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

  1. #556
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    For those that may not know, the way propane and natural gas react when leaking are quite different and present different problems. Natural gas normally has no odor, so they put that distinctive one in it so you can smell it if it does leak. Then, natural gas is (at room temperature) normally a gas that is lighter than air, so it rises. If you have a leak, it will rise up to the highest point and then, if it can't escape, fill from the top down.

    But, propane is normally stored at high pressure and is generally a liquid until it is released and the pressure drops. And, it is heavier than air. When it leaks, it will fill a room from the bottom up. So, say your water heater was in the basement - the entire basement could be full of propane gas, and none of it would have yet reached the upper levels, so you may not know it. Give it a spark at the right concentrations and the basement blows up, taking the house with it.

    Not to say that natural gas isn't dangerous too, but because it rises, you are more likely to smell it and take corrective action. But, if the house IS tight, and it filled from the top down, since most spark sources (like a pilot light, or furnace or other device with a pilot or an ignitor) are likely in the basement or at least on the lower floor, you may have more of the house full of gas before it ignites. Instead of blowing the basement up and taking the house with it, it blows the roof off and the walls out. I guess, neither is likely to allow the house to still stand.

    FYI, similar to a smoke detector, there are gas detectors available that can warn you at the first signs of a gas leak. Something to consider when you have gas appliances in the home. First, you're not always home, and then, depending on the type, you may not notice until it has reached a dangerous level.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  2. #557
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Default new whirlpool design

    dont know how many of you have seen the new version of this old pig yet... I had to go out and re-pipe the unit in for a customer this morning....

    they have incorporated a honeywell--icon gas valve on the new unit... I do not know whether it is identicle to the ICON valve or not.... I actually like the valve better than what Bradford has on their product becasue the instructions are clearly on the unit...
    but I feel that this is going to turn into a service mans worst nightmare...

    they still have the same hi-limit switch,
    it appears they are useing a larger piolit light tube than bradford does,

    the one thing that they have failed to change is the air intake underneath the unit,,,
    you can see it through the glass of this picture...
    I think the screen wrapped around the bottom of it is totally retarted...

    well, have they improved the unit or not??
    I dont think so, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while....

  3. #558
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Default the new whirlpool design water heater


  4. #559
    DIY Junior Member Reese's Avatar
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    I have a model# ND40T62-403 Flame Lock purchased 7-10-11 and it has the same problem with not staying lighted. After seeing numerous posts on the internet about the same problem, I calle Whirlpool today and was told that this model didn't have that problem and that he would be glad to explain to me the misinformation that was on the internet regarding these units! I need no explanation. It's the same problem. Can you suggest to me a quality LP hot water heater that won't break my bank account? Thank you and I'm am enjoying your website. So informative.

  5. #560
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I normally go with either Bradford White or Rheem.

    I notice the picture of the Whirlpool above has a plastic drain. I don't see that with the heaters I'm installing.

  6. #561

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    I would love to help you get back into hot water. Can you contact me directly so I can help?
    www.whirlpoolwaterheaters.com/help
    Thanks ~ Chris
    American Water Heater, authorized licensee for Whirlpool Water Heaters

  7. #562
    DIY Junior Member Reese's Avatar
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    In reading the posts and on the net, it says that the heaters sold in the big box stores are of a lower quality than would be sold elsewhere. If that's true then I should purchase either of the 2 you suggested through a plumber? Is that how you would suggest I go? You are after all the expert and I just want to get the hot water flowing continually.

  8. #563
    DIY Junior Member Reese's Avatar
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    Thank you for your offer to help but honestly, I think it's time to pack this one out of the house and move another brand in but thank you again for your offer to help.

  9. #564
    DIY Junior Member Texian's Avatar
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    MP Mark,
    Thanks for your info about the screen. I replaced the thermocouple (for about the 8th time), pilot would not stay on. Cleaned the screen (after calling Whirlpool, again, and giving them another piece of my mind...not a whole lot left to give) after reading your very good advice and the pilot stayed on. Wife happy and I'm proud to know that you guys are out there.
    PS We bought this water heater in 09/2002 after having hardly any trouble with our original 30 gallon water heater manufactured in circa 1960. I agree with you about the morons and the hazards of this unit.

  10. #565
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Thumbs down A visit from the DARK SIDE

    Quote Originally Posted by Whirlpoolwaterheaterhelp View Post
    I would love to help you get back into hot water. Can you contact me directly so I can help?
    www.whirlpoolwaterheaters.com/help
    Thanks ~ Chris
    American Water Heater, authorized licensee for Whirlpool Water Heaters
    looks like the " Dummies at Whirlpool"
    have finally taken notice of this thread..

    I doubt this fellows name is Chris...
    better odds its some indian name like Rahma.. or Bagwan

    I am getting a few calls a week from all over the USA on this junk..

    the new one they have made looks very nice but I would wager that they
    did not put any R+D into the design before they massed produced it and dumped it on
    the consumers in this country........ I would give teh new unit about a year
    and all hell with start breaking loose ...again......

    To the folks at Whilrpool... R+D stands for "research and development"
    ...you are supposed to test your product for long time in real world situations
    before you sell the product....to the public.......

    you are supposed to pass UL rateings and antsi standards which I highly doubt
    you have done with this new product......
    IMHO. you probably "bought a waiver" from the government and they let you slide
    on passing the UL and antsi regualtions... ..

    dont worry Whirlpool,
    we have been repairing this junk and dealing with your screw-ups since 2001.

    I dont mind doing it for another decade because its pretty good money..
    so keep up the good work....

  11. #566
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Default Looks like the thermostat fix has worked longterm

    It has been nearly two and a half years since I replaced the gas valve/thermostat and thermocouple on mine (fully reimbursed by Lowe's) and it is still running. Reports of the problem have faded away so it looks like the Unitrol/Robert Shaw gas valve manufacturing problem has been resolved. (Note that this same gas valve was on the Rheem's at the time and I saw some reports of the same problem developing with them.) Thanks to Curlysir for providing the documentation that confirmed my suspicions about the source of the problem.

  12. #567
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Cool 2 calls a week on average

    Quote Originally Posted by Runs with bison View Post
    It has been nearly two and a half years since I replaced the gas valve/thermostat and thermocouple on mine (fully reimbursed by Lowe's) and it is still running. Reports of the problem have faded away so it looks like the Unitrol/Robert Shaw gas valve manufacturing problem has been resolved. (Note that this same gas valve was on the Rheem's at the time and I saw some reports of the same problem developing with them.) Thanks to Curlysir for providing the documentation that confirmed my suspicions about the source of the problem.
    I disagree with you about this.....
    we are still getting on average about 2 calls a week on
    whirlpool water heaters in Indiaiapolis... most are 2008-10 units....

    I get a lot of folks call me from all over the usa for free advice...
    when they do a search they find whirlpoolwaterheaterrepair.com...
    on average the heaters range from 1-3 years old when they break down..

    the new unit with the honeywell thermostat is going to be the next hurdle
    and I am wondering how long they will work ??

    any one wanting to make a wager?



  13. #568
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    I would expect those calls, since the gas valve problem was resolved in the 2009 timeframe. So factor in that "new" units with the old thermostat would probably still be installed as late as 2010 even, and the reality that many of them would run a year or more before failing. And the Rheems had the same gas valve other than a different color knob on the gas valve.

    The significant change is that the replacement gas valves from mid-2009 on for the Unitrol/Robert Shaw appear to be holding up. Although frustrating as the failure is, the parts can be had for free and it is a DIY level job.

    Don't know on the Honeywell. Only time will tell.

  14. #569
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If you are referring to the ""I-Con" control, it has to be the biggest POS ever made. My Bradford White dealer cannot keep enough parts on hand to handle all the warranty parts needed on a daily basis. There are four parts that can cause problems and you often have to replace them one at a time until you find the problem. Often, the supply house will not have all four, and we have to shop his other branches to get all the parts, then spend a couple of hours servicing it.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  15. #570
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Default So I gather you dont like the ICON???

    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    If you are referring to the ""I-Con" control, it has to be the biggest POS ever made. My Bradford White dealer cannot keep enough parts on hand to handle all the warranty parts needed on a daily basis. There are four parts that can cause problems and you often have to replace them one at a time until you find the problem. Often, the supply house will not have all four, and we have to shop his other branches to get all the parts, then spend a couple of hours servicing it.


    HJ... so how are you doing??

    It appears you have had the same difficulties that I have run into with the ICON valve.
    perhaps even worse than me.... and now the Whirlpool has basically the same ICON honeywell
    gas valve on their units.........

    we do not like to install them because just to get them to light it is a crap shoot
    and we have fought a few of them for 15 minutes..

    I am keeping a complete valve assembly in my truck cause I know its just easier
    to change out the whole valve and thermopile at one time over trying to trouble shoot
    one of them for half a day.....


    we only trust RHEEM ....
    and they appear to be keeping things simple so far....

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