I bought a Whirlpool Water Heater dated November 2004. Of course it is out of warranty, but I need to share my horrible experience and tell why I will never again purchase a Whirlpool product. The thermocouple on my Flame Guard Water Heater (WH), needed to be replaced. This t-couple made by Whirlpool is LEFT hand threaded. I guess I should have known that, and after trying to remove it for a long time I then noticed that that there was a very small tag on the thermocouple (T-couple),that says that it is.
Ok, my bad. So I go to Lowe's where I bought it for a replacement. The guy at Lowes says that I can only get that t-couple from Whirlpool. He said that since Lowes had so many problems with Whirlpool WH's that they stocked conversion kits themselves. He would need a special number from Whirlpool. Mind you, Lowes was willing to GIVE me the conversion kit for FREE!
So I go back home and call Whirlpool. Tech support said they no longer make the t-couple and that I would need a conversion kit. I told him that I needed a number for the kit for my guy at Lowes. Tech guy at Whirlpool didn't know what I was talking about, but he gave me the part # for the conversion kit. - Q: Why would Whirlpool make a 'back threaded' that was available only from them, and then stop making it long before any of the WH's would become outdated?
So I go back to Lowes and the guy said that was not the number he needed. So he calls Whirlpool himself and gets the number. This conversion kit was the only one that the guy at Lowes did not have in stock. So I go back home can call Lowes again. The conversion kit costed my about $44 including shipping. (Over night would have been about $80). And of course this would be on a Friday so I had to wait over the weekend during the coldest days of the winter.
When the kit arrived it was only then that I found out that while I was tightening the old t-couple trying to remove it, I STRIPPED THE VALVE on the WH. This means that now the entire valve had to be changed. That part costs $190 alone! So to make a long story short, a job that what should have cost me about $8 for a t-couple ended up costing me $230 in parts, and more in labor.
In case you are wondering why I did it, this was still cheaper than the cost of a 50 gallon tank and installation by a plumber. Whirlpool just lost a customer because the bean counters don't care about people. The conversion kit should have been made available for free to any one who owns the tank warranty or not because Whirlpool knows they screwed up. NEVER AGAIN Whirlpool!
JOHNSON CITY, TENNESSEE -- I am a small apt building owner. In as such, I upgrade and take care of each unit. New appliances as well as the structure upgrades. One tenant brought forward that the hot water does not seem to last very long. I also have an energy efficient washer that uses the same hot water. (I pay the hot water-gas service and water folks) And since the tank was going on 8-9 years old, I decided to replace with a larger unit. I purchased the item from Lowes, but it took me about 2 months to install due to time factors.
After installing within the first month the pilot light went out about once a week. Could not figure it out. Called my plumber and he did some adjustments and worked OK. This last week Friday evening at 9 pm, a call from the tenant, the hot water is out. Since installing, I've moved from the area and now live 2 hours away. Saturday morning off to the building. Hot water tank lights but yellow flame. Out with the install guide, viewing various trouble shooting. Yellow flame, seems like not enough air or otherwise. Call to the plumber. Team tag to read online reviews. Call to Whirlpool 800 number and this is where I've now made the decision to NEVER purchase another Whirlpool product.
The representative was so demeaning, unhelpful, and just a big bully. Treated me as an idiot. She called the installation and guide instructions as the "manual". I tried multiple times to ensure that what I was looking at was her version of "manual". I am very detailed oriented and wanted assistance with step by step, and I wanted help not attitude. I asked her at least 5 times to slow down so that I could view what she was saying. Absolute futile conversation if you could call it that. The kicker was that she told me that the unit needs servicing every 3 months to operate correctly.
Now, with 4 other water tanks in line and in service for over 8 years without one issue.... do you think I want this kind of hot water tank that needs servicing every 3 months? After the horrid customer non service, I spoke with the plumber and the unit is being replaced today with a Bradford White. The Whirlpool model is less than one year old. So beware of Whirlpool, the way to teach a company like this is to STOP buying their appliances. As a consumer, is it too much to ask for a bit of empathy and respect on the phone? Be forewarned.
SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO -- BUYER BEWARE! One year ago I purchased a 40 gal. Whirlpool hot water heater and it is already malfunctioning. I called Customer Service and they were happy to send replacement parts. I would pay the shipping and installation charge. They also went on and on about how I should service the unit every six months. I explained that I could not afford to deal with such a high maintenance unit.
Long story short, THEY CONTINUED TO BABBLE ABOUT RECOMMENDATION TO REPEATEDLY SERVICE THIS UNIT. That is NOT a solution. I would NOT recommend purchasing any Whirlpool product and I will recommend the Lowe's find another manufacturer who is willing to stand by their product.
I am writing in regard to a Whirlpool water heater (Model #FG1F4034T3NOV) that we purchased from Lowe's in May 2004. The water heater stopped working on a Saturday morning (11/1/08). We tried lighting the pilot light several times, but it would not stay on. When we called Lowe's, they gave us a 1-800 number to call, but, we were not able to reach anyone at that number until Monday morning (already two days without hot water).
I was told that there was a defect in these models and that we would need to obtain a part and either install it ourselves or have someone install it, so that our water heater would work properly again. I was told that I could pay $15 to have the part mailed to me and probably would receive it the next day.
This, to me, was unacceptable. We have a family of four who had already been without hot water for 3 days and now I was going to have to pay for a part to be shipped and wait another 2 days for hot water! The man on the phone said I could go to Lowe's and the part would be available free of charge. It was then up to me to install it or “if I didn't feel comfortable doing so” I could hire someone to install it. I went Lowe's. They didn't know what I was talking about, but vaguely remembered this happening to another customer.
They called another Lowe's store and that store said that they weren't sure, but they might have the part I was talking about. At this point, I was very frustrated. If this was a problem with these models, why wouldn't Whirlpool make the parts more available and make their retail distributors more aware that customers may be looking for this part??? I then drove 35 miles round trip to get the part.
When I opened it up, I realized there was no way I could install this part myself… why would they even suggest that the customer install this on their own? I called a plumber that would be able to come before closing time that day (trying to avoid after-hours charges and trying to get hot water before yet another day went by!).
The plumber was quite familiar with this model and this problem with the thermocouple (which tells me this is probably a widespread problem with this model). The plumber charged me $221 to install the part and make sure the water heater was operating properly. I was relieved to have hot water, but angry that we had to pay money for this problem that was not our responsibility!
I don't understand how you as a reputable company (not reputable in my eyes anymore) can not take responsibility for a defect in one of your products. Why should the consumer have to pay the price of fixing a defect in a product that we bought just 4 years ago and is still under warranty? We felt confident that we were buying a quality product and that Whirlpool would stand behind their products, but now I feel very differently. I will not buy Whirlpool products anymore.
CALIFORNIA -- I have purchased a Whirlpool 50 gallons Gas Water Heater model # BFG1H5040T3Nov on Jan. 12, 2008 at Lowe's. The water heater only lasted for 2 and half months. Then I have problem with the pilot light won't stay lit. I called the Whirlpool 1-877-817-6750 number on March 25, 2008 (Tuesday). They gave me another phone number to call, which turned out to be Sears. The Sears technician came out on the next day Wednesday around noon time; he changed some kind of wire around the switch area.
After he left, in the same day afternoon, I found out that the problem still occurred and hasn't been fixed. So I call Sears back at around 4 p.m. to have the technician come back. They told me that the technician might give me a call back. If not then I will have to call back tomorrow to make an appointment. I asked why can't I make an appointment now. They told me that the technician hasn't close the report and the day hasn't end yet. The computer system won't allow them to make an appointment.
I called Sears again at 8 p.m. hoping to make an appointment for the next day Thursday, but they told me they can't make an appointment because the day hasn't end. So I called them back at 2 a.m. at night. I was surprised that someone actually answer the phone. I told him I want to make an appointment. He said that not until Friday.
I was so mad, because I already don't have hot water for 3 days. Now I have to wait another 2 days. I told him that I can't wait another day because I have been taking cold shower, and also it's their technician's fault for not fixing my water heater correctly in the first place. He said he can't do anything about it, the earliest time is Friday, or else I have to call the plumber on my own.
So on Thursday I called Lowe's and sees if I can return the water heater since the return policy on the back of the receipt said 90 days. I called Lowe's and asked for to speak with the return department, the store associate answer the phone named **. I told him about what happen with the water heater, he said, "Well, if you already called Whirlpool and they turned you down, then you can bring back the water heater."
So I brought back the water heater to return, but the manager named ** told me I can't return it, because I need to have the RA number from Whirlpool. I told her that I called before; the guy named ** told me that I can. Then ** the manager told me that when I called, I should have asked to speak with the manager. ** is just a cashier, and he doesn't know the policy.
So now the Lowe's Manager ** putting the BLAME on me that I should have ask for a manager, which I think that Lowe's should train their employees right, because if the store associates at the Return Department don't even know the return policy, then they should not even be there. I would NEVER shop at LOWE'S or Sears and NEVER buy any Whirlpool JUNKs!!!!!!!!
SPANAWAY, WASHINGTON -- We replaced a 40 gal gas Rheem water heater that was about 10 years old. The hot water was not entirely clear so I decided it was time for a new one. Note that this Rheem had not once ever lost its flame to include during a 3 day power outage during a bad windstorm in Nov 06. Lowes had a good selection and I chose the Whirlpool because of the 12 year warranty. Lowes said it would take 5 days for the tank to arrive but it took about a month... but that's another story.
The Whirpool water heater (SG1J5040T3NOV) was installed Mar 07 by a contractor sent by Lowes. Installation went by fine. Not 10 minutes after he left, the flame went out. OK no problem, its not rocket science to relight it so I did so. It went out 8 times that day. So many times that I left the metal shield off because I was having to relight it so often. It went out sometime during that night.
In the morning, I relit it again so we could take showers. I had to literally babysit it and relight it constantly. There was so much condensation dripping on the burner that the flame was orange instead of blue. That morning, I also noticed the collar at the base that screens out bugs, had popped off.
I am no mechanical engineer but I have a fair amount of common sense and do many things around the house and repair my own vehicles. My thoughts were that the condensation dripping down from the flue was excessive and snuffed out the flame to include the pilot flame. I see it as a design flaw fixable by having a measure in place that protects the pilot and burner. The condensation dripping is an unavoidable action that occurs as the cold water in the tank raises in temp to a point where condensation will not occur. This dripping reoccurs whenever the tank is emptied of its hot water and filled with cold.
The 2nd possibility I thought of was that the burner was not getting enough air flow. The vent pipe is supposed to have a 1/4" per foot rise as a minimum. This 50 gal tank was about 3 inches taller than the 40 gal tank it replaced. My vent pipe is now perfectly level. I called the installer and was told to contact Whirlpool for a "Work Authorization" number. The installer said since my vent pipe was only 4 ft long, the lack of the 1/4" rise per foot was not an issue. I called Whirlpool and the service rep was trying every explanation to me other than giving the authorization number. They reluctantly gave me the authorization number saying it was worth a $90 service call.
The rep also asked me to try a "smoking match test" at the top of the tank by the vent pipe. This was to ensure there was adequate flow through the vent pipe and truly rule out any problem with the vent pipe being level without a rise. I did the test and the match smoke went right into the vent pipe. Not sure if that really proves anything though.
I decided to give the tank a few days and maybe it would stabilize its performance and stay lit. Sorta like getting broke in. As Murphy's law would have it, the water heater stayed lit for the next month. Crazy. Yesterday, after one of my kids finished a leisurely shower, it started up again with the dripping condensation snuffing out the flame. No hot water for me and the wife from a 50 gal tank. The Rheem 40 gal tank never did this.
The saga will continue as I am waiting for the installer to come make an assessment. In my humble opinion, buying a Whirlpool water heater is not worth the trouble. I read the problems others have had with thermocouples burning out and I can only hope that does not start with mine.
TENNESSEE -- 4 years into a 12 year guarantee for a 50 gallon gas hot water heater, it went bust. Replaced thermocouple and followed restart instructions. Pilot light would not stay lit. Unfortunately one cannot just go purchase a new control box for hot water heaters. Contacted Whirlpool for replacement W/H and were treated like imbeciles that couldn't find a horse in the barn. Consequently we have replaced, at our expense, a new W/H. So much for companies honoring their commitment to their products and customers.
Purchased on 09-19-2011, had it installed 09-23-11, woke up next morning 09-24-11. Had no hot water, check heater had a code of E02, read manual, followed directions. Everything was working till next morning 09-25-11, yep... you got it "no hot water". Checked hot water heater, same code. Called Whirlpool Customer Service... TO SAY I RECEIVED HORRIBLE SERVICE IT PUTTING IT LIGHTLY!!!
They had my husband take the unit apart, go get a volt meter and test the elements and plugs... Might I add this is a BRAND NEW HEATER, he checked what the c/s advised, then he was asked if he had a thermostat tester. OK at this point he said, "NO, you need to send a technician out here or give me an RA# to return it." Keep this in mind LOWES will not take it back without an RA# from Whirlpool. So we are stuck!! Waiting on Technician to come out some time next week, to work on our brand new E-Smart Hot Water Heater purchased from Lowes. PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM WHIRLPOOL BRAND!!!
UPDATE: 09/25/11 contacted Whirlpool c/s, was given an authorization # to provide to their recommended repair Tech., set-up an appointment for him to come out between 8am-noon today 09/26/11. My husband took a half a day off work to get this resolved. Tech called around 11:30 stating he is stuck on a job and will be there around 1pm, he also stated he has not worked on this model. It is now 1:24 and he is not here. Also, I posted the exact post from here on Lowe's website. Got an e-mail stating they - Lowe's rejected my post. So I gather negative reviews are not allowed to be posted on their site. I guess that is why Lowe's has great reviews on their product.
CINCINNATI, OHIO -- As a plumber, I have purchased and installed several of the Whirlpool Energy Smart Water Heaters. I can tell you for certain that I have purchase my last one! After having a Whirpool Energy Smart water heater installed for two weeks, one of my customer's electric bill went from $65 to $183. I went back to the house expecting to find a bad element. The element checked out. The water heater was also drawing the proper amount of current.
I called customer service and they walked me through everything that I had already checked again. They assured me then that the problem was not the water heater. Wanting to make absolutely sure and having background in electric work, I stuck around to figure out exactly what the problem was. After a while, we could hear the water heater clicking off and on every minute or so.
I called Whirlpool back to inform them that apparently the electronic "Energy Smart" control box was bad (funny they didn't have me check that to begin with, as I later found that they have had other problems with the electronics). They acknowledged from what I told them that the control box was bad. I asked who in the greater Cincinnati area would stock one and was told "no one, it will have to be shipped from the factory". Being a holiday weekend I could not believe what I was hearing.
I asked, "You mean that I have to leave my customer without hot water for three days?" She (**, a customer service SUPERVISOR) rudely repeated what she said without even the slightest sign of sympathy for the elderly couple who would be without hot water for three days. When I asked what the procedure was to make a formal complaint about this was, she snapped back, "Have the homeowner call me" and abruptly hung up the phone! Is that anyway to treat someone who has purchases approximately 25 of your water heaters per year?
I had to go buy another complete water heater just to get the part until the new one arrived. I have just submitted a claim to get paid the $80 that Whirpool pays for their service work (no wonder no one is willing to do it). Considering the way they do business, I will be amazed if I ever get paid. Lowes is just as much to blame. I mean what would it take for at least one store in the greater Cinci area (or every major city) to stock a full selection of parts for such an important appliance as a water heater THAT THEY SELL.
Another example of the absence of customer service in the plight of huge corporations to get a few cents richer. I would not buy another Whirlpool appliance if they were half the price of any other brand!! That is the honest truth!
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA -- Let me add my voice to the throngs of thousands who've had thermocouple problems with this wretched, wretched beast. I do believe I have new info that I haven't seen on the internet yet, though. I, too, have had a thermocouple go out after 3 years of service (pretty good compared to others) and have just spent the last 2 days trying to locate a replacement thermocouple. All other (thousands) of complaints I've read said that they could get them at Lowe's and only Lowe's.
However, I have found out that Lowe's no longer carries the natural gas thermocouple, just the LP gas one. And nobody -- of all the appliance parts places I could find both local and on the Internet -- can get this part. They can't even pull this water heater up on their system. They can't order the part if you give them the part number. I even spent much time on the phone with Whirlpool who told me my model number was wrong and wasn't registering.
So I double checked and double checked and yep, I had the right number off the data plate. So I called back and got another operator and she said, "oh, yeah, we don't handle water heaters on this line, you have to dial 877-817-6750." And I did. The first menu item is about the class action lawsuit. No time for that, I waited for the selection that would let me talk with someone about ordering a thermocouple. No dice.
The system just kept hanging up on me. I finally took the advice of one of the exasperated fellow sufferers I found on the Internet who said just throw it out and buy a new water heater. It is less trouble in the long run. So I did. Now I have spent $600 in 3 years, unlike the one I replaced 3 years ago that lasted 16 years before finally leaking.
And it never needed a thermocouple in all that time. And I got off cheaply, I realize, because I do all my own work and I didn't have to pay someone (Lowe's charges $300) for an installation. I double and triple the advice of others when I say REPLACE THE WHOLE WATER HEATER rather than deal with Whirlpool, their horrible hotline, and their horrible product.