Dreaded Whirlpool water heater
Hi, I normally post in the garden site about peppers but I am in a bit of a pickle here with my water heater. After a minute of searching for info about my water heater online it was painfully obvious that I have one of the biggest problem child water heaters available... The dreaded Whirlpool from Lowes which is a relabeled American Water Heater unit. Which even brought a class action suit due to the rate at which these units burn through thermocouples and other parts. That suit however didn't effect my unit as I have the "new and improved design" yeah right lol If I'd have known at the time of purchase that this thing is a POS waiting to fail. I'd have kept looking... but when the old one rusted out and flooded the basement in the middle of a cold winter wanted to to get it replaced ASAP and went by size, type, and price. My bad.
One morning I noticed I had no hot water, went down to the basement, relit the pilot and burner came on so I figured all's good. A couple days later I find again no hot water, so I go down and relight the pilot and the burner comes on. This time I decided to watch the burner. After quite some time the burner went out but so did the pilot. Attempted to relight the pilot but now it didn't stay lit. So my first thought was bad thermocouple so off to Lowes for a new one. While reading up on replacing it I found out about the FVIR vent, and the thermal switch reset. On a hunch I tried resetting the thermal switch and the pilot stayed lit and upon turning the temp dial up the burner kicked on. Though this time the flame was not blue but yellow and I was hearing sizzling and popping like you would get from condensation I turned the temperature knob back down and as soon as the burner stopped so did the pilot.
Ok long story short, what I am thinking of doing now is to turn the gas shut off to off, turn off the gas valve and disconnect the the thermocouple, pilot tube, gas tube, ignitor wires, etc and so I can then remove the burner assembly like I would if I were changing the thermocouple. Since I have a new one I may as well replace it while I have it open. I'm going to then try to clean the vent at the bottom of the combustion chamber. and then reassemble everything, turn the gas back on and try lighting the pilot again. If this doesn't work. I may be willing to make one service call for repairs but from the stories I've read about people spending crazy money on service calls for these units and the constant problems, I'm beginning to consider shopping for a new better quality unit. I don't feel like going through the hell many people have with these units only to eventually arrive at the decision to buy a new one. Live an learn I guess.
Ok that said should I decide to replace it with something else what brands and/or features should I look for. I'd be replacing a 40 Gal Gas water heater with the same size and style of unit.