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

  1. #481
    DIY Junior Member smokinpsd's Avatar
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    Default Parts

    Got parts today but to late to start that project tonight, looked like they sent the front with the new square window and was told explicitly that I had to remove and use old burner, also had a call to remind me they would not cover labor if I hired someone to replace the part. If that doesn't work I will call back and get a new thermostat control box. I am hoping that what they send will work and at least give me enough time to replace the waterheater later. Will let you all know if it works, plan to tackle it tomorrow after work. Thanks for all the help

  2. #482
    DIY Junior Member Fremen9's Avatar
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    Default advice on new whirlpool heater

    I can't believe my luck. I didn't know anything about water heaters, so when my old Bradford White finally started leaking after 12 years, I went to Lowe's and picked up a Whirlpool 50 gallon water heater. Its one of those low nox ones.
    So I found a plumber who would install it for around $200 and he came out and installed it. He said that he didn't like this brand and it had problems, but I stupidly didn't listen to him and had him install it anyway.
    Now 2 days later, and the pilot light keeps turning off.
    I looked at it for quite a while and what I noticed is that when I first light it, it stays on. The thermocouple tip is in the flame and is glowing hot.
    But I noticed after the burner kicks in for a while and heats up the tank, when it shuts down the burner, the pilot light is actually a little bit smaller than it was initially. The result is that the thermocouple is only barely touching the flame, and as it flickers it actually doesn't touch it at all. Then it gets shut off.

    Is this similar to the problem you guys are all taking about? Would it be a simple matter of positioning the thermocouple a bit further so that more of it is in the flame's path?

    I called whirlpool and since its only been 2 days since I bought it, they gave me an authorization number and a plumber to call for an appointment. I called the plumber and he is going to try to have someone come by today if possible.

    Meanwhile, I after reading all these posts, I am tempted to just pay the same plumber to take it down and help me pack it back in my van and then take it back to Lowe's and ask for a refund. I believe you can return it up to 30 days right? Of course, then i've wasted the $200 installation, and whatever he charges to help me remove it...

    I should have stuck with the Bradford white model I had before. But who sells those? I only found them on amazon.com. Ironically they are the same price or less than the Whirlpool I bought.
    Do you know, for the 12 years I had it, I never once had to light the pilot on this bradford white? In fact, I didn't even know you had to do that. I thought it was automaticaly doing it...

  3. #483
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Bradford White and Rheem are sold by plumbers.
    All you have to do, is call them, and they will bring the heater with them to your house.

  4. #484
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Bradford White is typically only carried by plumbing supply houses and they often won't sell directly to retail customers...your plumber will be glad to supply one and probably a reasonable price.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #485
    DIY Junior Member Fremen9's Avatar
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    Just had the gas company guy come out to take a look.
    He tested the thermocouple and said its not giving off quite enough voltage. He thought it was positioned as high as it can be and it was just quite enough...he thought maybe someone could reposition it another 1/16th of an inch, but he said the thermocouple is not giving off enough voltage so will shut off intermittently. He said that whirlpool heaters are junk and he sees this problem 2 times a day.

    So anyway...has anyone had experience returning a used water heater to Lowes? I called them, and I told her what happened and she said they would take it back if its within 7 days. Since I bought it 12/26 I should be able to take it back tomorrow night and return it.
    The gas guy actually said if it was him, he'd even throw it away and buy another one. wow...guess he feels strongly about it.

  6. #486
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fremen9 View Post
    The gas guy actually said if it was him, he'd even throw it away and buy another one. wow...guess he feels strongly about it.
    If you read back through the pages of this thread I might have a very similar strong opinion....

  7. #487
    DIY Junior Member Fremen9's Avatar
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    Hey guys,
    what do you think of the Kenmore brand from Sears??
    Compared to the Whirlpool from Lowes and GE from Home Depot?

    I can't find anywhere near the number of complaints for Kenmore 50 gallon gas than I can find for the other two.

    My plumber says he doesn't buy water heaters.

  8. #488
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking GET THE ge UNIT

    Quote Originally Posted by Fremen9 View Post
    Hey guys,
    what do you think of the Kenmore brand from Sears??
    Compared to the Whirlpool from Lowes and GE from Home Depot?

    I can't find anywhere near the number of complaints for Kenmore 50 gallon gas than I can find for the other two.

    My plumber says he doesn't buy water heaters.


    get the GE unit...it is the best by far of all 3

    Stay away from SEARS..they are junk too

    here are a few hundred complaints to read if you need to

    http://baheyeldin.com/technology-in-...er-heater.html






  9. #489
    DIY Junior Member Fremen9's Avatar
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    I was looking over the front of my water heater last night ,and I noticed that the thermocouple wire which is a fairly stiff wire was actually slightly touching the metal guard that covers it. I thought maybe it shouldn't be touching that, I mean isn't it supposed to conduct heat or something?
    So I pushed it in and made sure it wasn't touching anything.
    Also, the guy from the gas company had unscrewed it from the control box and then put it back in.
    Since then, so far, the pilot light hasn't shut off.
    Is that a coincidence? maybe that's all that was wrong right now?
    until it clogs up of course
    or burns up.

  10. #490
    DIY Junior Member curlysir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fremen9 View Post
    I was looking over the front of my water heater last night ,and I noticed that the thermocouple wire which is a fairly stiff wire was actually slightly touching the metal guard that covers it. I thought maybe it shouldn't be touching that, I mean isn't it supposed to conduct heat or something?
    So I pushed it in and made sure it wasn't touching anything.
    Also, the guy from the gas company had unscrewed it from the control box and then put it back in.
    Since then, so far, the pilot light hasn't shut off.
    Is that a coincidence? maybe that's all that was wrong right now?
    until it clogs up of course
    or burns up.
    Touching the metal won't cause a problem. The thermocouple generates a small electrical voltage (mV) and unscrewing and reinstalling can sometimes "fix" a problem with the thermocouple if the fitting was loose or if there was a small amount of corrosion on the tip of thermocouple.
    Last edited by curlysir; 12-29-2009 at 05:47 PM.

  11. #491
    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fremen9 View Post
    Hey guys,
    what do you think of the Kenmore brand from Sears??
    Compared to the Whirlpool from Lowes and GE from Home Depot?

    I can't find anywhere near the number of complaints for Kenmore 50 gallon gas than I can find for the other two.

    My plumber says he doesn't buy water heaters.
    Stay the F away from Kenmore...I'm going to try to have them take back a month and few day old Power Miser 9 and replace it with a Bradford White Next week...no pilot light issues (yet) but it just doesn't want to seem to run right.....I'm all over this forum with the issues I have had with it......in any event my main beef with it is the small openings in the bottom to take in air....I'm thinking this is contributing to the issues I am having and the Bradford White air intake system looks superior. Flame at times burns pretty yellow and it looks like soot already forming in flue...my venting appears to be good doing a lighter test so it seems the drafting is there.


    If you replace the Whirlpool either go Rheem or Bradford White and find a good plumber you can trust to install it...you will be glad you did...sounds like the install of the BW might even be close to 200 dollars less than the Kenmore......

    If I could reverse time and had found this forum before November I probably would be all set right now...I'm not happy about having to spend a lot more money than I had planned originally but peace of mind and knowing it should not have the issues that Mark's link points out makes me feel a lot better

  12. #492
    DIY Senior Member mnalep's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I have a Whirlpool hot water tank (FG1F4040S3NOV). I have the frequently mentioned problem with the pilot light not staying lit - after I release the pilot gas reset button.

    I just called the 877-817-6750 Whirlpool warranty number, and am going to have shipped to me a replacement 'kit' (which I think includes the new thermocouple, converter, and manifold face plate).

    I had 2 questions that I hope someone here could answer.

    1) I have the pilot/thermocouple/burner unit out of the water tank. How can evaluate my test of the thermocouple so that I can be absolutely sure the problem is the thermocouple, and not the gas valve?

    - I put a multimeter on the aluminum tip and on the TC line near the pilot flame site. I heated the TC for 2 minutes, and did not get any milliamps reading on my voltmeter, which was set at 200mA DC (Is is DC, right?) I thinks that is saying the TC is not sending any power to the Valve to tell the valve the pilot is staying lit?

    - I then set my meter to the 20 Ohms scale and tested again. This time with the TC hot from previous 2 minutes of heating the meter read 0.0 Ohms. After the TC cooled down for 5 minutes, the meter read 0.3 Ohms. So I interpret this as when the TC is heated it has 0 ohms resistance - which is impossible for any metal to be that low? So the TC is bad.

    - But why would it show 0.3 Ohms resistance when the TC is cold? That indicates a small amount of resistance, which might mean the TC is ok?

    2) Since I have to wait until Wednesday, or even Thursday, for the kit to arrive (it's Monday today) - I was wondering if I could try and fire up the main burner just long enough to heat the water tank tomorrow (for a shower and to do the dishes). I was thinking that I could just manually light the main burner with a long match, that I'd insert through the 'peep' hole, after removing the glass cover? Would this be safe to do?
    Last edited by mnalep; 01-05-2010 at 08:56 AM.

  13. #493
    DIY Senior Member mnalep's Avatar
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    One more question...Has anyone considered pulling the left hand thread nut off the existing thermocouple, and using it to replace the right hand threaded nut on a new thermocouple?

    The old TC could be cut to get the LH thread off easily enough.

    And it looks as if the aluminum? tip is clamped on to the copper TC line, and maybe could be pried off and then back on a new TC line? If the tip cannot be wrenched off, could the new TC line be cut, the nuts exchanged, and then the line soldered back together?

  14. #494
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnalep View Post
    One more question...Has anyone considered pulling the left hand thread nut off the existing thermocouple, and using it to replace the right hand threaded nut on a new thermocouple?

    The old TC could be cut to get the LH thread off easily enough.

    And it looks as if the aluminum? tip is clamped on to the copper TC line, and maybe could be pried off and then back on a new TC line? If the tip cannot be wrenched off, could the new TC line be cut, the nuts exchanged, and then the line soldered back together?
    The right hand thread thermocouples are incompatible with your application.
    Don't do it!

    Wait for the parts or install a Bradford White and end your problems!

  15. #495
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redwood View Post
    The right hand thread thermocouples are incompatible with your application.
    Don't do it!

    Wait for the parts or install a Bradford White and end your problems!
    I concur Mr. Redwood except for the suggested brand as i prefer Rheem water heaters,however they are not perfect either and utilize an extra safety feature and we all know that safety features are famous for failing causing the heater to shut down

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