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

  1. #16
    DIY Member RRW's Avatar
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    After reading the horror stories I put a strip of Honeywell air filter pre-filter mesh around the bottom of my Whirlpool. So far so good. After looking at the pictures I am thinking it might be worth a try to clean the bottom filter with a propane torch, at least that would singe all the lint to ashes. (This is not a reccomendation as I have never tried it) RW

  2. #17
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking dont try that

    I would not try burning off the lint or

    dirt with a torch........you might melt or afix the dirt

    to the screen.....

    or singe off your eyebrows.....

    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    here are some pics of a praticulary nasty dirty one I
    just tangled with last week....


    I AM SAD TO REPORT THAT I LOST---------AND IT WON..

    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryii/


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    on another note I got a call from some lawyers in Chicago that
    are getting together a class action lawsuit against Whirlpool
    and the FLAME LOCK MESS


    they are sniffing around right now looking to file
    a class actioin lawsuit over this water heater and it will probably
    be happenning up in Michigan real soon.



    I got the impression that their is actually more then one group of lawyers

    "smelling blood in the water" because I got the impression that

    their was a race on to be first one to file.

    sort of like sharks and a feeding frenzy LOL
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 06-12-2006 at 05:57 PM.

  3. #18
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    I also tangeled with one 3 weeks ago. What I did was attatch a 1"
    90 to the end of a vacume with duck tape and slowly went over the air intake area which was clogged with lint/dust. This worked great and cleaned the screen completly. Replaced the thermocouple and we were off to the races.

  4. #19
    DIY Junior Member jtjgvle's Avatar
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    OH NO! I just installed one of these Flame Lock water heaters last night in my house! I see this thread had been dead for a while but I wonder if any one has any new ideas about hwo to avoid this. What happened with the sight glass being removed?

  5. #20
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtjgvle
    OH NO! I just installed one of these Flame Lock water heaters last night in my house! I see this thread had been dead for a while but I wonder if any one has any new ideas about hwo to avoid this. What happened with the sight glass being removed?

    If there is a "B" in the serial tag number supposedly this corrects the thermocouple issue but does not address the flamelock setup problems.


    Don't attempt to remove that sight glass in your unit; wipes out your warranty instantly and your home insurance will not cover any damages caused by flash fire in the event that a fire occurred.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  6. #21
    DIY Junior Member jtjgvle's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'll check to see if I have a "B" hopefully so since I just bought the thing presumably it was "new stock". Does this "fix" make the thermocouple last longer or does it just allow any old standard thermocouple to be used?

  7. #22
    DIY Junior Member jtjgvle's Avatar
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    I do have the "B" model number, hopefully it solves at least some of the problem.

  8. #23
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtjgvle
    Does this "fix" make the thermocouple last longer or does it just allow any old standard thermocouple to be used? .


    No, all it does is take care of the thermocouple issue they had but it still requires that specific type AFAIK.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  9. #24
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking Whirlpool heaters....

    The dead thread comes alive again....

    their is a class action lawsuit in California right now

    Their is one in Illinios too.....


    and what does whirlpool and American Water Heaters do????

    Go to Lowes sometime and check out the new
    "energy smart" gas flame lock water heater
    with a special "honeywell" gas valve.....

    It Looks very impressive at first glance,
    but it still is the same old dog
    and they have not increased the air intake
    under the unit at all, so it will probably
    have the same old problems too...

    give it 2 years in a laundry room and it will
    be gasping for air too


    the enjeneers at Whirlpool are some real smart cookies......





    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 02-15-2009 at 05:43 PM.

  10. #25
    DIY Junior Member Tim in Fort Worth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    Go to Lowes sometime and check out the new "energy smart" gas flame lock water heater with a special "honeywell" gas valve.....
    It was my "guest" post that started this thread. I sent in another one which was posted on 11/30/05. This was around the time the thermocouple fried the last time. At that time, I removed the glass viewing plug, left the shroud cover off and kept the door to my indoor water heater closet cracked open. The thermocouple lasted from 11/05 until last night. The only difference this time is that if I keep at it, I can get the thermocouple to stay lit and fire the burner. It goes out before the water is fully heated, but I can repeat the process (so far) and eventually get a tank of fully hot water.

    I just got off the phone with Whirlpool. The service center now appears to be in India. The rep was very polite and apologetic. I guess class action lawsuits have that effect on a company. The first thing he asked me after he got the serial number for the water heater was if I had the "enhancement kit". I told him that other than several thermocouples and the thermostat unit they sent me out of the blue all I had received was the plastic filter to wrap around the bottom. He told me that they would sent me the enhancement kit, which includes a thermocouple and replaces the entire door to the water heater. The enhancement kit seems to be an external "reset switch" that somehow resets the thermocouple. He advised me that if it happens again I just need to press the reset switch and reignite the pilot in the normal manner. The kit is free. The shipping is $6. After some mild complaining he agreed to waive the shipping charge. Estimated arrival is 5 business days. Fortunately, I have extra thermocouples (once bitten, twice shy). He also told me that if I went to Lowes and bought a replacement thermocouple they would reimburse me for it.

    I'm not sure how the mechanics of the enhancement kit function, but at least there seems to be some movement on this problem. And after reading about how often the thermocouple croaks for people, I believe that popping the glass viewing window, keeping the shroud off and leaving the door slightly cracked did have an effect on the longevity of the last thermocouple. Still hate the product, believe it to be substandard and will never purchase another Whirlpool product again. Hopefully this enhancement kit will be a permanent solution, and not just a patch to get past the warranty period (9 years for mine). So for you professional plumbers, when you get calls from customers about their crappy Whirlpool water heater you might give Whirlpool a call and get this kit. It's only available from Whirlpool and can't be purchased at Lowes or anywhere else. It's supposed to be easy to install. I'd guess it's close to the same procedure for replacing the thermocouple, so your fee will probably be about the same.

    The sad thing is before I called Whirlpool I was having crazy thoughts about removing the On/Off/Pilot knob, grinding an indent into it and using a C-clamp to hold the pilot light button down. I never would have done that, but the fact that those thoughts even entered my head show how frustating these experiences are. I really feel sorry for the people who have no clue and wouldn't attempt to change out the thermocouple themselves, and end up paying $100 or more for a service call a few times a year.

  11. #26
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking Call LOWES....

    Thank you for the update


    Just for fun , meaness and spite too....

    why dont you call LOWES and ask
    them why they sell a product that presently has a
    class action lawsuit going on in California and one
    being filed sometime soon in Illinois too.....


    ask them why they sell a product that they KNOW
    is trouble ..,

    ask the why they dont have a "let the buyer beware "

    sign posted near their water heaters that they sell.


    the reason is that they get a large rebate back from American
    Water heaters for selling certain quotas of water heaters
    every year....


    that rebate actually comes to quite a lot of money...
    .probably about 200k to 500k or more per region of the country...



    ANYWAY.....thank you for the update on their new futile attempt to
    contain this lawsuit....

    .

    it sounds like that they are addressing the problem with a re-set switch
    that sounds something like the BRADFORD WHITE unit presently has.


    but if they have not enlarged the size of the air intake under this unit
    it will be all in vain..... just another cluster-fu////.
    all they got to do is make a larger air intake screen under the unit.....


    from what I have seen so far, the total stupidity and incompetence
    that their enjeneering department has shown ,

    I really honestly doubt that they have fixed their problems..

    guess I need to go down to Lowes this
    weekend and take some pics of their products.

    I am very interested in getting an update again from you
    when your new repair parts arrive...

    please post another update when you have a chance....
    digital pics would be nice to see too....


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

    ..
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 02-15-2009 at 05:43 PM.

  12. #27
    DIY Junior Member Tim in Fort Worth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    I am very interested in getting an update again from you when your new repair parts arrive...
    Well, turns out the part was sent to an old work address I used one time when I had them send out a new thermocouple and didn't want to miss it in the event a signature was required for delivery. Funny that they didn't verify the address before they sent it out, or just send it to the address associated with the warranty. In the interim, the "waiting for the burner area to cool down and holding the pilot light button down for three minutes so it would stay lit for one cycle" routine has stopped working. On Friday I had to use the spare thermocouple I had. I was hoping I would only have to do this once, when the enhancement kit arrived. They are now sending another one over night, and it should be here tomorrow. I'll post some pics at that time. I hope that the enhancement kit is the entire slide-in assembly. The gas feeder tube for the pilot light has taken a beating because of the number of times I have had to replace the thermocouple. The threaded nut that connects it to the thermostat is almost completely deformed because it is in a difficult place to get a wrench around and the tube itself is getting crimped because it has to be moved out of the way when removing the burner assembly.

    One thing I would suggest to people who one of these water heaters is to make a "relief call" to Whirlpool a few months after they get replacement parts, and tell them it went out again. That way they will at least have a spare the next time it really craps out and they won't be without hot water while waiting for a new part.

  13. #28
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking flame lock gas lines

    thanks for the update........

    I have had a number of customers that broke that
    gas line off inside the heater where it was welded to the
    inner the burner plate .....and that was the last straw for them
    we installed new Brad White units


    once that goes---cracks, snaps, , just consider putting in a new heater...



    it really amazes me how much trouble Whirlpool thinks
    people are willing to put up with....


    if someone asked me to break down a gas heater and
    put new parts on it every 6 months.....

    the heater might
    get thrown through the store window some dark night..


    its jsut a matter ot time before someone blows up or burns
    down their home....http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 02-15-2009 at 05:43 PM.

  14. #29
    DIY Junior Member Tim in Fort Worth's Avatar
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    Default The BFG Conversion Kit

    Here we go. The part arrived today and I immediately snapped some pictures of the parts. I uploaded them, but I don't know how to get them to appear as inline images. In previewing this message the images show up in a list below the text and you will need to click on them.

    The BFG Conversion Kit showed up in a 10"x10"x10" box delivered by DHL. It contained a replacement plastic filter (two pieces) for the base of the water heater, a new manifold/door assembly, thermocouple adapter, ferule nut, two wire leads and a sticker to apply to the heater.

    The first image should be a view of the entire BFG kit with parts, laid out generally where the parts go. Note that the viewing window is now square and a bit larger than the old style. The thermocouple adapter can be seen on the left in front of the viewing window. The piece on the right is a thermal switch. The wire leads attach to the thermocouple adapter and the thermal switch. The thermal switch is apparently a thermal breaker. My assumption is that it is supposed to pop before the thermocouple burns out. The only way I can see that it works is on the same principle as the igniter wire system--when it gets too hot the switch pops and sends an electric current to the thermocouple adapter, which shuts off the pilot light and burner. The sticker attaches to the water heater, just to the right of the manifold and thermal switch. There's probably a federal law that this sticker has to be attached.

    The second image is a closeup of the thermal switch. The little white button in the center is the reset switch.

    The third image is a closeup of the thermocouple adapter. It attaches to the thermostat, and the thermocouple attaches to the adapter.

    The fourth image just shows how the thermocouple adapter connects to the thermal switch. The wire leads have straight-on connectors for the thermocouple adapter side, and flag connectors (same connector, but at a 90* angle) for the thermal switch.

    The installation process is pretty straightforward. Remove the old manifold and burner, remove the burner and attach it to the new manifold, reinstall. Connect the external wires and tubes, then connect the wire leads between the thermocouple adapter and thermal switch. Ignite using the standard procedures. If the thermal switch pops, it can be reset by depressing the white switch in the center. The "BFG Conversion Kit - Manual Addendum" contains the following statement:

    "IMPORTANT: This water heater has a resettable thermal switch installed as part of the FVIR Safety System. DO NOT attempt to disable or modify this feature in any way."

    The kit looks complete, but I'm not sure how the ferule nut is going to seal the pilot light gas tube when I attach it. The ferule nut freely slides over the pilot tube. It seems to me that there should be another part for the tube and nut to compress against. Hopefully, it is iniside the fitting in the thermostat. If anyone can explain how this functions, please let me know. I'm familiar with flare fittings, and have used compression fittings but I seem to remember that second part for a compression fitting. All that's left now it the installation. I'll let everyone know how that goes.

    BTW, if there is a way to include these images as inline images without linking to an external web site, please let me know and I will switch them over so you don't have to click on each image.
    Attached Images Attached Images     
    Last edited by Tim in Fort Worth; 05-15-2007 at 01:58 PM.

  15. #30
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Did it come with the wrap around filter also?

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