Whirlpool Flame Lock Heater Often Fails to Maintain Hot Water ("False" Status Light)

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Tyr

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Hi, I have a Whirlpool Energy Smart gas water heater with flame lock that all of a sudden often fails to maintain a tank of hot water throughout the day (has never done this before). One time I take a hot shower, then after a few hours, no hot water. I go to the heater and the status light indicator says normal (1 flash every 3 seconds) and the pilot light is still lit. Another time was before showering (ugh).

This happens throughout the day and every time I go check the heater, theres a normal indicator light and the pilot light is lit, it just refuses to crank up any gas/heat unless I reset it by turning the heater off for a few mins and turning it back on; pilot light stays lit, it fires up without any problems and I get hot water after a few minutes. This has been my band-aid solution but its getting annoying.

I have little sense of any of this and dare not mess with anything for fear I will do something stupid/unsafe. Also have a CO and smoke detector next to my heater for safety. I have searched a little through the stickied Whirlpool thread here but it seems that most people have a completely failed thermocouple and their pilot lights won't light at all, but mine works fine per se. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

Gary Swart

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As you probably realize, this is not a favored brand. My best advice is to call a service man that is familiar with the Whirlpool heaters. I know you are looking for an inexpensive DIY fix, but sometimes that just isn't possible.
 

MARSappliance

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You will want to call the phone number on the side of your heater - If you have cleaned the Flame trap on the bottom of heater and cannot reset - by pushing the little peg in the center of the white round button with the two wires connected at the bottom right side of the burner assembly then you will probably want to request a gas control valve and a thermistor kit. Sounds like the Gas control valve may not be reading a proper thermistor failure - and if you have a thermistor failure that will also need to be replaced. The thermistors detect diff in resistance from top to bottom of tank (essentially diff in temp)
 

Dj2

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How old is your heater?

- Put the thermostat on vacation mode. Is the pilot on? It's on, good.
- Move it to "hot" - do you get a full flame? if no, you call Whirlpool, if you under warranty.

Whirlpool will give you the run around, and may require a licensed plumber to be involved. Then it's your call: hire one or replace the water heater (depending on the age of the unit). If you know how to replace the heater, it may be less money than getting a plumber.
 
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