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

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

  1. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    All of the above, but it is a different issue on each unit--or group of units anyway. There is no doubt about the Robert Shaw valve/thermostat being the problem on some units (such as mine). This has now been documented from the manufacturer (see curlysir's link.) The emergency cut off in these were failing rendering the valve worthless. If you had a failure in the Robert Shaw valve you wouldn't know it until you replaced the thermocouple and it still didn't work. This has been a common theme in the thread.

    Then there were some units where it appears to have only been a TC problem. On others it was a problem with the FVIR screen plugging. The screen for it is too small for the service and it is poorly placed. Lack of appropriate surface area is the norm for many kinds of equipment. I don't think half of the folks doing the design for suction and discharge grates have a clue as to what is needed. I say that from the perspective of having done such designs for process equipment, and re-engineering/modifying some of the messes that have been in my own appliances. They rarely provide sufficient open area.

    The point is that none of the explanations fit all of the failures individually. But take them together and they appear to explain all or nearly all of them.
  2. Its a piece of junk, on so many levels



    Which came first, the chicken or the egg???

    here is a link to the low knox that this fellow has...

    this will be a ball trying to figure out what they screwed up on that model....


    http://www.americanwaterheater.com/products/pdf/U_LNOx.pdf
  3. jfkn

    jfkn New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    California
    All problems

    All of them.
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Well a competent plumber can diagnose it if he were there...you start by checking the millivolts coming from the thurmocouple....and go from there but it could be a combination of different things because of the bad design if the unit...
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    It's all of the above don't you get it?:eek:

    This thing has had more different problems than you can shake a stick at:
    • Thermal Fused Thermalcouple models without burner enhancement kit installed prior to BFG model
    • Flame Arrestor/Air Inlet Too Small all models.
    • Flame Arrestor/Air Inlet Clogging all models.
    • TCO on gas valve some models.

    Don't hold me responsible for missing anything missed...

    Want reliable hot water?
    Rip it out and put in a Bradford White!

    These Flame Guards are just evil evolving over time!
  6. rdlsz24

    rdlsz24 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Northern IL
    Hey guys just found this while searching around for my water heater, an American Water Heater. We moved into our current house (build in 05) in August and honestly I don't think I even looked at the water heater until Thanksgiving day when I hopped in the shower and couldn't get hot water even with the knob turned all the way to hot. Went downstairs and found the instruction manual down there near the water heater and found that the pilot light was out. After looking at the diagrams and reading the instructions a hundred times (water heater newb here) I got the pilot lit and cranked the water heater up and was back in business! Pretty proud of myself, but had to take a quick cold shower. Oh well the next one will be hot.

    Came home from Thanksgiving festivities and ran downstairs to check the pilot. Out again! Pushed the clicker and got it going. Found online that I may need a thermocouple. Went to ******* to get a thermocouple but blast they only have right hand thread ones! Came home from ******* and the pilot light was out again. This is getting old. Now it won't stay lit once I let go of the red button. No more hot water for us :(.

    Is the number I call to get a thermo the one on the side of the unit (800-999-9515)? I realize I am just delaying the inevitable after reading through this thread, but I need to get the water hot for now, and a quality unit isn't exactly in the budget right now. I want to give it one last try with a new thermocouple and cleaning the screen. Our unit is up on some 3" blocks so I could get my Shop Vac in there at least.

    For the future, what is a good price, installed by a plumber, for a Rheem unit?

    Thanks for reading,
    Rob
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
  7. jfkn

    jfkn New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    California
    buyer's insurance policy

    If you just bought your house then check with your buyer's insurance policy. It may pay for the repairs or replacement. What model is your water heater? Read the model and serial numbers. Most likely it is the high temperature sensor and that means to replace the thermostat gas valve.
  8. rdlsz24

    rdlsz24 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Northern IL
    Unfortunately we didn't go with the home warranty, so we're probably out of luck in that department. The model is FG6140T403NOV. Serial is 0420117330 (2004)

    Rob
  9. rdlsz24

    rdlsz24 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Northern IL
    Cool just got the green light from the wife to get a Bradford White or Rheem installed :) I guess having a 1 year old and another one on the way was enough to convince her we need a reliable cooker.

    Rob
  10. jfkn

    jfkn New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    California
    I would call Whirlpool

    I would call Whirlpool 800 number that is on the unit and find out how much they charge for the thermocouple and how much for the thermostatic gas valve. Please let me know I am interested in the prices. They will not sell or give price without model and serial number. I have one water heater with left hand thread thermocouple. Lowes used to sell it, but recently they have only right-handed. They may have it in your area. Where do you live? Here in CA I purchase recently a thermostatic gas valve for newer model, it was $58.69.
  11. rdlsz24

    rdlsz24 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Northern IL
    Six seventy installed for a new Bradford White unit, getting installed tomorrow. They offered to work on my current one until I told them it was an American. Those are junk I believe was the quote.

    Rob
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
  12. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Well Rob you won't regret it....

    I think the plumber was being very diplomatic in his assessment of your existing water heater...:D
  13. smokinpsd

    smokinpsd New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    TX
    Whirlpool FG

    Just found out we have a FG1F303S3NOV Have had intermittent hot water for 2 weeks now. My husband cleaned it all out this weekend, and I found all this info regarding this problem. It worked for about 2 days then went out again, was able to lite this am and get enough for a shower, just heated up tank and shut off and no pilot again. I know this has been discussed but still not sure what to ask for and number to call. Tank was in home when purchased this year so we didn't buy it and don't know where it came from. No homeowners warranty and tank serial is 0510120563 so if I read correctly it is a 05 model, is there any different parts etc that I need to fix, replacing is out right now and we don't have a service person in our area most will be at least 60 miles away so hefty service call and small towns so probably not right parts. My husband works in lrg town and may be able to get parts if I know what to tell him. Everything else is fine whole house works on nat. gas furnace and range are fine so gas line are good and water heater works fine when on which is less and less now. Thanks for any help you can give!!!
  14. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    I'm not sure if the '05 will have the reversed TC thread or not. I guess it won't matter if you have to replace the gas valve too.

    I was in roughly the same situation in that I was not the original purchaser. I suggest your husband do what I did: go to a Lowe's, tell them you have their water heater and that you need the thermocouple AND the gas valve/thermostat. (Actually, best to call ahead, talk to a manager and have them reserve the parts for you--often they don't have any on the shelf...I bought the last of each when I went in.) It might only take the TC. About half the time that works. The other half of the time it takes the gas valve. So you want both in hand. Following the appliance manager's instructions I returned the old defective parts to the store with my receipt for the new ones and they refunded my money.

    If you or your husband are somewhat mechanically inclined and have some tools it is not too difficult to swap the parts. The important part is leak checking the gas lines before lighting it off. Reinventory the tank with water before lighting the pilot or burner. And don't be surprised when the flame burns yellow for several minutes while the whole tank is cold. Condensate dripping down the central chimney onto the burner pan will cause that yellow flame. It will change back to a normal blue as the heater approaches temp.
  15. curlysir

    curlysir New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Texas
    Sounds like your gas valve has failed. Should still be under warranty. Call the number on the side of the hot water heater (1-800-999-9515) and give them your serial number. In my case they sent me a new gas valve next day air at their cost. Being an 05 model you will probably get a new burner assembly, thermocouple, and gas valve. They are not that hard to install.
  16. smokinpsd

    smokinpsd New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    TX
    Parts

    Called # after posting and they are sending me parts, was very hard to understand so I am sure India answered the phone, however they didn't even ask any questions just what address do we send parts to and there was no shipping charge will be here tomorrow they said, but I couldn't understand about the gas valve? Where is it on tank and general descrip? can we get that part else where if not in box? Tried to ask for it but they said that they were sending "everything I needed" and was easy to install. Hate working with gas and electric, but can replace myself if needed. Can't send husband to town to get parts as he is 180 miles away at work only comes home on weekend, I do not want to wait that long for parts so will try what they send. Tired of no hot water!
  17. I changed out 2 on monday

    we took out two whirlpoolheaters on monday...
    One 50 that was 5 years old and not working and the other was a 40 from 07....

    I directed them to the consumer reports site with 199 pages of complaints and told them if they felt that they were gonna have better luck than all the rest of these folks, to go ahead and wait for the parts....

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/whirlpool_water_heaters.html



    they both called me back and said they had seen
    and read enough and they both had new Bradfords installed by noon...


    Whirlpool, you are helping my bottom line...
    dont ever change your design....
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  18. smokinpsd

    smokinpsd New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    TX
    Whirlpool FG

    Trust me as soon as it can be afforded it will be the first thing to get replaced, but I have to at least make it through the holidays. If I could it would have been out of the house 2 weeks ago when it first started acting up.
  19. curlysir

    curlysir New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Texas
    I will keep mine as long as it is in warranty and not costing me money. I had the advantage of having the gas valve from my old water heater to install, so I was not out of hot water except for a few hours. The easiest way to remove the gas valve is to thread a pipe nipple into the valve and use the nipple as a lever to turn the valve. I used a 12" nipple but a shorter one will work but will require more effort. If the new "improved" gas valve is truly fixed it should last a few more years. The old water heater I replaced was still working good but was getting close to 10 years so I replaced it. It was not in that bad of shape after I got it out and examined it and really didn't need replacing. I had moved to this house from an area where the water was so bad that the water heaters very seldom lasted the warranty period be it 6 years or 10 years. Wished I had found this thread before I replaced it.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  20. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    The gas valve/thermostat is the square control assembly with the temp dial, pilot shutoff dial, igniter and reset buttons. A temperature bulb extends inside of the tank to measure the water temperature. There are many parts of this whole assembly but they are fitted/replaced as a contiguous unit. It will screw out although it will need some "persuasion." A pipe nipple should turn it as curlysir suggested.

    Since they are sending the parts without hassle or payment you should be in good shape.
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