(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Page 3 of 41 FirstFirst 12345678910111213 ... LastLast
Results 31 to 45 of 614

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

  1. #31
    DIY Junior Member Tim in Fort Worth's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cass
    Did it come with the wrap around filter also?
    Yes. It came with two wrap around filters and two identical instruction pages, one for each filter I guess...lol. No doubt the two identical pages cover liability. I can see some yahoo trying to sue because they only got one instruction page, but two filter pieces. Funny thing is I would think that you could get more air inside if you popped the new and improved larger viewing window out and stuck a piece of window screen over the opening. Easier to clean, too.

  2. #32
    DIY Junior Member gmt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    26

    Default

    That ferrule you are talking about is a break-away ferrule. Just place it on the aluminum tubing then insert the tubing and ferrule into the control as far as possible. Then once you proceed to tighten the nut the ferrule will break away from the nut, setting it to the tubing.

  3. #33
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Posts
    4,243
    Blog Entries
    1

    Cool its doomed to fail

    Thanks for the PICS.....


    they have not addressed the amount of air this unit
    is able to take in ,,,,and cannot ......


    so my bet is the thermal switch will keep poppping out
    untill it starts to give out due to being tripped too many times.....

    ....when it starts to overheat....due to poor air combustion



    I wonder if the thermocoupling is of the same design and
    shorts out too when it gets too hot??? Does it still look
    the same to you??
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    the only way to get a decent life expectancy out of this
    heater looks like popping out that viewing glass..to let more air into it....

    or leaving the manifold plate loosley installed so air can get around the edjes of the plate....


    of course this defeats the purpose of the FVIR design
    and is probably illegal to do..


    So I dont recommend it...although it would probably work...




    Installing this is really a lot to ask a homeowner to atttempt
    on his own.....


    In my opinion,
    WHIRLPOOL should be forced to pay a plumber to make
    this modification to these gas heaters instead of
    possibly having the homeowner have a bad accident ..



    still a lawsuit waiting to happen....http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 02-15-2009 at 05:44 PM.

  4. #34
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    5,984

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim in Fort Worth
    Yes. It came with two wrap around filters.
    No, the 2 filters connect to make 1.

    They are adjustable, depending on how you connect them, so it will fit any size heater.
    Last edited by Cass; 05-15-2007 at 05:02 PM.

  5. #35
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    5,984

    Default

    When you go to put the filter around the heater, over lap it and instead of trying to snap it together and pulling your hair out trying, just take a drywall screw or 2 and screw it through both filters and it will hold fine.

    It also makes it easy to remove so you can clean the air intake that you can't get to to clean.

  6. #36
    DIY Junior Member Tim in Fort Worth's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    so my bet is the thermal switch will keep poppping out untill it starts to give out due to being tripped too many times.....
    That was my thought, too. I think the thermal switch is just a piezoelectric fuse that is designed to pop before the thermocouple burns out--kind of like a fuse for a fuse. [sarcasm]Now that's the good old American ingenuity that made this country great [/sarcasm]

    I wonder if the thermocoupling is of the same design and shorts out too when it gets too hot??? Does it still look the same to you??
    Funny you should mention that. I haven't gotten around to installing the new kit yet, but after I read your post I screwed the thermocouple onto the thermocouple adapter. The threads were standard threads. I thought for sure that the threads on all the previous thermocouples were reverse threaded, so I went out to the trash and, risking old food and other rubbish I dug around and pulled out the old thermocouple. I couldn't get it to thread onto the thermocouple adapter at all, left or right. So the guess from this non-plumber is that the thermocouple adapter has reverse threads on the male end, and standard threads on the female end. This leads me to believe that any standard thermocouple should work on this water heater as long as the thermocouple adapter has been installed first. I'd like to get a hold of an extra thermocouple adapter to play around with. It would be interesting to see how it reacts when various voltages are sent through it. The instructions state that it doesn't matter how the leads between the thermocouple adapter and thermal switch are connected, and nothing is color-coded.

    Come to think of it, if the problem is with the thermocouple itself, shouldn't the thermocouple adapter alone be sufficient, as any thermocouple will now work? If so, why is the switch even needed?

    the only way to get a decent life expectancy out of this heater looks like popping out that viewing glass..to let more air into it....or leaving the manifold plate loosley installed so air can get around the edjes of the plate....
    That was my theory when I left the viewing glass out. The thermocouple lasted longer than any previously did. This time I also left the door to the hot water heater closet cracked open for added air flow. If I do the same with this one I think I will go ahead and stick a piece of window screen over the opening, if for no other reason than to see how much dust and debris accumulate on it.

    If anyone here has both the curiosity and tinkerer's gene they might buy a few of these water heaters to examine and play around with. If all the talk about class action law suits pans out, there will be a need for expert witnesses to testify on behalf of the plaintiffs. Expert witnesses in class action lawsuits get paid pretty well. Then there are the articles on the subject that can be written for various trade magazines. Once your name gets out there you start showing up on the morning shows that wives love to watch, getting interviewed for news stories then BAM! Before you know it you have a show on the newly created plumbing channel on satelite TV. Anyone here want to be the Emeril Lagasse or Rachel Ray of plumbing?

  7. #37
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Posts
    4,243
    Blog Entries
    1

    Cool already been asked....

    Believe it or not, I have alrealdy been
    asked by some lawyers to be a "expert witness"after
    they saw my web site...

    I gave one lawyer the name of a customer of mine
    that had to completely change out his heater
    cause he broke off the internal gas line...
    he was interesteed at first.

    but they dont pay anything for it, maybe 4,000,
    for all the traveling expences, ect ect and thats after
    all the time and effort spent , thats not much...

    in fact they hem hawed around when I inquired about
    who ends up getting all the settlement money .....

    even my customer that started the complaint only wil
    end up with maybe 10,000.. ....5 years from now......

    So guess who gets all the money when they finally
    get it al resolved??? The Lawyers themselves...
    for all the work teh put into getting the case filed
    .

    he told me bluntly that is why they DO these sort of cases......


    they could honestly care less about the dumb ass consumer....LOL



    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 02-15-2009 at 05:45 PM.

  8. #38
    DIY Junior Member Tim in Fort Worth's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Got the new manifold installed today. Nothing really different about this from previous installs, but the two screws that hold the manifold on now come pre-installed and held on to the manifold door with plastic retaining washers. That made it very difficult to line up the holes on the manifold with the holes on the tank. I almost took the plastic retaining washers off because without them you can shine a flashlight through the holes and see if you are lined up. After several minutes I got it attached without removing them. The only obstacle in the install was the ferule nut for the pilot tube sliding down and getting stuck because the tube bent a little bit.

    The larger, square glass window was interesting. With it removed, the pilot light flickered like a candle. With it in, there was a steady flame. I also tested it with a piece of metal window screen, folded over into 3 layers and held in place with a tab cut into the screen to hold it in the hole. The flame didn't flicker that way. There was obviously significant air being drawn into the burner area with the larger hole. It didn't do that with the smaller, round glass.

    The thermocouple is definitely different from the previous thermocouples in that the threads are no longer reverse threaded. The thermocouple adapter does have reverse threads on the thermostat control side, and standard threads on the thermocouple side.

    This pretty much confirms my theory that the thermal reset switch is nothing more than a fuse for a fuse. We'll see how long it lasts. Elmwood makes the thermal switch, and it will be interesting to see if they start catching hell from customers when the switch wears out. One thing I wish I did (but didn't think of at the time) before I installed the new manifold kit was look at the thermal switch to see how it is attached and if it can be replaced. In looking at the unit from the outside, it looks like it's not a threaded on piece, held on by a nut. So if the switch wears out, it might mean replacing the entire manifold door assembly unless it's a pop-out part. I'm tending toward the replace the entire manifold assembly theory because the instructions that came with the kit has a parts list that includes everything but the thermal switch. The thermal switch shows up as part of the manifold door assembly for both the natural gas and LP gas parts. Has to be Whirlpool scheming on how they can continue to get money out of us. Since they redesigned the manifold door, they could just as easily designed it so that the thermal switch was a part that could be replaced.

    If I wasn't such a stubborn cheapskate I would have replaced the water heater long ago. But to me that would be like conceding defeat, and I don't like to lose. Hopefully, this thread will be helpful to others who have had the same problems with their Whirlpool Flame Locks water heaters. I know it has helped me a lot. I've changed out the thermocouple enough times over the years that I think I could do it in the dark. It's tempting to offer to do it for other people, but without a license I wouldn't even consider it. But I do think I am going to work up a billing invoice and send it to myself. I've definitely earned the money.

  9. #39
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Posts
    4,243
    Blog Entries
    1

    Talking the thermal switch

    the thermal switch will be the next hurdle
    they have to deal with....

    out of curiousity..... what keeps you from

    just totally disconnecting the thermal switch

    from the whole equation by simply jumping the wires????

    if you bypassed the switch, took out that glass port,
    got it more air from around the manifold palte


    you would basically have converted the heater back into an "old style" gas heater


    I would NEVER advise anyone to do that, but eventuallly

    someone will get around to it....

    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 02-15-2009 at 05:46 PM.

  10. #40
    DIY Junior Member Tim in Fort Worth's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    the thermal switch will be the next hurdle they have to deal with....

    out of curiousity..... what keeps you from just totally disconnecting the thermal switch from the whole equation by simply jumping the wires????
    Based on my observations, disconnecting the switch will not affect the normal operation of the water heater. The problem is that you are back to the original problem of low air flow and burning out the thermocouple. If you have the switch connected, it should prevent the thermocouple from burning out. Since the thermal switch is resettable it seems preferable to let it pop instead of replacing a thermocouple that is now about $15.

    if you bypassed the switch, took out that glass port, got it more air from around the manifold palte
    I haven't tried keeping the manifold door loose, because I don't want the entire assembly to be able to rattle around. Probably wouldn't hurt anything, but since I am working with natural gas I don't want to risk doing something that might cause the connections to start leaking. Since the switch is nothing more than a fuse for a fuse, there is no reason to bypass it until it craps out and Whirlpool wants to sell you a new manifold door assembly. If you bypass it, you are back to replacing the thermocouple on a regular basis.

    The thermocouple adapter is the key to the whole operation here. I have never bought a thermocouple before I got this water heater, so I don't know how many different ones there are. But I remember the first time I went to Lowe's after it burned out the first time they pointed me to a "standard" thermocouple that had standard threads before I told them it was a Whirlpool Flame Lock water heater. I don't know how much cheaper, if at all a standard thermocouple is. But if it's just a few bucks then it's still cheaper than paying shipping for a new manifold assembly or $15 for the reverse threaded thermocouple.

    In regards to the window, as I stated earlier the window is larger and lets in a lot more air. The flow is so strong that the pilot light really flickers. I was worried it might go out so I put some folded metal window screen over it and that calmed down the pilot flame.

    you would basically have converted the heater back into an "old style" gas heater
    That was my theory when I popped out the smaller, round glass a year and a half ago. At that time I also considered attaching a hose to the hole and running it under the house where there is a constant draft that would feed air into the space under the water heater. The square hole is too big for that.

    I would NEVER advise anyone to do that, but eventuallly someone will get around to it....
    I'm not a licensed plumber, and I wouldn't advise anyone to do it, either. But trust me. "Someone" has popped that glass out and made it more like the old style gas heaters. That's the only reason I think I got a year and a half out of the last thermocouple. Based on everything I have read about the problems associated with the Whirlpool Flame Lock system, it seems that a lot of people are replacing them every few months. If this one lasts a year and a half before popping that resettable switch the new manifold assembly should be good until the warranty expires. I've got 5 years left on the warranty, so using 1.5 years as the guide the thermal switch should pop 3 times before the warranty expires.

    I can understand the concern with flammable vapors in proximity to gas water heaters, especially for those installed in garages where paints, solvents and gasoline are also stored. But my water heater is in the house, in it's own closet. The only flammable vaporous liquid in the house is a couple of bottles of rubbing alcohol, and they are 20' away from the water heater. I've got a keg of Blue Dot Smokeless Powder that is closer to the water heater than the alcohol (yes, it's in a different room and stored properly).

    Edit: On a whim I Googled these heaters to find out about the class action law suit that is in the works. Here's the link to the search results. There are four returns, including one to this thread:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...=Google+Search

    I read the Consumer Affairs articles, and noticing that one of the people quoted lived near me I called him. It seems that he figured out the trick about removing the viewing window, too. He also told me something that was very interesting because it conflicts with the advice being given by Whirlpool about cleaning the filters. The city where he lives has a code requirement that when you replace a water heater you have to put a catch pan under it. The catch pan is about 3" deep, which makes cleaning the bottom of the screen impossible unless you disconnect every single connection on the water heater and lift it out of the pan for cleaning. He also told me that he asked a manager at Lowes how many of the thermocouples they had sold. The manager told him that they sold 40 of them in 3 months. One store. He calculated it out for that store for a year, then for the number of stores in Texas, then for all the Lowes in the United States. The $$ figure he got was in the neighborhood of $10,000,000 at $15 per part.

    For those interested, the class action lawsuit against Whirlpool and AWHC in California is set for August of this year. If it succeeds it will spread across the country.
    Last edited by Tim in Fort Worth; 05-17-2007 at 02:42 PM.

  11. #41

    Default

    I received and installed the upgrade kit today, took me an hour. Most of that time was getting into clean out that filter good. What a sucky design. My water heater sits up off the ground a bit on some blocks built into the floor so the wrap around screen in the kit don't give full coverage but I installed it anyway. If I can get a couple more years out of this water heater I'm switching to another brand with a better design !!
    Last edited by Ervserver; 06-04-2007 at 02:07 PM.

  12. #42

    Default

    Short story...

    I purchased one of these a couple years ago. I do recall replacing the Thermocoupler one time -- though I don't recall how long ago. No problems since then. I believe I contacted Whirlpool first, who directed me to Lowes for the replacement part and that I'd be reimbursed. I never followed up... but just as well, Whirlpool must have kept my info on file, because... Lo and behold out of nowhere, I received a Class Action Settlement proposal in the mail today. It came from the Court, not the lawyers.

    So anyhow, your thread has been very enlightening for me -- to help me in the future on what I may need to do. Whirlpool is offering "us" several options -- they're leaving the "opt in" deadline open for a year. Here's a link to the Settlement:

    http://www.waterheatersettlement.com/

    I figure the readers of this thread could appreciate the news. I'll reserve my opinion for now -- and will allow those that have followed this story for so long to comment.

    It sounds like they just want to make this go away -- with no admission of fault by you accepting the settlement... and you give up future rights.

    Read the settlment carefully.

    Dave
    Last edited by djockers; 06-25-2007 at 03:49 PM.

  13. #43

    Default

    FYI, here's the breakdown of the settlement, from the link I included above:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Overview

    A settlement has been proposed that resolves a class action lawsuit and claims against Whirlpool Corporation, Lowe’s HIW, Inc., American Water Heater Company, and A.O. Smith Corporation. The lawsuit alleges the “Flame Lock” and “Flame Guard” water heaters made and sold by these companies, equipped with single-use thermocouples, and sold from 2000 through 2006, are defective in that their thermocouples are prone to premature activation. The companies deny all allegations.

    Settlement Benefits

    If the settlement is approved and you are a class member, you may be eligible to receive an upgraded manifold door assembly for your water heater or reimbursement for a prior purchase of the upgraded assembly and/or reimbursement for a prior purchase of a replacement thermocouple or reimbursement for buying a replacement water heater after suffering multiple thermocouple activations. Please review the Notice for complete details regarding these benefits. To make a claim for settlement benefits, you must send in a completed Claim Form, postmarked no later than June 28, 2008

    Request Exclusion, Object, or Comment

    If you are a class member, you may request exclusion from the class or object to or comment in favor of the settlement. If you do not exclude yourself and remain in the class, you will be bound by any judgment, your claims will be released, and you will be eligible for the benefits of the settlement.

    If you request exclusion from the class, you will not be entitled to any settlement benefits, will not be bound by any judgment, and none of your claims will be released. To exclude yourself, you must mail an exclusion request that complies with all requirements of section 8(C) of the full notice, postmarked no later than August 10, 2007.

    If you wish to object to or comment in support of the settlement, Class Counsel’s application for attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of expenses, or the requested incentive awards to the two representative plaintiffs, you must comply with all requirements of section 8(b) or 8(d) of the full notice, including filing your written comments or objections with the Court and sending copies of your comments or objections to the parties no later than August 10, 2007.

    Please review the Notice for complete details regarding your rights.

    Fairness Hearing

    On September 10, 2007, at 1:30 p.m., a hearing will be held before the Honorable Andrew J. Guilford, Southern Division, 411 West Fourth Street, Santa Ana 92701, to decide whether to approve the settlement, award attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of expenses to Class Counsel, and approve incentive awards to the two representative plaintiffs.

    PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT FOR INFORMATION REGARDING THE SETTLEMENT

  14. #44

    Default

    Last post on this, here's a direct link to download a PDF of the FULL proposed settlement. Again, read carefully. If you "opt in", you give up certain rights. But if you want to "opt out", then there is a procedure to do so.

    http://www.waterheatersettlement.com/notice.pdf

    Dave

  15. #45
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Licensed Grump
    Posts
    1,404

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    "everyone knows about this problem but the consumer"... ............"
    Low*s knows, whirlpool knows, american water heaters know


    they sell them because peopel think that they are
    saveing a substantial amount of money over having a
    plumber install one for them....

    people dont factor in LABOR ISSUES into that cheap price
    when they buy it.... so they pay through the nose
    HD, Low*s are pawning "vent-free" gas fireplaces in my state...they're "legal", based on the fact that they're 40K btu or less, like a standard oven.
    Most inspectors dislike them, based on the argument that they are used to produce constant heat..unlike an oven.
    Guy calls me to install one...I tell him "You might want to consider a vented one...inspectors don't really like them."
    He insists..."The guy at low*s said they're fine"
    I told him that although the vented one is a bit more (also on labor) it's worthwhile to sleep at ease knowing a fixture isn't spewing CO directly into your living area.
    Make a long story short, I humored him...got the permit for both gas and fire.
    Gas inspector passed , fire dept laughed on the way out the door muttering under his breath "I won't pass one of those things in my lifetime."
    He now owns a fully installed & legally un-useable vent free gas log.
    (Use at risk....god forbid a fire occured...no insurance.)
    The guy at Low*s offered him a full refund...well no, he didn't.
    Last edited by Cass; 06-25-2007 at 07:55 PM.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

Similar Threads

  1. Whirlpool Water Heaters
    By master plumber mark in forum Water Heater Forum, Tanks
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 12-19-2009, 09:53 PM
  2. Whirlpool flamelock water heaters
    By tommyo in forum Water Heater Forum, Tanks
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-31-2009, 08:34 PM
  3. Whirlpool Water Heaters
    By master plumber mark in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 03-16-2009, 10:04 AM
  4. Are Reliance hot water heaters a sub-company of Whirlpool?
    By Marty 1 in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 03-15-2008, 03:15 PM
  5. Whirlpool Junk Water Heaters
    By Cass in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 10-26-2006, 03:45 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •