Don't Buy Whirlpool Water Heater
Flame Lock Safety System Water Heater - Complaint
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.