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Costly Repairs after 1.9 years of service
Posted by Thezoo on 03/07/2004
Dear Sir or Madam,

On June 15th, 2002, I purchased your Whirlpool Gas Water Heater with Flame Lock Safety System (model number FG1H4040T, product number 0730138, serial number 0215119499) at Lowe's. The exact store location is 5125 West Main Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49002. Their phone number is (269)345-2110. Cost of the unit was $268.00, and there was a rebate at that time, although I do not recall the exact amount of the rebate. I installed the water heater per instruction and it has worked perfectly until last Thursday, March 4th, 2003. My wife noticed during that day that the hot water coming out of the faucets was luke warm. I checked the water heater and found that the pilot light was out and the burner was not operating. I attempted to reset the pilot and restart the water heater. I followed the instruction per the operation manual for re-lighting the water heater. I held the reset button down and depressed the igniter button until the pilot relit. After holding the reset button down for 1 minute, I released the button, which caused the pilot to go out. I attempted this several times.

After several unsuccessful attempts to restart the water heater, I contacted the gas company to check the lines. They did, and everything was in working order. I then called a local heating and cooling company to come out and service the unit. The company was not an authorized Whirlpool repair facility, but because they were local and might be able to locate the problem easily in addition to not knowing it needed parts for the repair, we requested that they take a look. After they inspected the gas lines and found one small leak in a shutoff valve (Which they replaced), they were also unsuccessful in being able to relight the water heater. They believed that the Flame lock Thermocouple was bad and suggested that it be replaced. Since Whirlpool uses reversed thread thermocouples, they did not have a suitable replacement part. My wife contacted your customer service department and they provided her with an authorization number (1575765) for a replacement thermocouple at no charge to us. I was able to pick one up at Lowe's. The thermocouple was replaced, but the pilot light would continue to go out when the reset button was released after being relit. This repair occurred Friday evening.

On Saturday, March 6th, we made several calls to Lowe's and your customer service department in an attempt to locate a Whirlpool authorized service provider. Because of the weekend, it was difficult to find a service company open; however we were able to locate Northside Heating and Cooling in Muskegon, Michigan. They were an hour and a half away. Knowing that the service call would be more expensive for that reason, as well as being a weekend, we still were happy to have them come repair the unit. Ryan Cosens from Northside came out to repair the water heater. Per his description of the work, the water heater was not sensing flame. He replaced the gas valve and installed a second thermocouple. He checked the gas lines, draft, plus the unit and found them to be good working order. He was able to restart the water heater. Although the parts were covered under warranty, labor for the repair was $393.75. I find that amount outrageous and far more than what I paid for the water heater itself. To add insult to injury, 30 minutes after he left, the unit failed again, and I could not get it relit. With the same symptoms as before, I contacted Ryan again, and was told that he did everything he could do to repair the unit. He suggested I contact Whirlpool. I did, and I spoke to a customer service rep that stated to me that he obviously did not fix the unit and to have him come back and do so. When I mentioned that this unit had a 9 year warranty, I was told that the warranty covered the tank only. Obviously, the tank is not the issue. I contacted Ryan again, and after some trepidation on his part, he agreed to come back Monday to look at the unit again. This means that either my wife or I will miss a second day of work waiting to have the water heater repaired..hopefully repaired.

We also contacted the Lowe's store where we purchased the water heater to inquire what recourse we have with this faulty unit. They took our information, and were going to inquire to Whirlpool for resolution.

So here's where I'm at. I will wait until Monday and see if Northside can get the water heater functioning again. If they can not, then I am forced to replace this unit. After 4 days of cold water, and a water heater that is only 1.9 years old, I am extremely displeased with the level of reliability and service I have received from Whirlpool. I appreciate not having to pay for parts, but the lack of assistance and outright poor attitude from Whirlpool has given me a bad taste. If I have to replace the water heater, I promise you it won't be a Whirlpool. The name Whirlpool will never again grace this household. In addition, I will find every internet based consumer advocacy group I can find and post this letter. I would not wish this level of frustration upon my worst enemy. I hope no one has to go through such a finger pointing exercise. I do not expect much of a response from Whirlpool, if their customer service is a reflection of the company's attitude. But I'm writing this letter in as much for the therapeutic effect as for any kind of resolution it might bring.


Regards,

Greg

     
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Posted by wallyhammer on 2004-08-26:
Whirlpool water heaters are really NOT made by whirpool, it is SUBBED OUT ---they are made by a nearly bankrupt company called AMERICAN WATER HEATERS. They have been teetering on the brink of bankruptsy for quite a while and I believe the company has just been bought out by someone looking for a bargain..I think out of Canada.

but anyway, this "whirlpool brand" water heater is really just a generic junk heater with the label "whirlpool" stamped on it and boxed in a factory assembly line to fool people .. you can see the exact same model in numerous discount hardware stores with other names on them.

what tricks people is thinking they are getting a 12 year warranty (pro rated) water heater from a reputiable name like WHIRLPOOL...

they aint.

Actually they should not have charged him anything for service unless he had only a 1 year labor warranty..



Dont that make you feel good???
---------------------------------

if you could do it all over again, I will bet you would have gotten a local plumber to install a better brand.

-------------------------------------------------
Actually , if you want to raise a little cain,
LOWES will actually take back your water heater and give you at least a in store credit. I have had customers take back those whirlpool units to Lowes before, and they did get their money back.

I left the DOG sitting outside their homes for them to take back, and installed them a Rheem gas hot water heater cause they could not get service on that Whirlpool DOG in a timely manner and even though I am a plumber , I cant get parts quickly either!!

THEY WILL GIVE YOU BACK THE MONEY--Trust me on that.

Then you can go find a reputible plumber to get a REAL Name Brand water heater like RHEEM or
BRADFORD WHITE to repalce that off brand dog.

Believe me,
It aint over yet, you still got 10 years of possible trouble ahead of you, take it back while its still early in the game.

Get your money back on the service
call too, report that guy to the BBB, or raise so much cain at the Lowes store that they give you some sort of inn store credit for some or all of that outlandish service call that you got stuck with.

they will do it just to get you out of their hair
and they dont want you to call the BBB either.

you aint got nothing to lose for trying

good luck
Posted by wallyhammer on 2004-08-27:
anoter note, The manager at Lowes does not want trouble from you, the store manager has his own agenda and his own goals in "going up the corporate ladder dream"


(he hasnt figured out yet he aint going no-where)

So to keep you quiet and make himself look good, he will literally "throw money at you" to get you to simply shut up and "go Away"
before your complaint makes a smudge on his "perfect record"

that is the way things work with these guys.

it dont hurt them, and you get happy.








Posted by EthanPreston on 2006-06-05:
I am a class action attorney looking for witnesses who have personal experience with Whirlpool's Flame Lock-brand water heater.
http://eplaw.us/thermocouple.html

This may be an advertisement in your jurisdiction. http://eplaw.us/terms.html
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Whirlpool Water Heater Terrible Support and Customer Service
Posted by Plumberman on 01/10/2008
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 awhile, 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 (Michelle, 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!
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2008-01-10:
Great post and info Plumberman. We seldom get first hand info like this around here it seems the person that bought the water heater has to post the complaint. I have a Whirlpool Water Heater that had a thermocoupler recall problem. Bought it at Lowes, they were of zero help, had to call ten different numbers to get the problem fixed. (VH)
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-01-11:
I probably don't understand.

Why would you have had to leave the customer without hot water for three days? If the energy saver control unit was bad and turning on and off (using a greater amount of electricity) but still supplying hot water, it doesn't make sense that they should be without hot water for three days (a higher electric bill, yes). Turn the controller off and replace it when a new box comes in. I don't see the need to turn off the entire hot water heater.
Posted by Principissa on 2008-01-11:
We have a lot of whirlpool appliances in the new house. Now I understand why the water heater is not whirlpool. I will certainly steer clear of them when it's time to by a new one!
Posted by smartin on 2008-01-29:
I read plumberman's review of the Whirlpool Energy Smart water heater. Though I have never purchased an Energy Smart water heater I have purchased many high effiency water heaters (.93 energy factor or higher) and have attempted to make my own version of an Energy Smart water heater by purchasing a 240 Volt 24 hour analogue timer with three separate settings to control my heater according to our family's specific needs. I work for an electric utility and have been an Energy Specialist for 20 plus years. I have found this to be a very good reliable way to reduce hotwater standby heating losses. I also would add that in addition to the timer I recommend to purchase as high an energy factor water heater as possible, and if the tank is not insulated on the bottom to include a 2 inch extruded polystyrene pad and appropriately sized drain pan for the tank to sit in when doing the instalation. That being said, I now have a family of two and find that setting my morning setting for 1.5 hours (5-6:30), an afternoon setting of .5 hours (12-12:30) and an evening setting of one hour 4:30-5:30) has been working quite well. That gives me a total of 3 hours of water heating, that is all, prior to doing this I ran a logger on my not so efficient tank and found that it was running an average of 8 hours a day. At 5 hours a day savings and a 3.5 kW heating element that amounts to 525 kWh a month. Depending on your power rates that timer could pay for itself in the first month.

For those occasions when we have extra usage like company there is a bypass on the timer that allows the unit to run normally till it hits the next setting.

Plummerman might consider this alternative next time instead of trusting high tech to do the job.

Oh, by the way, This timmer is now going on its second water heater and still going strong.
Posted by mrbob on 2008-02-02:
I have to say that I am also having poor reliability problems with my 1 year old energy smart water heater and the customer service sucks. Basically we are not getting hot water past two showers (household of three). The sensor unit was flashing 4 times which the manual states is an upper element failure so i called customer service number listed in the manual and it just rang forever no pick up no message. Then I called a completely separate whirlpool service number from a different appliance, they picked up immediately and and a pleasant lady told me she didnt handled water heaters but would try to help - she eventually asked me to hold and transfered me to the right department. A very non perky, non interested person answered the phone, half listened to my issue and stated he would send out a new sensor - i paused him and asked didn't 4 flashes indicate an element problem? He fairly rudely asked if i got hot water and i responded "some" and then repeated his previous statement about sending out a new sensor.

The new sensor is now carefully installed and originally the sensor stayed green but it now flashes three times and we still do not have hot water past a few showers.
Posted by Chief6A on 2008-03-13:
Yeah I seem to be having the same problem with mine I bought it at Lowes and Installed it and Now for the last 3 months or so Perodically it is just shuting off, but its not kicking the breaker in the fusebox?? I reset the water heater and it goes through the functions and then like 20 mins later just losses power. IF ANYONE CAN HELP ME WITH THIS PROBLEM I WOULD APPRECIATE IT! Never Again Will I Buy A WhrilPool Product because I called there so called coustmer service and they were a joke they couldnt help me one bit and i dont know what to do next!. Paemt203994@yahoo.com
Posted by JAbraham on 2008-05-20:
If you've been messed over by a corporation, how do you get its attention? By taking legal action! Such as small claims court!
Posted by Melina41 on 2008-08-25:
When my usual plumber couldn't fix my Flame Guard water heater (the plastic drain cock was cross-threaded so he was afraid he'd flood the place if he attempted to drain it) I called Whirlpool to recommend a plumber. The only Whirlpool-recommended person who would pick up the phone wanted $175 just to walk in the door. My usual plumber (licensed and insured) charges $40 minimum. I have a feeling no plumber wants to represent Whirlpool in any fashion, and I don't blame them.
Posted by HandyDan on 2011-01-25:
I purchased a home in 2006 that had a 1 year old Whirlpool Energy Star 50 gal waterheater in it. Since that time the electronic control board has gone bad 2 times. At over $80 for the part alone, I am wishing the previous owner had installed a different unit.
Posted by Fed Up With Whirpool on 2014-01-29:
Purchased a new Energysmart Whirlpool water heater to replace an old one that had gone bad. Terrible experience. Purchased it at Lowe's and had it professionally installed. It provided sporadic hot water regardless of what mode it was set on. Unless you had a hot water tap set on high you got not hot water...turn it to a slower water flow and it turned cold. Couldn't get a hot shower even with faucet turned to high. Called Whirlpool customer service 4 times and emailed 3 times. First two calls were worthless, sounded like a got a person sitting there reading off a checklist, then she said she'd send me a PDF file to address my problem. The PDF file did not address my problem! At each contact their customer service kept trying to blame my lack of hot water on a plumbing problem in my house ???? I repeatedly asked them how it could be a plumbing problem when all we did was take out an existing water heater and put a new one in it's place. They kept insisting I had a problem with cold water feeding back into the hot water line ???? Made no sense. Finally in frustration contacted Lowe's and they sent their original installer back out and he got on the phone with Whirlpool (this is because Whirlpool refused to send out one of their "technicians" because the distance was 38 miles). I stood there while they instructed my installer to go through a series of check items which in my mind had nothing to do with the problem and they also told him it had to be a plumbing problem. After he got off the phone he said "they refuse to acknowledge there is anything wrong with their product". He took it upon himself to contact Lowe's and told them what he had gone through with Whirlpool and that I still didn't have hot water enough to take showers or even do dishes. The manager at my local Lowe's told him they would swap out that unit for a new one with no charge to me. That obviously made me very happy but I got on the phone and told them I didn't want another one of the Energysmart ones because I had no faith in them at this point, nor in Whirlpools ability to trouble shoot them. They agreed to swap out the Energysmart for a "regular" type and give me credit for the difference. This all happened within one day. After installation of the replacement "regular" type water heater we had hot water as normal. I give 5 stars to my local Lowe's store and zero stars to Whirlpool. And if Lowe's had handled any other brand of water heater I would not have had a Whirlpool for the swap out. I wonder what Whirlpool can say about my "plumbing problem" now that another regular water heater appears to be working just fine. I hope I don't have to deal with Whirlpool customer service ever again.
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Whirlpool Gas Water Heater, Will Not Stay Lit
Posted by Freondude on 05/02/2007
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 thats 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.
     
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Posted by cinweek2 on 2008-04-04:
I have the same water heater, and have been having the same problem for the past 6 months. FED UP!!!!! We did a DIY installation after purchasing it from Lowes a little over a year ago, and started having problems shortly after. Same thing, condensation drips on the burner, and it cuts off several times a day. If you found anything out, I'd love to know! Thanks!
Posted by rico10314 on 2009-01-25:
OMG this is the exact same problem I was having with my unit. Sorry this information is just getting out there but my unit just started having these symptoms now. I guess I lucky. I called the number on the unit and they were very helpful. They told me that my unit was having a condensation problem. Switch the thermostate control to 150 degrees and don't use the water for 4 hours. So far so good. I was so worried. I read all these reviews and that just destroyed my wknd. I've been beating myself up because i'm the type that does so much research before making a purchase and i was sold by the whirlpool and energy effiecent lable. Hope you guys get lucky too. Oh one more thing before I called the number on the unit i also vaccummed the vent underneath the flame. Don't know if that helped but i figured i might as well mention it.
Posted by tommy lim on 2013-03-26:
i agree whirlpool is horrible they send me the wrong conversion kit two seperate times, i just finally replace it, and it still doesnt work. they dont follow up with you on the phone they tell you to do something and they say its fix then 2 hours later the pilot light then you have to repeat your story to someone else
Posted by Robyn on 2013-07-01:
The exact same thing is going on with our whirlpool hot water heater. this happened last year for a period of two weeks. we also are keeping the cover off so that we can see the pilot light. then it mysteriously started to work again. now this year, it started to act up again whenever the temps started to hit the 90's. we also thought condensation... now the humidity is low the temps are in the 70's and this thing still will not stay lit. we are going to replace it with something besides whirlpool...
never again will we buy a hot water tank by them.
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Poor Customer Service
Posted by Pokerduece on 02/04/2005
MACON, ILLINOIS -- I purchased a flame lock water heater on March 13, 2004 from Lowes in Forsyth, IL. We installed the water heater Nov. 19, 2004. On Dec.31, 2004 the thermocouple burnt out. I called my son-in-law, as luck would have it, he was at Lowes and stated he knew what the problem was and he would pick up a thermocouple and he installed it for us. The reason he knew what was wrong, he owns the same water heater and has now replaced 4 thermocouples in less than 7 months. The last one lasted 10 days. I went to Lowes a few days later to speak with the manager about the problem with the water heaters, and was told he was in a meeting. I talked with a zone manager and preceded to tell him about the defective water heater, and asked for Lowes help to resolve my issue. I explained I was told by Lowe employees that this is an ongoing issue and they have passed out hundreds of cases of thermocouples. I also advised him that I did not want to have to drive 40 miles round trip to replace the thermocouple every 6 weeks. He was quite nice and took my name and number and stated he would call Whirlpool and let me know what they said. I told him I was calling Whirlpool also. He refunded the money I paid for the thermocouple, and gave me a spare, and apologized for the inconvenience.

I sent Whirlpool an e-mail because they were closed for the Holiday. I did receive a call from American Water Heater Co. which I found out makes Whirlpool water heaters. He asked me a series of questions to determine why the thermocouple burned out. He had me to do a draft test to determine if there was enough air flow. He stated the flame should be going directly into the vent. Since I only had a lighter and not a match to test, it was difficult to determine because I had to turn the lighter sideways, and the flame only wanted to go straight up. He determined that it was an installation problem. I explained to him about all the thermocouples they were replacing at Lowes and there was no way, that all of these water heaters were improperly installed. I stated to him I believe it is a design defect or a manufacturing defect. He stated that was my opinion and we hung up. I contacted Whirlpool customer service again by phone and was transferred to Am. Wtr. Htr Co. again. The CSR told me the same thing. It is an installation problem, advised me to send copies of the water heater, the area it was in, my furnace and the vents. I sent these over 3 weeks ago, and still have not heard from anyone. Eight days ago I contacted Whirlpool again by e-mail and have not heard from anyone. This is the poorest customer service I have ever encountered. I am going to return the water heater back to Lowes and get my money back.

I would not recommend Whirlpool products to anyone, and I will never buy another one of there products.

Pam Randol
Illinois

     
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Posted by Michael D on 2005-06-14:
I want to thank you for taking the time to publish your problems with the Whirlpool hot water heaters. After 14 years my current Ruud hot water heater has "died". I initially purchased a new whirlpool hot water heater from Lowes. After reviewing all the apparent problems with the whilpool heaters I cancelled the install and had my purchase refunded. I have made arrangements to replace my Ruud heater with another current Ruud model. I feel confident, thanks to you and so many others that have voiced their opinion on the lack of performance of whilpool hot water heaters, that I have avoided much hardached and headaches. Thank you again for taking the time to voice your opinions. I sincerely hope you have been able to resolve / fix your problems with your whilpool heater. Happy showers!!!
Posted by EthanPreston on 2006-06-05:
I am a class action attorney looking for witnesses who have personal experience with Whirlpool's Flame Lock-brand water heater.

http://eplaw.us/thermocouple.html

This may be an advertisement in your jurisdiction.

http://eplaw.us/terms.html
Posted by 90713PC on 2006-07-02:
I have the same problem...did Lowe's give you a new water heater?
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Trail of Tears
Posted by Wickedmessenger on 12/01/2007
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.
     
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Posted by killerklown on 2007-12-01:
Tail of tears is a little overly-dramatic, wouldn't you say?
Posted by DigitalCommando on 2007-12-01:
Anyone who could refer to a water heater as a "wretched, wretched beast" is o.k. in my book!
Posted by Wickedmessenger on 2007-12-01:
yes, "tail of tears" is a little overly-dramatic. But "trail of tears" gets it in a nutshell. Loosen up killerklown! And don't buy a flame lock water heater! Or do, and see what you call it.
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Flamelock Water Heaters
Posted by Charmichellemullenix on 12/13/2007
79110 -- I purchased my water heater from Lowes after 5 days it would not stay lit I called customer service at that time they had a plummer that did warranty work for them he said they always have this problem (thermocouple) he showed up with one already to go. The replacement lasted a week I called Whirlpool back they told me they no longer had a repairman in my area so they gave me a po for a free thermo coupler I went to Lowes and spent an hour getting an ok for the thermo I replaced myself it lasted 6 days I called them again and the said the air flow was not sufficient I informed them that I was a contractor and that I was aware of what air flow was needed and was told that they would get me a thermocouple I informed them that I have already replaced it twice their response was that they could do nothing else. I called Lowes they told me to bring the product back and they would replace it with a new water heater I reinstalled the water heater and 3 days later had the same problem. The customer service at Whirlpool is rude they try to tell people that the problem is improper air flow even though every other water heater brand works in the same area.

Whirlpool has no intention in making this right with anyone they just took everyones money knew the product was faulty and kept on selling the product anyway. I will not recommend any Whirlpool product to friends or customers ever. You mess up admit it make it right thats how a real company does business
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-13:
Dang, if they took the first one back, why didn't you just try a different brand - that's what I woulda done.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-13:
Charmichellemullenix, went thru the same drill. I contacted Whirlpool and they told me that they had a problem with the Flamelock Water Heater. They were really nice about it. And to go buy the thermocouple at Lowes and send them a receipt and they would pay me back. They never did but they did send me two more a couple weeks later. I replaced it myself and it has been OK since last summer. I now have two on the shelf just in case. (VH post)
Posted by Principissa on 2007-12-13:
I would have just bought a different brand or model of water heater. That sounds like nothing but aggravation having to constantly call up to get parts and then replace them almost weekly. If they know this is a problem and openly admit they have these problems I would demand they give you a refund.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-13:
Princi, I tried that and got nowhere with Whirlpool or Lowes. They "claim" there is no reason for them to replace the heater under warranty as it's only a $10 part and it may never go bad again. Crossing fingers and keeping a couple extra on the shelf. When the heater dies for good I am going to try one of the new tankless water heaters.
Posted by Principissa on 2007-12-13:
Super I would be so mad. How are they telling you there is nothing wrong when the darn thing breaks once a week. It's the same part, so there is clearly some kind of flaw with the heater.

Fingers crossed you don't have to fix the thing any time soon!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-13:
Yes I agree 100%, common sense and sound logic seem to be in short supply at Whirlpool these days. The worst part was when the wife went to take a shower and we found out there was no hot water. Of course it was all my fault, I did "something" to it. LOL
Posted by Principissa on 2007-12-13:
I could imagine! Nothing better than starting your day with an ice cold shower! It would be a safe bet not to talk to me that day. And of course my poor sweet hubby would feel that wrath.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-13:
"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers" -- Voltaire
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-13:
Good morning Stew, yes I always seem to have more questions than answers.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-13:
Things are heating up around here again I see. Stew and Superbowl make a nice thermo-couple, don't you guys agree?
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-13:
Michelle, we have several appliance experts on this site and I fully expect you to receive some good advice from them.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-13:
Sheriff!! (as DB would say)
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-15:
Settled class action law suit on Flamelock Water Heaters @ http://www.waterheatersettlement.com.

Whirlpool Corp., et al. Settlement

Overview

The Settlement was approved on October 11, 2007. Settlement benefits will be distributed after all appellate or review rights with respect to the Final Approval Order have expired.

The Settlement resolves a class action lawsuit and claims against Whirlpool Corporation, Lowe’s HIW, Inc., American Water Heater Company, and A.O. Smith Corporation. The lawsuit alleged that “Flame Lock” and “Flame Guard” water heaters made and sold by these companies, equipped with single-use thermocouples, and sold from 2000 through 2006, are defective in that their thermocouples are prone to premature activation. The companies denied allegations.

Settlement Benefits

If you are a Class Member, you may be eligible to receive an upgraded manifold door assembly for your water heater or reimbursement for a prior purchase of the upgraded assembly and/or reimbursement for a prior purchase of a replacement thermocouple or reimbursement for buying a replacement water heater after suffering multiple thermocouple activations. Please review the Notice for complete details regarding these benefits. To make a claim for settlement benefits, you must send in a completed Claim Form, postmarked no later than June 28, 2008. Download a Claim Form.

Fairness Hearing

The Settlement was approved on October 11, 2007. The Court awarded Plaintiffs’ Counsel attorneys’ fees in the amount of $1,900,000.00 and out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the prosecution of the litigation totaling $135,000.00.

Posted by MLA2520 on 2008-06-16:
I bought my water heater in 2003 - the thermocouple had previously went out 5 times until 5 days ago when it happened for the 6th time. I received my Whirlpool "Repair" kit (I believe this is the same one as specified in the settlement) on 06/16/2008. The heater ran for about 45 minutes until it broke again! I will never buy another Whirlpool product.
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2008/2009 Whirlpool & Lowe's Continue To Sell Known Defective Water Heater After Class Action Lawsuit Succeeds
Posted by Mellado on 03/19/2009
WOODLAND HILLS, CALIFORNIA -- After May 2008 which was the deadline for entering into the class action lawsuit in Ca vs Lowe's and Whirlpool, they cont'd to sell these exact same defective water heater where the pilot light goes out for no apparent reason - over & over again. I bought mine 4/28/08 and paid $411 for the water heater & $450 to install it. I've had the gas com out here 3 x and the Whirlpool contract plumber out here 2x and no amount of fixing can do it. The heater is in the house in a well-ventilated & immaculate closet so Whirlpool explanations /excuses are groundless. My $411 is due to Lowe's end of April 09 and not only am I not paying them, I'm taking them to small claims court to collect the installation fee and any bad/punitive damages I can win. Write the company CEO Jeff Fettig, 2000 N. M-63 in Benton Harbor Mich 49022.

An utter failure who will be responsible for Whirlpool going bankrupt. And their foreign-speaking Customer Service is atrocious. Can't understand them.
     
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Posted by SilverWngs71 on 2009-03-19:
The only downside to this that I can see is that Whirlpool does not make this product. It is a licensed product. Another company paid the Whirlpool Corporation for the right to put the Whirlpool name on a product that the other company designed and manufactured. The # that you keep calling is way out of the U.S. and can only be contacted through that #. The Whirlpool customer service reps that you speak to here in the U.S. unfortunately cannot handle Water Heater calls because of the 3rd party status.
Posted by mellado on 2009-03-20:
To my semi-legally trained mind ( 1 yr law school, 21 yrs LAPD and extensive reading over 65 yrs of living), if a mfgr allows his corporate name to be placed on a product that is built by a 3rd party under license,representing it as his own product, that the retailer, the actual builder and the corporate brand name are all = liable for warranty defect. My easiest legal pursuit is with Lowe's who is local and knowingly sold massive #'s of Whirlpool UG and FG Flamehold (how ironic the name!) waterheaters after they all knew of a massive class auction lawsuit vs this very Whirlpool water heater which was successful May 2008, 2 weeks after I bought mine from Lowe's. The entire lawsuit never appeared on any of their websites and was kept hushed up. Whirlpool & Maytag decades ago were THE brand names on which to rely. Now Maytag has recalled- it's in the news- their refrigerators. I'm reasonably sure Whirlpool owns the Maytag brand now! What does that say?
Posted by SilverWngs71 on 2009-03-20:
Yes, Whirlpool does own the Maytag name as of 2006. It's very possible that the model # on the water heater you have and the ones in the CAL are different or your might have the new flamelock that is the universal one where the water heaters sold back in 2006 had a none universal flamelock.

"While consumers who have purchased Flame Lock and Flame Guards since 2007 have not shared the frustrations of older customers, anyone who purchased one of the models between 2000 and 2006 is eligible for the upgraded parts, according to the settlement's website, www.waterheatersettlement.com.

Those consumers are entitled to the upgraded manifold door assembly shipped free to them or receive reimbursement for any previously upgraded manifold door assembly and shipping costs previously incurred.

The settlement does not cover installation costs."

"Whirlpool water heaters are actually made by the American Water Heater Company (AWHC), one of four such manufacturers in the United States."

I'm not an employee but I do understand the frustration of the callcenter overseas and know what it is like to speak with them or ones like them.

Hope all works out for you.
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Thermocouple defect
Posted by Lavelez on 06/17/2008
I have had this water heater for 5 1/2 years and have had to replace the thermocouple three times. Now I discover that there was a recall, and the adapter for the damn thing stripped as it was a left handed thread and they made the thermocouple right - and of course that went to crap as it was ill fitting and aluminum! Now they are sending me a new adapter and a gas valve thing (whatever!) and if that doesn't work then I will get a new unit.

(Oh! and let's not forget that the warranty only covers parts! So by the time you pay a plumber you could buy 2 or 3 new water heaters - or at the very least top of the line in the market for the size you need and THEN save money!)

The last water heater I had in the house was the original - 7 years old when I bought it and another 10 before replacing it. THAT is how an appliance should act! I was happy with the 17 years of service without ever having to touch it!

Well, I'll take the new unit - sell it and put it towards a different brand. And there I was thinking that buying a Whirlpool was going to be a good thing! As it is an old name in the marketplace. Well, it is apparent that the quality hasn't stayed with the name.
Not to mention the web-site! I typed in the model number (many times!!!!) and got nothing. It is not a user friendly sight for water heaters. I can only guess why! And forget the 24/7 support. Bankers hours, oh and maybe a little more!

Don't try sending e-mails either - never found those on the site!


     
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Do Not Buy Whirlpool Gas Water Heater, They Are Junk!!!!!!
Posted by Hkgurl408 on 04/01/2008
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 4p.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 8p.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 2a.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 Frank. 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 Lora Bell 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 Frank told me that I can. Then Lora Bell the manager told me that when I called, I should have asked to speak with the manager, Frank is just a cashier, and he doesn't know the policy.

So now the Lowe's Manager Lora Bell putting the BLAME on me that I should of 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!!!!!!!!
     
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Posted by madconsumer on 2008-04-01:
i know on the side of my whirlpool water heater, it says "do not return to place of purchase if problems, call ...."

from what i have seen on the net, it sounds whirlpool makes a poor quality water heater.
Posted by Slimjim on 2008-04-02:
Really Mad. You never see complaints about water heaters until recently, and they are all the Whirlpools. Ms. Bell's statement is pretty ridiculous. Why would you question Frank's directives on the phone and ask for someone else? Maybe Lorna needs to have a chit chat with Frank about fielding questions out of his jurisdiction.
Posted by fiero on 2008-06-19:
I have been dealing with the same thermocouple issue and I have found a way around the fact that no one will sell you a left-hand threaded thermocouple. You by 2 of the 24" universal thermocouples at about $8.oo each, they are right-hand threaded. One is to be destroyed by cutting because all you want is that steel nut from the end that screws into the control. You will need to follow the instructions for replacing the control valve. Once you have the control valve off you set the control valve in your lap and with a 3/8" box end wrench and that steel nut from the part you cut. The body of the control valve is a softer metal then that steel nut you have. Going very slowly using the 3/8 wrench and some pressure you begin to screw the steel nut in to the control valve. You will be cutting in new right-hand threads. It will take a little while, go slow and go in strait,In half a turn than back up a guarter turn. Eventuly you will be able to use any standerd right-hand thermocouple. This doesnt fix the problem, but it does make it easer to relace when your unit fails again.
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Whirlpool Energy Smart 40 Gallon Hot Water Heater
Posted by Dickatecnc on 03/12/2009
ELIZABETH CITY, NORTH CAROLINA -- I had continuing problems with the water heater electronic controls since installing it. It never maintained the proper water temperature varying from scalding hot to luke warm. It ran up my electric bill over $100.00 on 2 separate occasions. Whirlpool sent me a new circuit board the first time and I replaced it. The last time I removed the heater and hauled it to the dump.

I have replaced it with an Power Miser 12 from Sears. End of problem!
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-03-12:
Trust me. It would have been more satisfying to haul the Whirlpool heater upstairs and heave it out of a window. I did this recently with an HP printer...it changed my life forever.
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