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

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

  1. choyak

    choyak New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    orange county, ca
    Well I have a FuWaHe (guess what this is!) whorfool in a house I bought august 2008. I have tenants there and since it was like 100 degrees last week, not that bad, but I had the SAME CRAP happen same old rigamarole pilot refuses to stay on, so I get the bangalore and go to highs, (oops I mean LOWS) get the 'D' box, install it and I was ELATED it functioned for FIFTEEN MINUTES!!!!! now the same damned crap again. I will use ALL of the suggestions before I replace the gas valve. I got a gas valve from LOWS and I hope I can return it. I will stare in the window to see the flame hitting the thermocouple, thoroughly clear out the vent. (I sort of did that already), bend the thermocouple closer to the flame, and even minimally increase the size of the pilot hole. After that I will replace the gas valve, and if it is still crap, I will go to HD and get a GE. My house had a FuWaHe about 8 years ago. Brand was HOYT I think like 20 years old and I received NIAGARA FALLS from the bottom. I then got a GE from HD and it has been good ever since, did not have to light the pilot even once after initial lighting. I had a bunch of other crap like replace galv with copper etc.

    One other thing that I noticed is when I installed this assembly, the burner attached to the old assembly had no nut to hold it, just 2 screws on the bottom. I will need to dig for the nut, or was it ignored since the beginning?. I also wonder where I can get another nut (if there was one there). Does the nut have special gas flow wormholes in it?

    I am wondering what to name if WHORFOOL is my name, I have seen CESSPOOL WHIRLPOO. I have a WHORFOOL washer now I am SCARED it is like 6 years old (knock on wood). It is good that the house with the WHORFOOL is only 4.5 miles from me in Anaheim (I am in Buena Park).

    If I need to replace, I WILL remove it and carefully put it in front of LOW*S front door, take a pic and then quickly depart.

    I don't know which LOW*S it was purchased at because I got it with the house (how sad). BTW model number ends with NOV so it is the older one.

    I also remember seeing here a post calling it WATER HOLDER, that is basically what it is!

    FuWaHe FuWaHe
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  2. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    Choyak,

    Two comments:
    1. When mine went out it wasn't the TC it was the Unitrol/Robert Shaw gas valve that did the trick. The pilot relit twice after the initial failure then it wouldn't light again. New TC did nothing, pilot wouldn't light, died every time I released the button. New gas valve (along with the TC) got it working, lint filter...err I mean flame arrestor was immaculate. If this happens a few more times I'll open a few discrete ports in it with a Dremel. I don't pour gasoline next to water heaters or furnaces or in my basement at all, so I'm not exactly worried. Lived with plenty of water heaters without FVIR, nary a problem with combustion on any of them.
    2. I was also planning to go the GE/Rheem route in the event that I quit getting warranty parts...until I saw the exact same Unitrol Robert Shaw gas valve on the one in Home Depot--(okay it had red knobs instead of black.) Since this part has been the problem on my Whirlpool it doesn't give me any confidence to see the same #$@!^& thing on the GE. The intake looks better on the GE, but it was the control (which isn't exposed to the combustion heat) that failed on the Whirlpool.

    Good luck with yours, we all need it... In my defense, I didn't buy this thing, the previous home owner did.
  3. choyak

    choyak New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    orange county, ca
    sept 8
    OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG I do not know if the DENIZEN OF LUCK has arrived yet, or if it will FUBARIZE again, but what I did was BEYOND BELIEF but I had only enough TIEM to watch the water get pseudo hot. THE PILOT STAYED ON for one time so far it did not dump, the water got hot. I DECREASED THE GAS FLOW THROUGH THE MAIN VALVE!!!!!!!!!! OMGOMGOMG

    I also (WITH GAS ON FULL) WATCHED THE MAIN FLAME IGNITE, and FLAMES SHOOT THROUGH the alleged 'flame arrestor' (you needed to brush it)

    one more time, I WATCHED FLAMES SHOOT THROUGH THE GRILL OUT OF THE BOTTOM ONTO THE WOODEN BASE. So I put an 8" square aluminum plate underneath there.

    I put the gas valve close to being OFF, the main flame was about 50% of when gas on. I am aware it will require more time for the water to get hot, but AFAIK that will not be a problem until 3 billion people simultaneously take showers. It's 40 gallon.



    I just went outside and stared at the GE and yupp same damn unitrol crap, but the 3 lines go STRAIGHT DOWN into the combustion chamber, not all curlicue like the WHORFOOL!!

    yes, I inherited this POS just like you did.

    and yes, I also inherited this POS from the previous homeowner. My 6 year old or so GE is still flawless so far


    Well, I don't know if I drained enough water, like maybe 2 gallons, but water was pissing out of the pressure relief pipe and it arbidumped again. Isn't there a shutoff valve on the inlet??? I am conjecturing that the gass valve refused to shut off when it got hot. I have another new gas valve that I guess I will have to replace tomorrow 4 miles drive again not happy with exxon stock. I just set it to off and the tenants have one tank of hot water for a few showers. I guess I will screw with it tomorrow it is 4 miles away from me so no one will get to retire with their exxon stock. I also am aware that when you remove the gas valve, the water will all gloog out unless you MT the tank.

    As for the flames shooting through, I should camcorder it and start a PROPER class action suit, like getting the dictators of these DUMPANIES in JAIL

    I will post the pic of my car rear window with WIRPOOL WATER HEATERS SUCK sign attached......


    update sep 9
    Well I got the new gas valve in. THE OLD ONE REFUSED TO SHUT OFF so the water BOILED and then it dumped. I HAD TO BASH THE WATER HOLDER shell to get the new one to fit. THE THERMOCOUPLE DICK sticking out had a shorter threaded rod, but I got it in and I observed the temperature get up and the burner dumped without the pilot dumping, SFSG!!!11 one one. I do not trust it yet, however.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  4. choyak

    choyak New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    orange county, ca
    Well it has been 2 days so far. This is what I did to accomplish this feat of impossibility. First, I removed the window and installed OLD steel (I think) screen folded into 3 layers and wedged into the old glass tabs. Second I did the bend on the thermocouple to get it JUST ABOVE the pilot. I speculated that the burner flame messes with the pilot and makes it go higher. Third I REDUCED THE GAS with the main valve. After this, I watched it operate 3 cycles and today (2 days later) I jingled the tenant and was informed 'the tiny torch flame is still there behind the screens'.

    I even put the hot water on to drain the tank and watch 3 cycles successfully.

    And here is my dose of sarcasm.

    The stupid arrester screen that allows flames to go through has apertures that ate TOO TINY to allow oxygen molecules (O2) to go through so it all goes through the window converted into a screen thing (The pilot appeared healthier after the modification)

    And yupp, I had to piss all the water out with a garden hose B4 replacing the gas valve. The gas valve has the wires built in and a forward threaded insert so no more weird adapter. I now need to beg for luck on an astronomically gargantuan basis! I hope that I produced an EPIC WIN that I kicked the WHORFOOL's HINEY
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    hmmmm sound like we are once again having modifications done...:eek:
    Taking out the window defeats the FVIR function.
  6. they just want hot water


    it seems to be the only way to defeat this dog......

    of course the customer does not care that it aborts the
    fire safety protocal on the heater....

    all they really want is hot water...

    all I would like to see is Whirlpool own up to their mistakes......

    .
  7. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    Who really needs it? It wasn't necessary for decades and water heaters worked fine without it. Now we have this so-called feature with the result that water heaters no longer heat water and everyone's busy working on their gas lines to fix controllers that shouldn't be failing in the first place. Give me the old control boxes that worked, get rid of the flame arrestor and things should be peachy. I was drooling at one of these just this weekend...21 years old and still going strong...huge open window.

    The strange thing about this is that the gas valve is not exposed to the combustion heat and should function with or without the FVIR changes. Ruin 100 TC's and the gas valve should still be working. Since it is not a (or the) major problem appears to be that Unitrol Robert Shaw gas valve. Maybe the FVIR kills half of them...but the clean ones (like mine) that are having trouble seem to be experiencing a different failure mechanism.
  8. it was never necessary..but Most work great

    the story goes is insurance comanies bribed the congress to pass these laws, and any heater company that did not go along with them would not be able to insure themselves
    or their rates would go sky high......

    sorry , I meant to say the insurance companies "lobbied"
    congress to pass these new mandated laws....

    in all honesty , they were having terrible fires quite often with the old style water heaters...
    Kids and were getting burned alive in garages and in mechanical rooms
    houses were catching fire pretty often due to something leaking out of a
    paint can set near the heater....

    I myself was almost burned alive when I was
    about 19 in a waterheater fire.... fooling around out in the
    mecahnical room with paint brushes and
    cleaning them with gasoline near the water heater....
    I was very , very lucky I was not blinded

    the New FVIR heaters work great....
    RHEEM and BRADFORD WHITE have never had a problem with them...

    its only Whirlpool and the stupid dumb asses that designed
    this dog that wont admit fault..

    I suppose that they too have "lobbied: congress"
    to weasel out of recalling them all

    http://weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  9. dripdrip

    dripdrip New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NE
    What should I do with Whirlpool water heater?

    Well I'm sorry to admit that I bought one of these water heater's from Lowe's and it stopped working after 6 months.

    I replaced it with a Bradford-White.

    My question is, what should I do with the POS Whirlpool? I kinda hate to just throw it out, since it holds water, etc.

    Thanks,

    DD
  10. take it back to Lowes

    If you get nasty,, they will give you an in-store credit
    for the heater.....

    Lowes motto is supposed to be satisfaction guaranteed

    they will take it back, you might have to threaten to set it on fire in tha parking lot, but they will eventually
  11. curlysir

    curlysir New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Texas
    Read the above and thought I had already posted as I am in the same boat and did the same thing for a temporary? fix. Did same checks on thermocouple and it was good, replaced just in case because it was cheap and Lowe's had them in stock. Both old and new had about same output 18-20 ma.

    Joined this site so I could become a member of the club. Purchased a LPG BFG1F5040T3PV in April 2008, worked fine until this weekend. Water Heater is the US CraftMaster version. Previous heater was American Standard, same manufacture just different brand, and had worked fine just was getting old, so purchased without reading. Really mad at self because I could have got a Bradford at same price. Anyway, reason I quoted this post is that I have done the same thing (installed Old Control Valve In Water Heater) because I didn't want to be without hot water for 2 days while new LPG control value is shipped. Don't know why but the valve is being shipped overnight at no cost and they even gave me a number to call for free installation. If I install the new valve I will do it myself as the installer is A & E Sears, and the reports on them are not that good. And installing the control valve/thermostat is not that hard.

    Only thing I see that I am not getting with the old control valve is not having the thermal switch on the thermocouple, which may be a good thing. When I bought the new water heater it came with the skirt and it appears to do a good job as the screen on the bottom was clean.

    Will not spend any money on this water heater and when it fails again will probably replace.

    Read all 23 pages and this thread will go on for a while.
  12. curlysir

    curlysir New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Texas
    Received my replacement valve today. I am debating whether to install the new valve or leave the older style control valve/thermostat in. The old valve is working fine. The only thing that I see that I do not have with the old valve is the resettable thermal switch wiring that is on the new valve. The thermal switch never had to be reset so I did not have a problem with that. What exactly does the thermal switch protect against and do I really have a major safety issuse with the old valve? I don't see that it is any different then the previous water heater that was there for years without any problems. I still have the flash back screen in place and have not made any other modifications.
  13. curlysir

    curlysir New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Texas
    Found this little tid bit of info http://www.macdonaldsupply.com/cust...ges/web_resources/Gas Valve Message 11-08.pdf about "We want to apprise you of an unfavorable service trend with certain Robertshaw gas valves which were used on American residential heaters manufactured between September, 2007 and May,2008 (water heater serial numbers range from 0735 to 0822) The typical consumer call has been “pilot will not hold”. This is also a quote from the same letter "We apologize for the inconvenience this problem may have caused you and your customers. We can assure you that gas valves used after May 2008, incorporate an ECO which is in compliance with our specifications".

    Pretty much describes the condition of what I had (serial # 0804) and several others have discussed here. I don't know if the problem has truly been "fixed" on the newer gas valves but I will probably put the new valve in when the weather clears up in a few days and see how long it will last.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2009
  14. monday morning a boatload of calls

    got a boat load of whirlpool calls today...

    the first was from a poor guy in Houston, with a 1 year old Whirlpool heater installeled up in his attic.. behind the furnace.... wanted to know how to reapir the unit.. he has got troubles


    the second guy was from San Deigo, the previous owner had majic markerd the heater with dates every time the reapir man fixed that dog, it had been repaired 5 times in the last 6 years... i told him to jsut throw it out , and he agreed...

    then it really began...

    I get 4 more calls scattered through the day...
    all from Indianapolis, wanting me to repair their Cess-pools, all of them about 2 years old...

    I told them to call Raji in India and have the parts sent to them.... then call me back...:D

    .This would almost be funny , if it were not for the people that have beed screwed so deeply by whirlpool...
  15. salexander303

    salexander303 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    nowhere
    Have this very issue Serial # begins with 0817. No continuity found as tested though the white and black wire running from the thermal cutoff switch once the the water tempture is near the cutoff set at 120 degrees the ECO cuts off the main burner and pilot before reaching the desired temp. After that the pilot will not stay lit until after the water cools down cold then the ECO closes and continuity is present again as tested though the white and black wire running from the thermal cutoff. The thermal switch continuity tested ok so the thermal switch is not the issue.
  16. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    Missed curlysir's follow up with that very useful information. So much for the plumber claims here that the Robert Shaw valves could not be the problem. Turns out they were, and my serial number in the range mentioned! My serial is #0808.

    This explains why there was no indication of any other problem on mine and some others: no air restriction/draft problem apparent, clean FVIR screen, yet the Robert Shaw valve had obviously failed after one or two relights.

    Of course the question now is whether or not the replacement Robert Shaw valve is really fixed...only time will tell.
  17. jfkn

    jfkn New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    California
    Flame Lock Whirpool Water Heater model NO.?

    I have purchased already 3 Whirlpool Flame Lock water heaters from Habitat. These were donated to Habitat for sale by Lowe's, obviously warranty returns with problems. All 3 had removed model and serial numbers so I do not know what models I have. To order parts I need model numbers, otherwise Whirlpool can't locate the replacement parts. Can anyone help me using the pictures below to identify the model? The thermocouple has right-hand threads and manifold tube also right-hand threads. The water heater is similar to what Lowe's has on the floor now, but my does not have the Thermal switch.

    When purchased the problem was not thermocouple but the high temperature sensor (HTS) in all 3 cases. That is an internal part (penny value) and I suppose the whole thermostat (gas control valve) needs to be replaced. In first instance I got around by taking the HTS from the 20 year old water heater I was replacing. Second and third time I took it from new similar valves that I happened to find at Habitat and bought it cheaply. These HTS are very easy to replace, problem is to get it. If someone knows where to buy it I will appreciate the information. See the last picture below that shows 2 HTS, one as removed from the gas valve and one with insulation stripped. It would be very easy replaced (silver solder) if the electronic component was available to buy. I do not have the problem with clogged screens. One water heater is installed outside as shown on the picture, one in my garage elevated above the floor 18â€. Also I need outer doors for both. My email jfkn@cox.net.

    Attached Files:

  18. you are in trouble

    that is a new one on me,,,, I have never seen this new peice of junk bdefore

    this is not a flame lock water heater.....

    that burner assembly is some sort of
    energy star type that is close to the same radiant burner assembly that BRADFORD has is their new energy star models..

    I cant immagine how bad these must be considering they cant make a normal water heater work corretly..

    LOWES dontated some real junk to
    habitat for humanity and should be held accountable... being the fact that they scraped off the model numbers and serial numbers should tell you what kind of crap you got there....

    I would tell them you to take them back and "dontate " a better water heater to those homes....or you are going to the local news papers.




  19. jfkn

    jfkn New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    California
  20. RPlumber

    RPlumber New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Home
    So at the end of the day, we have one guy saying the screen just gets clogged up, another saying it's too small, another saying it's both. One saying it's the gas valve, many more saying it's the thermocouple, and one guy saying it's the thermal switch.

    So do any of you know for certain what the problem is?
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