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

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

  1. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Basically it just shuts of and doesn't turn on again.
  2. Verhouze

    Verhouze DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Thanks! Do you know about this particular model?
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    To the best of my knowledge, residential heaters up to 50 gallon are produced as a 50 state model, in other they ALL are low nox compliant. Commercial water heaters are still made in "regular" and "lo nox".

    NOW, if you are in certain counties in CA ( SCAQMD and BAAQMD air quality management districts) you must get the ULTRA LOW NOX version, and pay heavy premium price for those puppies~!
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Jimbo, the one he has is the SCAQMD and BAAQMD air quality management districts approved version. It's still got the same air inlet on the bottom that is susceptible to clogging with lint and dust among the other problems the BFG units face.
  5. Verhouze

    Verhouze DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Do you happen to know what the "among other problems" are?
  6. Building Chief

    Building Chief New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Portage, IN
    I have 432 apartments with gas water heaters and American Water heaters are by far the worst. Although Rheem/Richmond are becoming a clear second. Contrary to what some are posting they are not much better as we have had some fail after only 2 - 3 years. The safety device inside them is a small temperture sensitive burst vial which Rheem does not consider a replaceable part if it fails they want you to return the water heater to them so they can see why. After having to pull a couple of these It's easy to see why. The screen is smaller than an American's and is only accessable from the inside of the unit which makes it hard to clean properly as all of the accumulated dirt and lint is under the screen and unreachable. To make matters worse the screen is covered in the oil they use when they stamp the screen and acts as an effective dust magnet. We have had conversations with Rheem regarding this and they think there's no problem with it. We have started cleaning the screens with solvents prior to installation to see if this will extend the life of these heaters. Only time will tell...
  7. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    That's why I say Bradford White...
  8. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    36 Pages of reading right here...
  9. dteed4094

    dteed4094 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Erie Pa
    did it all

    I've done everything including connecting the thermo switch wires. I have also tested the thermocouples and they aren't fried. Pounding on the control valve with my hand seems to extend the time between re lights which I have done (relight) 6 times in as many hours. Sometimes I can get it to stay lit 3 or 4 days. I've been doing this pretty much since the tank was new. This is why I replaced the tank in the first place. They have sent me a new control valve but from everything I've read that is a waste of time also. Maybe the best thing to do is just sue as an individual. There has to be some compensation for all the parts and work I've done on these POS heaters for the past 10 years not to mention the inconvenience of myself and my family. going to try leaving the sensor end of the coupler outside and heat it with a bunsen burner. Just for giggles.
  10. Verhouze

    Verhouze DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    36 long pages

    Yes, thank you. I read about all I could read.

    I am just going to have to trust my plumber. I am not in a position to make changes now.
  11. whdettmer

    whdettmer New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    san francisco
    not fried thermocouples in flame lock water heaters

    A three month old whirpool flame lock water heater has developed the shut off problem. I installed a new control valve sent out by whirlpool. I then replaced the thermocouple. I noticed that the galvanized steel part that holds the thermocouple appeared to be damaged. It looked like the zinc plating on the nut and the bracket has been burnt off. If the base of the thermocouple gets hot, like hot enough to damage the zinc coating on the part that holds the base of the thermocouple, could that heat at the base reduce the temperature differential between the top and bottom of the thermocouple and temporarily reduce the output which would cause shut down? Has anyone measured thermocouple output during heating cycle when shut down occurs? My guess is that the combustion chamber is too hot around the base of the thermocouple.
    Also is there a test to determine if the filter is clean enough? Thanks
  12. JimD

    JimD New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, Ca
    Thanks Terry, Redwood, etc. You saved me from becoming another victim. I have a tip for you pro's. (This is not for the inexperienced).
    I used a 1.5v battery and 1 or 2 diodes in series (1N4000, 1N4001 1amp are about .65v to .7v at 100mA). So 1.5v - .7v = .8v etc.
    I touched the lead for about 1/2 sec to the valve and could here it "click" .Good. Then like you, I checked the voltage and current output
    from the hot thermocouple. At that point I was confident that everything would work, so put it all back together. It has worked ok for 20
    years. This was a furnace burner but similar to your HW burner. Hope this helps you.
    Thanks again for your priceless information.
  13. DIYGurl

    DIYGurl New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    socal
    A LEMON in waiting? (new Whirlpool UG1H5040T3NV Gas Water Heater)

    I got a new gas water heater installed last night. They quoted a Rheem, but when the installer came out he said the quoter thought it was a tankless and he suggested a Whirlpool. I've had good luck with Whirlpool appliances in the past, so I said OK. But I woke up in the middle of the night nervous about the way it happened and wanted to check on rebate and tax credit potential... I googled the model number ( Whirlpool UG1H5040T3NV ) -- needless to say, I was horrified!

    Finally at 4am after searching, I decided that I would cancel the check this morning and ask for a different water heater. I called the plumber to discuss and and he was emphatic that this is a very good water heater and he stands by it. I mentioned the law suit and he said he remembered the problem a couple of years ago (was even contracted for the mass repair work by Whirlpool), but that Whirlpool redesigned the unit to now use a "burner assembly" which is like a coil, not a flame (is this true?) and that he hasn't had a problem with them any longer. He offered to double his labor warranty (to 2 years) and said that if I have any problems with it he'll swap it for a unit of my choosing.

    I was worried that I got some old inventory, but I checked and they are still selling this model at Lowes.

    I feel like I have a "time bomb of hassle" ticking in my house... Next time I will do my research beforehand now that I know about terrylove.com.

    I will wave some chicken bones over the warranty registration form before I send it in...

    Any other guidance welcome. Thanks for this thread. Too bad I didn't see it sooner.
  14. bigbuck576

    bigbuck576 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Shreveport, Louisiana
    Hey I'm a plumber in Shreveport, La and from experience i can say that the air intake screen should be cleaned but does the heater have the black filter screen that goes around the heater??
  15. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    Whirledpooh still working fine well over a year after replacing the gas control valve/thermostat...for free. The real culprit on many of these is the gas control valve/thermostat. (See Curlysir's document about this manufacturer's defect earlier in the thread.) Unfortunately, other manufacturers often share the same Unitrol Robert Shaw valve arrangement (hecho en Mexico) and it has been problematic. So while you can get a better combustion air intake design from a competitor, you might still be saddled with the same poorly manufactured controls.
  16. curlysir

    curlysir New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Texas
    This thread just will not fade away. Haven't been here in a while but it is still alive. I still have the old control valve from my old hot water installed and running in my hot water heater. Has been a year since the original control valve failed, have the replacement they sent me but can't really see the need to replace it as the old control valve just keeps on working. The valve was in service about 10 years before I replaced the heater and stripped it for parts, usually don't do that but am glad I did. I know I lose the "safety feature" of the heat sensor but it is not any worse then what it was with the old heater and it was a direct screw in replacement, no modification required. This does lend some credibility to the control valve/thermostat being a big part of the problem.
  17. junkzoo

    junkzoo New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Nw Indiana- US
    Well, add me to the long list of unhappy Whirlpool Flamelocker's. Tho i suppose i was lucky and had this beast for only 4 yrs b4 the infamous pilot loss problem appeared .Tho i DID have to return the first one i bought,, after lugging it downstairs only to find it musta got dropped from 10 feet and left a huge dent in the tank's body,, with no sign of any such damage on the outer cardboard box, and lug it back up the stairs, drive another hrs roundtrip , to find they did not have a replacement and had to wait 3-4 days to make the run back to get it.

    Noticed hot water waning yesterday, and checked it out,, found the pilot out, and relit it,, thought it might have been a one time thing(or a t-couple acting up) and checked on it through the evening. Yup, it went out a few more times, removed the silly lil dust ring from the bottom, and since the new ones are sealed up pretty well (compared to the old school ones) i went along with the thinking that maybe combustion air might be part or all of the problem. left the ring off over night, and found i had hot water (and the pilot still it) in the am. So that sorta confirmed my thinking (I'm a industrial electrical tech, so t-shooting is kind of my forte') Thinking i was on the right track, i assumed(you all know what happens when that is done) my wife would have hot water when she goe home from working midnites as a ER nurse this morning. Well, she had "sorta" hot water, and of course the pilot went out since i checked a few hrs prior. Got all needed info off the heater and starting my search online for a new t-couple(It's a LP use one, so i figured my only chance of finding one would be either at my local hardware store, and not "up north" where LP is not the norm.) And during my search i find all the sites regarding this water heater, and happy and sad when i learned of many many problems like mine. For whatever reason , i lucked out since this is the first time w/ a problem in 4-5 yrs of having this unit. I DID try to blow out the screen from below (on the floor w/ no blocks to raise it higher) and relit, but that did not help at all. So,,, looks like cleaning the screen/flame trap is my next move,,and then what? dunno. if that does not fix things, then a t-couple is probably the next action. You folks think /know that i would have much luck finding a replacement t-couple at my local True Value type stores, or am i stuck with going online to the e-stores that carry parts and/or Whirlpool itself? Of course in this situation, you want it fixed NOW , vs. when you have to order one and wait for the brown truck to bring it x amount of days later.

    Also, do i have any recourse with maybe getting money reimbursed from Whirlpool over this, even after the class action lawsuit is long over?

    Glad i found this forum, and like i said happy AND sad i found a direct discussion regarding this problem,

    Thanks you guys!(and gals i guess)
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  18. junkzoo

    junkzoo New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Nw Indiana- US
    As stated in my 1st post above this one, i removed the black "filter" ring (would prob only stop the biggest of dust bunnies IMO) last evening and the pilot stayed on overnite, longer than prev attempts prior to doing so. BUT it DID go out (with ring removed) after i confirmed in the morning it was stil lit, a few hrs later.
    IMO, it does not appear to be the kind of filter to do a real good job it trapping anything since it's not much of a filter ,so to speak it's prob just a kneejerk reaction to Whirlpool's problem with this unit back when it first came out. Do i re-install it? likely. do i hold any faith that it does any good? NOPE.

    Well, other than looking up a new t-couple , i guees i better get busy pulling the combustion ring unit, and get to cleaning/blowing thing out b4 i commit to getting/trying a new t-couple.
  19. junkzoo

    junkzoo New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Nw Indiana- US
    Well, did a good blow out/vacuum/clean of the Flame Lock screen, (was not covered or clogged at all, but i'm assuming there might have been some stuff in the openings) and nothing much else more to it.
    The pilot has been on now for 6-7 hrs since, but that is not saying i'm out of the woods yet:rolleyes:

    I'm hoping i was just one of the lucky ones (probably a small group, right? ;) ) that got lucky with a screen cleaning (but like i said, there was probably very little there) and i might be good to go, and will need to clean/check this a few times a yrs from now on.

    Since it's been running w/out a problem since 2-15-06 til yesterday, even one more flame out of the pilot is gonna put me back in my bad :mad: mood, and back in the larger club of hating and regretting they bought this tub of crap.
  20. curlysir

    curlysir New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Texas
    If you will go back and read most of this thread you will see that it is more then likely not your thermocouple causing the problem, it is the control valve assembly. What you describe are the classic symptoms of the valve failing. You may be able to limp alone for a short period by replacing the thermocouple and the other things but the control valve will fail shortly. The manufacture should replace it under warranty, they even paid the freight for me and would have sent someone out to install it if I wanted it.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
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