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

  1. #571
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Default So it begins again.... a new wave of complaints

    Here is a new complaint from consumer affairs on the new styleWhirlpool water heater, its like the " honeywell icon one" I have pictured in a few post back it looks like the next wave of troubles is about to begin....

    they are going to be pulling their hair out over in India trying to explain to the customer how to re-set this Icon valve and clean the burner assembly of lint,

    ....its hard enough for me to fool with the Honeywell ICON valve..let alone having a home owner attempt to replace one... the valve is nothing but trouble waiting to happen

    I think that this is gonna be another huge disaster...... once their are about half a million of them out there going bad.


    this is gonna be fun to watch them scramble.....again.

    I wonder if you can you have a second class action lawsuit on the same product

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeo...r_heaters.html
    I purchased a 50 Gal. Whirlpool gas water heater on Saturday, 12/31 to replace a 20-yr old unit that had failed. The unit was installed that day and it started right up but I noticed the burner had gone out about an hour later and the status light indicated FV Sensor Lockout. I tried calling Whirlpool but their customer service was closed. I tried troubleshooting myself using manuals and Internet forums without success. Everything I could find indicated that an FV Sensor failure could not be repaired and would require replacement parts. I called Lowe's and was told they could not help me and I would need to talk to Whirlpool.I called Whirlpool again Sunday, 1/1, but they were closed again for the Holiday. I called two plumbers and both told me that the Whirlpool units were problematic and that if they did come out, there would be little they could do except charge me a lot of money and recommend parts to order as Whirlpool does not let them stock parts. Both plumbers also suggested that I consider buying another brand.So I went to Home Depot and purchased another brand with similar specs. I installed it that day and it fired up right away and has been running fine ever since.I talked to Whirlpool on Monday, 1/2, and they told me they would not issue an RMA for a unit that they considered usable. They also told me there was an FV Sensor reset procedure that they would have walked me through had I been able to talk to them that would have bypassed the sensor until a replacement could be installed. I told them that if they would publish this procedure in their manuals or on the Internet, I would have certainly done that. I'm now fighting with both Whirlpool and Lowe's to get a resolution to this problem. I'm not sure about other Whirlpool products but their Water heaters seem to be very problematic.Ads by Google

  2. #572
    DIY Junior Member wibble's Avatar
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    Exclamation 7 years, 4 months - a world record?

    The FG1F3030S3NOV that my father installed in August '04 finally conked out with the classic deep-fried thermocouple. Imagine my surprise and horror after googling the model number and finding this thread! I had no idea that the "Whirlpool" water heaters were (a) not really made by Whirlpool in the first place, and (b) were a true vortex of suck. It figures that it would have a bizarre, fused left-handed thermocouple, just to make things aggravating and turn a $7 thermocouple replacement into a $35+shipping manifold replacement.

    Not wanting to replace the whole tank (knowing that he's planning to get a tankless unit when he returns this summer anyway), I went ahead and ordered the kit. As the tank is out of warranty, no free kit. At least my phone call didn't go to India - but they should either ditch the voice recognition or set it up so it can recognize touch tones so you can just key in the serial number. They provided a new burner orifice in the package, so I didn't have to wrestle with getting the old one out. I vacuumed out the screen with a brush attachment, and the installation went smoothly (though the thick rubber gasket and the tight quarters where the heater is installed made it tricky to get the bolts in).

    Once I turned on the gas and double-checked for leaks, the pilot light fired right up and stayed lit. The burner lit up just fine once I turned it on, and additional triple-checking showed no leaks. Overall, it took me about an hour to get it going again.

    Judging from the troubles people have been having with these units, I'm amazed we got over 7 years out of it before any problems occurred. I don't recall him ever vacuuming the flame screen, and I wasn't even aware of it until I got room-temperature water out of the tap. The only thing I can figure is that, since it was in an alcove off the kitchen instead of the laundry room, it was a bit less prone to clogging.

  3. #573
    DIY Junior Member DavidRF's Avatar
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    I have a "Whirlpool" FG1F4034t3NOV model, and surprise; the pilot light went out and will not stay lit. I am uncertain how old the unit is, but I know it is at least 5-6 years old. I have seen this and numerous other threads pretty much calling this make and model a piece of crap. It is in a position, as I have come to find out, where it is practically impossible to clean the lint screen to try to see if that makes a difference in regards to getting it going again unless you have it about a good 6-7 inches off the floor. Who the h*ll knew water filters had filter screens you had to keep clean to keep it working properly?

    My question is: Would I be better served replacing the water heater altogether or seeing if the upgrade/repair kit is available? I've sen on a few threads it may not be available in stores anymore, and I don't know how long I want to be without hot water if they have to ship one, if it's even something they would do anymore. Any information would be most appreciated.

  4. #574
    TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP MACPLUMB 777's Avatar
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    Have a plumber replace it with a RHEEM or a Bradford White, get a new water heater,
    with a new warranty, and live happily everafter !

    MACPLUMB 777

    E-MAIL
    JERRYMAC@TROJANWORLDWIDE.COM


    35 YEAR MASTER PLUMBER, HEATING, ELECTRIC, DRAINS, FIRE SPRINKLERS, WATER HEATER
    AND BOILERS SINCE JAN, 1989

    281-706-1631 7 DYS A WEEK SALES AND TECH. SUPPORT
    Trojan Worldwide Web Site


     



  5. #575
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRF View Post
    I have a "Whirlpool" FG1F4034t3NOV model, and surprise; the pilot light went out and will not stay lit. I am uncertain how old the unit is, but I know it is at least 5-6 years old. I have seen this and numerous other threads pretty much calling this make and model a piece of crap. It is in a position, as I have come to find out, where it is practically impossible to clean the lint screen to try to see if that makes a difference in regards to getting it going again unless you have it about a good 6-7 inches off the floor. Who the h*ll knew water filters had filter screens you had to keep clean to keep it working properly?

    My question is: Would I be better served replacing the water heater altogether or seeing if the upgrade/repair kit is available? I've sen on a few threads it may not be available in stores anymore, and I don't know how long I want to be without hot water if they have to ship one, if it's even something they would do anymore. Any information would be most appreciated.
    Easiest and least expensive thing to do is to go Lowes and pick up a new thermostat/gas control valve and thermocouple. (They don't keep much stock of these so it can be an issue.) When I did mine 3 years ago I checked with a manager who told me to buy the parts, do the swap and return the old ones for credit, which I did. You can also call Whirlpool to see if they are still sending out the kits, but then you have to wait for them to ship or do some sort of swap with the store.

    While it is a good idea to keep the screen clean if you can (mine has not had any build up and I have cleaned it twice) this was not the major source of the problem people were reporting. Instead there was issue with the manufacture of the gas control valve. Now if the screen does get plugged, then the unit will have problems and swapping the gas valve won't cure it...or at least not for very long.

    I wouldn't replace the whole WH unless it has repeated problems, it is simply a waste of money and material to do so. I'm not sure how good the new controls are on the newer water heaters either. These keep getting more complex, which presents more opportunity for failure. On the units three years ago the Rheems (and even the Bradford Whites in images) had the same controls...only external difference was the color of the knobs. These have been updated on both since then.

  6. #576
    DIY Junior Member Javlin's Avatar
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    Default

    Well I am finding out that these WP are POS for the most part.It appeared on my mani setup the wire casing for the igniter was of poor quality seperated and hence began grounding out on the thermacoupler and burnt the casing off of it.I do not know if the lint and dust build caused that issue the screen was about 50% clogged after 18 months of use.So I ordered the mani and installed but opted out of installing part#23 thermocoupler adapter really did not see the need.Was I wrong?everyhting seems to be operating properly.I put a new coupler in the old unit for $8 and fixed the wire to the igniter and now saving it for a backup it got me by till the new mani came in.I did notice on the new mani unit the igniter has been rotated 90' out from the coupler and further from heat.Anybody had luck with Lowes on getting refunds on the manifold units?Thanks for any responses

  7. #577
    DIY Junior Member Chet S's Avatar
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    Default Whirlpool FTIR help PLEASE

    Trying to be a good neighbor I am helping with a Whrilpool water heater. It is a 2003 model and the thermocouple went bad. Because of the left hand thread on it the person at Lowes told sold them a new thermostat with a right hand thermocouple. I changed them and got it back up and running but......it has wires to go to the over heat sensor that the old unit doen't have. I found out the over heat sensor was part of the old thermocouple.
    I jumped the wires just to get going for now. If I have them order the replacement burner assembly from Whrilpool will it work since I now have a right handed thermostat? Will I just have to use the right hand therocouple and have it work OK? They don't have much money and I tryed to be nice and help, but now got my self in a mess!

  8. #578
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    The Whirlpool water heater from 2003 was possibly the worst design ever produced. It was the subject of class action lawsuits, and a thread on this forum that ran for 3 years!!!

    When you say you "jumpered" some wires, I will look for your house on the six o'clock news, having blown up your entire neighborhood. Honestly, you need to turn off the gas RIGHT NOW and get a licensed plumber in to examine the heater. In the past, the manufacturer ( Craftmaster division of A.O. Smith made them licensed under the Whirpool name) provided a complete new burner and gas valve assembly, which needs to be installed by a licensed plumber. Given the age of your heater, I would consider just replacing it. There are a LOT of issues....have you cleaned the filter screens? you may experience overheating and you have bypassed some safety features from what you have said.

  9. #579
    DIY Junior Member jrigal's Avatar
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    I can't talk my licensed plumber into replacing my 2003 FG1F4034SNOV water heater. He swears I'd be wasting money. He keeps telling me to bypass the thermofuse by putting a jumper between the two wires, but I keep refusing. But honestly, I'd really like to know what this switch does. Several people here keep saying things like "having blown up your entire neighborhood". Every other brand of water heater doesn't have this switch. If you have the gas shut off safety and a pop-off valve for pressure - like all the other water heaters - then why is this switch there and why don't the other water heaters have it?

    And here's my brief experience. While mine has lasted almost 10 years, I had all the same problems within 3 years of installing it. I used the reset button and got it lit the first couple times. Now we deal with the heater set to warm - which sucks. It's the only way to keep the switch from tripping.

  10. #580
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    And, why do you want to keep the thing that isn't working right?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  11. #581
    DIY Junior Member jrigal's Avatar
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    Reread my post. I DON'T want to keep it. I refuse to bypass the thermofuse with a jumper as my plumber suggested. Every time I call him and express my frustration, he insists I'd be wasting a water heater by replacing it. I've known him forever and he's been plumbing for 30+ years. He's always been very reasonable and does great work. I think he thinks he's helping me save money by suggesting the jumper. He says with the other two safeties, the thermofuse isn't necessary. I posted just to get clarification on the purpose of the third safety (thermofuse).

    I'll end up doing it myself. I've just never done a lot with gas lines, so I've been kinda leary.

  12. #582
    DIY Junior Member ZZZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrigal View Post
    I can't talk my licensed plumber into replacing my 2003 FERGUSON water heater. He swears I'd be wasting money. He keeps telling me to bypass the thermofuse by putting a jumper between the two wires, but I keep refusing. But honestly, I'd really like to know what this switch does. Several people here keep saying things like "having blown up your entire neighborhood". Every other brand of water heater doesn't have this switch. If you have the gas shut off safety and a pop-off valve for pressure - like all the other water heaters - then why is this switch there and why don't the other water heaters have it?

    And here's my brief experience. While mine has lasted almost 10 years, I had all the same problems within 3 years of installing it. I used the reset button and got it lit the first couple times. Now we deal with the heater set to warm - which sucks. It's the only way to keep the switch from tripping.
    FVIR was designed after a lady allowed her 4 year old son to play in the garage and he found a gas can and poured it on the floor. The ensuing fire resulted in his death, and she tirelessly campaigned Congress until a solution? was found in the form of FVIR.

    The way it is supposed to work is by the fact that a flame will not travel through a fine screen. You will see this screen on the expensive "safety gas cans" that have been made for decades. It is a well known principal.

    When the flammable vapors are drawn up through the screen and ignite in the combustion chamber of the water heater, there is no way for the flame to travel back out to the source of the vapors. The heat of the burning vapors will trip the thermal switch or fuse and shut down the water heater. It does this by interupting the 30 millivolt signal from the thermocouple (simulating a pilot failure) and shutting down the gas valve. There is nothing special about the valve or thermocouple, except for the left hand thread used for a short time by Whirlpool.

    A clogged screen will cause insufficient oxygen, and an oxygen starved flame will produce carbon monoxide which will mostly go up the flue. The starved flame will also produce a lot of soot which will stick to the metal surfaces in the heat exchanger tube, causing poor heat transfer and wasted utilities. This is in addition to the gas which is wasted because it can't be completely burned without excess oxygen in the combustion chamber. Even after correcting the cause, the soot will remain until physically removed.

    A clogged screen will cause poor drafting and the combustion chamber will get excessively hot, this will cause the thermal limit will trip before the heat exchanger tube is fouled with soot, if you're lucky.

    Whirlpool doesn't care. When they purchased Maytag in 2007 for 1.8 Billion dollars, they immediately fired all 7,000 USA employees and moved the factories overseas. They also raided the pension funds for those workers.
    Last edited by ZZZ; 01-14-2013 at 11:00 PM.

  13. #583
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Water heaters are listed by GAMA ( the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association), AGA ( American Gas Association) and possibly UL.....as to design, safety features, etc. ANY modification of the water heater MUST be designed and provided by the manufacturer, and installed by a factory approved technician. I cannot disagree more with the plumbers frankly glib assertion that you have two safety devices and the third is not needed.

    A search on the internet will turn up MANY photos and videos of houses BLOWN TO BITS by gas and water heater issues. Even myth busters launched one! A ten year old water heater ( especially Whirlpool) is not worth spending what it would cost, or even what you have already spent, to repair properly. At this point, call Whirlpool and see if they will provide a new burner assembly and gas valve free of charge. You will still probably have to pay the factory approved repair tech to install it..

    As you can tell, we do get our dander up about gas and water heaters, because we have seen the results of improper maintenance and installation.



    http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/my...ter-heater.htm
    Last edited by Terry; 01-15-2013 at 09:15 AM.

  14. #584
    DIY Junior Member jrigal's Avatar
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    I did see that mythbusters episode (which has more to do with the pop off failing). Thanks for the FVIR info, I looked it up and got a better understanding. Admittedly, I don't know much about water heaters, but I guess my question is more about the little white thermofuse. If all water heaters are required to have the screen to prevent a flame coming through, I assume the thermofuse is to detect a problem there. So how are other water heaters better? Different style thermofuse?

    And don't get me wrong, I absolutely hate this water heater and will never buy another Whirlpool water heater. I will be replacing it soon. I was just curious.

  15. #585
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    In the basic design to compy with the then-new ( 2003) FVIR rules, Rheem and Bradford White got it right, and A.O. Smith ( American, Craftmaster, State, Reliant, Whirpool, Sears, etc) got it WRONG. Their design had filter screens which clog with lint and cause overheating if not cleaned twice a year. I think the thermal fuse integral with the original left hand thermocouple had to do with this. The other brands have a design which does not clog, is maintenance-free for the life of the heater, and in general did not suffer any of the myriad problems which have plaqued the AO Smith models. I am not familiar with what they are actually producing today. Somewhat improved, I assume.

    Did I ever have an "accident" with a water heater??? YES. It involved a can of spray paint, and yes those fumes can ignite!!!! Fortunately, no injury and no serious damage, but it could have been worse! You do develop a healthy respect!

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