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

  1. #256
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking got another whirlpool to change out

    Got another customer with a Cesspool water heater
    that I looked at on tuesday......

    a 2004 American Premere from Lowes ..... basically
    the exact same heater


    Another plumbing company in town went to lowes and
    bought one but now wont touch it and warranty it....


    and the store wont give them another one....



    So I get ot go out and install a Rheem and throw
    that dog in the trash tomorrow for about $650.00



    thank you American Water heaters.....


    you are the sunshine of my life.....


    keep up the good work http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/galleryiii/

  2. #257
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    It goes both ways mark....
    A few days ago I had a call to repair a water heater...
    It turned out that it was one of those pieces of junk....
    I informed the customer that I don't repair Whirlpool water heaters...
    I replace them!

    I informed the customer of the reliability problems even with the fix and the customer was still hell bent on fixing it,

    The problem is that I have to guarantee my work...
    Its cheaper to replace it, then to build in enough to cover all the callbacks this POS would generate.
    I've got a reputation to consider too!

    Anyway the POS generated a wasted trip for me.

    Thats okay though... Who needs callbacks...
    Let the competition have them!

    I can't remember when the last callback I had on a Bradford White was...

  3. #258

    Lightbulb will not admit defeat

    Long thread here for obvious reasons…
    Ok so not everyone who mistakenly was duped into joining this ever growing group can afford to replace the water heater they bought although some may be better off in the long run after paying the repair bills so I will stay with helpful fact rather than trying to tout a alternate brand.
    Although my next will most surly be a well researched reliable model…
    I myself bought one of the whirlpool crap lock heater 3/29/08 without first researching reliability ect.
    This is one of the new 50 gal BFG models they are actually no different than the original fg model with the exception of the thermal switch , a standard threaded thermocouple and the square view window .
    On 9/23/08 pilot would not stay lit.. Oh joy the fun begins.
    Tested the thermo couple and it checks out, it is well over the 17 milliamps required.
    So I remove the manifold assembly clean everything (not that any thing was in need including the suspect air intake screen).
    Replaced and lit. Seemed to work until the unit reached temp and shut the burner off … the pilot went out with it.
    So I assume the gas control valve is bad (no possible way a lack of air flow will cause that is there).
    I first try the 877 number on the tank and after getting suspiciously disconnected 3 times.
    I do a little research on the true manufacturer. As we all know by now it is American water heater inc.
    I found the direct line to them 800-999-9515 or 423-283-8000.
    I spent no time at all on hold explained my findings gave serial ect. And was shipped a new gas control overnight at no charge at all (they threw a extra thermo couple in the box just cause I guess). It arrived early today 9/24/08 almost too early for me at 7am.
    After a 15min install heater is up and running seemingly well.
    Like others have stated I don’t admit defeat easily and will take keeping it running as a challenge until it has lived to its warranty and then buy a new one.(not a whirlPOO thats for sure)
    I have made minor “enhancements “ to ensure the air flow I did this by “porting” the airflow to the “flame trap” up the side by 3’ using standard ducting parts and putting a filter there in easy reach to clean. cost = $23 and 45 min of my time (i can be verry creative)
    This was only possible while the tank was empty and I had a large friend to help me tip it to attach the lower pieces.
    Not something for everyone I’m sure but beat popping out view windows or loosening the manifold.
    Ill update if it goes out again
    Last edited by Cass; 09-25-2008 at 04:38 AM. Reason: readability

  4. #259

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    Good job. I think! Our shop was delivered 1 of these. No Wirlpool but an American WH brand.The owners are cheap. I warned them that they will sit untill they rust to the floor.Bradley White's or Rheems for us usually.We ended up with this cos' it was $75cheaper. Not even slighty worth it.
    Hotwater,good luck to you. I run a 30 year old WARDS w.h. thatI flush 2X a year and it hangs in just fine.
    Last edited by Cass; 09-25-2008 at 05:10 AM.

  5. #260
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking I really need to see a picture of this one

    Quote Originally Posted by hotwater View Post
    I have made minor “enhancements “ to ensure the air flow I did this by “porting” the airflow to the “flame trap” up the side by 3’ using standard ducting parts and putting a filter there in easy reach to clean. cost = $23 and 45 min of my time (i can be verry creative)
    This was only possible while the tank was empty and I had a large friend to help me tip it to attach the lower pieces.
    Not something for everyone I’m sure but beat popping out view windows or loosening the manifold.
    Ill update if it goes out again

    The thermal switch will eventually fail you

    So you made minor enhancements ...huh?????

    it sounds very creative......

    I would just love to see these "enhancements"
    to make your brand new 08 Whirlpool heater work correctly....


    I have not had a good laugh yet today.....

    and also I would like to post your "enhancements"
    to make your brand new 08 heater work corrrectly to my web site..


    Please .....with all due respect..... post me a pic.

    and I will make your valiant efforts famous.......


    Your story will be like an epic fable ....like the knights of old

    a quest for the holy grail........


    ....handy man versus whirlpool water heater.
    ...will he slay this dragon ??????

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



  6. #261
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Heeeeeeeey that's a blower for a 78' chevy...


    and it's blue! Hoooooooooooooooold On!!!



    I have a good one coming for a Whirlpool water heater install. More workmanship than quality issue.


    Pictures are coming, might take awhile to get them here.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  7. #262
    DIY Junior Member statin's Avatar
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    Default Problem with install

    I just installed the new kit from American and when I fired the hotwater heater up I heard popping and could see water droplets popping and flying around. I don't think it could be the hot water heater. Would this be water accumulation in the gas line? Any replies are appreciated. GD

  8. #263
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Well it's either condensation or, you have a good reason to go get a Bradford White...

  9. #264
    DIY Junior Member Tim in Fort Worth's Avatar
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    Wow! 36,000+ views. This thread is surreal. I saw a news story the other night about how corporations now troll the Internet looking for complaints and negative comments in forums such as MySpace, Twitter, etc. They seek out those people and try to rectify the problem. Makes me wonder if Whirlpool has been following this thread at all. What a hoot it would be if Whirlpool actually posted some comments here. Along those lines I also am curious as to the breakdown of that 36,000 views. How many of those views have come from disgruntled consumers who are desperate to find a solution to this problem and end up here, plumbers who noticed a sharp increase in repairs and wondered what was behind it, lawyers trolling for evidence and information, and how many are following it out of morbid curiosity. It's like watching a train wreck happening in slow motion. I noticed that Whirlpool is paying a dividend on their stock this quarter, but their two year stock trend is heading down, down, down:

    http://www.marketwatch.com/tools/quo...&freq=1&time=9

    I also noticed that the domain name "whirlpoolsucks.com" is owned by an entity called Whirlpool Properties, Inc., which appears to be related to Whirlpool Inc.:

    http://www.networksolutions.com/whoi...lpoolsucks.com

    If so, it's a preemptive strike because no website with that domain is active. They just bought the domain and parked it in the basement with the crazy aunt.

  10. #265

    Default

    I just found this thread, like everyone else, after "joining the club". Mine lasted 3+ years--so I guess I'm one of the more fortunate ones. I'm currently awaiting my upgrade kit. I'm not paticularly handy and after viewing pictures of the upgrade kit was pretty intimidated, despite the call centers guys insistance that it is "easy, a moron could do it" (he was american with southern accent BTW). After reading these posts and studying my water heater though I think maybe I can install it.

    I'm concerned though -it seems that most posters here haven't had much success unless both the manifold assembly AND the gas valve were replaced. There's no way I'm messing with the gas valve----so I'll need to call a plumber if we get to that point. Or I may decide to scrap this WH. Anyone think I can get anything out of Lo*s at this point?
    Last edited by Cass; 11-09-2008 at 05:02 AM.

  11. #266

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    Just an update--- conversion kit arrived at 3pm EST---great overnight service--eh? Think I'll try and baby old one along till Monday just in case I need professional support.

    An interesting sidenote: At 2:30PM I called to be sure it was shipped and this time, same number as yesterday, I got a call center in India. Yestrday (Thursday) I called @ 8:15AM EST and got an American probably from Johnson City, TN --because he sounded like it and that's where this part came from.
    Last edited by whosyer12; 11-07-2008 at 12:20 PM.

  12. #267

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    Went ahead and installed kit today, as I couldn't get it lit at all for last 24 hrs. Wasn't too bad --took me 90 minutes, hardest parts were 1. Freeing old pilot line nut from gas valve. Due to tight clearances you can only get about 1/8th of a turn at a time. Make sure you have good quality correct size wrench for this, I didn't and had to make a quick trip (yeah to good ol Lo*s only 2 miles away which is why I have this POS) to buy one. 2. re- attaching manifold door---as someone elso pointed out earlier the neoprene "keeps" on the back prevent you from being able to see corresponding screw holes. After fumbling around far too long-- I finally removed the keeps and wasn't too bad after that.

    Unit was a lot cleaner than I expected it to be. It's in my not particularly clean garage--maybe that's why i got over 3 years out of it? I vacuumed in and out anyway and will remember to vacuum underneath screen occassionaly.

    Why did I buy this to begin with? Well for starters, who knew? I'm 57 years old and I think this is maybe the third gas water heater I've bought in my life. To me a water heater was something that lasted 12-15 years and you never had to touch it unless a big gust of wind came up when the garage door was open. When the tank starts leaking --you go buy another one. I didn't know a thing about flamelock technology or any of the bs safety features on this unit until 3 days ago. Also as I pointed out---Lo*s is very near my house, has favorable hours, gave me 12 months interest/payment free financing AND $99 same day installation. I got a very satisfactory $99 installation too---it ain't the $99 installation it's the POS heater.

    If i ever buy another one (which is looking likely)--- I will do my due diligence.
    Last edited by Cass; 11-09-2008 at 05:02 AM.

  13. #268
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    WoW...$99.00 for a gas heater install...sounds like gasoline prices droping...regular unleaded here is averaging between $1.75 - 1.99 / gal. and here Lo*s charges $225.00 for the install and the installer will charge something on top of that for a removal fee, permit fee and any code upgrades required.

    In the Seattle area, I charge $999 for my basic installation of a 50 gallon Rheem gas water heater, plus tax, plus permits. www.loveplumbing.com
    Last edited by Terry; 11-10-2008 at 08:42 AM.

  14. #269

    Default Had to tell you guys...

    Well, first off, I guess I've been pretty lucky with my Whurlpul LockFlame hotwater heater. It lasted 4 years before burning out its thermocouple!

    Last Friday, when there was suddenly no hot water, I hopped on to Google and started searching. I found lots of links; everything from consumer action, to articles about the class action lawsuit, to this thread.

    This thread, however, has been by far the most helpful, so thank you all for maintaining it! Because it's such a good source, I felt like I should jump on and post my "fix".

    First of all -- before I go in to the explanation -- please remember that (1). I hate this hot water heater and (2). I'm not suggesting other people should do what I did...

    Pretty much, the story is the same as everyone else. Pilot wouldn't stay lit. I even clamped the reset button down with a woodworking clamp, to let the thermocouple get good and hot, before turning to "on"... one time the burner caught, and me and my wife rushed up and took showers. Even that time, as soon as the burner turned off and went back to pilot, the pilot went out.

    I ran over to Lowes, and bought the only Whirlpool thermocouple they had in stock.

    So, I pulled the burner assembly out. One thing worth noting that I haven't seen else where, is that my burner assembly was kind-of stuck, even after I disconnected the four connections to the thermostat (thermocouple, gas, pilot, igniter wire) and the two screws. It turned out, it was kind-of stuck... I think there was a bit of corrosion around the door.

    When I got the old thermocouple out, I saw that it had the in-line fuse (as discussed elsewhere). Putting in the new thermocouple was simple, I just tried not to damage it too much as I was threading it.

    As I went to finish up and reattach everything, I found that the new thermocouple not only didn't have a in-line fuse, but was RIGHT HAND THREADED (again, a problem other people have had).

    I've read other forums where folks have cut and soldered the thermocouple together, but I was so pissed that I did something different: I just brutally screwed it in!

    That's right, I mercilessly screwed a right-handed thread in to a left-handed socket. And now it's jammed in there, with the thermocouple contact engaged, and the stupid POS flameluck working, for the moment. I now have the advantage of having a standard thermocouple in there, instead of the one with the extra fuse.

    Yes, I have a temper. Yes I plan to have the thing replaced as soon as I can.

    Yes, I'm kinda proud of myself for beating it at its own game

  15. #270
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I guess when you call whirlpool and get the new burner assy. you better get a new gas valve too.

    I'ts still not fixed...

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