First of all, thanks to all who have posted great advice. I now know what I wish I'd known 3 yrs ago.
Being a disabled RN, I can't help but see the similarity between these "major" corporations and leeches. They are sucking the life right out of the American people a little at a time. When did the American people loose their pride in "Made in the USA"? Greed and the almighty dollar are making this phrase almost as worthless as the words "Made in China".
Ever wonder if these parts are purposely being manufactured by "3rd world manufacturers" and shipped to us to get even with us for shipping all of our outlawed, unsafe junk to them for so long?
Sorry, don't mean to get on a soap box, but these companies "done pissed Mama off." I know nothing about water heaters, but this WP Flame lock hunk of junk needs to be shoved up someone's corporate potooty. The settlement is not a settlement at all on that class action suit, it's more like putting a Band-aid on hurt feelings, entirely worthless!
I wish I had been aware of the problems with this wh before I purchased it in 2004. I've been lucky that it has held out this long. I'm now in the relight-on-a-regular-basis mode (hopefully that will continue to work for a little while longer) until I can get replacement parts, which I can't afford to pay shipping for, or a new wh falls out of the sky and miraculously lands in my utility room, all installed of course (ha ha ha). If I owned a truck and had the means to do so, I would return it to Lowe's and camp at their front door until it is replaced with a brand that actually performs as advertised. Actually, BBQing the thing in the middle of their parking lot sounds like such fun, but since the hubby and I are on a first name basis with most local law enforcement officials through our volunteer work, that might not be too fun....."yes Sheriff Greg, I did burn this thing intentionally!!!...." explain that to the kids as you're being given a ride in the car with the pretty flashing lights, wearing a pretty pair of silver bracelets.