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

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

  1. smokinpsd

    smokinpsd New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    TX
    Parts

    Got parts today but to late to start that project tonight, looked like they sent the front with the new square window and was told explicitly that I had to remove and use old burner, also had a call to remind me they would not cover labor if I hired someone to replace the part. If that doesn't work I will call back and get a new thermostat control box. I am hoping that what they send will work and at least give me enough time to replace the waterheater later. Will let you all know if it works, plan to tackle it tomorrow after work. Thanks for all the help
  2. Fremen9

    Fremen9 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    California
    advice on new whirlpool heater

    I can't believe my luck. I didn't know anything about water heaters, so when my old Bradford White finally started leaking after 12 years, I went to Lowe's and picked up a Whirlpool 50 gallon water heater. Its one of those low nox ones.
    So I found a plumber who would install it for around $200 and he came out and installed it. He said that he didn't like this brand and it had problems, but I stupidly didn't listen to him and had him install it anyway.
    Now 2 days later, and the pilot light keeps turning off.
    I looked at it for quite a while and what I noticed is that when I first light it, it stays on. The thermocouple tip is in the flame and is glowing hot.
    But I noticed after the burner kicks in for a while and heats up the tank, when it shuts down the burner, the pilot light is actually a little bit smaller than it was initially. The result is that the thermocouple is only barely touching the flame, and as it flickers it actually doesn't touch it at all. Then it gets shut off.

    Is this similar to the problem you guys are all taking about? Would it be a simple matter of positioning the thermocouple a bit further so that more of it is in the flame's path?

    I called whirlpool and since its only been 2 days since I bought it, they gave me an authorization number and a plumber to call for an appointment. I called the plumber and he is going to try to have someone come by today if possible.

    Meanwhile, I after reading all these posts, I am tempted to just pay the same plumber to take it down and help me pack it back in my van and then take it back to Lowe's and ask for a refund. I believe you can return it up to 30 days right? Of course, then i've wasted the $200 installation, and whatever he charges to help me remove it...

    I should have stuck with the Bradford white model I had before. But who sells those? I only found them on amazon.com. Ironically they are the same price or less than the Whirlpool I bought.
    Do you know, for the 12 years I had it, I never once had to light the pilot on this bradford white? In fact, I didn't even know you had to do that. I thought it was automaticaly doing it...
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,146
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Bradford White and Rheem are sold by plumbers.
    All you have to do, is call them, and they will bring the heater with them to your house.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,180
    Location:
    New England
    Bradford White is typically only carried by plumbing supply houses and they often won't sell directly to retail customers...your plumber will be glad to supply one and probably a reasonable price.
  5. Fremen9

    Fremen9 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    California
    Just had the gas company guy come out to take a look.
    He tested the thermocouple and said its not giving off quite enough voltage. He thought it was positioned as high as it can be and it was just quite enough...he thought maybe someone could reposition it another 1/16th of an inch, but he said the thermocouple is not giving off enough voltage so will shut off intermittently. He said that whirlpool heaters are junk and he sees this problem 2 times a day.

    So anyway...has anyone had experience returning a used water heater to Lowes? I called them, and I told her what happened and she said they would take it back if its within 7 days. Since I bought it 12/26 I should be able to take it back tomorrow night and return it.
    The gas guy actually said if it was him, he'd even throw it away and buy another one. wow...guess he feels strongly about it.
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    If you read back through the pages of this thread I might have a very similar strong opinion....:rolleyes:
  7. Fremen9

    Fremen9 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    California
    Hey guys,
    what do you think of the Kenmore brand from Sears??
    Compared to the Whirlpool from Lowes and GE from Home Depot?

    I can't find anywhere near the number of complaints for Kenmore 50 gallon gas than I can find for the other two.

    My plumber says he doesn't buy water heaters.
  8. GET THE ge UNIT



    get the GE unit...it is the best by far of all 3

    Stay away from SEARS..they are junk too

    here are a few hundred complaints to read if you need to

    http://baheyeldin.com/technology-in-society/mistaken-identity-help-with-kenmore-water-heater.html





  9. Fremen9

    Fremen9 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    California
    I was looking over the front of my water heater last night ,and I noticed that the thermocouple wire which is a fairly stiff wire was actually slightly touching the metal guard that covers it. I thought maybe it shouldn't be touching that, I mean isn't it supposed to conduct heat or something?
    So I pushed it in and made sure it wasn't touching anything.
    Also, the guy from the gas company had unscrewed it from the control box and then put it back in.
    Since then, so far, the pilot light hasn't shut off.
    Is that a coincidence? maybe that's all that was wrong right now?
    until it clogs up of course
    or burns up.
  10. curlysir

    curlysir New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Texas
    Touching the metal won't cause a problem. The thermocouple generates a small electrical voltage (mV) and unscrewing and reinstalling can sometimes "fix" a problem with the thermocouple if the fitting was loose or if there was a small amount of corrosion on the tip of thermocouple.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  11. vtxdude

    vtxdude New Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    NH
    Stay the F away from Kenmore...I'm going to try to have them take back a month and few day old Power Miser 9 and replace it with a Bradford White Next week...no pilot light issues (yet) but it just doesn't want to seem to run right.....I'm all over this forum with the issues I have had with it......in any event my main beef with it is the small openings in the bottom to take in air....I'm thinking this is contributing to the issues I am having and the Bradford White air intake system looks superior. Flame at times burns pretty yellow and it looks like soot already forming in flue...my venting appears to be good doing a lighter test so it seems the drafting is there.


    If you replace the Whirlpool either go Rheem or Bradford White and find a good plumber you can trust to install it...you will be glad you did...sounds like the install of the BW might even be close to 200 dollars less than the Kenmore......

    If I could reverse time and had found this forum before November I probably would be all set right now...I'm not happy about having to spend a lot more money than I had planned originally but peace of mind and knowing it should not have the issues that Mark's link points out makes me feel a lot better
  12. mnalep

    mnalep New Member

    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Michigan
    Hi,

    I have a Whirlpool hot water tank (FG1F4040S3NOV). I have the frequently mentioned problem with the pilot light not staying lit - after I release the pilot gas reset button.

    I just called the 877-817-6750 Whirlpool warranty number, and am going to have shipped to me a replacement 'kit' (which I think includes the new thermocouple, converter, and manifold face plate).

    I had 2 questions that I hope someone here could answer.

    1) I have the pilot/thermocouple/burner unit out of the water tank. How can evaluate my test of the thermocouple so that I can be absolutely sure the problem is the thermocouple, and not the gas valve?

    - I put a multimeter on the aluminum tip and on the TC line near the pilot flame site. I heated the TC for 2 minutes, and did not get any milliamps reading on my voltmeter, which was set at 200mA DC (Is is DC, right?) I thinks that is saying the TC is not sending any power to the Valve to tell the valve the pilot is staying lit?

    - I then set my meter to the 20 Ohms scale and tested again. This time with the TC hot from previous 2 minutes of heating the meter read 0.0 Ohms. After the TC cooled down for 5 minutes, the meter read 0.3 Ohms. So I interpret this as when the TC is heated it has 0 ohms resistance - which is impossible for any metal to be that low? So the TC is bad.

    - But why would it show 0.3 Ohms resistance when the TC is cold? That indicates a small amount of resistance, which might mean the TC is ok?

    2) Since I have to wait until Wednesday, or even Thursday, for the kit to arrive (it's Monday today) - I was wondering if I could try and fire up the main burner just long enough to heat the water tank tomorrow (for a shower and to do the dishes). I was thinking that I could just manually light the main burner with a long match, that I'd insert through the 'peep' hole, after removing the glass cover? Would this be safe to do?
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  13. mnalep

    mnalep New Member

    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Michigan
    One more question...Has anyone considered pulling the left hand thread nut off the existing thermocouple, and using it to replace the right hand threaded nut on a new thermocouple?

    The old TC could be cut to get the LH thread off easily enough.

    And it looks as if the aluminum? tip is clamped on to the copper TC line, and maybe could be pried off and then back on a new TC line? If the tip cannot be wrenched off, could the new TC line be cut, the nuts exchanged, and then the line soldered back together?
  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The right hand thread thermocouples are incompatible with your application.
    Don't do it!

    Wait for the parts or install a Bradford White and end your problems!
  15. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
    I concur Mr. Redwood except for the suggested brand as i prefer Rheem water heaters,however they are not perfect either and utilize an extra safety feature and we all know that safety features are famous for failing causing the heater to shut down:D
  16. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I would gladly debate this subject with you any day and I assure you that Rheem while far superior to all the other brands is only second rate to a Bradford White.:D
  17. mnalep

    mnalep New Member

    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Michigan
    I received the 'kit'. I am going to go install it in the next hour. I hope it works.

    I have a bit of doubt however, I test the old and new Thermocouple(TC) with the multimeter, and the old one hit around 22Mv faster than the new one did (in about 1 minute)! I heated the tip of the TC by applying a flame from a BBQ lighter. They both ohmed at around 0.3ohms!

    I have been tricked by mulitmeter tests, in the past, into thinking something was good, and found after buying a new part that the old one was indeed bad (even though it tested good) - for example a coil pack on my car.

    I don't want to have to order a valve, and wait for that to be shipped, before I can get hot water again!
  18. mnalep

    mnalep New Member

    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Michigan
    So I installed the upgrade 'kit' with the new thermocouple, and so far so good, the pilot stays lit, and I have hot water.

    I was surprised how far I had to screw the pilot line into the thermostat/valve.

    I still do not understand how I could get about the same voltage and ohm readings on both the old and the new thermocouple, and one works and the other does not?
  19. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Make sure that you clean the flame arrestor on the bottom of the water heater that is what initially triggered your troubles and will cause endless headaches for you...

    I really don't understand why people put so much effort into fixing these POS water heaters...

    There must be a lot of Masochists that buy these whirlpoo's...:rolleyes:
  20. mnalep

    mnalep New Member

    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Michigan
    Hi Redwood,

    Thanks for that tip. I did clean out the filter/arrestor on the underside of the tank.

    It was not that bad from what I could tell, not much came out of it. I did sweep under the tank and their was some hair and lint, so maybe it was actually worse than I have just described.

    To answer your question about fixing it - this is the first trouble I've had with it, and I have had it almost 6 years - come this April.

    I'm not defending the unit, I'm actually quite upset that it came with the Left Hand threaded thermocouple - which I could only get by calling that 877 phone number, and waiting 2 days to get by mail! Why would any company need to have the only left hand threaded thermocouple on the market to begin with!

    If I had read this entire thread before my purchase, I would have never bought this Whirlpool unit.

    But as it is already installed, and as this is my first trouble in almost 6 years, and seeing as how the parts cost me nothing under warranty, how could I not try to fix it? The alternative would be spending hundreds of dollars on a new tank, and then paying for, or installing it myself. I would be reluctant to do that - even if I was still working.

    I hope it keeps working...in spite of the bad track record I've read about here.

    PS: I know you know your stuff, as you've helped me in the past. Do you have any explanation why I was getting almost the same voltage and resistance measures with both the old and the new thermocouple? (besides operator error ;-) )
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