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

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

  1. klingon

    klingon New Member

    metro detroit
    Got rid of it right away. You will have major problems and headaches and the manufacturer will refuse to help except to send more parts which will only work for a couple of months at a time.
  2. Terry>>>>the party is over

    Terry, thought I would pass this information on to everyone
    about the new policies that Whirlpool has just implemented..in the last few months..

    I am getting calls from all over the USA stating that Whirlpool will
    not send out free parts any longer to the older heaters...
    THE RECALL PERIOD IS OVER on that older flame lock heater and
    they are telling everyone to pound rocks up their butts ...
    They will send new parts but at the low low price of about $$179.00 plus shipping..
    so most folks I talk to see the writeing on the wall and just install a better brand

    Basically the free-bees are over now and their whole tone on the phone has gone to one of acting like they care to totally snotty and could care less....

    their newer heaters 2006--2010 are still giving them fits but they are not
    willing to help much more than sending one set of parts... and now they are trying to place the blame on bad gas, bad ventilation ect....


  3. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Houston, TX

    That does Suck a Vacuum.

    I wonder if Sears is still honoring the recall ?

  4. That is a very good question.. their are plenty of sears complaints on the
    internet too
    Sears and Whirlpool belong to the same group and I have
    heard that in some parts of the country a Sears guy will come out
    and service the Whirlpool heater.....

    Of course that is if you want to wait about a week
    and take a full day off work to meet their service schedule

    they know that both heaters are
    peices of junk and cannot afford to send repairman all over the
    place for free..... It apprears that the tactic used now is
    to run complaints through a guantlet in the hopes that the customer will give up

    #1 increase the phone waiting times to about a 45 minutes, then
    mis-direct them with the first call for service... having them experiment
    themselves by calling the gas company first, ect... I have also heard of a
    lot of accidental hang ups while waiting on the phone...

    #2 it appears they hope that the the customer will not wait a week for service or having to find their own plumber to service the heater for Sears or Whirlpooll

    #3 pay a few hundred dollars for parts to be shipped out in about a week, then fork over about $200 to pay a plumber up front and hope to get re-imbursed by
    Whirlpool or Sears later down the road.. that could take 6 months

    I can usually fix a Sears heater with repair parts from A>O>Smith.
    They are interchangeable.... But I dont and will not warranty the
    materials and its all C>O>D ... I cannot even guarantee how long
    the repairs will last....

    Only a very stubborn few people will hang on line for an hour, or call back. and start over after they have been misdirected a few times by the operator...

    Most folks finally just give up and go away ...the only ones that hang on are the heaters that are only a few years old...

    I usually try to tell the folks with a heater over 6 years old just to walk away and buy a better brand....

    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  5. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Houston, TX

    I guess Sears has really gone down hill over the years.

    When I worked there I could do whatever it took to make a customer happy.

    That included Replacement of a Lemon, using another model.

    And Technicians had a book that lists problem units, and recalled parts.

    I think some of those post, in the link you provided was a bit over the hill. But fun reading, Thanks.

    You don't call someone trying to help you a dumb ass, even if they are, If you expect good service at a later date.

    I would call the Sears Service Manager, and ask politely, If he could help fix the problem.

    Most likely this falls under the Lemon Law.


    What a mess.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  6. bill242

    bill242 New Member

    Cardboard Boxes are a major source of lint contamination

    While it may be covered somewhere I failed to see any mention of steps taken to minimize the "lint problem" at its source.
    I am a retired refrigeration tech who has had to deal with refrigeration condensors plugged with various forms of debris including lint. My first exposure to a common cause was dealing with an old style beer case--the kind that had an air curtain you reached through to get your six-pack(s). The earlier sixpak beer containers were made of cardboard not the plastic you see now. When I was trying to find the cause of reduced airflow from the honeycomb at the top where the air was discharged downward to the intake at lip of reach in case I decided to call an old retired refrigeration guy who was one of those unique guys who had always taken the time to determine the "root cause" of the various problems he was confronted with. When I explained my problem with low airflow even though the fans were all working fine, he asked me if the case contained any bottles in cardboard containers. When I told him they were all cardboard, he said for me to pull the honeycomb down and out and to remove all the lint that I would find on the top of the honeycomb air straightener. I was amazed there was so much lint and that it had come off the edges of all the cardboard beer holders. Not long after, I was called to fix an ice machine at Children's Hospital in Palo Alto. As I walked down the hall towards the ice machine I could see cardboard boxes stacked on top, around the sides and elsewhere nearby. I couldn't help but wonder if the condensor was plugged like the beer case, with a lot of lint from the open edges on the box flaps--well it was and from then on I always explained to customers the importance of eliminating the storage of cardboard of any kind, on top of or anywhere near a refrigeration system if they wanted to cut down on the problem with dirty condensors--and to check for lint before they called me. Shutting off the machine for a few minutes and then brushing the condensor and/or using a vacume if available was all they had to do.

    I would suggest a likely cause of a water heaters screen plugged with lint is due to cardboard boxes stored somewhere in the area nearby. Removing the boxes or covering them well with plastic might help to reduce the frequency of cleaning
    At home I only use those plastic boxes you can buy at Hum Depot or Lowers (and walymart, trrget, etc) --no cardboard boxes at my home, anywhere. A solution if you cant remove cardboard boxes is to use a can of spray-paint to coat the edges which will help limit the fibers coming loose (remember not to spray-paint near a gas water heater as the paint vapors are flammable--be careful
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  7. Smunderdog

    Smunderdog New Member

    Just a quick note to say thanks for everyone that has contributed to this thread...

    I just had the opposite experience described above. My unit info is:

    FG1H5040T3NOV model #
    0441108411 serial # (first 4 digits are year and week of manufacture)
    0730269 product #

    It is a Whirlpool branded Craftmaster unit from 2004.

    Over the past week we have had the pilot go out 3x. The first two times I was able to get it to relight, but this morning (Saturday) it would not.

    The 800 number on my manual I called is 877-817-6750. I spoke to Jessica who was most definitely not in India and she was very helpful. Armed with the info in this thread, I told her I was aware of a recall and there was a replacement part available. She made it clear that it wasn't technically a recall, but they had redesigned the part. Whatever. :)

    Since my unit was still under warranty, she is shipping out the part today and claims it will be here on Monday. We'll see.

    Hoping this puts us back in business for awhile longer as I start shopping for a tankless replacement...
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Houston, TX

    Nice that they say they will ship the parts. They should be installed by a licensed technician.

    I think tankless is great.

    Outhouse 1.jpg
  9. you got lucky

    I think you must be the original owner of the water heater
    and you simply got lucky... A Craftmaster is not technically
    a Whirlpool heater.... I dont know if you have the left handed
    threads on the craft master ...

    its all good either way if they are sending you the parts for free.
    that at least takes the sting out of it especially if they dont solve your problem..
    being a 10 year old heater, I would not attempt to throw too much money at this dog if I were you

    now all you got to do is find someone willing to work on it..

    the tankless route is not the way I would suggest going if this repair does not happen....

    but you can decide that on your own

    I hope that you have good luck with your experience...next monday....

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
  10. Smunderdog

    Smunderdog New Member

    Actually the previous owners of the house put this water heater in back in 2004 - not sure if they ever registered it or not, but I didn't have any trouble with getting Jessica on the other end of the 800 number to send this kit out. It arrived as promised this morning by 11 am.

    The unit is a Craftsmaster unit - has their information on the label where the model, serial number etc info is located. It also has Whirlpool branding on it etc.

    There are left hand threads on it, so the new parts included the manifold door assembly and thermocouple adapter. No gas valve sent in this shipment.

    Just installed it and agree with previous posters that the small amount of clean up/vacuumiung (thx for the 90 degree elbow tip!) and getting the screws aligned on the manifold door are the only minor trouble points in the process. I am on my first cycle of getting the water heated back up and so far so good. We'll see what happens over the coming hours/days....

    I know I may have only bought myself some time with it of course. And Mark, I hadn't taken a look at the tankless pros/cons in quite some time and agree that it probably won't be the best fit when we need a new one. Since I'm here in Indy (up in Nora), I may be calling you for a Bradford White install....
  11. I suggest that you leave some gap in the fire wall on the unit so it might get more
    air into it instead of depending on the bottom screen to suck in enough air...

    I did not realize you were in indy, and you are 100% correct that you bought yourself
    some time here... Most heaters dont last more than about 10 years in our water before they
    start to lime up .... You have done well with a craftmaster... they are actually more of a step down
    from the whirlpool back at that time....I think they have gone out of business since then...

    Be warned if the heater is somewhere in yourhome where it might cause some water damage
    I suggest you go to ******* and buy a 10 dollar water alarm called Zircon and place it close to the heater
    cause that day its gonna start to leak is soon comming.....

    good luck either way....
  12. Tim in Fort Worth

    Tim in Fort Worth New Member

    Man, it really cracks me up that this thread is still out there and churning up trouble for Whirlpool! Is it possible that the comments here have somehow affected the engineering and design of later water heaters? Hopefully, no one has died because of these water heaters and if true, that might be in part because of all the information here. But I am also curious, does the person with the last Whirlpool Flamelock water heater still standing win a prize of some sort? It would be cool if someone could acquire it and put it on display in the Smithsonian, or at least the Plumbing Hall of Fame.
  13. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 New Member

    St. Charles County, MO.
    Just found this thread looking for a dip tube for my FG1H5040T3NOV. I bought and installed this October 2004, and two weeks ago, started getting 10 minute hot showers. From what I saw on the internet, the dip tubes were a problem on mid-late 90's models, not in 2004. At any rate, the tube broke at the flare but was otherwise intact. While I had the tank drained, I pulled the gas valve and burner, both of which were in great shape, save for some lime crust covering the thermostat. There was VERY little debris inside the tank, which surprised me, especially not having a water softener or filter. There was a thin layer of white soot on the bottom of the tank which cleaned up easily. I cleaned the thermocouple and pilot nozzle with a dollar bill and re-installed everything. I fished the dip tube out and went all over town looking for a replacement with no luck. I reinserted the dip tube into the nipple and secured it temporarily with stainless screws until I can find a replacement. I fired it back up, checked for leaks, then went to bed, dreaming of a nice hot shower in the morning. No luck. The pilot went out at some point. The thing made it all this way, then I go and clean it up and now this, lol. Will try to give Whirlpool a buzz to see if they'll bite. :)

  14. you have really stepped in it now....
    you should have let sleeping dogs lie...

    10 years is really a great life out of one of these peices of junk
    You would be wiser to just get a new heater from Rheem or bradford.

    I am very curious to see what whilrpool will do for you....wether they charge
    your for parts or send them for free...

    I am presently
    getting about a call a day on average with someone asking for help
    with this trash.... most have already repaired the unit once or twice..

    good luck.... it will be an experience you wont soon forget

  15. doing what I can to keep this thread alive...
    this thread started back in 2005...that is pushing 10 years
    ago and it just seems like yesterday ...

    we are presently changeing out about one whirlpool
    water heater a week . On average they are not leakers
    but usually there is something wrong with the parts and
    the folks are tired of messing with them...

    we are dealing with more and more of the newer honeywell style
    thermostats with the red blinking lights on them and the thermopile
    style flame ....

    It does not look like there will ever be and end in sight on this
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
  16. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    After replacing the gas valve/thermostat that was at the heart of the problem, my Whirlpool never had any more problems. If you search you will find where Curlysir found the memo relating to a faulty thermal protection switch in these. After that most of the problems began to die down. You can ignore comments about how they are all bad, as the assertion is clearly wrong as evidenced here and elsewhere. Replacement of the older parts was free if you called and/or worked with the local store (hey, I didn't even buy the thing, had no receipt, and I ended up getting parts at no charge.) It does require some basic handyman skills/leak checking ability to do the swap, but that is way cheaper than hiring someone to install a new tank...

    Sold the home a few months back. Got 6 years total out of the water heater and I don't see any reason for it to fail anytime soon on the new owner. While I'm not fond of the Whirlpool's air supply/flame arrestor layout, I can attest that it does work in a normal utility room environment with washer/dryer. If it got linted up, I would expect trouble though.

    There was/and is a lot of FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) spread by some, but their analysis of what was the root cause of the problem was way off target for years and remains so. It wasn't a bad theory to blame the restrictive air inlet, but it didn't match observed behavior in most cases reported here. It however, did cause some of the problems. A clogged air supply is a bad thing. But when it isn't clogged and the thing still won't run, and the TC swap doesn't work...well, the part left to consider on the tank is the gas control valve/thermostat. Now, there was one limit left to confirming that: sometimes the replacement gas valves would also fail in short order, because bad batches of the part proved to be the primary problem. But once identified, they were removed from the parts bin and things cleared up.

    A good troubleshooter who understood the physical system and controls should pick up on the gas valve being the culprit after a little reflection...but the thread went on for years with various diversions before I experienced the problem and noted that particular aspect. Curlysir provided the confirming documentation and after that it has been a piece of cake to address the issue. Or...one could go the expensive FUD route and swap out tanks any time a part fails on a Whirlpool...some folks make money off doing that.
    Master Plumber Mark likes this.
  17. fiveliter8

    fiveliter8 New Member

    St. Charles County, MO.
    Ooops! Forgot to update you all. Whirlpool said they no longer issue those kits (free) and my only course of action was to see if Lowes had any remaining kits. I went to three Lowe's and none of them had any.
  18. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Houston, TX
    Why would Lowe's have them ?

    Sounds like someone was blowing smoke up your ass.

    My guess is a Sears service center may have them, if anyone.

    Free ?
  19. [QUOTE="Runs with bison,

    A good troubleshooter who understood the physical system and controls should pick up on the gas valve being the culprit after a little reflection...but the thread went on for years with various diversions before I experienced the problem and noted that particular aspect. Curlysir provided the confirming documentation and after that it has been a piece of cake to address the issue. Or...one could go the expensive FUD route and swap out tanks any time a part fails on a Whirlpool...some folks make money off doing that.[/QUOTE]

    so basically you repaired your crappy water heater, sold your house and moved on .... and you claim in your post that you know that eventually the next fellow that owns the home will have to deal with the water heater that you had so much trouble with in the first place??? Good going ...

    Ok I get it FUD ....so its all a conspiracy by the plumbers out there to change out water heaters that could be somehow repaired .. Even though you know that you have simply passed the buck to someone else because you are too much of a tight ass to do it right ... So now your whilrpool water heater is the next guys problem...

    ok.... I get it..
    Terry likes this.
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