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

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

  1. HeyRube

    HeyRube New Member

    Messages:
    4
    This is what is in the Whirlpool currently. It is the same sized pilot orifice that came out of my old, single tip pilot burner. I compared the two, and that was when the light came on.

    Orifice BCR-18 (0.018 in.) For Pilot Burner, front single tip style.


    This is the size it should have, by the looks of it.

    Orifice A26 (0.026 in.) For Pilot Burner, batwing tip style.


    So simple. So stupid. Probably, somewhere along the line, the pilot burner got changed to a batwing tip, and they forgot to change the orifice to a larger one. They been suffering bad results ever since, I bet. It is almost comical.

    I have fixed four of these the past month, by making the orifice larger by double, and finally, all those pigs work like they are supposed to. I really wasn't lookin forward to draining them, and taking them back to Lowes. But I would have...you can only listen to so much whining.

    Can every single ill that ails it, be explained by a sputtering pilot light? I mean, how could a weak pilot light affect water temperature? Why would a new thermocouple seemingly fix the problem if the problem was a weak pilot--which you did not address?

    An aside: none of the components associated with this Whirlpool are unique in any way. There is nothing wrong with any of them per se. The gas valve is OK. So is the thermocouple. The pilot jet orifice is just too small. It is a common part as well. All those devices operate fine in other appliances. None of them are at fault in this case.

    Another aside: I own one myself. It sits with one other old style water heater, and a coin operated washer and dryer, in a 6 X 6 room. The Whirlpool water heater heats that room up more than any water heater I've ever put in there. If you go stand by it, you can feel radiant heat emanating from the bottom of the water heater. This effect is more pronounced in the Whirlpool than any other water heater I have ever seen. It seems...abnormal.

    And it is. That heat is wasted heat. All heat should be used to...heat water. Not heat up my dimly lit laundry room. That the heat is not being drawn up into the unit proper to heat water is obvious. You can always tell when the Whirlpool is in service because it runs hot. Just go stand by it. It's the hottest running water heater...ever. It runs hot even with the sight glass removed. It needs MORE air flow yet. Normal aspiration is probably just barely enough. What do you wanna bet?

    Craftmanship = F
    Design = F
    Overall grade = junk
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    The reason it is not drafting right is the main problem with all the units that you missed.

    The air intake which is on the bottom.

    It is undersized and clogs with lint, further reducing the air flow. This raises the heat / temp in the sealed burner area which is what you feel.

    They now have a resettable heat sensor on the new units and send replacement burners assembly's with the resettable heat sensor on them because of thermocouple failure and the replacement cost associated with constant replacement. The old style burners might have one go bad in a lifetime.

    They have not addressed the main problem.
    Last edited: May 9, 2008
  3. HeyRube

    HeyRube New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Umm, I didn't miss jack. I read the entire thread.

    Yes, the air intake is not properly sized, regardless of lint clogs. That is why peeps open it up. Why they take out the sight glass. Yada. I'm saying even opened up, it still does not draft properly.

    You are confusing the two issues. The thermocouples don't fail. The pilot flame is too small for the thermocouple to create the proper voltage. As they get older, they become less sensitive. It only appears to fail. If you increase the pilot jet size, and thus, the pilot flame, the thermocouple will work again.

    Listen, it gets hot in there, but not that hot. A thermocouple can take the heat. It's made to. That is how I knew the thermocouple burning up issue was a red red herring. Remember, Whirlpool does NOT know the pilot jet is too small. They think the thermocouples are going bad. They should have tested them.

    Resettable whatever. You gotta remember, they are trying to keep the pilot light on without the knowledge that the pilot jet is too small. Their so called fix...is why I started to look elsewhere. That fix is just plain wrong. It is wrong to approach a problem like they have done--without trying to determine why the pilot is going out. The fix itself told me that Whirlpool don't know what the problem is. They addressed the symptoms, not the problem.

    I don't know where the idea came from that it was so hot in the burner area that the thermocouples were burning up. That just does not happen. It's hot in there. It is the hottest running water heater I've ever seen. But it ain't that hot. Thermocouples are not burning up. Who told you that? Whirlpool? Don't believe everything you hear. Thermocouples are not burning up!

    Even if you open the entire bottom up, like an old style water heater, you will still have issues with the pilot light going out. Replacing the thermocouple with a new one WILL work in all probability. A new one is more sensitive to the flame. But that only appears to fix the issue. The real issue is the pilot flame it too small.

    In case you didn't figure it out, I'll explain it to you. ALL the issues involving this water heater are due to the pilot flame being too small. The pilot jet is incorrect. That it is getting so hot inside the burner area that thermocouples are burning up is...insane. That is not happening. It is something someone, who didn't really have a firm understanding, made up to explain the symptoms they were faced with. It made sense then, but it makes no sense now.

    The pilot won't stay lit. Why? The pilot jet orifice is too small. That mimics a bad thermocouple. It thinks there is no flame. But there is. It is just too small.

    Everything else is bull. No, they have no addressed it. They don't even know yet.

    Umm, listen. The theromcouples are not burning up.



  4. it dont really matter.....

    I dont think its worth getting into an argument over
    this subject....

    everyone agrees that Whirlpool water heaters are crap....

    their is no reason to dispute the exact color of crap....

    its still crap...
  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    OK your right, the 50-60 I have replaced didn't work because the flame was to small, so why does the new one work...more sensitive like you said, because the old one was bad...less sensitive...I suggest you go work for them and straighten them out on this issue. The units are junk and have been since they came out. Plain and simple.

    BTW Whirlpool doesn't know anything because they don't make it.
  6. Plumber Jim

    Plumber Jim Member

    Messages:
    92
    I agree its not the thermocouplings getting too hot. If you actually test the thermocouple with a meter with the pilot on it you will see that it is giving enough millivolts but the gas valve is requiring more than the valve should so as soon as the thermocouple gets a little weak the pilot goes out. I have tested many that where like 17 plus millivolts and wouldn't work till i replaced them with a new one. and they were connected correctly.
  7. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    The original thermocouples had a heat sensor built into the thermocouple and would become weak or bad then requiring replacement.

    The new design has a resettable heat sensor that is supposed to make resetting easier...only having to push a button.

    Not sure if it will cause the millivolts to just become weak.
  8. HeyRube

    HeyRube New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Hi Jim

    Yeah, I concur. The thermocouplings are not burning up.

    You know, when you read a long thread like this one, you'll find there is plenty of bull, and plenty of facts. The hard part is trying to figure out which is which. Your post #194, where you said the thermocouplings were not bad, struck me as fact. That is what caused me to turn my attention to the pilot light. Sometimes, a seemingly inconsequential observation, makes all the difference :)

    You know, other than putting in the correct pilot jet, I guess one could replace the thermocoupling with one that has a higher voltage. Then when it ages, becomes less able to generate voltage, it would not fall off the plateau.

    Regardless, I won't ever buy another. It's a POS.

    Last edited: May 16, 2008
  9. at least you all agree on something....

    whther the chicken or egg came first...

    at least you all agree that

    its a piece of crap.....
  10. MG

    MG New Member

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    Illinois - Near St. Louis
    Well today I get to make "the call"...someone is taking this Cesspool piece of garbage back. I don't care if it is Cesspool or Lowes.

    I got the reset switch to work once last night - went through one cycle and then crapped out. I doubt its dirty under there - I rubbed my fingers on the screen and they weren't dirty at all.

    I'm going to HD today and buy a GE-Rheem...enough with this shinola.
  11. JohnINLafayette

    JohnINLafayette New Member

    Messages:
    7
    The best thing I ever did was replace that WP with a Bradford White. Going on 3 months now and I don't even think about my water heater.
  12. jriedl

    jriedl New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Need help with Gas Valve /Thermostat Replacement

    I too have one of the Whirlpool Flame Lock water heaters that I've had for over 5 years now. I just recently had a problem where the pilot light won't stay lit and Whirlpool sent me a whole replacement assembly that I replaced with no problem, but the pilot light still wouldn't stay lit. I troubleshot per the flow chart supplied and called Whirlpool with my troubleshooting results and they overnighted a Gas Valve/Thermostat assembly to me. My question is there is a plastic cover that seems to be fitted over the probe that goes inside the water heater. The instructions don't say anything about removing the plastic prior to installation and naturally customer support is closed. Does anyone know if the cover should remain in place? Also, the customer servise rep didn't mention anything about the filter, but after reading all of the complaints I'm definitely going to check it.
  13. livereater

    livereater New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Right-threaded vs. Left-threaded

    I recently received my replacement manifold per the lawsuit. No instruction were provided for those strange new parts. I stored it away as a spare part. Well, like everyone else that owns a Whirlpool Flame-Lock, I ended up using it sooner than later. I only wish I had found this forum before I tried to put it in myself. When I began to screw in the thermocouple nut - without the adapter provided in the kit - I had the hardest time getting that new right-threaded nut to go in the left-threaded hole in the controller. Imagine that! I'm thinking, "Those idiots can't even get their parts to match!" So I did the unthinkable and just tried to start that left-handed nut into the hole as if the nut was right-threaded. And guess what! It went in with little resistance! I'm thinking to myself, "Now I could have sworn that puppy was left-handed when I took it off. Maybe, it wasn't." It was only after reading this forum that my fears were confirmed: I obviously re-threaded the nut or the hole. Either way my water heater is working again. My question to you all is this. How necessary is the reset switch? And if it IS necessary, should I try to "re-thread" yet once again?
  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    None of this is necessary when you rip that junker out and slap in a new Rheem or Bradford-White.
  15. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    If you have not submitted your claim yet under the terms of the class action lawsuit...

    You are officially screwed!

    June 28, 2008 Postmark Deadline for Claim Submission

    Not that their Fix it Kit really did anything for you anyway!

  16. I have got two replacement kits myself,
    they came from customers who feared to
    fool with the water heater in the first place....

    we tore it out and put in the bradford ,

    how you were able to crank that theromcoupling into that
    valve is a mystery to me...,

    and this all makes me wonder , no instructions in the box
    and with most people really not capable of messing with a gas valve
    or thermostat, ...

    who will be the first person to try sue whirlpool
    when they burn their own house down....or blow it up??
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
  17. livereater

    livereater New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Right-threaded vs. Left-threaded

    I suppose I understand your hesitation in answering my question given the issues of liability this water heater is surrounded with. My understanding is that the purpose of the reset switch is to lengthen the life of the thermocouple. I will, therefore, leave the reset switch dormant until either 1) the next time I have to replace the thermocouple or 2) I decide to replace the water heater. The orifice theory intrigues me. I hope to hear more discussion about that.
  18. their high limit re-set switch....




    the high limit was designed to keep the thing from overheating.....
    and of course it is totally half assed designed
    on the whirlpool unit....

    considering that Whirlpool sends this kit out to
    un-lliscensed amatures to install themselves
    without instructions...

    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  19. Tim in Fort Worth

    Tim in Fort Worth New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Texas
    LOL...well it obviously won't be me. The paper trail would get me laughed out of any court in the world. The only thing I'm missing is a MySpace or FaceBook page with pictures showing me doing all those sneaky things to the nasty bugger. But to me it has become a kind of duel with the devil. My warranty is in the last few years and I will be victorious over this devil. I haven't had any problems since I got the new manifold kit installed...and haven't cleaned any of the filters since then, either. I've also got a few spare old-style thermocouples I browbeat Whirlpool into sending me, totally free of charge. I'll yank the adapter off and use the old thermocouples to limp across the finish line if I have to. I will not be denied my birthright to rule over this water heater!!! On a lighter note, I had an 18,000 BTU Whirlpool AC crap out on me on Independence Day. Replaced it with a Fridgidaire and used a screw gun to dissect the Whirlpool, and got $36 for it at the scrap yard (only $5 if you don't separate the metals). Guess what's going to happen to my little Flame Lock friend the first time it quits on me after the warranty expires? I'm sure the scrap yard will give me a buck or two for it...:D

    Hey! I resemble that remark!
  20. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Tim it sounds like you are trying way to hard to get your money's worth out of this thing.

    Before I put that much effort into an exercise in futility...
    Take helicopter flight lessons with the intention of returning it to Lowes...
    Through their roof!:eek:
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