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

  1. #136

    Thumbs up Thank you, all!

    I found this site following a search of Whirlpool water heaters.

    After doing what I had avoided, I decided to shut of the gas and do a drain and flush. My worst fear (problems) came true, when I tried to restart. No pilot lighting.

    I had a simular problem when I first installed this unit, almost five years ago. Then (American) tech. support walked me through and it started. Oh, this is a FG, not FL model, it was made 01/03.

    Having foolish faith in tech support, I called. Got the recorded message about the lawsuit, that came as a surprise! After listening, got through to India, not such of a surprise. The person, after I said that I couldn't get the pilot to light,speaking very good English, asked for the serial number.

    He asked if I was indeed, me. I had regestered it on the first call five years ago. He told me that I could get the parts to repair the heater for free. I went for the $18 charge, for overnight. True to word, made the call at 10:20 am, and it came 10:15 am, next day.I live in Henderson, NV, DHL was the carrier.

    I got the manifold door aasembly and a new gas valve. The valve came as a surprise to me, didn't remember that was to be included.

    I'm thankful that the gas valve was included. I didn't want install it and get into that potential problem, unless I had to. I had to!

    The manifold assembly install, was no problem. I got the pilot to light, but not stay on. After a lengthy and wet struggle, the gas valve solved the problem.

    I like the large window and location, I can see the ignitor and pilot work! The old, small round window was worthless. IMHO!

    The adapter for the thermalcoupler, now allows for right-hand, common used ones.

    The connections for the reset switch on the adapter, do react to grounding. Today, while rechecking the gas line connection, I touched the wire connection on the adapter with the wrench. The gas valve shut down, burner and pilot. After waiting for the gas to clear, the start up worked. I would say that the reset switch should work, too. It did not need resetting, this time.

    This is longer than I intended to post, but I wanted to thank all of you that posted you stories! I read all the posts and it offered me countless comfort! Thank you.

    I also got a Quote for a Bradford-White replacement I can live with. That will be next.

    Thanks, again!

  2. #137


    Now just remember.... Every Habitat for Humanity home built in North America with Natural Gas will have one of these Water Heaters in it courtesy of Whirlpools Corporate Compassion. They donate all the appliances for each house.

    I live in their hometown, Benton Harbor Michigan. They pulled their "Iowa Move" here about 18 years ago. Moved 18,000 jobs out in less than 6 months to TN, AR, Mexico, OH. Now they are spearheading a drive to drive people out of their homes and legally steal 22 acres of Lake Michigan Shoreline property from the City of Benton Harbor to create a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course to pay back for when they took all of the high paying manufacturing jobs away. Also it is a nice way to put green grass over the property where their manufacturing plants sat and cover up contamination.

    They aren't a very nice company. Any corporation that has a "Director of Outsourcing" definitely isn't thinking about it's employees or it's customer base in their own country.

    I live in their World Headquarters hometown and every appliance in my home is either G/E, LG or Sharp.
    Last edited by SJProwler; 02-03-2008 at 05:37 PM. Reason: add donation of all appliances

  3. #138


    If you call Whirlpool, good chance you will get someone from India.

    Each time I got someone from India, I told them I wanted to speak to an American. They put me right thru.

    Maybe I would have had better luck with the operator from India. The Americans did nothing but LIE, LIE, LIE.


  4. #139
    DIY Junior Member Ode2Pops's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    My first post here. What a fantastic forum!

    I purchased one of these Whirlpool “Flame Lock” water heaters from Lowe’s in January, 2004. After reading the details of the “Flame Lock” design, I realized the importance of keeping that flame arrestor screen underneath the burner chamber clean. I called and confirmed this with American Water Heater (the actual manufacturer of Lowe’s Whirlpool line of water heaters) and began to follow their recommendations. Every three months or so, I would take a damp sponge, get under the water heater and wipe off the arrestor screen.

    The water heater worked flawlessly. Unfortunately about a year ago, I got lazy and stopped cleaning the arrestor screen (my bad!). Last week, the heater failed. Being still under warrantee, we received a free upgraded burner/thermocouple assembly from American Water Heater (shipping was 8 bucks – took 3 days to arrive).

    I made sure the new thermocouple was pushed in completely in its mounting (it wasn’t) and installed the new assembly; however, before I did this, I made sure to clean and vacuum the burner chamber, including a good brushing and cleaning of the flame arrestor screen inside the burner chamber. It took me about 45 minutes to prepare the new burner assembly and install it in the water heater. It fired up the first time and has been working fine since.

    I now have a printed maintenance schedule taped to the water heater closet door. Every three months, that flame arrestor screen is going to get cleaned and checked off.

    Just my experience in the hope that it may help someone else.

    I sure miss the old days when you didn’t have to bother with things like this!


  5. #140
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    I sure miss the old days when you didn’t have to bother with things like this!
    If you had bought a different brand you still wouldn't have to!

    I notice something interesting about Lews...
    As I walk through their aisles of Whilrpool Flame Lock water heaters for sale and turn down the aisle past the Zurn PEX fittings...

    Why don't they pull the defective crap off the shelves?

  6. #141

    Default Whirlpool smart flamelock water heater

    Maybe this might shed some light on whirlpool or not but recently i purchased a whirlpool smart flame lock water heater 50 Gal. I noticed that the piolet would go out after a few days. I watched as i re-lit the piolet and noticed that water would drip down the center tube that vents the heat. It appeared to be a leak but was not a constant rate. At first i thought a new water heater leaking? and a high priced model too? I called Whirlpool and got a tech from india that brought back all the nightmares i have had dealing with any american company that has out sourced there customer service. To make a long story short the tech said the water heater swets and this is normal. After calling him several good old american names i learned from sailors i got his attention and found out that their is a massive recall on these units. For the so call sweting over the pilot light as well as the thermocouplers and a few other poorly designed components. Best decesion is to call Whirlpool give them hell get a return recall ID number haul the crap back to the store and buy a different brand for now. Seems they are in a big low on manufacturing water heaters at this time. in short run away from whirlpool as fast as you can!

  7. #142

    Default Whirlpool Flame Lock Flamer Woes.....

    This is a great thread, and a great site! Thanks to all that posted your troubles about this crazy hot water tank design!
    Here is the bottom line......
    I have had this hot water tank for about 1.5 years. It is a 40 gallon version. Yep, bought it at Lowes. It is located in my basement. I work from home, and can hear when the tank comes on to heat the water because the burner is so loud. The last few weeks I have been getting really light headed, and getting terrible headaches. I also noticed that I would smell a "soot" type smell in the house. Well, being the airhead that I can be, I never once thought that what was actually happening was my headaches and the smell I was getting in the house was from the hot water tank, and just thought I caught a bug or something. About three days ago, I went down to the basement, and the smell that was in the house was very strong down in the basement. I then noticed that the smell was coming from the hot water tank, and it seemed to be coming from the bottom of the tank. So, I then started the search, and found all of you peoples woes.
    So I decided that day to see if the "vent" on the bottom needed to be cleaned. It was dusty, but to me, not clogged in anyway. I then took off the front cover by the gas inlet, and to my surprise, I noticed that my take had the "new and improved" larger square viewing window and such. I vacuumed under the tank where the dust was on the "vent", and not much came off. This did not help. So, I then decided to take off the viewing window, and actually make the square hole bigger, to let in more air.
    The smell has stopped, the burner is actually not as loud, and it seems like the "on-time" of the burner is less.
    I am okay with this because I am not an idiot that stores flammable things in the basement. The smell has stopped, and I have not had a headache in days.
    I really think that this tank does not supply enough air to the burner. Again, my "vent" at the bottom was not all that clogged.
    I don't want to deal with Whirlpool, nor Lowes about this issue. I do want to eventually replace this tank with a "Tankless" gas hot water system. I just have not done enough research to find out what is that best right now.
    I am not expecting everyone to do what I did! That is not the intention of this post. It did however, work for my "flame less" tank. And if can hold out for another year, that would be great.
    Thanks again for your post! I would have never figured this out on my own. It is however scary to me to think that these tanks are working in this manner, all over the United States!

  8. #143
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Shut the thing off and return it to Lowes! You are describing CO poisoning and have altered the basic bad design into an unapproved design... May I suggest having a plumber install a Bradford White, or, Reem water heater...

  9. #144
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Blog Entries

    Talking whilrpool modifications

    Modifying that FVIR heater is something that a professional
    cannot not do without running the risk of getting sued some-day...

    of course you personally can do anything you want to that unit,

    if you read this thread you see where some folks
    have literally broke the glass sight port and left a gap
    between the burner assembly and the side of the heater...
    to get more air into that peice of junk......

    you did not mention wether your heater had the new
    high limit re-set switch on the side wall of the unit.....

    either in o7 or o6 they modified the piece of junk that they
    sell to upgrade the unit with that re-set button....

    Beware...... if you have been getting headaches
    from that heater that is not good sign at all.

    God is tryihg to tell you something..

    you better keep a real close eye on it
    or on some cold winter morning you or someone else in
    your home could wake up dead....

    at least get a carbon monoxide dectetor http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/
    or do like redwood says and change it out.

  10. #145
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    While adding air the way you did may cause the burner to burn the gas better you may have a flue / venting problem...You need to have everything checked out to be sure or you and your loved ones could leave this planet sooner than you thought.

    Rheem makes a good heater to replace that one with.
    Last edited by Cass; 02-25-2008 at 05:47 AM.

  11. #146

    Default Thanks Guys!!!

    Thanks for caring guys!
    The tank actually did have the larger square window for viewing, but not that reset button. I was at Lowes tonight, and did see that the new improved "Flame Lock" tanks did have the reset button, and some of them had a Honeywell control valve. I did not even know that Honeywell made control valves for HW Tanks. Anyway, A very nice worker at Lowes asked me if I needed any help. I then asked him if he has had any complaints about this type of water heater made by Whirlpool, and he said: "Not at all! They are the best in the market." I just said thanks, and walked on.
    Well....you guy's caring actually got me paranoid about the vent flue. I decided to get it checked out tomorrow by a good buddy that is a Licensed Plumber. I will let you guys know what his report comes out with. When I called him and told him why I needed it checked out, (because I was getting headaches and such) he asked what kind of Tank did I have. I told him, and then he said: "Oh, I see, you want me to change out your tank"? I just chuckled, and said that I just wanted him to come and check the flue, and tell me what he thinks.
    Also, I do have a Carbon Detector, and it never went off in the house. It did however go off when I plugged it in in the Basement.
    Will let you all know what the plumber tells me.
    Thanks again for the great site, and this thread!

  12. #147
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Blog Entries

    Talking LYEING slobs AT lOWES

    that is so cute that they dont mention anythihng about their past problems...........

    if you looked at that new honeywell energy smart valve on their best heater.....

    it looks like another problem just waiting to happen

  13. #148
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Saturday I went to Lowes to pick up a part... (I hate doing plumbing on Saturday afternoon) and they had 3 of them little piggies on carts sitting by the returns desk! LOL I was tempted to ask the plumber (sic) if there were any problems with the units, then ask why there were 3 being returned but he was out to lunch or, something.

  14. #149

    Default Phew....

    Hello all,
    Well, my plumber friend came by and check out my flue's and such. He said that everything looks good, and there is good draw for both Furnace and HW Tank.
    He did tell me that his shop has had many of these FlameLock tanks. His opinion is that there is not enough draw from the bottom for the burner during cold temps, and more so when there it lint & debris caught in the filter on the bottom. Anyway, he suggested that I get another tank, and I told him that I wanted to go tank-less. So I am shopping for a tank-less water heater. I just like very, very hot temps for water, and this is what has stopped me from getting something as of yet.
    I told my plumber that I saw at Home Depot a GE HW Tank that has a "Power Vent" on top of the exhaust. Like the new model furnaces. He told me that he thought that many states, on by one would start to make this code. He said that most furnaces and HW tanks in the US are vented in one vent. He tells me that venting a "fan forced" furnace vent with a regular HW tank, is not always good. He said when the code was written for this type of exhaust, it was okay, but they are not from test realizing that is not very good for draft.
    I love GAS appliances. I always have, for many reasons. They just scare me sometimes.
    I will keep you up to date if I get a tankless. Give me your comments on Tanksless HW heaters.
    Thanks for everything guys and gals!

  15. #150

    Default Flame Trap Modification?

    This thread has been more helpful than Lowes, AWHC, or the Consumer Complaints sites.

    My situation:

    Pilot out, wouldn't re-light, cleaned flametrap, didn't work.
    Called WP, paid $18 for door kit w/thermal switch.
    Installed door kit, pilot lights but won't stay lit after first cycle, checked thermal switch but there was nothing to "reset" (not really a switch or button at all), after unit cools, pilot lights again, called WP, paid nothing for new valve.
    Installed new valve, same problem as before.
    Jumpered TC adapter, unit works fine.

    Now, I don't intend to leave the jumper in place. I am a big fan of safety devices. My question is, has anyone attempted to modify the flametrap screen with slightly larger openings rather than removing the glass for more air flow? Is there a way to remove the screen completely, from underneath, for regular thorough cleaning?

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