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

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Terry

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Troubleshooting, repair and support for the Whirlpool Water Heater.
recall, parts, reviews, warranty, manual

A readers email,

I read the thread regarding the Whirlpool Flame Lock water heaters. I also own a Whirlpool Flame Lock water heater like those described (FG1H4040T3NOV), and have had the same problem several times. Last week the thermocouple burned out again, and Whirlpool insists that the problem is related to the air intake screen.

I replaced the thermocouple (which I think I could now do blindfolded), but this time tried something else. I popped out the round viewing plug that allows you to see the pilot light when lighting and checking the water heater. I'm sure it isn't recommended, but my water heater is no where near combustible material or vapors, so I'm not worried about it. I originally popped out the plug the day the water heater was installed because the ignitor wasn't working and I resorted to using a match on a long stick. At that time I replaced the viewing plug. In removing it after this last thermocouple replacement the water heater now has a new source for air that is approximately 1" in diameter.

Other than the safety aspects, which I believe are minimal, do you think this will supply enough fresh air to the burner compartment to keep the thermocouple from burning up?

Thanks,
Tim in Fort Worth

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/whirlpool_water_heaters.html

Whirlpool Water Heater pictures

http://whirlpoolwaterheaterrepair.com/

Here is an update from Master Plumber Mark
9/15/2013


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....
 
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Jimbo

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It would be very hard to say anything to you except you have violated federal law, local building codes, and have probalby voided your fire insurance.
If the additional air provided by that hole is enough to "fix" some problem, then it is SOME PROBLEM!

The Whirlpools have attracted a lot of negative attention. Is yours still under any warranty? I think I would be leaning on Whirlpool for some answers. If you got it at the big blue box, it seems they should take it back, even if WP won't fis it.
 

Master Plumber Mark

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Flame Locks ARE PIECES OF JUNK

I am presently repairing about 2 -5 of these dogs a month...
for an average of $250 with me supplying parts


go look at my web page to see what is wrong
with this brand of water heater.......


you got to clean the bottom of the heater screen
or all your troubles are in vain.........

These units need to be cleaned about 3 times a year
becasue they suck up lint and hair like a vaccuum sweeper...

its all there with actual pics of the problem.....

just scroll down to the WHIRLPOOL SECTION
with pictures
and its all there for the world to see

http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/

IN MY HONEST OPINION
the people -that desigend this water heater at
AMERICAN WATER HEATERS are
totally incompetent morons......

someone, someday, is going to get seriously burned or killed
tampering with this brand themsleves

and then their will be a major RECALL, and LAWSUIT
and I hope that-- LOWES , WHIRLPOOL< and AMERICAN WATER HEATERS
who makes this piece of JUNK gets the pants
sued off of all of them..
for still selling them to an unsuspecting public...

(for about $100 dollars less than I can put a good one in for)


I am makeing pretty good money repairing them every week,
but I would rather seem them re-called and taken off the market

mark_wh_wp_01.jpg


mark_wh_08.jpg


dust, lint, cat hair, dog hair, people hair.....ect

mark_wh_02.jpg
 
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Jimbo

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Terry, have you heard back from the reader who sent in that email? Wonder if he has been able to get his problem fixed in proper manner.
 

Terry

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Jimbo,
I just sent Tim an email asking how things went.
Hopefully I get a response.
If nothing else, I'm replacing an old water heater in a home I'm buying this week, so the information at least helps me.
Thanks Mark.

Terry
 
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Mad Plumber

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Jimbo:
> It would be very hard to say anything to you except
you have
> violated federal law, local building codes, and have

> probalby voided your fire insurance.
> If the additional air provided by that hole is
enough to
> "fix" some problem, then it is SOME PROBLEM!

In looking at the information I found on the Internet
I would agree that the thermocouple issue is "SOME
PROBLEM". I'm not sure how the absence of the viewing
plug is a safety issue, being that it still provides
less of an opening to the burner than any older water
heater I have seen. The difference is that the hole
provides a direct source of fresh air to the pilot
light in addition to the screen on the bottom of the
unit. There is also a direct line of sight between
the pilot light and the fresh air source.

> The Whirlpools have attracted a lot of negative
attention.
> Is yours still under any warranty? I think I would
be
> leaning on Whirlpool for some answers. If you got it
at the
> big blue box, it seems they should take it back,
even if
> WP won't fis it.

The water heater has a 9 year warranty. The first
time it happened I wanted to exchange the water heater
for another brand, but Lowes said they wouldn't do it.
I called Whirlpool and dealt with them for a while on
the phone, but they wouldn't take it back either.
They sent out a replacement thermocouple, but for some
reason, in the next few days I also received a box
with another thermocouple plus regulator unit. That's
strange, since I never reported a problem with the
regulator.

This last time, I was told some strange things by
Whirlpool customer Service. The informed me that they
no longer provide RA #s that allow the customer to
pick up the part at Lowes, and that I would have to
purchase the part myself and ask Whirlpool for
reimbursement. If I wanted it sent by Whirlpool there
would be a $5 charge for S&H. Evidently Whirlpool has
paid some coin in maintaining the warranty. The
customer rep I talked to agreed to send one to me and
waive the charge, but this would be the last time they
did so.

I hung up the phone, but called back about 30 minutes
later with some additional questions. Low and behold!
In the next several days I received my thermocouple.
The next day I also received another thermocouple.
Customer Service apparently duplicated the order.
What is also interesting is that one of these
shipments also contained two plastic screen pieces
that are designed to wrap around the bottom of the
water heater and act as a primary filter to keep dust
away from the main filter on the bottom of the water
heater. The instructions indicate that only one strip
is used, so I guess they sent me an extra one. Each
strip will only wrap about half-way around the heater.

What's funny is that I have heard several different
stories from Lowes and Whirlpool about this over the
several times I have had to deal with it. The last
time I drove all over the city to various Lowes and
none of them had the part. They said there was a "bad
lot" of thermocouples. Whirlpool denied it. Most
recently, the first rep I talked to said the part was
"doing exactly what it was supposed to" by burning
out.

So in answer to your question, no the problem isn't
fixed in the "proper manner". But because I don't see
any immediate or critical safety issues I'm going to
leave the plug out as an experiment to see if it
corrects the problem. If it doesn't I would think
that there is more to this issue than a throttled air
supply from a dirty screen. It's strange that I
haven't seen anything on the .gov sites about this.
Maybe the feds aren't aware of the problem.

Tim in Fort Worth
 

Master Plumber Mark

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everyone knows about this

everyone knows about this problem but the consumer...



http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/



Lowes knows, whirlpool knows, american water heaters know


they sell them because peopel think that they are
saveing a substantial amount of money over having a
plumber install one for them....

people dont factor in LABOR ISSUES into that cheap price
when they buy it.... so they pay through the nose

some people have paid for repairs more than once in less than a year..



I feel that someone is bribeing someone in high places
to keep this situatioin from becomming a major recall for
AMERICAN WATER HEATERS which is presently
owned by some canadians. lol


good luck and be careful whatever you do...
 
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Cass

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Came across my first Whirlpool gas heater with the problem. We'll see what they say on monday when I call.
 

Master Plumber Mark

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free advice for you

you got to clean the air intake from
underneath with a steel brush and clean
the inside screen too.....

or your repiars can literally all be in vain within
an hour of the repairs....


I dont know if I would even warranty the repairs for more than
30 days.....

I had one go bad that was 9 months out
from my original service call... what do you do for them??


you can get the parts at lowes...for around 85 bucks....

the only sure cure to their crummey unit
is to get more air into the unit somehow....

thats really pretty simple to do,


but that is up to you to figure out....

mark_wh_wp_01.jpg


mark_wh_08.jpg


dust, lint, cat hair, dog hair, people hair.....ect
mark_wh_02.jpg
 
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Cass

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I have it figured, but I am going to try to get a new heater out of them.
 

Cass

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Well I got the new tank and set it on solid blocks in such a way as to be able to clean the air intake. It came with a screen to wrap around the base but I decided not to use it. If it didn't work I would not be able to get to the air intake as you can't set it on blocks and have the screen work. I am going try making a different type of screen setup my self.
 

Cass

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No. All they have done is made some kind of filter that wraps all the way around the bottom of the heater filtering the air B4 it gets to the air intake.
It goes from the floor to the bottom of the heater. I don't know what they would tell you to do for an uneven floor. It might work but....Im sure it was designed by the same engineers as the heater so I don't trust it :)
 
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Master Plumber Mark

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total fools----

aint that something.... the stupid idiots..

its so simple to fix, but those arrogant enjeneers

cant admit they have made a lemon...


and wont do what it takes to make it right,,,


well it keeps me busy.....http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/
 
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RRW

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After reading the horror stories I put a strip of Honeywell air filter pre-filter mesh around the bottom of my Whirlpool. So far so good. After looking at the pictures I am thinking it might be worth a try to clean the bottom filter with a propane torch, at least that would singe all the lint to ashes. (This is not a reccomendation as I have never tried it) RW
 

Master Plumber Mark

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dont try that

I would not try burning off the lint or

dirt with a torch........you might melt or afix the dirt

to the screen.....

or singe off your eyebrows.....

-------------------------------------------------------------------
here are some pics of a praticulary nasty dirty one I
just tangled with last week....


I AM SAD TO REPORT THAT I LOST---------AND IT WON..

http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryii/


--------------------------------------------------------------------------
on another note I got a call from some lawyers in Chicago that
are getting together a class action lawsuit against Whirlpool
and the FLAME LOCK MESS


they are sniffing around right now looking to file
a class actioin lawsuit over this water heater and it will probably
be happenning up in Michigan real soon.



I got the impression that their is actually more then one group of lawyers

"smelling blood in the water" because I got the impression that

their was a race on to be first one to file.

sort of like sharks and a feeding frenzy LOL
 
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Cass

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I also tangeled with one 3 weeks ago. What I did was attatch a 1"
90 to the end of a vacume with duck tape and slowly went over the air intake area which was clogged with lint/dust. This worked great and cleaned the screen completly. Replaced the thermocouple and we were off to the races.
 

jtjgvle

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OH NO! I just installed one of these Flame Lock water heaters last night in my house! I see this thread had been dead for a while but I wonder if any one has any new ideas about hwo to avoid this. What happened with the sight glass being removed?
 

Dunbar Plumbing

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jtjgvle said:
OH NO! I just installed one of these Flame Lock water heaters last night in my house! I see this thread had been dead for a while but I wonder if any one has any new ideas about hwo to avoid this. What happened with the sight glass being removed?


If there is a "B" in the serial tag number supposedly this corrects the thermocouple issue but does not address the flamelock setup problems.


Don't attempt to remove that sight glass in your unit; wipes out your warranty instantly and your home insurance will not cover any damages caused by flash fire in the event that a fire occurred.
 
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