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Thread: Different Flamelock problem?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Cooper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default Different Flamelock problem?

    Hi Gurus:
    I have a Flamelock water heater that is almost 3 years old ....no, don't hang up !!
    I came to this forum to try to solve the problem myself (thanks very much everyone - a great site!). I thought I had a good brand with Whirlpool after my previous A.O. Smith dip-tube fiasco, but now know its the same Mexican-made junk. However, I think it is a different problem than is described on the other posts.
    The Flamelock puts out very hot water, sometimes. For example, yesterdays experience:
    9am Took cool shower, went to water heater and it wasn't heating. Attempted to adjust thermostat in case it was sticking - no response even when turning it all the way up. Put it back at 75% and walked away. Heater ignited and ran for 3 mins, then shut off. Water still cool.
    noon Returned home - water very hot, ran dishwasher.
    2PMChecked water, expecting it to be cold after dishwasher ran, but it was hot within 45 mins.
    Last night I read all the posts then vacuumed the screen underneath; it didn't seem to be very dirty at all (in garage). I used air compressor to lightly blow into the screen to make sure the inside wasn't obstructed.
    This morning, 7 am, wife took nice hot shower (Thankfully). I checked heater and it wasn't heating. I took a cold one 3 hours later and it still isn't coming on.

    My questions:
    1) In the other posts, I get the idea that the thermocouple problem mentioned is the 180 degree permanent fuse function and the water heater is dead until it is replaced. Is that correct?
    2) What is the deal with my heater? Am I on the right track with suspecting the thermostat?
    3) Could a lime build-up cause this, even though the heater is less than 3, and I have a softener? Is it possible that the lime could be so hot as to tell the thermostat its plenty hot - when the thermostat is set at max and the water coming out is cold? I thought that would explain why it is hot 6 hours later (water temp equalizes with lime), but it doesn't explain the normal recovery yesterday. I haven't drained it because I am afraid of the cheap plastic drain valve breaking.
    4) I have the settlement form and don't think I need any of the thermocouple options. Should I get the "free manifold door"?
    5) What do you recommend to fix this problem?

    Thank you very much for bearing with me on the length of this post- I just wanted to give enough detail to solve the problem.

  2. #2
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Blog Entries

    Talking get anything you can out of them

    It sounds like your gas valve --thermostat is sticking--

    they do still send them out or the upgrade kit to the new crappy style....

    their new 07 water heater is no better......
    cant get a thermostat or the high limit fuse for it in our town Indianapolis

    their new water heater still needs the air filter screen underneath it
    cleaned every 3 months too....

    Recently,,,,,, if it were not for the liability, I would have torn out
    the whole burner assembly on an 07 and just installed an old style
    burner and a old style thermostat to get the customer
    up and running agian......

    but then if their is a fire guess who pays for it......


    Your CESSPOOL water heater will cause you nothing but
    greif and so will the new 07 style....

    whatever they will give you for free ---
    take it all and run....

    I recommend takeing the heater and throwing it
    out in the trash,,,, then getting yourself a
    Rheem or Bradford white before it nickles and dimes you to death


    take it back to the store and demand an in store credit...

  3. #3
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    This link is informative on the Whirlpool water heater situation:


  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member Cooper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default Advice Taken / Beware "new" Whirlpools

    Thanks very much jimbo and Master Mark!
    I have taken your advice to cut my losses; I kicked the Whirlpool to the curb, and installed a nice Rheem Fury in its place.
    Sorry it has taken so long to post this Thank You....ironically, I was in Monterrey, Mexico last week and saw a gigantic factory. Once we passed the main entrance, I saw the big "Whirlpool" sign. I wanted to stop the cab and go inside to ask for my money back, but couldn't speak the language.
    For those of you who find this thread while cursing your own Whirlpool, I believe that both my thermostat and thermocouple were at fault. The screen underneath wasn't even dirty, but the thermocouple was sooted just enough (from insufficient combustion air) to make it work intermittently. As for the thermostat, it just stopped working sometimes - as most (Mexican and Chinese) -made lowest-bidder parts are prone to do. My advice - don't even bother with the Band-aid fixes Whirlpool is offering. Get a new one and don't fall for the "the Whirlpools in the red boxes are a new design and won't have those problems" line Lowes is handing out this year. Vow to never buy another Whirlpool product because of the way they refused to stand behind a defective outsourced piece of junk!
    One more opinion, if I may:
    I think it is unfair to label all customers as willing to look at "price-only" just as it would be wrong to say "all plumbers do this or that". When I bought my Whirlpool, it was only after calling the local plumbing company. They wanted $1100 to install a 40-gal AO Smith. The problem was that the existing WH was a dip-tube junker AO Smith and I didn't want another one. Can any of you say that $1100 is a fair price for a 40 gal AOSmith with a simple in-the-garage installation? So, I went shopping because I didn't want to get gouged.
    I thought I had found the answer by relying on the Whirlpool name, which used to be quality stuff. Lesson earned. I just got the Rheem installed for $650- a fair deal on a good heater. You guys in the $1100 companies are what are driving even the reasonable consumer to Lowes. I am willing to pay a fair price for well-paid workers and quality goods. I choose not to pay for $150,000 custom service trucks and TV commercials with the plumbers singing doo-wap.
    Thanks , I feel better now
    Thanks again for this great forum - you guys were a big help on a shower remodel! I didn't even have to post, I just looked at what was already here.


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