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Thread: "Life Time" Warranty Water Heaters?

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  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member Mike Swearingen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    On Albemarle Sound In Northeastern NC

    Default "Life Time" Warranty Water Heaters?

    In order to keep from regularly changing out my electric water heater located in the utility room inside our home, I brilliantly switched to a Whirlpool 50-gallon "Life Time" Warranty Model # EE3Z5ORD055V in Dec 1994. (It's just my wife and I, and a rare house guest, using it.)
    Yesterday, June 30, 2007, I removed the 4th and installed the 5th one in 12.5 years! I have the paperwork to prove it. I've never had a problem getting a free replacement authorization from Whirlpool or a new water heater from Lowe's, but it is a real hassle to pull out the old one, do a 90-mile round-trip to the nearest Lowe's to exchange it, and then install a new one so frequently.
    The replacement heater is "free", but that does not include any labor or expenses (I DIY anyway).
    Does anyone have a good recommendation for a reliable "Life Time" Warranty water heater? I average having to change out these Whirlpool wonders in less than 3 years each. Unbelieveable! The only plus is that I get the latest, more energy efficient version of that model.
    I'm just tired of dealing with this junk. LOL
    Last edited by Mike Swearingen; 07-02-2007 at 10:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area


    Those Whirlpool water heaters are AKA Craftmaster. Craftmaster is made by American water Heaters.

    Home Quarters sold that,
    Central Hardware sold that,
    Builder's Square sold that,
    Furrow's sold that.
    Lowe's currently sells it and it's always cheaper than the competition. For every person that installs one, 4 will keep buying not knowing they have warranty options to cover the cost. In the grand scheme of things this means that they take their chances knowing that they can keep selling them and make money at doing so. The odds are in their favor.

    That tank is the notorious for being the most inexpensive built tank, ever.

    To give benefit of the doubt, hard water/high water pressure, lack of dielectrics, grounding issues..........do any of these play a part in its failure?
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  3. #3
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Blog Entries

    Talking American is junk

    American water heaters are junk...

    but even those pieces of junk should last
    5 years or more......

    As the noble and wise MR Rugged stated,
    their is probably an issue
    other than just the junk you keep buying......


    was anyone aware that A>O>SMITH has
    recently bought out AMERICAN???

  4. #4
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    Yes, in agreement with RUGGED and MPM.

    Any heater should last 6-7 years. You have something else going on there.

    What is the water pressure?

    Throw a copper jumper between the hot and cold above the heater and install brass nipples. Also install a jumper over the incoming water line and the PRV, check, and ball valve.

    I would also check the ground to the heater and be sure it is working.

  5. #5
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    You are the exception to the normal consumer! The reason that stores tout "lifetime warranties" is that ALMOST NO ONE will ever make a claim on the warranty, so their exposure is minimal, and the advertising hype is priceless from a marketing standpoint.

    Naturally, the try to ensure that no one can make a claim.....original purchaser only, need the receipt, etc.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member Mike Swearingen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    On Albemarle Sound In Northeastern NC


    It's the heater brand itself then.
    I have a whole house water softener, so hard water isn't the issue.
    The public County water pressure is only about 50 psi or so way out here on the end of the string in the boonies.
    The water heater has a good ground through the nearby electrical panel (30 amp breaker, 10/2wg wire), properly wired and tested by yours truly (50-year+ DIYer).
    And it has dielectric nipples at the hot/cold copper water line connections on top of the heater.
    I think the real problem is just as you all have said...these particular water heaters are junk. Who knew? I thought Whirlpool was a good brand name.
    However, as they have found out, I'm not the "average consumer". They aren't making any money off of me since the first buy because I keep and have kept every piece of paper related to tools, equipment, appliances, etc. in my home since I built it in 1977. I can bury them in corroborating paperwork and will get a free one every time. One bought...four "free" so far. LOL
    However, my question still stands....in your professional opinions should I go with another brand "Life Time" Warranty heater next time, or just stick with the latest version of this "free" Whirlpool/Craftmaster frequent flyer junk for life? (This last one actually lasted almost six years.) What would you do if it was your problem, and what would you pros recommend to a customer?
    I guess that it's just ultimately a "my call". Thanks.
    Last edited by Mike Swearingen; 07-01-2007 at 09:10 AM.


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