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Boneheaded move!

Plumdog_2 Member Posts: 873
Have you seen the one with the glass fusible link that is "very common in fire sprinkler industry"; but intentionally not available as a repair part? The entire water heater must be replaced if the link pops. It holds open a spring loaded door to allow combustion air in. I can visualize a clever homeowner propping it open with a piece of stick.


  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)_1
    class action lawsuits over thermocouple

    Lowes sells Whirlpool "Flame Lock" water heaters manufactured by American Water Heater Co. They must be made south of the equator because the thermocouple has reverse threads (water swirls in reverse of north of the equator so why not threads too!) - as if it were a propane gas fitting!

    Here's the cute part about the part - Lowes doesn't stock the part. In searching for a reverse thread thermocouple, I discovered this is not a new issue and that there are thousands of consumers steamed up in spite of bathing in cold water.

    Here's the odd part about the part - Lowes, Whirlpool & American all have known this t-couple is a lemon and has caused tons of consumer complaints. Reading through just a handfull of the complaints filed with consumer affairs, it's blatantly obvious Lowes & Whirlpool are getting burned by consumers' chilled showers. If I was Lowes, every danged store would have plenty of these odd-ball t-couples & I'd give em away for free. None to be had & the attitude we got while trying to obtain the part - let's just say there was a distinct chill in the air on the part of the Lowes folks.

    So, here we are on a late Friday afternoon service call & the customer ends up with no hot water.

    Here's the tip of one huge iceberg: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/whirlpool_water_heaters.html

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  • John Starcher_4
    John Starcher_4 Member Posts: 794
    The mean part of me wants to......

    ....snidely say, "serves you right" for buying your water heater at Lowes!!!!!!

    (not directed at you, Dave!!!!!!)
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,541
    It's reverse thread

    because there's a fusible link for the FVIR.The reverse threads are to prevent anyone from installing a standard non-fusible T-couple.I agree,it's a bad way to go

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  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)_2
    Not us John

    We didn't purchase or install the water heater. The folks where this water heater is in use are on a very tight budget and house imigrants who are in asylum from persecution from countries where they might well end up dead if returned. We volunteer some of our services to help them. It's been an interesting ride, working with them, and I've been confronted with trying to communicate with refugees who can't speak or understand a single word of English from time to time. Like the 2 AM no-heat call one winter's eve where I had to convince a refugee who had been brutilized in her home country & spoke only Farsi that I was there to help, not hurt, her.
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
    H W Heaters

    Dave, I know THIS place IS tabo!!! But How About P&H.
  • Glenn Harrison_2
    Glenn Harrison_2 Member Posts: 845
    State/A.O. Smith does it too.

    And our supply houses aren't carrying the special thermocouples or burner assemblies. We have had to raid a brand new boxed water heater and swap burner assemblies to get customers going again.

    I'm personally a fan of the Rheem FVIR system.
  • rjbphd
    rjbphd Member Posts: 5
    I read somewhere...

    I read somewhere that you can buy adapter and use regualar thermocouple. I think it was White Rodgers that make them....
  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)_2

    If they had one, it'd be $50 instead of $10(G). The customer's maintenance guy was headed to Lowes in Hanover. They claimed they had one, but so did Lowes in East York & that turned out to be a "universal" thermocouple with right-hand threads.

    This is an FVIR model with a lint screen that must be cleaned every three months or the warranty is voided. That's laughable & no one with any common sense would ever have believed anyone was going to adhere to that requirement! Whirlpool has, according to the consumer complaints, used that as an excuse to avoid any responsibility for the failed thermocouples. To be fair, the fusible link, if it's in the thermocouple as noted in another post, could well be compromised by restricted combustion air. The whole mess sounds like a product recall in the making.

    There's another brand of FVIR water heaters that must be replaced if tripped out via the FVIR. I understand the reasoning behind the intentional design - as in if there's really a fire in the chamber from flammable vapors, they don't want the burner to be repaied and reset. However, I sure hope their lint screen technology is better than the Whirlpool/American/Lowes model.

    I'll stick with the brand that's remained loyal to contractors and whose FVIR models are designed so you do not need to clean the lint screens and who build their burner assemblies so thay can be repaired/serviced/reset.
  • Mitch_5
    Mitch_5 Member Posts: 102
    Hate to say it

    pull the tank and put in something standard, return the old one to lows and drop it on the counter.

    With the other Box store they beat us in price on installs.

    We go on emergency leaker find a warranty tank, only thing is the whole tank has to be returned for credit. We tell the H.O. they can pay us $$$ per hour to drive to the box store wait in the customer service line for the credit, pick up a new tank, wait in line to pay for it then install it with the same possibility of this happening again.


    Just pay for a new one from us that we will stand behind.

    Mitch S.

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  • Joe Staib
    Joe Staib Member Posts: 4
    Lowes water heater

    I had the same thing happen to me, the water heater wouldn't stay lit at a friends house, I encountered this reverse thread t-couple, and couldn't find the the new t-couple anywhere. We wound up switching out the water heater to an AO Smith.
  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)_1

    Lots of homeowners have been finding ways around their FVIR safety & that's setting up scenarios where an unsuspecting service mechanic could find themselves on the hook for not catching a hole punched in the screening or a propped open air-door. Voids the HO insurance too.

    Seems like a huge potential for added liability.

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  • Nron_13
    Nron_13 Member Posts: 164

    try john wood for the left hand thermocouples I heard they have them in there standard water heaters
  • John_86
    John_86 Member Posts: 7

    If I remember correctly Robert Shaw supplied a large number of left handed valves and thermocouplers for domestic tank and export water heaters. There should be an adapter for the gas valve that will allow you to change the valve from left hand to right hand. At that point a standard thermocoupler will work.
  • Rich Kontny_3
    Rich Kontny_3 Member Posts: 562
    If Doable

    Drain the heater and install a compatable replacement gas valve/aquastat. Unless the valve won't fit the burner assembly.

    This sounds like an old trick Johnson Controls and Culligan used to insure that they and they only could service their products.This could make for a lot of cold showers and hot (as in angry customers)

    Rich K.

    Make Peace your Passion while supporting our troops!
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