping on them that would
    cut into the CEO of Whirpools bonus for next year

    so they make the stupid home owner
    pay or he goes with cold showers for a week.

    HJ....Now.....wether the thermal switch and new controll
    actuallly works is the next hurdle you have to

    I suggest you take an air compressor with you
    and a hose cause you must blow out the crap
    from underneath the unit or it is all in vain.

    a long steel wire brush to reach up under the unit can alos
    work if you have the room to get underneath it...

    also .....remember to find a way to give it more air......
    more air into the heating chamber is the key to winning the battle......

    I really hope that you enjoy the experience...

    try not to cuss too much in front of the customer... http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  7. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    hj, welcome to the club...you are officially now a member in good standing.
  8. Pauleyman

    Pauleyman New Member

    THAT IS IS!!! This morning the heater wouldn't even supply enough water to fill a bath. Something is still wrong. I just don't know what. The burner appears to be working fine. The flaw has to be in this feeback circuit. Nothing has changed in the last week except I put in a new thermocouple and gas valve. The thermocouple shouldn't have anything to do with temperature. It's should be merely a safety to see if a flame is always present. IE the discussion of pilot wont' stay lit, because there is no thermocouple signal. Red button is merely a manual gas bypass to get it started. Has anybody taken a robert shaw gas valve apart? I honestly don't believe there is a design flaw in these heaters. I think its's a poor design but IF maintained and cleaned should work fine. Even the annual recommendation in the manual is probably okay as I found nothing on my intake after 4 months. I'm willing to live with the aspect of maintenance but not this. If I don't find the root cause soon this water heater is coming back out and Lowes IS going to refund me. I'm not on the last straw just yet but very close.
  9. the folly of fools contunues ---- unabated

    their is nothing wrong with the robert shaw valve..

    its a common robert shaw valve....

    you are not supposed to break them down...
    they are sealed shut so "cheap asses" dont try
    to rebuild them


    the new thermal switch on ths side of the heater
    is senseing too much heat and it is shutting the unit

    the reason it is senseing too much heat is either

    1. the unit is not getting enough air to burn properly...

    2... the chimney is too restricted with the flu baffle
    going out through the middle of the heater.

    3. and basically their is not enough draft to make
    the heat rise up through the chimmney...fast enough

    their is no draft out of the heater....

    the only way it is not going to overheat and trip the
    senser is somehow to give it more air..
    to create a draft out the chimmney...

    the only way that can be done is to leave the sealed cover
    to the chamber loose so air can get into the unit...

    or you can break out the looking glass....

    of course this totally aborts the safety features of the unit
    and is considered illegal to do..

    go ahead and beat your brains out if you absolutely must.

    I still think you should set it on fire in the lowes parking lot....

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  10. Pauleyman

    Pauleyman New Member

    The draft though the chimney is fine. The thermal switch has never tripped. I ran a smoke test on the chimney just to check it. I called whirlpool today and they are sending me a new gas valve and a dip tube. It runs fine now but seems to run out of hot water too quickly. What is inside this valve to keep it from firing? Only thing I can see is the thermal switch exterior to it and it always shows continuity. BTW they did not charge me a dime and are sending it next day air.
  11. Squ1rrel

    Squ1rrel New Member

    Probably trying to avoid a lawsuit on their new ones too...Wouldn't be surprised if that dip tube is broken though
  12. I had two calls today...

    I think the new design is actually going to be worse than
    the old one.....

    I got one fellow calling on one that was installed in October... in a tight laundry room
    he cant find a new thermal switch....

    and the other person sounded like they were haveing about the same problems...

    all I can figure out is the lawyers have told Whirlpool not to change the basic design of the heater, which would be like admitting guilt. so they change one problem out fo r another.
  13. Pauleyman

    Pauleyman New Member

    I understand the airflow requirements and the fact the screen will clog easily. This is most certainly a design flaw and the root cause of the problems. What I'm not convinced of is if you do follow the maintenance that this unit won't run just fine. In that laundry room the guy probably clogged that screen very quickly. In my particular case I think I just had a bad valve. I honestly don't think anything caused the problem. Even my original thermocouple is still good. I still think the maintenance requiment sucks but I'll willing to live with it rather than go through the hassle of replacement. I'm also not sure just how well the unit will respond when dead cold as it takes a little time to start a draft.
  14. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    There is a black prescreen / filter that wraps around entire bottom of the heater, it is about 3" high and is supposed to catch lint, hair Etc. before it gets to the air intake on the bottom of the heater...do you have this installed?
  15. Pauleyman

    Pauleyman New Member

    No I do not have that installed as I do not have one. I am aware that it exists. I was a little surprised that they gave me another gas valve given Lowes already did. Of course they may not know that yet as it was only a week ago Monday. Either way I don't care. I'm going to try this as it's an easy part to change compared to the half day I would spend on a new heater.
  16. maintaince bi monthly

    remember if you read the fine print it clearly states
    that if you do not clean the air filter every 3 months
    the warranty if void...void...void....

    I cant remember to change my furnace filters or
    clean my gutters before a good storm,

    and they expect a novice to break down a
    heater and clean the internal and external screen...

    yea....sure ...right..........now if that is not the biggest
    load of horse crap that has come down the pike......

    I dont know what is...

    good luck with your maintiance

    here is a little tid-bit for ya...


    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  17. Pauleyman

    Pauleyman New Member

    Yeah I read all that when I first had problems. I'm certain I'm a little too analytical. I'm a mechanical engineer by trade so I try and be as objective as possible. I do not believe you have to break down anything to maintain this heater. Merely clean the bottom. It was easy to get to for me. There were alot of poor decisions regarding this design but I understand some of them. The left handed thermocouple in the older design? This kept people from installing a standard thermocouple which defeated the safety. The solution, add a separate thermal switch. They should have done that in the first place. The inlet screen? I'm not sure. How else can you keep a flammable vapor flame front from propagting outside the burner chamber? I have not seen other designs so I cannot comment. From what I understand this is what is supposed to happen should a flammable vapor get inside and ignite. It's a very crappy design for the average homeowner. Thankfully I'm not average. I'm still cautiously skeptical but for now my showers are hot. I'm currently responsible for the maintenance and projects for 10 large buildings for the transportation industry. Whats one water heater? I do wish I would've known the BTU and recovery time for my old water heater. I think the dip tube is too short also. I may opt to replace it with a better one. Kind of like modding my car, can't leave well enough alone.
  18. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Wet side of Washington State
    Quite honestly, there was nothing wrong with the old design as long as they were installed as specified.

    Regardless of who lobbied the Congress, the bottom line is that every single water heater that ignited flammable vapors was either installed contrary to the heater's instructions and/or national and local codes OR the home owner did something stupid like storing flammable solvents in close proximity to the heaters or was spray painting in close proximity to the heaters.

    Once again the majority takes it in the rear because of the stupid actions of a few.
  19. Nate R

    Nate R New Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    Uh, what? I work w/ mechanical engineers for a living in a development setting. There are poor designs all over the place. Cost often rules. Maybe you haven't encountered the stupidity that's out there. Often times a better design should have been used in the first place but isn't because of cost, etc. So there very well could be a badly designed product, or something that expects too much from the user. It's happened plenty before and will happen again.
  20. HeyRube

    HeyRube New Member

    The freakin cure. OMFG. I have been round and round with this sucker, trying to figure out WHY? Call it a disorder.

    Two things stuck in my mind.

    The thermocouples are not bad in most cases. And sometimes, even brand new, the freakin pilot light will not stay lit.

    I had to take apart my old water heater (old style) before I figured it out. Although, I must admit, it was the first thing that popped into my head when I looked at the pilot light. It looked too small to me.

    And it is. That is why it won't stay lit. The pilot flame is too small. The control box does not allow for pilot light adjustment. But...there is a pilot jet inside the pilot light assembly. My old water heater had the same exact pilot jet. Here's the catch. My old water heater had a single flame. The Whirlpool has a split flame or dual flame. One half heats the thermocouple, the other half lights the main burner. The pilot jet that is installed in the Whirlpool is for a single flame pilot light--NOT the split flame or dual flame pilot light assembly.

    The fix? Put the sight glass back in. Undo all the other things you might have done. Take the pilot jet out. Enlarge the oriface (hole) by double. Yes, I do know that doubling the size of the oriface means more than twice the gas. But it seems to work best, and is the easiest to approximate.

    How could Whirlpool be so freakin stupid? To do all the things they did...and not even realize they had the wrong pilot jet installed. All they had to do is look at the pilot light, and the first thing that pops into your head is, "Hey, that looks a little small." Swear to God. Go look at it. Tell me it's not too small.

    Whirlpool still don't know. Someone else can tell them. Whirlpool can KMA. Not for making a simple mistake. But for the run around I been getting. Oh, Whirlpool. If something don't work right, figure out why, or don't sell it to the consumer. Only by an alignment of the all planets does this water heater work at all. By the sound of it, if ANY factor is not in its favor, the pilot light goes out. It is barely big enough. It is always just about to go out. Certainly, the first cycle of the burner coming on, and going off, will blow out the pilot light. That is what happened to mine, over and over and over. I watched it. This pig never worked right. Those are the facts. The pilot light is too freakin small. It never worked right for Whirlpool either. This pig never worked. Period.

    If I had not taken apart the old water heater pilot light assembly, and control box, I would not have noticed that they both had the same pilot jet, and one was a single flame, and one was a dual. Before I noticed that, I was thinkin about...swapping pilot light assemblies. Turned out not to be necessary.

    Yup. It works fine:

    Take the installed pilot jet, and enlarge the oriface by double. It is a very small hole to begin with. I had a backup from the old water heater, but still, I made a little tool for the job from a wood screw. If you made it too big, you could, I suppose, solder it shut, and make a new oriface. The jet is well away from the flame. If you're gonna purchase one, buy the right one to start with--the dual flame pilot jet.

    Look at the crap they send you, just to keep the pilot light lit. It is so funny. Why didn't Whirlpool check the thermocouples to see if they were in fact bad? Sheesh. I swear, if you look at the pilot light, you'll think, "Too freakin small." Go look.

    Funny, funny stuff, no?
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