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

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

  1. junkzoo

    junkzoo New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Nw Indiana- US
    Thanks,
    Looks like things are NOT ok with my problems, since i just 5 minutes ago checked on it (after i ran a load of clothes in the washer) and the pilot was out , but the hot water lines were pretty warm, so it just must have gone out. So i looks like i'll be needing a control valve replacement. I'll call the number listed on the unit in the morning ,unless you folks know of a "better" number to call to help things along (No i don't mean a different maker of water heater LOL ,, well , maybe not right now but perhaps later :rolleyes: , if this does not take care of things)

    Thanks for all your help here, i REALLY appreciate it! :D
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  2. junkzoo

    junkzoo New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Nw Indiana- US
    Latest and not surpising to you here, I called Whirlpools' number and shockingly did not get India, but a nice sounding Southern gal, who did ok with helping me out. Well , sorta. Told my short story, told her i wanted a new control valve sent out to me, since it was determined by the consenus here, and by a "professional" i fibbed and told her i called. Was on hold for only a surprising 5 minutes, and she came back telling me , with what i told her, it sounded like i needed a new "improved" burner assembly etc, w/ resetable overtemp. bla bla bla. Mentioned i RATHER cut out the waste of time for both of us, and get a control valve but i soon shut up and went along playing the game here. So it'll be here overnite,and prob means i install it, find out it did not solve anything , get back on the phone w/ Swirlpool, chew them out sorta nicely , get a control valve sent to me and hopefully get things moving b4 i lose a few days with the weekend coming up around then since i don't think i'll be getting anything overnited during the weekend, but i dunno.

    I had done a few things outdoors today, and figured i needed to assume the position laying down @ the water heater and babysit it a few cycles of relighting the pilot and laying there until the flame/burner shuts off and repeat a few times to get enough 1/2 way warm water to possibly take a quick/warm shower. Did so, but after about the 4th short cycle of flame, i could not get the pilot to "seal" in... was this maybe due to a overtemp condition? or is the dang thing just failing worse? Ended up taking a birdbath over the basement laundry tub, so i got a lil cleaned up after the outside chores here.

    It went from maybe getting 6-7 hrs overnight staying lit/heated up, to maybe 5 minutes of burner time to the end of me trying just now, to not getting the pilot to stay on.

    Is this still a sign of a bad control valve?
    Also got the wheels rolling w/ the wife in telling her what might happen here is we cut our losses and time spent messing with this tube of crud,and look for a new one (and RESEARCH it b4 we buy one) if a burner or a control valve maybe after the burner does not fix things.

    Thanks
  3. Rcutlass70

    Rcutlass70 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Beaumont TX
    I'm am new to this forum and have read most of the thread here on Whirlpool. I do have a question based on what I have read.

    I am in need of a new water heater. Currently mine is 16 years old and the dip tube is starting to deteriorate. Rather than replace it, I think it would probably be wise to just replace the water heater. According to this thread and several others, Bradford White seems to be the heater of choice. The problem is that it is not available in my area. Most plumbers in the area install State water heaters. My question is: Is State a reliable brand heater or does it fall into the same category as Whirlpool, Kenmore?
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
  5. curlysir

    curlysir New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Texas
    Bradford White is probably the best, but it does appear as if the problem has quieted down quiet a bit lately. The problem was with a part on the control valve that failed over time. It may be that the problem is somewhat resolved with an updated conrol valve. I am currently running mine with the old contol valve out of the hot water heater I replaced. It had been in service for 10 years or more, so at one time they did use good control valves.

    State is made by the same company as Whirpool, American and others.
  6. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    I got a call from a friend of mine from work last night his american pro-line water heater

    stopped heating going over on sat. When his new parts come in to retro fit his

    water heater and see if i can get him back up and running
  7. cmcramer

    cmcramer New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    new york
    Thanks to all for this very informative discussion. To summarize my sad story... pilot light won't stay lit; installed free thermocouple kit from Lowes; pilot lit still won't stay lit; free Gas Valve on the way from Whilpool help line. Hope this fixes it. I had two difficulties installing replacement thermocouple kit. 1) manifold tube-to-to gas valve is left handed, thermocouple-to-gas valve is left handed. orifice-to-manifold door assembly is left handed, but pilot tube-to-gas valve is right handed ! YIKES! Carelessly, I stripped the thermocouple-to-gas valve pretty good - up inside the gas valve itself - so now I'm not getting a good firm, tight connection with the replacement thermocouple. I realize this may have prevented new thermocouple from functioning properly.....but I asked for a new gas valve anyway... I'll be more careful with installing the new TC and its left-to-right adapter. Second issue is unresolved and I could use some advice: The one piece, 'break-away' ferrule/nut for installing pilot tube to gas valve did not clamp down firm enough - gas leak! I tightened ferrule/nut so tight I was stripping its outer hex part - had the proper open end wrench, too! An earlier post here suggests that I jammed pilot tube TOO TIGHT up into ferrule/nut, leaving no space for expansion of tube as nut tightened onto it. Remedy was to hold back pilot tube 1/16" to provide some slack. Since I don't want to ruin this unique looking ferrule/nut....and I don't know how many times it can be re-tightened - Does this remedy make sense to you more experienced plumber-types? Many thanks.
  8. JessiB2010

    JessiB2010 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Tennessee
    See, the thing is...

    Although I agree that these heaters are total junk, the Flame Lock system (with the filter on the bottom) Is actually a safety mechanism. If there was to be a fire caused by flammable vapors, that vent prevents it from spreading, hence the name "Flame Lock". And just like your car, obviously, if you don't keep your air filter clean, this product is not going to be able to function properly. It's in the manual. And like any man made machine, something is going to fail. It's inevitable. There are only two working parts to these machines to begin with, and I mean really, I know what it's like to be without hot water, it sucks, but people act like it's the end of the world. It could definitely be worse.
  9. JessiB2010

    JessiB2010 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Whirlpool's lawsuit was settled in their favor. The unit was found to be functioning as it should, and the court papers stated that they were not to provide free shpping or labor to have it installed. Call Whirlpool and ask. :)
  10. WYGK

    WYGK New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, CA
    I was told by a saleman at Lowes that the Whirlpool was a "piece of shit" (his words, not mine), but that they had done a major redesign and claimed the flaws were fixed. He said, unfortunately, they didn't have any data on the new model, and of course the bad reviews for the older models will be around for years.

    Does anyone know anything about the supposed redesign?
  11. Techjunkie

    Techjunkie New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    suitable interim solution?

    I have an FG************ model American Water Heater Company Flame Guard 50 gallon heater, installed by Keyspan in 2004. From what I've read here (I'll admit to not reading all 37 pages of this thread) AMC makes the despised Whirlpool unit this thread is about and the similarities between my unit and the one discussed here are enough that for the sake of argument, we can assume my unit is the same as the Whirlpool.

    Several days ago, my family woke up to no hot water. I was able to relight the pilot and the unit started up but failed again later that evening. After several days and increasingly frequent restarts, I called the manufacturer today and they're sending me a new thermocouple. In the meantime, my family would like to avoid cold showers tomorrow morning and in researching the problem, I found this thread.

    In prep for the thermocouple replacement, I scrubbed the vent thing at the bottom from inside and out with a toothbrush, but did not find it to be clogged. (Surprising, considering it's been 7 years without a cleaning.) I reassembled the unit with the original thermocouple in place and started it again. It shut off, pilot and all rather quickly.

    When I lit the pilot and started it again, I noticed through the view port that the large flame from the burner was engulfing the pilot, starter, and thermocouple. I had never looked before, so I don't know if that's normal or not.

    It seems counterintuitive to me to design it that way intentionally, but maybe the tolerances of the thermocouple are so great that being constantly submerged in normal burner flame is not hot enough for it to trip the safety shut off, but out-of-control heat/flame is.

    To the point of this post... Using the gas control valve outside the heater, I restricted flow to the heater's control valve by turning the supply valve to half-off while looking through the viewport. This reduced the diameter of the burner flame to about 80% or normal to the effect of the thermocouple no longer being submerged in flame. Since then, the burner has cycled on and off properly several times, the pilot staying lit each time. We've had two showers and run the dishwasher and everything appears to be operating as usual.

    Most importantly, is this interim solution safe?

    Secondary to that, is the thermocouple the source of the problem as I was advised by AWC, or is the burner flame as I described it not in normal operation, in which case I can expect to burn out another thermocouple? (Meaning the thermocouple is doing it's job as intended 'cause the burner is running too hot.)

    Does the flame engulfing the thermocouple, pilot and starter indicate that a gas pressure regulator needs to be replaced, or is that normal?

    Thanks!
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011
  12. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States

    the gas regulater is built into the gas valve,
    so the whole gas valve needs to be changed
    the thermocouple is there to prove pilot flame so you don't have the main gas valve open unless there is a pilot there to light it !
  13. delta2185

    delta2185 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Interior Alaska
    I have owned a Flame Lock (flame Guard) FG model since 2005. shortly after purchasing the water heater, I had to replace one thermocouple with the LH thread and thermal fuse. Fixed the problem. Flawless for almost six years(surprising after reading other owners testimonials). Just a short while ago, the second thermocouple finally went. I did some research, only to find nothing but trash talk about my water heater from every source on the planet. It was a bit disheartening. I also learned of the class action suit, and of the enhancement kit. I went to the whirlpool water heater site, and filled out the online contact form, and explained my problem followed by Serial number, product number, and model number. I received a response by the next morning, and here it is copied and pasted straight from my email.

    Thank you for your email. We do however regret to hear that you have had
    some problems with the pilot light on your hot water heater.
    A new enhancement kit has been shipped to you via UPS and you will
    receive the parts on Monday if UPS runs in your area on Monday. A
    tracking number will be sent to your email as well.
    There is a website you can go to for a video on how to install the kit.
    It is www.hotwater101.com. If you have any questions please fell free to
    contact us by phone at 1-877-817-6750. We do not pay any labor to
    install the parts.

    I was never asked to pay for anything, not even the shipping, they just sent it out to me. I was a bit surprised, especially after reading about so much heartache and headache associated with this problem. So, from my personal experience, I believe that whirlpool wants to help fix models with their name on it. I am sorry that others have not been helped the same as I have though, and thus leading to a horrible experience with their heaters and with whirlpool.
  14. Joe Hafford

    Joe Hafford New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Georgia
    I have a Whirlpool Model. No. FG1F404053PV LP 40Gal. heater. Was made aware of the thermo couple problem via US mail after settlement of the lawsuit and got a replacement resetable thermo couple. It failed this afternoon as my daughter was taking a shower and the unlighted heater proceeded to fill the house with gas. When I got through to Whirlpool to tell them about the failure, the lady proceeded to tell me that I should call the local gas company about it. I asked her if the proper thing to do was to stand back, call the local propane dealer and watch my house blow up. Didn't faze her. I said put yourself in my place. What if it was your house? Nothing. I will replace this dangerous piece of crap at my own expence, but I will be the first to sign on to any suits regarding this. Someone is going to die or has died because of this calous attitude. Property is going to be lost. I pray that the record of my call is kept intact. It will prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that Whirlpool is negligent.
  15. Propane is dangerous


    You are 100% correct about this and you are lucky that something very , very ...bad did not happen......

    Did Whirlpool actually sent you out parts to repair your PROPANE gas heater?? And did you do the change outs on your heater or did you have a plumber do the change over for you.???
    I ask this because the Plumber should have known better...


    You should NEVER let anyone mess with an older Propane gas water heater.... it is just too dangerous if the old gas valve acts up...

    we never fool with them, and when someone wants us to repair some older unit...you cannot even buy the replacement gas valves for a decent price. they dont even wnt to sell them to us and most places dont even keep them in stock....
    ....so we attempt to sell them a new one.

    Whirlpool will have blood on their hands eventually sending out replacement parts directly to home owners to install themselves.... .. .


    get that junk out of your home before you really have something to cry over.....


    whirlpoolwaterheaterrepair.com
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,832
    Location:
    New England
    For those that may not know, the way propane and natural gas react when leaking are quite different and present different problems. Natural gas normally has no odor, so they put that distinctive one in it so you can smell it if it does leak. Then, natural gas is (at room temperature) normally a gas that is lighter than air, so it rises. If you have a leak, it will rise up to the highest point and then, if it can't escape, fill from the top down.

    But, propane is normally stored at high pressure and is generally a liquid until it is released and the pressure drops. And, it is heavier than air. When it leaks, it will fill a room from the bottom up. So, say your water heater was in the basement - the entire basement could be full of propane gas, and none of it would have yet reached the upper levels, so you may not know it. Give it a spark at the right concentrations and the basement blows up, taking the house with it.

    Not to say that natural gas isn't dangerous too, but because it rises, you are more likely to smell it and take corrective action. But, if the house IS tight, and it filled from the top down, since most spark sources (like a pilot light, or furnace or other device with a pilot or an ignitor) are likely in the basement or at least on the lower floor, you may have more of the house full of gas before it ignites. Instead of blowing the basement up and taking the house with it, it blows the roof off and the walls out. I guess, neither is likely to allow the house to still stand.

    FYI, similar to a smoke detector, there are gas detectors available that can warn you at the first signs of a gas leak. Something to consider when you have gas appliances in the home. First, you're not always home, and then, depending on the type, you may not notice until it has reached a dangerous level.
  17. new whirlpool design

    dont know how many of you have seen the new version of this old pig yet... I had to go out and re-pipe the unit in for a customer this morning....

    they have incorporated a honeywell--icon gas valve on the new unit... I do not know whether it is identicle to the ICON valve or not.... I actually like the valve better than what Bradford has on their product becasue the instructions are clearly on the unit...
    but I feel that this is going to turn into a service mans worst nightmare...

    they still have the same hi-limit switch,
    it appears they are useing a larger piolit light tube than bradford does,

    the one thing that they have failed to change is the air intake underneath the unit,,,
    you can see it through the glass of this picture...
    I think the screen wrapped around the bottom of it is totally retarted...

    well, have they improved the unit or not?? [​IMG]
    I dont think so, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while....
  18. the new whirlpool design water heater

    [​IMG]
  19. Reese

    Reese New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    TX
    I have a model# ND40T62-403 Flame Lock purchased 7-10-11 and it has the same problem with not staying lighted. After seeing numerous posts on the internet about the same problem, I calle Whirlpool today and was told that this model didn't have that problem and that he would be glad to explain to me the misinformation that was on the internet regarding these units! I need no explanation. It's the same problem. Can you suggest to me a quality LP hot water heater that won't break my bank account? Thank you and I'm am enjoying your website. So informative.
  20. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,818
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I normally go with either Bradford White or Rheem.

    I notice the picture of the Whirlpool above has a plastic drain. I don't see that with the heaters I'm installing.
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