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.