Hot Water Blues

Hot water is one of those things we take for granted. Hot water heaters don’t last forever. Need replacing from time to time. We use it for so many things, showers, washing clothes, dishes. Things we do everyday. And with me, my husband and my youngest 3 home all summer, hot water is part of our daily life.

About 5 years back we replaced our water heater, bought a new Whirlpool water heater from Lowe’s, but it may have been Home Depot. The heater came with a 6 year warranty. Little did we realize how little that warranty meant.

Woke up one morning, everyone getting up for the start of a new day, scrambling for the showers, and NO HOT WATER! UGH!!!!!!!!!

Frosty morning — cold showers all around, our whirlpool water heater is still under warranty. Let me find their number so they can get someone right out to fix it. 🙁 We discovered that the warranty only covered parts, that they believed we needed a new gas valve. They would send us one right out, would take a week or so. Meanwhile we made do with no hot water or relighting the pilot light on a regular basis. Soon it won’t stay lite at all. Finally the part comes in, my husband spends hours replacing the part while the family looks forward to hot water. Pilot light on and we have hot water! Yeah! Next morning we get up and no hot water. 🙁 Turns out the problem was a faulty thermocoupler, we replace it, Voila! Hot water!

Couple years later, same story, wake up, no hot water. Call whirlpool. Yes, they can ship us another thermocoupler, but if we want the part to arrive quickly, we must pay an extra $20+ shipping. Not wanting to go two weeks without hot water, and knowing that the part is less than $10 we head to Lowe’s for a replacement. Bad news. It is a left-hand thread thermacoupler. No one carries them anymore. Have to get one from the company. Determined to get me back in hot water, my husband checks many places in town and finds me one. Replaces it and we are back in hot water. A good thing in this case.

Summer now, thank goodness. Still, we all look forward to warm showers. No hot water again! Ok, the pilot light is out again. Relight it and warm water for a short time. Call whirlpool again. Not it isn’t the thermocoupler we are told, it is the gas valve. We will ship a new part, it will be there Monday. (Reasonable shipping, I’d called on a Friday). Problem is it is doing the same thing it has done the past 2 times, each time it was the thermocoupler and there are no left-hand threaded ones available locally. I call back. We think it is the thermocoupler. We were told they believe it is the gas valve and have already shipped me one. Ok I said, but if it is the thermocoupler we will need a new one, can’t buy one locally, don’t want to wait for 2nd part to ship. No worry I was told, there’d be some kind of adaptor and we could go to Lowes and pick up a new right handed one locally. I call to double check on the adaptor for my husband and can’t get through to Whirlpool’s customer service.

Monday comes, and I’m looking forward to hot water on demand. Part comes in as promised. No promised adapter. If we replace the part and it is the thermocoupler as we believe, then it will be no hot water again. May not even be able to relight the pilot for short-term warm water. Who knows what it will take to get a new thermocoupler. My husband wants either an adaptor in hand or a new thermocoupler before doing the repair job.

Calling Whirlpool again, they should know me by now. Open to suggestions.

Easier to just buy another water heater? Yes, but if we do it will be the last thing we buy from Whirlpool. My Whirlpool washer has done a great job, over a dozen years washing clothes for all 7 kids. Still working. But my water water has had major issues, a design flaw of some sort in my opinion. Tired of waking up to no hot water. Send suggestions my way and I’ll keep you posted on how all this works out with Whirlpool customer service.

UPDATE:
Whirlpool says Lowes now stocks the conversion kits, to pick one up and they’ll pay me back. Lowe’s says they have it. No wait on either customer service line. May have hot water yet.

8 thoughts on “Hot Water Blues

  1. Heidi,

    Maybe you should switch to Sears *SMILE – have had my Sears washer and dryer for about 10 years and hot water heater about 8. I love Sears and the service techs are great!

    Never had experience with Whirlpool. After your saga, won’t anytime soon (or later).

    Best of luck dealing with this mess. I don’t like cold showers and the last time my water heater went out, went to girlfriend for showers while hubby stayed home to take his (was in the winter, and no way am I taking cold showers).

    Take care and thanks for the update,

    Heidi (the other one)

  2. Thanks Heidi, my Whirlpool washer has done better than the Kenmore we had, guessing Whirlpool not so hot in the hot water department.

    • Water Heater up and running the same day. Took a trip to Lowes. They had a conversion kit, didn’t have to pay for it. My husband spent a couple hours with the water heater and hot water we have. What gripes me is the inconvenience of going without hot water for several days. For telling me it was a different part, even after I called back to confirm, waiting for the part to come it, then calling back when the part came in as it truly wasn’t the part needed to fix the problem. Trip to Lowes, nor the 2 previous times when the heater went out.

      I’m glad that it is fixed and the problem shouldn’t be recurring. Now if only Whirlpool had the part to begin with the first time it went out, I’d be a much happier camper.

  3. We had somewhat of a similar incident recently with our Washer. We ordered a new one. Upon delivery, it didn’t work. Had to order a replacement. In the meantime, we were running out of clothes because they were all getting dirty. God forbid–we should wear the same thing twice in this house.

    Replacement came–didn’t work. We thought that was odd. To make a long, frustrating story short–after dealing with lots of people who didn’t seem to have a clue, Nate discovered something had been disconnected causing the water to not run from wherever to the washer.

    In the meantime, we’re still waiting on the “inconvenience check” Maytag promised to send for our frustration—a whopping $75–which would just about cover all of the dirty clothes had we taken them to the laundromat.

    I feel your pain–trust me!

  4. Beverly,

    That is my biggest gripe about appliances, they just don’t do things right from the start. My daughter-in-law had a new washer come in just before her new baby was born. (She recycles and uses cloth diapers and cloth wipes, made herself from scraps). Washer didn’t work right from day 1. Water drained straight through and spin cycle didn’t spin. Took them almost a week to send out a replacement.

    Member of my BNI group had new washer issues too.

    Bev, you are lucky to be getting the inconvenience check.

  5. Boy, can I relate! I haven’t had the exact problem you describe but I’ve done the whole “repairs needed” route with other things. You think the solution should be fairly easy and, once it’s done, you no longer need to worry. FAT CHANCE! These things seem to go on and on and, at our age especially, stress isn’t healthy. I wish I had some words of wisdom to impart but I only have words of support: I’m sending you my very best and hoping this gets resolved once and FOREVER. Best of luck!!!!

  6. Heidi,
    This sounds like the never-ending story of trying to get what you paid for . . . I’m glad it was finally resolved, but WOW, at what expense (time, energy, etc.) to you??? Way to hang in there. Hopefully, you won’t have this problem again.

  7. Heidi,

    Welcome to my world…Same wonderful experience this week. My husband left for Texas the same morning the water heater stop producing hot water. Called Lowes and were told it was the Thermal Coupler, and guess what you get a new one for free. Well working full time, I had to wait until Wednesday before I could pick the part up, and had a friend install it…Guess what still no pilot light, called Whirlpool, gosh they were closed. Went to work Thursday for 40 minutes and took vacation time to deal with this. Got home and called Whirlpool on the phone 1 hour, where the gave me a number to call to have someone come out and fix it with labor and parts paid for. Called the number and after about 3 transfers was given another number “which was sears”. Called sears and after more transfers, was told that a person could be out the next day between 8-5. Gosh, already took time off work and get to do it again. I made the appointment, and then called Whirlpool back and said this is not acceptable. I was at this point given the “OK” to call a local repair person and they would repay me for the cost. I did and he came and could not fix it due to the parts and would take him a week to receive them. I am in tears at this point. I called sears back to make sure I had appointment still for the next day, and I did and they did give me a smaller window 1-5. I work full time and my vacation time is for vacation not this. But that is what I had. The repair called and showed up at 3:15. Knew the problem and said he replaces some three times a day. But when he replaced the “Gas Valve” (the real problem not the Thermal Coupler” he crimped a line on the new Thermal. He then tells me, he has to order the part and come back on Tuesday “this is friday” to replace it. Luckily, I had the old Thermal Coupler and said try this….it worked. I have hot water. After, a lot of time, a lot of problems and trouble. All of these companies need to be responsible for this product..American General the manufacture, Whirlpool the Corporation, and Lowes the Retailer. They are all aware and still continue to leave this product on the market know it has a defect…This is a water heater, gas is involved..do we need someone to die before this is addressed..I am disgusted with all three and will not ever purchase one of their products again

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