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

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

  1. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
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    Now calm down.... little bison fella... dont get your panties into a bind... Now if I have
    made you tear up or cry... I just want to say I am sorry.... you got away scott free and its
    their problem now... I understand...you did not do anything wrong little buddy.
    that mean nasty old whirlpool water heater will probably last for decades... its nothing for you to feel guilty about...little buddy.:(:(.

    You are right ...of course its all a conspiracy.... and I am the guy behind all of it....
    you got my number. little buddy...you got me figured out..

    I have been sticking it to all the folks with Whirlpool water heaters..all over the USA.
    .and all the plumbers have been sending me a commission on every water heater that
    they they replace...... I am the one who started this whole ball rolling 14 years ago.....

    sure their are probably 250,000 complaints on the internet
    about this crappy brand... but I am somehow behind it all....

    pay no attention to all the web sites out there with complaints on them
    just ignore all that bullshit......

    :cool::cool::cool:I am the puppet master behind it all:cool::cool::cool:

    Maybe you could blame Terry Love too.. he started this thread back in 2005
    and I bet that bastard has really cleaned up BIG TIME too.:D:D:D

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    SATRUDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE..... today I have received 3 calls from people attempting to repair their crappy whirlpool heater......one from Texas, one from Los Angeles and one from Indiana about this water heater....

    Now Little Bison... I guess I should have asked them for their credit card number and got a 30 dollar referral --diagnostic fee for talking to them for 15 minutes each...
    what do you think ..is 30 bucks too much..to ask?? I have been doing this for FREE for about 10 years now....what a sap I am...

    .what do you think Terry Love been charging everyone for trying to help someone out of a jam over the phone...

    I TELL YOU BISON,,,, :eek::eek::eek:ITS A CONSPIRACY:mad::mad::mad:o_Oo_O
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  2. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
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    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    BISON... I got two more calls on Monday on the Whirlpool heater and how to make repairs to it
    so it must be the change in temps this week that is making them pop....

    if you would like to be part of this "conspiracy" please just give me your phone number
    and I could add it to my web site for someone to give out free advice to anyone who calls........

    I could send all these folks with bad water heaters directly to you and you could talk them
    through how to fix their 12 year old whirlpool water heaters....

    I am sure you could talk them through it........little buddy....:D;)
     
  3. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
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    BISON... I got 5 calls today alone on help repairing whirlpool water heaters....

    are you sure you do not want in on this action???
     
  4. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    I wonder how many of them you actually gave good advice to?

    You can keep on quoting yourself on the "conspiracy" thing. You are good at strawman arguments, but demonstrably suck at diagnosing control systems. And ultimately that is what this Whirlpool thread is about. Too bad that after all these years, you still don't have a clue...and it is your JOB. Some of us do it for free just because we have a knack for it.
     
  5. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
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    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
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    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Well... I had one guy with a 14 year old whirlpool heater installed into an attic.... He could not find the parts to
    repair the unit and wanted to know if the gas thermostat was common and could be bought anywhere....


    being its 14 years old ....which is rare for this brand and its in the attic
    what kind of advice would you have given him on how to repair his water heater??


    I am just wondering how you would have expertly handled that one
    would have told him to throw a few hundred dollars at it and see if he could
    squeeze another year or two out of it ??
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  6. MARSappliance

    MARSappliance New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Johnson City, Tennessee
    A few comments on the FVIR screen or Flame trap as it is more commonly referred to – it was designed around 1998 in response to reports that the old open combustion chamber heater were shooting flames out the bottom. The problem that arose was that regardless of the amount of stickers that warning consumers not to place flammable materials in close vicinity to an open combustion chamber which often resulted in grave consequences – people kept doing it. There fore American water heater under the brands of American, Whirlpool, AO Smith, US craft-master, Environment, Lowe's, ect (all models that begin with FG) designed the first sealed combustion chamber heater. Which worked beautifully for the purpose it was designed for – that is to keep flames from shooting out of the heater – However if maintenance is not done every 3-6 months on the FT on the bottom the air intake will clog it is made up of over 1500 pin size holes in the FT – so it takes very little to clog them.


    Nuisance Safety Device – left hand thread thermal fuse – American needed a safety for a (flammable – vapor – incident) this is when a flammable vapor enters the combustion chamber and ignights – the first gen design in the FG models has a fusible link on the left hand thread thermal couple – with a FVI (flammable Vapor Indecent) – this will burn out and break continuity on the Thermal Couple (provides voltage to gas valve) – the result is a heater that will not light. This became a nuisance to consumers and as a result of a class action suit in 2008 American issued a free BFG conversion kit to all owners under warranty – and sent an announcement to all that had registered their heaters.


    BFG – conversion – IN Warranter (Still Free – ask for free shipping – no hot water), out of warranty if never order before it is still $34.98 plus shipping.

    What it includes – new burner assembly – manifold door assembly – manifold tube – igniter – right hand to left hand (metallic colored) conversion nut (wire lead on each side) – new igniter wire and igniter. (engineering says fine to use grill igniter from lowes if you need to replace this part) – 24” right hand thread thermal couple – resistible Thermal cut off switch (TCO or reset) – and wires to run to the switch.(Converter will not pas milli volts to gas valce if this is not connected)


    Thermal Couple – maintaining the FT(flame trap) and ensuring properly drafting venting will keep suit off the Thermal Couple – which can cause premature failure – also when installing a new TC (Thermal Couple) TC needs to be position 1/8 to ¼ inch past the pilot – if pilot burns on tip of TC it will not produce enough MV(milli Volt) Signal – you should feel it snap in place when slid into the bracket.


    TCO or Reset Switch – (almost never go bad – but often misdiagnosed) inside the TCO is a small piece of bi-metal when it receives to high parts per million – it dimples out and breaks contact - simple applying of medium pressure to the small peg in the center of the whit round button with the two wires connected to it.

    - HOW to check (recommended) – check resistance from one connection pin to another on the switch – if OL(open loop) apply pressure to peg. And check again (If bad – must order whole BFG conversion kit again – (if you ask tech support can adjust price – be nice – they can set their own price) (do not ever by from lowes – stopped carrying in 2012 what they have left is not right part).

    -how to check (not recommended) – lay jumper across connector – will work but heater is unsafe. (also can miss other problems in diagnostic process)


    How the TC (thermal couple) works – it is made up of two dissimilar metals – as they are heated they develop a small DC electrical current called (Milli volts). This current is passed through the TC to the Gas control valve – inside the Gas Control Valve is an electro magnet – when energized it hold the gas valve open allowing gas to pass through to the burner.


    **** full lighting instructions not printed in manuel or on sticker****

    Step 1 – clean FT with long handled plastic bristle brush (dry) – if it has been longer than 3 months since las cleaning

    Step 2 – Push peg in center of reset or TCO button (YOU WILL NOT FEEL IT MOVE!!!)

    Step 3 – Set top nob on GCV (Gas Control Valve) to pilot

    Step 4 – Set Thermostat nob on GCV (Gas Control Valve to pilot)

    Step 5 – Press and Hold Down Red Pilot button (Top of GCV) - will need to continue to hold button down for maximum of 30 seconds after pilot is lit.

    Step 6 – With pilot button held down – hit igniter 10 times.

    Step 7 – Keep red button held down for 60 seconds.

    Step 8 – release red button and set top nob to on.

    Step 9 – turn thermostate clock wise to the white mark past warm.


    If followed all these steps and does not light -

    1st – ensure pilot is lighting by laying on your side (head pointed toward sight glass) and look in the upper left hand corner of sight class to see pilot flame. - no flame (replace ignighter)

    2nd – after ensuring that the pilot is lighting – test thermal couple for dc millivolts with a digital multi meeter – *** without testing 50/50 shot of bad thermal couple or bad gas control valve***


    How to test thermal couple – Set DMM(digital multi meeter) to lowest dc mv setting – unthread thermal couple from converter – place one lead on tip of unthreaded end of the thermal couple and one on the nut. - light pilot as normal.

    0-9 mili volts - thermal couple bad 10-15

    10 and up – bad Gas control valve


    Model number serial number for American water heaters

    FG1F – F=flame guard, G=gas, 1=1”shank gas valve, F=6 year warranty, H=9 year warranty, J=12 year warentee

    SN 0925 (example) all info needed in firt four numbers firt 2 year eaample 09=2009, 2nd two numbers manufacture week (example 25 = 25th week of 2009). Warentee goes by manufacture date in serial number – unless american recieves a pop by email or fax.


    Any other questions about any other american product feel free to ask.


    Sight glass – if removed voids warranty – and home is no longer protected from a flammable vapor indecent.


    Mobile Appliance Repair Services
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2016
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  7. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
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    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
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    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Thats a lot of good information you have there
    it looks like you have been fighting with this brand for
    a long while ......

    If the sight glass is broken out it voids the warranty
    You would not believe how many whirlpool water heaters
    I see with the sight glass already broken out....I dont know if it is
    because of frustration and they are attempting to light the flame with
    a match or they are trying to get more air into the unit......

    correct me if I am wrong, but if you take the front panel off the unit
    and do not use a new seal when re-installing it.. does that not also void
    the warranty on this unit too???..

    Like what has already been discussed. in the last 34 pages
    .. do you think it is wise to send
    these parts out to folks that have no idea what they are doing???



     
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  8. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    Sunday, July 4th weekend 2016..... I have gotten 4 calls today with folks that could not get their
    Whirlpool gas water heaters to light up.. They are all about 3 years old or newer and have
    the honeywell blinking gas valves on them with the newer Thermoplye parts that are not available
    at Lowes.... I have told all of them the same story...
    Call the whirlpool 1-800 # and wait in line for parts to arrive....maybe by next thrusday
    .



    ...then give me a call back....
     
  9. PaintyLiz

    PaintyLiz New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2017
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    so glad I found this page! I have two of these horrible water heaters in my house. I did not know that a "B" indicated I could just replace the thermocouple so I bought the whole guts for one of them. Fortunately was only $35.

    Please help! now the white thermo-switch is not working on the other one, and I can't figure out how to replace it. How do I get it off and Where do I get a new one? I haven't found anything online that resembles the one on the heater.

    Thanks in advance

    Liz
     
  10. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    I talked to My SMITH dealer in town and they are pretty pissed off about LOWES getting to use the SMITH name on their products....

    I asked them if they would warranty parts if someone were to walk in and try to get "hardware store smith parts" directly from them...??

    . He tells me that this has already happenned to them with dumbasses showing up with "lowes Smith heaters " and expecting them to bail them out of trouble .....

    According to this SMITH supplier , all that has happenned is they have put a WHIRLPOOL heater into a box that says Smith on it......its exactly the same Whirlpool heater and just the name has changed .. the parts are the same ... And they are sub standard parts compaired to what goes on a SMITH water heater

    I then asked him if this was deceptive and wont it sort of drag down the Smith name over time once the Whirlpool--Smith heaters begin to fail and they get a bad name ???

    This supply house is something that this fellow owns himself and has attempted to build up for well over 15 years now and said he was not very happy about how Smith has pissed in his face and any of this mess that has landed on his doorstep.......f
     
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  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    John Smith is very popular.

    I go by Johnny Cash to avoid giving my address and credit card number.
     
  12. Clog

    Clog Member

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    The limitations on one of the FVIR safety recalls (covering a 5 year range of units built from 2011 to 2016), plus the changeover in brand name at Lowe's (eliminating Whirlpool and adopting the AO Smith brand for what appears to be the same American design heater)... plus no further comments to this thread since 2017... can lead one to think that AO Smith / American FVIR units built in 2018 and beyond are OK now? Or still an issue?

    There is a supply chain AO Smith model that is identical in features and specs to the AO Smith unit sold at Lowe's (supply chain unit has shorter warranty), and both are identical in features and specs to an American Water heater unit, all recently (2018) manufactured. Are not these updated with a more reliable FVIR system than what American began with in the Whirlpool brand years ago?
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  13. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    Thats a good question.... I have not had to deal with one yet....
    mostly the older whirlpools I get calls for still
    even today I talked to someone about a 9 year old unit........

    I dont really care to go spend the money and buy one and
    compare it to an actual REAL Smith unit from a plumbing supply
    house....... that would mean buying 2 of them and fooling with them
    to see how much cheaper the Lowes unit is.....

    Only Time will tell ,
    I would guess they still will get all clogged up with lint.....



    .....
     
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  14. Clog

    Clog Member

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    Last year I pulled the parts print for them both, along with the American, and did not find an appreciable difference. But every week I learn more, so whatever I was focused on last year may not have been as detailed or as comprehensive as what I would reexamine this year. So I think I will dig around for those print outs again and if I find them, and find a difference, I will get back to you with whatever the findings are.
     
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  15. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    I personally think that they had such a terrible disaster on their hands that they
    finally just had to fire the upper management and then make or copy
    the design of a better quality water heater ..... I really dont get a lot of
    issues out of the Real Smith heaters around here....

    If we get slow some day I might take the time and buy a real Smith just to see
    their innards... not sure what they are using these days...


    The REAL LEGIT SMITHS used to have some funkey kind of thermo-coupling back from 2001 through the teens and I think they now have a thermopile instead of the old copper thingy with the Honeywell control....



    I think the worst of this nightmare is more than over and all that is left are the older junkers that are now well over 10 years old so this thread is probably gonna pass into internet history............
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
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  16. Clog

    Clog Member

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    Unlike the big box store Rheems at Home Depot, some of which have a brass drain valve, the big box store AO Smiths at Lowes have a white nylon drain valve, even the Signature Premier series.

    Not that this matters much, because even the brass drain valves that ship with supplier house water heaters are not typically straight through full port flow. They have to be child safe too, so they won't have easy operating handles. So if you are a DIY, in a child free home, and want a straight through full diameter port in order to stick a rod in the tank to knock loose some of the sediment, then you'll likely want to change out the supplied brass drain valve anyway, so why pay anything extra for it?
     
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  17. Bruce S

    Bruce S New Member

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    Apr 6, 2020
    Location:
    Illinois
    I just registered so I could ask for some advice about my own Whirlpool Flame Lock water heater, but after reading some of this thread, I'm thinking I should maybe just replace it with a better quality model. I'm not having any water heating issues, but I do have a consistent thumping sound every time it turns on.

    Some brief background. I had the system installed in 2012 as a replacement for the original from 2001, and a new control valve installed in 2014. My water is on a well and it is quite hard, so I had Culligan install a water softener system in 2005 and a hydrogen sulfide filter system a year later. I am completely satisfied with the Culligan system, but I am experiencing a consistent thumping sound when the water heater burner activates. I know that is usually a symptom of sediment buildup on the bottom of the tank so I took the steps to clean it out. Bear with me here.

    1. The first time I attempted to clean the thank, I turned off the gas line, closed the water inlet, connected a hose to the drain valve, opened a hot water faucet and then opened the drain valve. The water drained very slowly, around an hour but I didn't really time just how long it took. After it was drained, I closed everything up and waited for the water heater to fill and then relit the pilot light. After a few minutes, the thumping sound returned.

    2. The next day I drained the tank again, but this time I also removed the anode rod to help with the draining, although the draining still went very slowly. After the tank was empty, I opened and closed the water inlet several times to try and stir up any sediment on the bottom of the tank while keeping the drain line opened. Didn't really notice any more sediment from the hose. I repeated this 4 or 5 times before closing everything up and waited for the tank to fill. When the flame turned on, after a few minutes the thumping sound returned. The anode rod was corroded but was in surprisingly good shape.

    3. My final attempt was to open everything up again, but this time I added a gallon of CLR (on the recommendation of another website) and let it sit for 5 hours. I opened and closed the water inlet several times as before and let the system drain completely. I then opened the inlet for a minute to add water to the bottom of the tank and used a small air compressor to blow air into the drain valve in hopes it would loosen up any sediment. I replace the anode rod with a new one, buttoned everything up and proceeded to let the tank fill. When the flame came on, after a few minutes the thumping sound returned.

    I am now at a loss. I have very little plumbing experience and next to zero gas experience, so don't want to really try and dig much deeper into something of which I am not familiar. I would rather stop working on something a step too soon rather than go a step too far and really muck things up. Is this thumping a known issue? Will I have a massive water heater failure in my future? Anyone have any words of advice that I should check next or just bite the bullet and replace the Whirlpool with a Rheem or Bradford White? Or some other recommended brand. Thanks.
     
  18. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    Do you have a expansion tank ? Are you on city water ?

    Some noise can be expected due to expansion from a cold to hot water tank heating up.

    From what I have seen, The better heaters DO NOT have a plastic drain valve. A plastic drain valve is a dead giveaway of Cheap.

    Good Luck.
     
  19. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    you are wasting your time with a 2001 water heater.... its 19 years old
    so what more can you expect from it???

    I think its probably a whirlpool heater from before the change over to the
    FVIR series.... You have done extremely well with the heater to last that long
    on well water... so dont waste any more money..

    To be pro-active and change the heater out with another brand would probably
    be wise to do some day before it decides to go out on a holiday or on christmas....






     
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  20. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    It should at least heat Hot Water. :rolleyes:
     
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