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 ** 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. ** 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 ** 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 ** 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.
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!
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- We replaced our gas water heater with a Whirlpool brand less than a year ago. Three weeks ago we woke up to no hot water. My husband saw the pilot was out and tried to relight it. It would not light. We called a local plumber. He said he does not work on Whirlpool appliances and now we know why.
We found a Whirlpool approved repairman. He came out, stated it was the flame guard, and had us order one from Whirlpool. They said the part was free, but charged us 60.00 for shipping. The repairman charged us 50.00 to come out. One week later, not the three days promised, the part arrives. The repairman can't come out because he is swamped. We call another Whirlpool repairman. He comes out, replaces the part, but the water heater still does not work. He informs us that it is the wrong part, and it is Whirlpool's fault since their diagnostic procedure is wrong. We order another part. This time Whirlpool says they will pay, but we still have to give 180.00 to repairman.
The new part was supposed to be delivered yesterday. It wasn't. I just called Whirlpool. They did not ship the part because they want to talk to the repairman first. They haven't bothered to call him. They didn't inform us until we called to tell us the part wasn't shipped. We have been without hot water for three weeks and we are out 290.00. I am very unimpressed with their level of customer service and will never buy another Whirlpool product.
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.
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!!!!!!!!
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!
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.
LAKEWOOD, CA, CALIFORNIA -- I agree with PJ46350 (see below). No hot water for 2 days. Water heater is 2 years old. Holiday weekend-of course. Gas Company unable to ignite flame, because of the sealed firebox... the plumber could not find left threaded part anywhere... I told him check Lowes, as that is where the "Flame Lock" water tank was originally purchased. Plumber quickly found it on asile #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 Lowes 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 dis-assemble 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 Lowes, 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.
Whirlpool Complaint. Stay Away from the Flame Lock. Posted by: ** on 8/16/2005: I have replaced 20 to 30 thermocouples on various furnaces and water heaters. This is the strangest system I have seen. I put a 40 gallon Whirlpool flame lock water heater in a rental unit and had no problems for about a year.
Then the pilot would not stay lit. At this point I discovered the flamelock thermocouple (with left hand threads) had to be purchased special at Lowes. Lowes said that all I had to do was call Whirlpool and get a RGA number and it would be free. I tried for 40 minutes but the number was busy so being a rental unit, just purchased it. It was over $15.00. Well the thermo couple has gone bad two more times since then. The last one lasting only a day. YES... it was installed precisely to their specs. The unit is just plain junk.
I'm thinking of changing the unitrol RobertShaw control gas valve to one that accepts right hand threaded thermocouples and tearing a hole in their silly vented bottom so that it is sure to get enough air. I have had trouble with other Whirlpool products so I should have known. I think I read somewhere on the Whirlpool site, you need to disassemble it and clean it every few months... what nonsense.
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.