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

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

  1. WPHeaterHater

    WPHeaterHater New Member

    I wish the world were that simple.
    Unfortunately, it's not.
    Low*s is a publicly owned company, WP doesn't have a controlling share, It's mostly private shareholders and employees themselves.

    Like I said, it's most likely a contract that Low*s and WP made years ago, and Low*s can't back out of it. Yes, the Water Heaters are junk, but they have 2 choices; Sell the junk, or stop selling water heaters. With a contract, there is no 3rd choice without serious financial ramifications. Shareholders wouldn't agree to that, ever. They would say "well, can't they just start making better water heaters?" ... and here we are, at this catch 22...

    No company makes the perfect decision 100% of the time. Hell, they're doing better than most if they hit 50%. Low*s is doing a good job in that they tend to take good care of the customers. That allows a lot of dishonest people a chance to take advantage, but it also puts the customer first. If low*s corporate made a stupid contract with whirlpool, then that's 1 bad decision that does hurt some people, but it's nothing compared to what other companies do.

    Example: Home D*pot firing people who have been there for 10+ years just so they can bring in fresh blood with smaller salaries. Yeah, I would rather be associated with the store that sells crappy water heaters.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
  3. WPHeaterHater

    WPHeaterHater New Member

    Yeah, I'm sure my little house will be fine. If not, I'm insured... However, I'm NOT independently wealthy, so an emergency trip from a plumber is not an option. And if you lived with my wife, you would know that cold water is not an option either.

    Whirlpool Water Heater pictures
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2009
  4. okiedoki

    okiedoki New Member

    why did you delete my post..????

    Why did you delete my post..?
    on how to fix the pilot light problem

    You might add to it or edit.. but just to delete..? please explain..

    All these posts on thermalcouple and air probs.. is a fricken joke .. I told you wht the pilot light prob is and it is going out due to an open circut..! .. This is from an inside source.. from whirlpool.. the prob is the microtemp shutoff.. it should open at 196f as a safty feature.. after a few months it opens at 100 then at around 80 then it totally fails and stays open.. it is not the valve or the thermalcouple or the air prob.. 99 percent of these tanks are failing from the microtemp shutoff circut on the temp probe failing..!!!.

    I have fixed 5 bfg tanks in the last month.. why did you delete my post..?

    test a few for yourself.. if you have a voltmeter that will test continuity not just voltage test the thermalcouple.. it will be good.. then pull the wires from the reset and test for continuity..the circut will be open.. this only leaves 1 item that is causing the open circut.. the microtemp shutoff.. now pull the wires from the thermostat temp probe and test for continuity.. loop over the microtemp shutoff..and you will find you have a closed circut which means the pilot will now stay on..!.. the problem is the microtemp shutoff.. over the past 4 years I have fixed around 50 of these tanks.. microtemp shutoffs can be purchased at any radioshack.. I bought a 50 count box..

    all these posts on thermalcouples and valves..and conversion kits is a fricken joke.. pull your darn voltmeter out and use it, make sure you have one that will test continuity.. I have fixed 5 tanks in the last month..

    now I ask again why did you delete my post..????

    I just happened across this site while looking for a part.. and could not belive wht I was reading.. lawsuits and experts saying this and that.. I agree these tanks are not the best.. but the air prob is not the real prob.. like I said 99 percent of the fails are caused by a 1/2 inch 196f microtemp shutoff made in china.. that is failing 3 months into use.. this is from a rep in the ft smith whirlpool..
    the only tru fix is to ask for the new valve with the new microtemp switch or fix the prob yourself.. $2.00 switch and a soldering iron..or a 2 cent but connector.. and rid yourself of the prob forever.. I have not had one of my bfg jobs call back..!!!

    really this thread is so fricken funny.. all these posts and none point to the problem...except the post of hussy250f he was on the problem.. and would have found it if he used a meter that tested for continuity.. I bet if he tests that microtemp shutoff circut for continuity from the valve he has pulled, it will be open and failed..

    it should be closed until 196f.. but if he tests it it will be open.. guaranteed..which is causing his pilot not to stay lit..

    cheers.. and buy a voltmeter that will test continuity not just voltage..! so you can see the open circut..lol...!

    Please do not delete the truth..!

    If you really want to take this to the next step.. ask yourself why the mfg would use a 196f microtemp shutoff, that is not even waterproof and is wrapped in scotch tape..??? thats the real joke.. when you can buy the same microtemp shutoff sealed in rubber and waterproof.. which I use..! a circut that is not waterproof in water.. this is the real joke..!
    but this time it came back to bite them because the circut started failing in 3 months.. not 4 years.. as the specs of the circut call for..!.. The main reson for the early failure is because the circut is not waterproof.. as described in the specs... It is the same circut found in a lot of hair dryers and curling irons to keep them from over heating.... a drop of rubber would have have saved millions in lawsuits for this mfg.. what a stupid , stupid mistake..! or was it..?
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    One of the Mods thought that what you suggested would be a dangerous solution.

    Here is his comment
    Reason: too dangerous and irresponsible
  6. ohament

    ohament New Member

    Flame wont stay on...

    Of course I only find this website/thread AFTER purchasing a Whirlpool 50-Gallon 40,000-BTU Natural Gas Water Heater
    Item #: 285252 Model: UG1H5040T3NV
    from Lowes last night. Its replacing a 40g natural gas that has been in use for 15 years. I'll presume that most kinks about this product have been worked out especially since the class action law suit deadline was last year.

    Anyways, my issue is that the burner will only stay on for about 2 to 3 minutes. The pilot will stay lit for more than 5 minutes, so I presume that the gas is fine. On this replacement, I have a new gas line, new water hoses and galvanized nipples with those plastic inner lining & heat washer thingys. The vent pathway is sealed after the draft hood all the way to the bucket in the ceiling.

    What is causing the burner to go out completely? At first I thought it was the Safety+Plus excess flow valve, but I took that out just to make sure.

    Please help! I'm tired of boiling water for my sponge baths!
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
  7. ohament

    ohament New Member

    is the thermocouple supposed to have a flame contacting it at all times? i noticed this afternoon that when the pilot is on, the flame touches the thermocouple but once the burner kicks in, the flame no longer touches the thermocouple. could this be the reason that after about 2-3 minutes (when the thermocouple cools off) the gas gets shut off? i like the safety feature, but the water needs to warmed up.

    i opened it up and wiped the thermocouple to make sure it didn't have extra debris and made sure that it, the pilot and igniter are tight so we're good there. is there an adjustment screw to make the flame contact the thermocouple when burners are on? or is there a more accurate solution?
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    The new Whirlpool heaters are as bad as the old ones.

    The thermocouple needs heat.

    Sounds like a call to Whirlpool so they can send you a fix for your new water heater.

    Whirlpool Water Heater pictures

    Troubleshooting WHIRLPOOL GAS FVIR Water heaters---call Mark at 317-714-0759 for free information and tips to repair this troublesome brand of water heater. All remarks stated here are MY HONEST OPINION ONLY.

    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
  9. ohament

    ohament New Member

    UGH! I'm beginning to learn that. I just got off the phone with Whirlpool Tech Support and they referred me to a "local shop" that will come out. She even gave me some "code" that will trigger the fee for service to be directed back to Whirlpool. But alas, it is after 5pm PST so it sounds like another bucket shower tonight.

    I'm curious though, it it work the time/trouble to get this working or should i just venture the return it route. Then get a different brand heater from that orange apron store. I'm hoping this could be easily rectified, because it was a beast to get it in. not to mention that whole transport upright printed on the box. that was not fun at night.
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
  11. thanks for the free promo..... terry

    I see that you deleted that post from the guy who was changeing out the thermal fuse built into the gas valve itself.. actually he might have something, he might actually be right... .... but end up dead wrong.....

    the liability of disconnecting or putting something different into that gas valve is not what I need hanging over me for the next 10 years...
    I guess the fellow has changed out over 50 of them!!!
    Wow...Thats 50 chances for a lawsuit..someday.
    Thats better odds than lottery tickets....

    If his insurance company would stumble onto this link, I bet they would cancel him in a heartbeat....

    TERRY, I was wondering why I was getting an influx of calls about the whirlpool heaters....

    I dont mind talking to people at all about them as long as they are not calling me at 11:45 in the evening.......from texas.

    Most are desperate to find a way to solve their problems, but are usually dismayed when I explain the jam they are in...


    also I like what you did on your own site with the
    heater info...

    getting links to your site like this only sends me up higher on the google food chain around here..


    thank you
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2009
  12. ohament

    ohament New Member

    considering the headache i've gone thru since installing the water heater monday, it seems that perhaps there is too much air for this whirlpool unit. the heat rises and escapes the room as it is supposed to. after talking to the plumber over the phone this morning, the flame being pulled away from contacting the thermocouple could be too much air entering the chamber. he explained that once the burners kick in, the unit is calling for more air. since this unit has so much space and opening at the bottom, the flame being pulled away from the thermocouple is collateral damage.

    i know it is not a safe nor permanent solution, but tonight i will try to cover the screen under the unit with a piece of cardboard. if the flame remains in contact with the thermocouple then that validates the concept of too much air.

    do they make a skirt/shield to wrap around the base? i notice with the previous water heater, it was a solid ring around the base as opposed to the 3 stilts/legs that this one has. i've read about screens to help limit amount of dirt/debris, but will that be enough to limit air intake? and where to get one?
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    Restricting the air intake could really mess with the fuel/air ratio, and create a lot of CO, and or soot. Probably not a good idea at all. Unless the unit is sitting in a drafty area, it will only draw the air it needs...
  14. flame and thermocoupling

    You really cant get enough air.. and they probably are blowing smoke up your ass here....

    if the flame wont stay on the thermocuopling, it could be something as simple as adjusting the thermocoupling to be more into the flame....

    you will have to open up the front of the unit and
    be sure that the thermocoupling is fully inserted into its port, it could have moved during shipping..

    then take a pair of needle nose pliers and simply bent the probe more over the piolit light...

  15. I spin those burner assemblies 180 out, that way I can make all those adjustments without looking through that 2" square glass, having to take it all back apart each time to adjust it.

    Of course, this should only be done by licensed plumbers.
  16. ohament

    ohament New Member

    thanks all for the informative posts. i broke down and gave up on the challenge tonight. i took the assembly out and verified that the thermocouple was intact. it moved in/out just a smidgen, but nothing meaningful and i was too nervous to bend it closer to the pilot. looking at the old reliant that i replaced, that thermocouple is much closer to the pilot. the whirlpool seems to be blocks away.

    so i drained it, boxed it up and returned it. i went to that other place and grabbed a GE that went in easy and stayed on after the burner kicked in. i have to admit that the piezo starter on the whirlpool was nicer and seemed to lite the pilot quicker than the one on the GE, but the GE is still on.

    all in all i am happy. yes because i have hot water now without having to babysit the water heater, but moreover for getting the opportunity to learn. if it was just plug and play, then i would not have learned anything nor gained the reassurance that i can do it.

    thanks again everyone!
  17. I am gald I am not the plumber who installed these parts.....

    Helen of Rochester, NY June 24, 2009
    was overcome by carbon monoxide after repairing whirpool hot water tank FG1 model. They sent the recalled part and we had it put on by a licensed plumber. It cost 75.00. Suddenly after 2 months, I smelled something and walked around the house and basement. The smell was stronger near the hot water tank. I heard a sound upstairs and ran up to find the carbon monoxide detector going off, called 911, the numbers were over 300 in basement and over 180 upstairs. I was taken to the hospital and given oxygen for 6 hours and sent home. They have argued with me because I wanted money to replace the tank. They said they would give me another one but I refused that because I would never trust that kind of tank again. We are still fighting about it. I would like to know if anyone had a problem with carbon monoxide like I did.

    Read more: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/whirlpool_water_heaters.html#ixzz0JX6ZUlIe&C

    This is the main reason I dont care to be fooling with the
    whirlpool heaters....

    even if you do someone a favor for only $75.00 and get the damn thing running for them,

    once they spend the night in the hospital on Oxygen
    they usually are mad at everyone involved...

    Perhaps Maybe only a squirrel got down into the chimmney...

    but someone is still probably gonna get sued...

  18. GailJ

    GailJ New Member

    Does the pilot light work after you clean the air screen or do you have to replace the thermal couple afterwards?
  19. fmonty54

    fmonty54 New Member

    Another sad Whirpool H2O heater owner

    I've owned mine for about three years... same story you shared, also drove around town to find the part. No one wants the responsibility for the piece of junk. I just got my thermocoupler today and will be installing it in the morning. Any advice? I have my heater on a tray, would screening the tray against the tank help keep dust and other debris away from the heater's filter? Not sure if it is worth the effort.

  20. laytonlight

    laytonlight New Member

    I wanted to post to let you folks who are still stuck with one of these worthless... Well all of the adjectives have been used in previous posts. I bought mine almost five years ago and have gone through three regular thermocouples (And cleaned the screen as well as one can considering where it's located.) and one of the "reset" type thermocouples, (Obtained through the law suit settlement.) which is the last one that went out about two months ago. I would have posted earlier, but I've been doing all of the summer repairs around the house & hadn't thought about it in awhile.

    It went out on a weekend and of course the Whirlpool help line isn't available, so it was stove heated water and cold showers until Monday, which I took off of work to deal with this nonsense. I had all of my information ready, Warranty, prior thermocouples, etc. and called the "Help Line." That's funny in and of its self. Started off with a gentleman in Dubai who wanted to send me a new thermocouple that would take days to get there unless I wanted to pay extra to overnight it. Told him that wasn't an option that I was going to take a hot shower that day come hell or high water and I wasn't interested in that option. After explaining my position several times, I asked for his supervisor. I then spoke to someone who sounded suspiciously like his brother & went through the same sequence of offers, my declining them and explaining my position & asked for his supervisor. I then spoke to someone with English as a first, as opposed to a second language & went through all I had been through before & I was insisting on being able to return it. To my surprise he gave me a Return Authorization Number without much more of an argument. I was told that I would need my receipt to return it to Lowe’s. He did say that they would only exchange it for credit, but I was determined not to do that! After a bit of digging (I save EVERY receipt for at least five years! :eek: I found the receipt.

    I drained that piece of junk, cut it out, threw it in the back of my truck, and went to the Lowe’s return desk with my truck parked outside. They very cheerfully :) refunded my money and had someone go out and unload it. (They probably wanted to hide it as quickly as possible! :eek:) It had been so long that they didn’t have the transaction in their system and rather than credit my debit card, they had to go through extra steps to give me cash! I promptly went to Menard’s and bought a Richmond (Rheem) 9-year model, brought it home and installed it. It’s extremely quiet, works great, with loads of hot water, and they even point out the fact that their air intake is about 1 foot off of the ground, so it doesn’t suck up dust and debris. It was a LONG day, but that first hot shower with my new Richmond water heater was heaven!

    So there! Just wanted to let you folks who feel stuck with them; Take heart, you don’t have to be. Patience and persistence paid off & another Whirlpool anything will never darken my door again! It says something about the power and profit margin of large corporations that these companies can survive a multi-million dollar law suit and keep making junk, and keep making a profit.
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