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

  1. #196
    DIY Junior Member etsi_yona@embarqmail.com's Avatar
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    Default WP, Lowe's and the similarity to leeches

    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.

  2. #197
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Default

    Had my Bradford White installed last week. Thanks for the advice on which heater to buy.

    The plumber left it leaking (a very slow drip where the copper pipe screws onto the dielectric nipples), so I had to cut the pipe and repair it. Typical.

    But it's working a treat now. I wish DIYers could buy these, then I would have taken my time and got the install just right the first time. Nevermind. Next time I'll get the plumber to leave it at the door.
    Last edited by Ian Gills; 03-31-2008 at 02:14 PM.

  3. #198
    DIY Junior Member gmt's Avatar
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    Default

    I now qualilfy my customers who want me to repair their water heater. I ask where they purchased it or what brand it is... If they say Whirlpool or Blowes I tell them good luck, sorry, you will have to call someone else to repair. I will not tie myself to this junk.

    If they want it replaced, fine.... But to try and get it going, no way.


    Lesson learned....the hard way.

  4. #199
    Engineer Furd's Avatar
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    Default

    etsi_yona@embarqmail.com, if you want to rant specifically about the "Flame Lock" design of ALL water heaters now sold in the US then you need to complain to your elected representatives in Washington D.C.

    This design is a REQUIREMENT that was forced by the National Government, specifically the Consumer Product Safety Commission, because of a very few incidents of a water heater being the secondary cause of explosions and fires in residences.

    If the HOMEOWNERS that had had these unfortunate incidents had OBEYED the rules about no flammable items near the heater AND had they been properly (according to long-standing fire and safety codes) installed and maintained these incidents would not have happened. I'm willing to bet that in many cases the unfortunate incidents were a result of DIYers installing the heaters incorrectly and without benefit of a permit and inspection.

    Americans, as a whole, have demanded the nanny-state we now live in.

  5. #200
    DIY Junior Member gmt's Avatar
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    I agree. But many of the manufacturers have designed a respectable unit that is trouble free.

    Too many times Blowes and Home Sleazo have dictacted to the manufacturers how to cut costs and sell an inferior product.

    That is where the troubles begin.

  6. #201
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking Sounds Good Furd But.............

    [quote=Furd;132264]etsi_yona@embarqmail.com, if you want to rant specifically about the "Flame Lock" design of ALL water heaters now sold in the US then you need to complain to your elected representatives in Washington D.C.



    Actually Furd......the INSURANCE COMPANIES lobbied congress to get safer water heaters made ...

    and all the water heaters have had to pass very tough antsi and ul rateings just to be able to sell their brand of heater on the market....


    the real stink lies in the fact that somehow American water heaters and or Whirlpool FAILED some of these tests a few years ago in 03 and have not cough up the large sums of money to atempt to pass them again......

    Bradford white and Rheem cried foul about this issue
    but it all fell on deaf ears....


    The only thing I can figure is they either bribed someone very well or their was no reason for them to try to pass the tests because they knew that they were going to be bought out by SMITH eventually.. which has now taken place.....

    so their design will most likely be phased out...

    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/

    .....

  7. #202
    Consultant cwhyu2's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Oh No

    My brother emailed me last night & asked me to help install a new W/H.
    He called me to go take a look & told me that the owners purchased
    A whirlpool W/H.They were going to have L***ws install it but they
    wouldn`t due to flue issues that I will go look at this morning.
    It is still in the box and going backI will recamend rheem as I have
    never had a problem with them.

  8. #203
    Consultant cwhyu2's Avatar
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    New Rheem W/h installed took whirlpool back still in box.The person was
    confused as to why we were bringing it back.I said it was not a good W/H.
    He said OK.Installed new Rheem,corrected flue problem.New Rheem was
    $10.00 less.Time wasted 1hr to take back whirlpool.All went well.

  9. #204

    Default what an education

    Yet another victim, sort of. I have the new style BFG unit. It uses a standard thermocouple without that stupid bump in it. The thermal cutoff switch wires into the gas valve. I purchased this unit in Nov 07. Pilot would not stay lit as of last week. I didn't even bother testing it I just replaced the thermocouple as it seemed like the only possibility on a water heater 4 mos old. It was only a 7$ part anyway, didn't want the hassle of calling whirpool etc. Didn't work. Then I found all the internet info and this site. Went through the diagnostics after I found out I didn't have one of the older units. Found out I had a bad gas valve. Whirlpool dispatched a plumber at thier cost, I TOLD him what was wrong and be sure to have that part. 5pm he shows up, no part, says he can't fix it will return tomorrow. GRRR. I went back to lowes and they do not stock a gas valve. They DO stock the old one with the left handed thermocouple. Surprise, with no arguing they took a gas valve off a new heater and gave it to me as I had the return number from Whirlpool. Few hours later I took a hot shower. I don't care for the grill design but kept clean I don't see how it can be a problem. I am a mechanical engineer by trade so I'm a little overly analytical at times. Maintenance sucks but that will be another battle. I'm more concerned this gas valve won't last. It has never tripped the thermal switch, the inlet is clean, the flue drafts well, no big deal. Even now with the new gas valve a few days ago it doesn't seem like the hot water lasts all that long. Before I had ocassional problems also but could not pinpoint it, always blew it off thinking I had just used it all. Bad dip tube would show up all the time. Now I don't know what to think. It is working, just not sure if it's working right. Big clue might be the brand new units at lowes have a honeywell gas valve instead of the robert shaw I have. Any clues? If it fails on me again it's coming out and I'm demanding satisfaction out of lowes. Especially after the thousands I've spent there.

  10. #205
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    I had my first one today, and Whirlpool is sending me a thermocuouple with a manual reset instead of the fusible line one. In order to get it before next Friday, which would have meant the customer would be using cold water for a week, I had to pay them $35.00 for overnight shipping to get it here Monday. You would think that the company would automatically send them overnight rather than create bad relations by either charging or inconveniencing them for a week.

  11. #206
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking HJ---35 bucks is 35 bucks....never give a sucker an even break..

    HJ.... They dont care about their image anymore....

    if they can make you pay 35 bucks to ship something
    overnight that costs them 20 to ship ...thats great.....

    they already KNOW its not going to solve the problem for long,

    but it gets you out of their hair..and they hope that you
    finally just give up and go away.......

    its all about damage control
    ....any way that they can stop the
    bleeding over the next few years on this nightmare
    is really all that matters to them...

    they cut a deal with the lawyers and they bribed someone
    high up probably in congress to let them off the hook in that class
    action lawsuit...

    they should be made to change them all out
    but they probably have 10- 30 million of those heaters out
    in the field that are all needing love and attension

    and if they had to pay shipping on them that would
    cut into the CEO of Whirpools bonus for next year

    so they make the stupid home owner
    pay or he goes with cold showers for a week.
    .................................................. ...........................


    HJ....Now.....wether the thermal switch and new controll
    actuallly works is the next hurdle you have to
    jump...

    I suggest you take an air compressor with you
    and a hose cause you must blow out the crap
    from underneath the unit or it is all in vain.

    a long steel wire brush to reach up under the unit can alos
    work if you have the room to get underneath it...

    also .....remember to find a way to give it more air......
    more air into the heating chamber is the key to winning the battle......

    I really hope that you enjoy the experience...

    try not to cuss too much in front of the customer... http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/

  12. #207
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    hj, welcome to the club...you are officially now a member in good standing.

  13. #208

    Default

    THAT IS IS!!! This morning the heater wouldn't even supply enough water to fill a bath. Something is still wrong. I just don't know what. The burner appears to be working fine. The flaw has to be in this feeback circuit. Nothing has changed in the last week except I put in a new thermocouple and gas valve. The thermocouple shouldn't have anything to do with temperature. It's should be merely a safety to see if a flame is always present. IE the discussion of pilot wont' stay lit, because there is no thermocouple signal. Red button is merely a manual gas bypass to get it started. Has anybody taken a robert shaw gas valve apart? I honestly don't believe there is a design flaw in these heaters. I think its's a poor design but IF maintained and cleaned should work fine. Even the annual recommendation in the manual is probably okay as I found nothing on my intake after 4 months. I'm willing to live with the aspect of maintenance but not this. If I don't find the root cause soon this water heater is coming back out and Lowes IS going to refund me. I'm not on the last straw just yet but very close.

  14. #209
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking the folly of fools contunues ---- unabated

    their is nothing wrong with the robert shaw valve..

    its a common robert shaw valve....

    you are not supposed to break them down...
    they are sealed shut so "cheap asses" dont try
    to rebuild them

    BASICALLY.................

    the new thermal switch on ths side of the heater
    is senseing too much heat and it is shutting the unit
    down....

    the reason it is senseing too much heat is either

    1. the unit is not getting enough air to burn properly...

    2... the chimney is too restricted with the flu baffle
    going out through the middle of the heater.

    3. and basically their is not enough draft to make
    the heat rise up through the chimmney...fast enough


    their is no draft out of the heater....

    the only way it is not going to overheat and trip the
    senser is somehow to give it more air..
    to create a draft out the chimmney...

    the only way that can be done is to leave the sealed cover
    to the chamber loose so air can get into the unit...

    or you can break out the looking glass....

    of course this totally aborts the safety features of the unit
    and is considered illegal to do..


    go ahead and beat your brains out if you absolutely must.

    I still think you should set it on fire in the lowes parking lot....


    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/
    ..
    .....

  15. #210

    Default

    The draft though the chimney is fine. The thermal switch has never tripped. I ran a smoke test on the chimney just to check it. I called whirlpool today and they are sending me a new gas valve and a dip tube. It runs fine now but seems to run out of hot water too quickly. What is inside this valve to keep it from firing? Only thing I can see is the thermal switch exterior to it and it always shows continuity. BTW they did not charge me a dime and are sending it next day air.

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