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

  1. #211
    DIY Member Squ1rrel's Avatar
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    Probably trying to avoid a lawsuit on their new ones too...Wouldn't be surprised if that dip tube is broken though

  2. #212
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking I had two calls today...

    I think the new design is actually going to be worse than
    the old one.....

    I got one fellow calling on one that was installed in October... in a tight laundry room
    he cant find a new thermal switch....

    and the other person sounded like they were haveing about the same problems...


    all I can figure out is the lawyers have told Whirlpool not to change the basic design of the heater, which would be like admitting guilt. so they change one problem out fo r another.


  3. #213

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    I understand the airflow requirements and the fact the screen will clog easily. This is most certainly a design flaw and the root cause of the problems. What I'm not convinced of is if you do follow the maintenance that this unit won't run just fine. In that laundry room the guy probably clogged that screen very quickly. In my particular case I think I just had a bad valve. I honestly don't think anything caused the problem. Even my original thermocouple is still good. I still think the maintenance requiment sucks but I'll willing to live with it rather than go through the hassle of replacement. I'm also not sure just how well the unit will respond when dead cold as it takes a little time to start a draft.

  4. #214
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    There is a black prescreen / filter that wraps around entire bottom of the heater, it is about 3" high and is supposed to catch lint, hair Etc. before it gets to the air intake on the bottom of the heater...do you have this installed?

  5. #215

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    No I do not have that installed as I do not have one. I am aware that it exists. I was a little surprised that they gave me another gas valve given Lowes already did. Of course they may not know that yet as it was only a week ago Monday. Either way I don't care. I'm going to try this as it's an easy part to change compared to the half day I would spend on a new heater.

  6. #216
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking maintaince bi monthly

    remember if you read the fine print it clearly states
    that if you do not clean the air filter every 3 months
    the warranty if void...void...void....


    I cant remember to change my furnace filters or
    clean my gutters before a good storm,

    and they expect a novice to break down a
    heater and clean the internal and external screen...

    yea....sure ...right..........now if that is not the biggest
    load of horse crap that has come down the pike......

    I dont know what is...

    good luck with your maintiance


    here is a little tid-bit for ya...

    http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=14643

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

  7. #217

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    Yeah I read all that when I first had problems. I'm certain I'm a little too analytical. I'm a mechanical engineer by trade so I try and be as objective as possible. I do not believe you have to break down anything to maintain this heater. Merely clean the bottom. It was easy to get to for me. There were alot of poor decisions regarding this design but I understand some of them. The left handed thermocouple in the older design? This kept people from installing a standard thermocouple which defeated the safety. The solution, add a separate thermal switch. They should have done that in the first place. The inlet screen? I'm not sure. How else can you keep a flammable vapor flame front from propagting outside the burner chamber? I have not seen other designs so I cannot comment. From what I understand this is what is supposed to happen should a flammable vapor get inside and ignite. It's a very crappy design for the average homeowner. Thankfully I'm not average. I'm still cautiously skeptical but for now my showers are hot. I'm currently responsible for the maintenance and projects for 10 large buildings for the transportation industry. Whats one water heater? I do wish I would've known the BTU and recovery time for my old water heater. I think the dip tube is too short also. I may opt to replace it with a better one. Kind of like modding my car, can't leave well enough alone.

  8. #218
    Engineer Furd's Avatar
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    Quite honestly, there was nothing wrong with the old design as long as they were installed as specified.

    Regardless of who lobbied the Congress, the bottom line is that every single water heater that ignited flammable vapors was either installed contrary to the heater's instructions and/or national and local codes OR the home owner did something stupid like storing flammable solvents in close proximity to the heaters or was spray painting in close proximity to the heaters.

    Once again the majority takes it in the rear because of the stupid actions of a few.

  9. #219
    DIY Senior Member Nate R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauleyman View Post
    There were alot of poor decisions regarding this design but I understand some of them. The left handed thermocouple in the older design? This kept people from installing a standard thermocouple which defeated the safety. The solution, add a separate thermal switch. They should have done that in the first place. The inlet screen? I'm not sure. How else can you keep a flammable vapor flame front from propagting outside the burner chamber? I have not seen other designs so I cannot comment. From what I understand this is what is supposed to happen should a flammable vapor get inside and ignite. It's a very crappy design for the average homeowner. Thankfully I'm not average. I'm still cautiously skeptical but for now my showers are hot. I'm currently responsible for the maintenance and projects for 10 large buildings for the transportation industry. Whats one water heater? I do wish I would've known the BTU and recovery time for my old water heater. I think the dip tube is too short also. I may opt to replace it with a better one. Kind of like modding my car, can't leave well enough alone.
    Uh, what? I work w/ mechanical engineers for a living in a development setting. There are poor designs all over the place. Cost often rules. Maybe you haven't encountered the stupidity that's out there. Often times a better design should have been used in the first place but isn't because of cost, etc. So there very well could be a badly designed product, or something that expects too much from the user. It's happened plenty before and will happen again.

  10. #220

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    The freakin cure. OMFG. I have been round and round with this sucker, trying to figure out WHY? Call it a disorder.

    Two things stuck in my mind.

    The thermocouples are not bad in most cases. And sometimes, even brand new, the freakin pilot light will not stay lit.

    I had to take apart my old water heater (old style) before I figured it out. Although, I must admit, it was the first thing that popped into my head when I looked at the pilot light. It looked too small to me.

    And it is. That is why it won't stay lit. The pilot flame is too small. The control box does not allow for pilot light adjustment. But...there is a pilot jet inside the pilot light assembly. My old water heater had the same exact pilot jet. Here's the catch. My old water heater had a single flame. The Whirlpool has a split flame or dual flame. One half heats the thermocouple, the other half lights the main burner. The pilot jet that is installed in the Whirlpool is for a single flame pilot light--NOT the split flame or dual flame pilot light assembly.

    The fix? Put the sight glass back in. Undo all the other things you might have done. Take the pilot jet out. Enlarge the oriface (hole) by double. Yes, I do know that doubling the size of the oriface means more than twice the gas. But it seems to work best, and is the easiest to approximate.

    How could Whirlpool be so freakin stupid? To do all the things they did...and not even realize they had the wrong pilot jet installed. All they had to do is look at the pilot light, and the first thing that pops into your head is, "Hey, that looks a little small." Swear to God. Go look at it. Tell me it's not too small.

    Whirlpool still don't know. Someone else can tell them. Whirlpool can KMA. Not for making a simple mistake. But for the run around I been getting. Oh, Whirlpool. If something don't work right, figure out why, or don't sell it to the consumer. Only by an alignment of the all planets does this water heater work at all. By the sound of it, if ANY factor is not in its favor, the pilot light goes out. It is barely big enough. It is always just about to go out. Certainly, the first cycle of the burner coming on, and going off, will blow out the pilot light. That is what happened to mine, over and over and over. I watched it. This pig never worked right. Those are the facts. The pilot light is too freakin small. It never worked right for Whirlpool either. This pig never worked. Period.

    If I had not taken apart the old water heater pilot light assembly, and control box, I would not have noticed that they both had the same pilot jet, and one was a single flame, and one was a dual. Before I noticed that, I was thinkin about...swapping pilot light assemblies. Turned out not to be necessary.

    Yup. It works fine:

    Take the installed pilot jet, and enlarge the oriface by double. It is a very small hole to begin with. I had a backup from the old water heater, but still, I made a little tool for the job from a wood screw. If you made it too big, you could, I suppose, solder it shut, and make a new oriface. The jet is well away from the flame. If you're gonna purchase one, buy the right one to start with--the dual flame pilot jet.

    Look at the crap they send you, just to keep the pilot light lit. It is so funny. Why didn't Whirlpool check the thermocouples to see if they were in fact bad? Sheesh. I swear, if you look at the pilot light, you'll think, "Too freakin small." Go look.

    Funny, funny stuff, no?

  11. #221

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    This is what is in the Whirlpool currently. It is the same sized pilot orifice that came out of my old, single tip pilot burner. I compared the two, and that was when the light came on.

    Orifice BCR-18 (0.018 in.) For Pilot Burner, front single tip style.


    This is the size it should have, by the looks of it.

    Orifice A26 (0.026 in.) For Pilot Burner, batwing tip style.


    So simple. So stupid. Probably, somewhere along the line, the pilot burner got changed to a batwing tip, and they forgot to change the orifice to a larger one. They been suffering bad results ever since, I bet. It is almost comical.

    I have fixed four of these the past month, by making the orifice larger by double, and finally, all those pigs work like they are supposed to. I really wasn't lookin forward to draining them, and taking them back to Lowes. But I would have...you can only listen to so much whining.

    Can every single ill that ails it, be explained by a sputtering pilot light? I mean, how could a weak pilot light affect water temperature? Why would a new thermocouple seemingly fix the problem if the problem was a weak pilot--which you did not address?

    An aside: none of the components associated with this Whirlpool are unique in any way. There is nothing wrong with any of them per se. The gas valve is OK. So is the thermocouple. The pilot jet orifice is just too small. It is a common part as well. All those devices operate fine in other appliances. None of them are at fault in this case.

    Another aside: I own one myself. It sits with one other old style water heater, and a coin operated washer and dryer, in a 6 X 6 room. The Whirlpool water heater heats that room up more than any water heater I've ever put in there. If you go stand by it, you can feel radiant heat emanating from the bottom of the water heater. This effect is more pronounced in the Whirlpool than any other water heater I have ever seen. It seems...abnormal.

    And it is. That heat is wasted heat. All heat should be used to...heat water. Not heat up my dimly lit laundry room. That the heat is not being drawn up into the unit proper to heat water is obvious. You can always tell when the Whirlpool is in service because it runs hot. Just go stand by it. It's the hottest running water heater...ever. It runs hot even with the sight glass removed. It needs MORE air flow yet. Normal aspiration is probably just barely enough. What do you wanna bet?

    Craftmanship = F
    Design = F
    Overall grade = junk

  12. #222
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    The reason it is not drafting right is the main problem with all the units that you missed.

    The air intake which is on the bottom.

    It is undersized and clogs with lint, further reducing the air flow. This raises the heat / temp in the sealed burner area which is what you feel.

    They now have a resettable heat sensor on the new units and send replacement burners assembly's with the resettable heat sensor on them because of thermocouple failure and the replacement cost associated with constant replacement. The old style burners might have one go bad in a lifetime.

    They have not addressed the main problem.
    Last edited by Cass; 05-09-2008 at 01:58 AM.

  13. #223

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    Umm, I didn't miss jack. I read the entire thread.

    Yes, the air intake is not properly sized, regardless of lint clogs. That is why peeps open it up. Why they take out the sight glass. Yada. I'm saying even opened up, it still does not draft properly.

    You are confusing the two issues. The thermocouples don't fail. The pilot flame is too small for the thermocouple to create the proper voltage. As they get older, they become less sensitive. It only appears to fail. If you increase the pilot jet size, and thus, the pilot flame, the thermocouple will work again.

    Listen, it gets hot in there, but not that hot. A thermocouple can take the heat. It's made to. That is how I knew the thermocouple burning up issue was a red red herring. Remember, Whirlpool does NOT know the pilot jet is too small. They think the thermocouples are going bad. They should have tested them.

    Resettable whatever. You gotta remember, they are trying to keep the pilot light on without the knowledge that the pilot jet is too small. Their so called fix...is why I started to look elsewhere. That fix is just plain wrong. It is wrong to approach a problem like they have done--without trying to determine why the pilot is going out. The fix itself told me that Whirlpool don't know what the problem is. They addressed the symptoms, not the problem.

    I don't know where the idea came from that it was so hot in the burner area that the thermocouples were burning up. That just does not happen. It's hot in there. It is the hottest running water heater I've ever seen. But it ain't that hot. Thermocouples are not burning up. Who told you that? Whirlpool? Don't believe everything you hear. Thermocouples are not burning up!

    Even if you open the entire bottom up, like an old style water heater, you will still have issues with the pilot light going out. Replacing the thermocouple with a new one WILL work in all probability. A new one is more sensitive to the flame. But that only appears to fix the issue. The real issue is the pilot flame it too small.

    In case you didn't figure it out, I'll explain it to you. ALL the issues involving this water heater are due to the pilot flame being too small. The pilot jet is incorrect. That it is getting so hot inside the burner area that thermocouples are burning up is...insane. That is not happening. It is something someone, who didn't really have a firm understanding, made up to explain the symptoms they were faced with. It made sense then, but it makes no sense now.

    The pilot won't stay lit. Why? The pilot jet orifice is too small. That mimics a bad thermocouple. It thinks there is no flame. But there is. It is just too small.

    Everything else is bull. No, they have no addressed it. They don't even know yet.

    Umm, listen. The theromcouples are not burning up.



    Quote Originally Posted by Cass View Post
    The reason it is not drafting right is the main problem with all the units that you missed.

    The air intake which is on the bottom.

    It is undersized and clogs with lint, further reducing the air flow. This raises the heat / temp in the sealed burner area which is what you feel.

    They now have a resettable heat sensor on the new units and send replacement burners assembly's with the resettable heat sensor on them because of thermocouple failure and the replacement cost associated with constant replacement. The old style burners might have one go bad in a lifetime.

    They have not addressed the main problem.

  14. #224
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking it dont really matter.....

    I dont think its worth getting into an argument over
    this subject....

    everyone agrees that Whirlpool water heaters are crap....

    their is no reason to dispute the exact color of crap....

    its still crap...

  15. #225
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeyRube View Post
    Umm, I didn't miss jack. I read the entire thread.

    Yes, the air intake is not properly sized, regardless of lint clogs. That is why peeps open it up. Why they take out the sight glass. Yada. I'm saying even opened up, it still does not draft properly.

    You are confusing the two issues. The thermocouples don't fail. The pilot flame is too small for the thermocouple to create the proper voltage. As they get older, they become less sensitive. It only appears to fail. If you increase the pilot jet size, and thus, the pilot flame, the thermocouple will work again.

    Listen, it gets hot in there, but not that hot. A thermocouple can take the heat. It's made to. That is how I knew the thermocouple burning up issue was a red red herring. Remember, Whirlpool does NOT know the pilot jet is too small. They think the thermocouples are going bad. They should have tested them.

    Resettable whatever. You gotta remember, they are trying to keep the pilot light on without the knowledge that the pilot jet is too small. Their so called fix...is why I started to look elsewhere. That fix is just plain wrong. It is wrong to approach a problem like they have done--without trying to determine why the pilot is going out. The fix itself told me that Whirlpool don't know what the problem is. They addressed the symptoms, not the problem.

    I don't know where the idea came from that it was so hot in the burner area that the thermocouples were burning up. That just does not happen. It's hot in there. It is the hottest running water heater I've ever seen. But it ain't that hot. Thermocouples are not burning up. Who told you that? Whirlpool? Don't believe everything you hear. Thermocouples are not burning up!

    Even if you open the entire bottom up, like an old style water heater, you will still have issues with the pilot light going out. Replacing the thermocouple with a new one WILL work in all probability. A new one is more sensitive to the flame. But that only appears to fix the issue. The real issue is the pilot flame it too small.

    In case you didn't figure it out, I'll explain it to you. ALL the issues involving this water heater are due to the pilot flame being too small. The pilot jet is incorrect. That it is getting so hot inside the burner area that thermocouples are burning up is...insane. That is not happening. It is something someone, who didn't really have a firm understanding, made up to explain the symptoms they were faced with. It made sense then, but it makes no sense now.

    The pilot won't stay lit. Why? The pilot jet orifice is too small. That mimics a bad thermocouple. It thinks there is no flame. But there is. It is just too small.

    Everything else is bull. No, they have no addressed it. They don't even know yet.

    Umm, listen. The theromcouples are not burning up.
    OK your right, the 50-60 I have replaced didn't work because the flame was to small, so why does the new one work...more sensitive like you said, because the old one was bad...less sensitive...I suggest you go work for them and straighten them out on this issue. The units are junk and have been since they came out. Plain and simple.

    BTW Whirlpool doesn't know anything because they don't make it.

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