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

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

  1. Heeeeeeeey that's a blower for a 78' chevy...


    and it's blue! Hoooooooooooooooold On!!!



    I have a good one coming for a Whirlpool water heater install. More workmanship than quality issue.


    Pictures are coming, might take awhile to get them here.:D
  2. statin

    statin New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Problem with install

    I just installed the new kit from American and when I fired the hotwater heater up I heard popping and could see water droplets popping and flying around. I don't think it could be the hot water heater. Would this be water accumulation in the gas line? Any replies are appreciated. GD
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Well it's either condensation or, you have a good reason to go get a Bradford White...
  4. Tim in Fort Worth

    Tim in Fort Worth New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Texas
    Wow! 36,000+ views. This thread is surreal. I saw a news story the other night about how corporations now troll the Internet looking for complaints and negative comments in forums such as MySpace, Twitter, etc. They seek out those people and try to rectify the problem. Makes me wonder if Whirlpool has been following this thread at all. What a hoot it would be if Whirlpool actually posted some comments here. Along those lines I also am curious as to the breakdown of that 36,000 views. How many of those views have come from disgruntled consumers who are desperate to find a solution to this problem and end up here, plumbers who noticed a sharp increase in repairs and wondered what was behind it, lawyers trolling for evidence and information, and how many are following it out of morbid curiosity. It's like watching a train wreck happening in slow motion. I noticed that Whirlpool is paying a dividend on their stock this quarter, but their two year stock trend is heading down, down, down:

    http://www.marketwatch.com/tools/qu...HR&sid=5420&dist=TQP_chart_date&freq=1&time=9

    I also noticed that the domain name "whirlpoolsucks.com" is owned by an entity called Whirlpool Properties, Inc., which appears to be related to Whirlpool Inc.:

    http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/results.jsp?domain=whirlpoolsucks.com

    If so, it's a preemptive strike because no website with that domain is active. They just bought the domain and parked it in the basement with the crazy aunt.
  5. whosyer12

    whosyer12 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I just found this thread, like everyone else, after "joining the club". Mine lasted 3+ years--so I guess I'm one of the more fortunate ones. I'm currently awaiting my upgrade kit. I'm not paticularly handy and after viewing pictures of the upgrade kit was pretty intimidated, despite the call centers guys insistance that it is "easy, a moron could do it" (he was american with southern accent BTW). After reading these posts and studying my water heater though I think maybe I can install it.

    I'm concerned though -it seems that most posters here haven't had much success unless both the manifold assembly AND the gas valve were replaced. There's no way I'm messing with the gas valve----so I'll need to call a plumber if we get to that point. Or I may decide to scrap this WH. Anyone think I can get anything out of Lo*s at this point?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2008
  6. whosyer12

    whosyer12 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Just an update--- conversion kit arrived at 3pm EST---great overnight service--eh? Think I'll try and baby old one along till Monday just in case I need professional support.

    An interesting sidenote: At 2:30PM I called to be sure it was shipped and this time, same number as yesterday, I got a call center in India. Yestrday (Thursday) I called @ 8:15AM EST and got an American probably from Johnson City, TN --because he sounded like it and that's where this part came from.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  7. whosyer12

    whosyer12 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Went ahead and installed kit today, as I couldn't get it lit at all for last 24 hrs. Wasn't too bad --took me 90 minutes, hardest parts were 1. Freeing old pilot line nut from gas valve. Due to tight clearances you can only get about 1/8th of a turn at a time. Make sure you have good quality correct size wrench for this, I didn't and had to make a quick trip (yeah to good ol Lo*s only 2 miles away which is why I have this POS) to buy one. 2. re- attaching manifold door---as someone elso pointed out earlier the neoprene "keeps" on the back prevent you from being able to see corresponding screw holes. After fumbling around far too long-- I finally removed the keeps and wasn't too bad after that.

    Unit was a lot cleaner than I expected it to be. It's in my not particularly clean garage--maybe that's why i got over 3 years out of it? I vacuumed in and out anyway and will remember to vacuum underneath screen occassionaly.

    Why did I buy this to begin with? Well for starters, who knew? I'm 57 years old and I think this is maybe the third gas water heater I've bought in my life. To me a water heater was something that lasted 12-15 years and you never had to touch it unless a big gust of wind came up when the garage door was open. When the tank starts leaking --you go buy another one. I didn't know a thing about flamelock technology or any of the bs safety features on this unit until 3 days ago. Also as I pointed out---Lo*s is very near my house, has favorable hours, gave me 12 months interest/payment free financing AND $99 same day installation. I got a very satisfactory $99 installation too---it ain't the $99 installation it's the POS heater.

    If i ever buy another one (which is looking likely)--- I will do my due diligence.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2008
  8. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    WoW...$99.00 for a gas heater install...sounds like gasoline prices droping...regular unleaded here is averaging between $1.75 - 1.99 / gal. and here Lo*s charges $225.00 for the install and the installer will charge something on top of that for a removal fee, permit fee and any code upgrades required.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2008
  9. Tempo

    Tempo New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Had to tell you guys...

    Well, first off, I guess I've been pretty lucky with my Whurlpul LockFlame hotwater heater. It lasted 4 years before burning out its thermocouple!

    Last Friday, when there was suddenly no hot water, I hopped on to Google and started searching. I found lots of links; everything from consumer action, to articles about the class action lawsuit, to this thread.

    This thread, however, has been by far the most helpful, so thank you all for maintaining it! Because it's such a good source, I felt like I should jump on and post my "fix".

    First of all -- before I go in to the explanation -- please remember that (1). I hate this hot water heater and (2). I'm not suggesting other people should do what I did...

    Pretty much, the story is the same as everyone else. Pilot wouldn't stay lit. I even clamped the reset button down with a woodworking clamp, to let the thermocouple get good and hot, before turning to "on"... one time the burner caught, and me and my wife rushed up and took showers. Even that time, as soon as the burner turned off and went back to pilot, the pilot went out.

    I ran over to Lowes, and bought the only Whirlpool thermocouple they had in stock.

    So, I pulled the burner assembly out. One thing worth noting that I haven't seen else where, is that my burner assembly was kind-of stuck, even after I disconnected the four connections to the thermostat (thermocouple, gas, pilot, igniter wire) and the two screws. It turned out, it was kind-of stuck... I think there was a bit of corrosion around the door.

    When I got the old thermocouple out, I saw that it had the in-line fuse (as discussed elsewhere). Putting in the new thermocouple was simple, I just tried not to damage it too much as I was threading it.

    As I went to finish up and reattach everything, I found that the new thermocouple not only didn't have a in-line fuse, but was RIGHT HAND THREADED (again, a problem other people have had).

    I've read other forums where folks have cut and soldered the thermocouple together, but I was so pissed that I did something different: I just brutally screwed it in!

    That's right, I mercilessly screwed a right-handed thread in to a left-handed socket. And now it's jammed in there, with the thermocouple contact engaged, and the stupid POS flameluck working, for the moment. I now have the advantage of having a standard thermocouple in there, instead of the one with the extra fuse.

    Yes, I have a temper. Yes I plan to have the thing replaced as soon as I can.

    Yes, I'm kinda proud of myself for beating it at its own game ;)
  10. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I guess when you call whirlpool and get the new burner assy. you better get a new gas valve too.

    I'ts still not fixed...
  11. Tempo

    Tempo New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Well, 'fixed' is kind of subjective. It is providing hot water to the house...
  12. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Yes I know somewhere in the last 14 pages of this thread there is at least one other instance of someone getting temporary relief from your "Fix"

    IMHO the only fix is replacement of the water heater with a Rheem/Ruud, or, Bradford White water heater.
  13. Tempo

    Tempo New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Could not agree more.

    Actually, it was this realization that led me to not care about the durability of the fix to begin with.
  14. Blues501

    Blues501 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Hello my name is Levi, and I'm another sucker..

    I bought a WhirlPoo FlameOut in April of 2008. Amazing if they were this bad, why does lowwwws keep selling them..anyways not the reason I write here today. I had flame out two nights ago, called 877 number on water heater, voicemail sends me to website, order replacement (aka enhancement) and install with one hitch..

    The TC adapter has left threads and my gas valve has right threads. After reading this thread (pun intended) I decided that I must have already had the enhancement from the factory at some point and that I just had a bad TC and did not install the TC Adapter with the kit.

    I am highly dissapointed in WP. My washer, dryer, and refridgerator, which incidentally are the only major appliances I have ever had to buy, are all WP. I am highly dissapointed and have hereby come to the conclusion that WP does not care about their loyal customers or earning new customers so I am hereby declaring my intent to never grace their balance sheet with another purchase.

    Thanks to everyone on the thread, truthtellers, B.S'ers, and joe the plumbers for the laughs and insight at a time when I was thinking very creative thoughts about which WP executive would recieve my returned waterheater in a very uncomfortable body cavity.

    Lastly, anyone have any constructive thoughts on omiiting the TC adapter (see above)?
  15. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Third Anniversary

    Today is the third year anniversary of the first post in this thread! Anyone going for 4???
  16. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I'm convinced that this thread will go on until the last Whirlpool water heater of this design is produced, and for sometime afterwards until the last installed one is junked.
  17. edgrimly

    edgrimly New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Ok, so I have spent the last hour reading the 14 pages of Whirlpoo (my favorite name for it) WH complaints, "fixes", and modifications (love the supercharger). Never did get to see the ductwork filter assembly modification that prompted the supercharger but hey, this is a list topic dedicated to one specific problem and once people figure it out,,, bye bye (like me after I write this ;-) )

    So without further adieu, here is my story.

    'Bout 3 weeks ago my water heater started quitting. I would go down, relite, and it would run for a little while and quit again. My first stop was low fuel pressure so I called the propane company and they checked the line pressure and replaced my regulator. Now my stove and water heater both work (stove did not like to light either). Fast forward to the Monday following Thanksgiving holiday. Wake up, jump in the shower only to freeze the boys :eek: .
    Back to relighting, many times... I DID find out one thing that has not been mentioned (or tried??) was to set the temp fairly low on the control. The lower I set it the longer it seemed to run. Unfortunately this only gained me a week. Now the temp is set at "Vacation" to make it run. I did have fun running around trying to find a thermocouple until I got to GilRoys (they got it don't ya know) and they did not have it, BUT the owner suggested I call Whirlpoo as it should still be under warranty. WARRANTY??? I thought... They put warranty's on water heaters? So I dialed the Whirlpoo 877 number and the first thing the recorded lady said was "If you have a FG (what is she swearing??) model please visit flamelocksupport.com and register for your free upgrade kit". So I hung up and called home and had the wife get on the internet (blazing fast dial up) and look it up. By the time I got home (20 min later) she was putting the finishing touches on our overnight (extra $5) order of a F###G Flame Lock upgrade kit :D

    It has not arrived yet, but I am already planning a needle into the pilot jet when I do take it apart, just cause the pilot jet looked weak to me too.

    P.s. For all of those stating that the flame out is due to the burner blowing out the pilot when it gets up to temp. At least in my case (which sounds just like your case) that is a load of hooey. I relit my pilot and eliminated that problem by turning the control up and down and making the burner come on and go off numerous times. It NEVER blew out the pilot. Whenever the flame out occurred, the tank was not up to temp so why would it be just a "normal" shut off blowing out the light? :confused:

    OK, one other thing. My water heater lasted three years before the problem occurred and here is why I think it did. My wife has been concerned about our kids burning themselves on scalding hot water. Apparently she has seen some of the stupid things I have done and believes the kids will take after me... Anyway, we always keep the water heater below the "warm" setting. Recently my oldest (10 yrs old) has taken to 30 minute showers where he just stands there and let the cleansing power of hot water clean him (heaven forbid soap). Needless to say the WH does not keep up at "Warm" so I turned it up (where do you think he learned 30 min showers??) so I could have some warm water too. It was not long after I turned it up that it started quitting. I think I smoked the weak internal pieces and bye bye they went.

    Question for those in the know... Could keeping the heat down prolong the life of the replacement parts?? Those who have replaced these at 1 week as compared to 90 days or 9 months, what was the temp setting?

    Do these observations help those with advanced pluming and heating experience or will I just get the same "Trash it and buy a Rheem or Bradford White"? Unfortunately this is Christmas and Congress is giving my money to everyone BUT the company I get a trickle down paycheck from and all they want is a LOAN... Needless to say, I can afford a 5 dollar freight charge but not a $900 water heater. :mad:

    Thanks again for this great thread. Keep up the good work.

    Oh, wonder what ever became of that "new style thermocouple and old style gas valve" concept... Anyone have any update to that? Sounded like he knew what was up but no one else chimed in to verify.

    Ed
  18. edgrimly

    edgrimly New Member

    Messages:
    6
    P.s. Still searching the new and found http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/whirlpool_water_heaters.html that has many many many (500+) complaints. I love reading complaints because eventually some info you can use leaks through.

    A couple of the complaints mentioned the gas valve. One guy even talked about hitting the gas valve with a hammer to get the Pilot to stay lit. Another complaint says on a BFG model that American instantly said it was a Main Control but of course that did not fix it.
    To me that ties in to the previous email about replacing the Thermocouple and Gas Valve in pairs.


    Of course I still have yet to get my upgrade kit and in my mind I am already fixing it again... :(

    Ed

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2009
  19. edgrimly

    edgrimly New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Ok, here it is, a couple days after contacting Whirlpoo and my defective unit is still on "limp home mode" and running just over "Vacation" temperature. I did turn it up a little past Vacation trying to figure out where the line is between blow out and operation. Have not figured out the break point just yet.

    This should help you "get by" until your parts come in from American/Whirlpoo. Just keep the temp control turned down and don't get greedy and ask for 100+ temps out of it until new parts are in. :cool:

    Merry Christmas!!! :D

    Ed
  20. The latest complaints...

    I just love reading all the complaints here too...

    If you notice , most of the recent 100 + complaints are on
    the NEW STYLE IMPROVED Whirlpool water heater.less than 2 years old.......
    NOT the heaters sold over 4 years ago....

    It is hard to believe that American Water heaters has actually made
    their IMPROVED heater worse than the original heater that they have been sued for..!!!!!.

    how can you be stupid enough to shoot yourself in the foot ....twice???.



    Looking at the complaints it looks like their new style heaters seem to fail after only about 8 months



    I have said before....
    All I can figure is that the owner of AMERICAN WATER HEATERS must have
    an incompetent son- in-law, as the president of their reasearch and develoment division..

    this fellow simply cant be fired ......no matter how bad he screws up...


    their cant be any other reason for stupidity like this......


    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/


    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/whirlpool_water_heaters.html
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
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