Purchased a Whirlpool gas water heater at Lowes a few years ago, it is in good shape but quit working suddenly Sunday. I called a repair man and had him come out after I purchased a new heater,which still is in my car, just in case the old one could not be repaired.

Repair man after a brief check, said that the thermocouple was broken, so he went to Lowes and purchased one to install. After completely replacing the part( which only cost a few $$)he discovered that the mounting on the heater had a left hand thread and the industry standard new thermocouple had a right hand thread. He said he would go to a plumbing supply store today. He called me this morning and said that the supply stores said neither Whirlpool nor anyone else made a left thread thermocouple, so it looked like we would have to replace the entire heater.

I then called Whirlpool and was informed that they only made the left thread mounting water heaters for a time, and as of a couple of years ago,now made only the industry standard right hand threads. They said that there was a conversion kit available through them that would get around the problem and that they would overnight one to me for $30 + cost of the kit. I bitched so much about the fact that they had inconvenienced me by not having the kit available at Lowes, or for that matter even making Lowes aware of the problem,that they waived the cost of the kit and shipping. Almost causing me to spend $525 + on a new heater instead of a cheap part, had I not followed through with them, and having to pay for two service calls was just wrong.

How could Lowes not be aware of the problem? There must be 1000's or tens of 1000's left hand thread Whirlpool water heaters out there sold at Lowes. I was told that it is not unusual for a thermocouple to break. I do not think many consumers would take the effort to "find" the conversion kit and would just buy a new water heater. So is this a scam by Whirlpool / Lowes to sell new heaters rather that standing behind in support of their products?

I talked to customer service at Lowes after discovering the above and they of course pleaded ignorance of the problem; but said they would make their stores aware that a conversion kit could be obtained---I feel that they should stock the conversion kits, in order to service the product they sold!!

Monetary Loss: $200.

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Glad I read this, did same, used dremel to cut slot in old LH fitting and used $8 universal thermocouple RH. Didnt even cut new fitting off, just let it slide down, slipped old LH fitting on and threaded into gas valve no problem.

I would have bought a new gas valve before a new heater if using old LH fitting didnt work.

Why buy new one if tank and flu are in good condition. Thank You for sharing.


Just dealing with the same problem. Very annoying. No more Whirlpool products for me.


Same EXACT thing happened to me. Whirlpool did offer to sell me a left-handed (reverse) threaded thermocouple for $90 (when the generic ones are 1/10th of that price or less).

They said it came with a warranty. Well whoop-te-do-ma-loo!

I ended up going to Menards and spent $700 on a new water heater. What a scam!!!


also this is part if the reason lowes no longer sells the whirlpool water heaters because there were alot of issues they now carry the number one brand of water heater in the world A.O. Smith


We have had the same issue, tried to purchase a kit and have gotten nothing but a run around from everyone we have talked to! Lowes is a joke!!

to Anonymous #1531552

really not that difficult you literally just order it on lowes .com takes 3 days to come in.


You could get helicoil kit drill, tap & install the helicoil, which makes it standard right hand threads. No more problems...


Purchased the universal thermocouple and then figured out the problem between the right and hand/left hand nut problem. Thanks for the idea on this post.

Split the left hand nut with my dremel tool and slipped in onto the "Universal" thermocouple with the right hand nut slipped down and out of the way and tada!!!

Your idea worked!



cry me a river


I just ran into this problem two days ago. I was furious to find that it had a left hand thread, and that none were available anywhere.

I read a thread regarding cutting the original lh fitting lenghth wise, and simply slip it around the copper of a standard coupler. It worked! I just pulled the fitting on the new piece down, slipped the 'split nut' over it, and threaded it in! Now I'll be able to used a standard coupler at any time, should the need arise.

I'll never buy another Whirlpool product though.. Total BS.


I am experiencing the same problem right now 1-18-2016. Lowes does not carry the conversion kit.

Of course it's a holiday weekend and had to purchase from whirlpool and pay 30.00 to have it overnighted.

This is a rip-off. I will not recommend whirlpool products to anyone.

Port Neches, Texas, United States #1051535

i bough one when they came out termolecouple went out next day took heater out be cause i could not get new part returned to lower. got refund went to colburns 100 dollars cheaper no more problems. but now i have a friend with one out .


I needed hot water for a sick family member and after wasting time trying to install the standard right hand replacement thermocouple I had to go back to the store and buy a new water heater. I didn't have time to wait through the weekend to order special parts. It's not Lowes fault it's the water heater manufacturer that designed it this way that's guilty for this one.


We have a whirlpool #FG1F3030S3NOV water heater sold by Lowes. The thermocouple is defective.

Only 6 years old and uses a left hand threaded thermocouple. Parts are discontinued. We called and found out that we need a $50.00 conversion kit. Lowes parts dept.


Eager to sell with no help on fixes.

Bridgewater Township, New Jersey, United States #943497

I had the same exact issue ... absolutely ridiculous.

I knew it was the thermocouple, went to home depot and bought the universal one. I took it all apart, cleaned it well, put it all back together and all that was left to reconnect was the new thermocouple ... and FAIL. After identifying it as having left handed thread, I drove to a lowes where I bought the Whirlpool hot water.

They only have right hand thread. They did inform me about a conversion kit that could be ordered; but at best would be 5 to 7 days.

Unbelievable. How could they not stock what I would think is such a common replacement part for units they sold?

Its such a small package to give some shelf space seems like common sense. Very annoyed.

Antioch, California, United States #922846

I bought and had my plumber friend install a Whirlpool 50 Gal. gas heater last month, (nov.

2014), from the very first there have been issues. Low pressure, water temperature fluctuating, water too hot, etc....

Had a plumber inspect it today and he diagnosed the "dip tube" must be broken and therefore it is mixing with the cold water causing the water to fluctuate. When I mentioned the pressure issue, he told me that was not the problem. Afterwards, I called the Whirlpool representative and they are sending a service company to inspect.

Can anyone else who reads this offer any advice? ...similar issues?.....

Sherman, Texas, United States #912610

As of today 12-7-14, the Sherman Lowes claims to not knowing anything about solutions for this problems, was no help to me.

Rancho Cordova, California, United States #828875

I realize this is an old thread, however someone new may find it like I did.

I had the same problem with left handed threads on my thermocouple.

Much research later I learned that they did it for a reason. The left handed thread thermocouple also incorporates a "thermal fuse," which is the overheat protection. It is left handed specifically so you can't put a universal thermocouple on it. If you do so, such as by switching the fitting to the new thermocouple (Which is ingenious, by the way.

Very clever.) your water heater may work fine, but you no longer have overheat protection.

Lowes carries the retrofit kit (Water Heater Enhancement Kit) which replaces everything downstream from the control valve, except the burner itself. It adds an adapter for the left handed threads, so that a standard thermocouple will fit, and it also adds a separate thermal switch to provide overheat protection. Also, you can contact the manufacturer.


I had to contact the manufacturer, because I have the 30 gallon, for which Lowes does not carry the Kit.

Hope this helps, and Good Luck!

Fayette, Mississippi, United States #716157

The reverse thread thermopile is UNIQUE to WHIRLPOOL.

Whirlpool will tell you that it's a SAFETY issue, so that connections are not made with the wrong port on the gas valve.

However, this is complete BS. Each port is a different diameter. so there is no way to cross connect any fittings.

If every other manufacturer in the world (who use AGA approved valves from Robert Shaw, Honneywell, etc.) are right hand threaded, why can't Whirlpool?

This is a PARTS SCAM. Force consumers to only buy your parts.

Birmingham, Alabama, United States #675746

I'm a plumber down here in alabama, and i've run in to the whirlpool problem a good bit, when i get to a customers house and see what they have, I try to explain the situation, they usually get upset, b/c i tell them i'll have the new conversion in a few days or i can just replace it, most of the time some think i'm trying to pull one over on them, but after they do there calling around they end up believing me. But i wish whirlpool or somebody would just manufactor some left hand thermocouplings, so when you get in this situation, you haven't wasted your time and labor, and to make it easier to go on a service call, but i guess aslong as the big wigs get their big paychecks and quarterly bonuses, nothings going to change.

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