This water heater was installed in my home in 2004. I have had to replace the thermal couple four times since its installation due to a design flaw that has the air intake at the bottom of the tank covered by a small screen that is easily clogged. Every time this happens I am either without hot water for three days while I jump through American Water Heaters hoops or I shell out over $100 to have the part replaced on my own.
Day one, call the company and explain that the pilot light is out and will not relight. Company insists it is the gas line and not the heater. Call the gas company to get technician to check the line. Day two, gas company confirms that the gas line is not the problem. Call American Water Heater customer service. Customer service agent informs me that I must have a volt meter to check the thermal couple. Follow procedures. Day three, finally receive new part and install. Water heater works for 18 months before part goes out again. Repeat three-day process.
If you call a plumber you must have him use a voltmeter to check the part and all the company will do is refund $10 for the part or send you a new one. The fact that replacing the thermal couple fixes the problem is not proof enough that it was the bad part.
LAKEWOOD, CALIFORNIA -- Another UPDATE: Success - Lowe's reimbursed me $202.00 for the repair of the water heater...I'm happy. Thank you Lowe's!! More update - I received a call from Lowe's. They said that I can bring them the old water heater, and they'll replace it with the same brand. I explained that I drive a VW and there is no way I can do it.
I already spent $202.00 (no refund in sight), to have the current water heater repaired...now I'm supposed to pay $450.00 to have a plumber remove the current water heater, take it to Lowe's, pick up a replacement (same brand) and install it??? If I'm going to pay that kind of money...I could go to a hardware store (not Lowe's), buy a brand-new water heater (not Whirlpool), mfg. by someone other than American Water Heater, and have the warranty under my own name...forgot it. I'll wait for the recall bell to ring, or replace it if it goes out again. Lowe's, Whirlpool and American water heater lost a good customer.
UPDATE FOR THE FOLLOWING: Be sure to read all the other posts about this item. My initial complaint: the product FLAME LOCK BY AMERICAN WATER HEATER, WHIRLPOOL, SOLD BY LOWE'S. I am now giving warning to all others about the poor customer service from American Water Heater.
I called Michelle from American Water Heater and explained about the problem below. She quickly told me that the warranty is non-transferable to the new home owner (me). In addition, she said even if I were the original purchaser of the 2-year old water heater, the warranty would be voided, as I didn't clean the lint screen every 3 months.
I didn't even know a lint screen was on the machine. I had my old water heater for 20 years, and never cleaned a screen, or anything else on it, and it worked fine. I never had one problem with it. Michelle gave me the impression that she didn't care (big shocker there). I told her that I'd never buy a Whirlpool item, or anything made by American Water Heater again. We hung up. BUYER BEWARE.
NO HOT WATER 2 DAYS: Gas company unable to ignite flame because of the sealed firebox...the plumber could not find left threaded part anywhere. I told him check Lowe's, as that is where the "Flame Lock" water tank was originally purchased. Plumber quickly found it on aisle #13. Here is the part number, you'll need Part #6910495, SKU #198750, 1 year warranty (you're going to need it). I don't like a company that monopolizes like that. What if Lowe's goes out of business...what do we do then?
Anyway as instructed by the Whirlpool manual, I called them...beware they are not open on weekends or holidays. If they are, their number is not posted anywhere that I can find it. The plumber is installing the part at this writing. It's taking him an hour to disassemble the area just to replace the $15.00 part. I'll be writing him a big check for the repair, and sending the $202.00 receipt to Whirlpool, in hope for a refund (the price paid for the water heater was $565.77 (price includes installation))...as I hope the water heater is still under warranty. The language on the warranty has so many loop holes...I really don't know if it is covered.
If they do not refund the repair, I will never buy Whirlpool again. I'm concerned because Whirlpool has a 1.5 star out of a possible 5. That's nothing to be proud of. Had I had read all the other reviews, I would have had NEVER purchased this tank. I can't believe there hasn't been a class action lawsuit, or a recall on this item. In addition, I just sent an email to Lowe's, American Water Heater and Whirlpool. I'll be sure to follow up with this post and let you know what kind of response I receive. Thank you for your time.