whirlpool water-heaters

Information about the problems and breakdowns of Whirlpool water heaters that were reported from 2005 to 2021.

Common problems: burning, explosion, fire, melting, overheating, short circuit, smoke.

Faulty modules: control board, gas igniter, rack, thermostat, valve.


2 safety recalls announced

Robertshaw Controls Co. Recall of Gas Control Valves on Water Heaters

  • Date: 9/16/2005

Name of product: Robertshaw R110 series gas control valves. Screws on some water heater valves could break. If this happens, gas could leak from the valve, which poses a risk of gas explosion and fire. The R110 Gas Control Valves being recalled are installed on natural and liquid propane (LP) gas water heaters. The recalled valves were manufactured between July 25, 2005 and August 14, 2005 with production date codes 5-31 through and including 5-33, although not all valves with these date codes are affected. The recalled valves were installed on the following water heater brands: American Proline, Bradford White, GE, GSW, Hotpoint, Jetglas, John Wood, Lochinvar, Premier Plus, Powerflex, Rheem, Richmond, Ruud, Vanguard, Whirlpool, and U.S. Craftmaster.

A. O. Smith Recalls Ultra-Low NOx Water Heaters Due to Fire Hazard

  • Date: 11/8/2018

This recall includes 30, 40 and 50 gallon natural or propane gas-fired Ultra-Low NOx emission gas water heaters. They are designed to comply with regulations in certain air quality districts in California, and were sold primarily in California. They were sold under the American, A. O. Smith, Kenmore, Reliance, State, U.S. Craftsmaster and Whirlpool brand names and manufactured from April 8, 2011 through August 1, 2016. Only water heaters with the first four digit serial numbers between 1115 and 1631.

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25 issues reported

Whirlpool Energy Smart EE3Z50RD055V

  • Date: 4/2/2011

The control box on top of the electric hot water heater has overheated twice and fried the wires.

Whirlpool E2F-40RD045V

  • Date: 5/11/2011

Electric Water heater has element problem & produces scalding hot water. Consumer states the thermostat is set correctly & the reset button on it does not work. This is the 2nd unit consumer has purchased in the past 8 years which has the same problem as the previous one.

Whirlpool E1F40RDO45V

  • Date: 9/2/2011

Consumer says heard a crackling noise in the bathroom early in the morning and found the electric water heater's upper element's wiring was on fire while no hot water was in use. Consumer says she threw the breaker and it fizzled out on its own.

Whirlpool EE3J50RD045V

  • Date: 4/11/2012

An electric water heater is located on the 1st floor of consumer’s home. She noticed a peculiar smell & discovered that the energy saving box on top of the heater was apparently melting on top & there was a burn mark of nearly the diameter of a quarter. She shut off the box.

Whirlpool Energy Smart

  • Date: 6/20/2012

Consumer noticed that Electric Water Heater started popping & than its electronic control board caught fire. Fire melted plastic cover, wire nuts connecting main power supply to control board, & some of insulation on wire. Consumer was able to shut off local power.

Whirlpool EE3Z80HD005V

  • Date: 2/1/2013

Consumer's wife smelled something. They went down to basement & located smell in utility closed where water heater was located. They realized that plastic cover on electrical unit on top of electric hot water heater was melted with curls of smoke still coming out.

Whirlpool EE2H50RD045V

  • Date: 1/25/2014

A 34 YOM has an energy smart 50 gallon hot water heater & the energy smart panel on the top of the hot water heater, heated up so much that it melted the negative wires & the plastic cover over the energy smart panel. The wires almost caught on fire & smoke was rolling out.


  • Date: 5/22/2014

Indicator light on gas hot water tank turned off by itself & water wasn't being heated. 35 YOM was following manufacturer's reset instructions when flame from under tank burnt his eyelashes & hair. He turned unit off & shut off gas supply. 35 YOm received no first aid.

Whirlpool EE3J50RD045V

  • Date: 7/14/2014

Burning smell in home was caused by the control box located on top of water heater. The box had overheated and melted. Manufacturer is sending consumer a replacement control panel.

Whirlpool EE3250RD055V

  • Date: 1/7/2015

Once in a while for the last 2-3 years, no hot water comes out from this electric water heater - the controls have to be reset or settings adjusted. Over a year it's been tripping the circuit breaker and electrical components overheat. A 30-YOM burned his hand which blistered

Whirlpool NU50T91-403

  • Date: 4/23/2015

Consumer & his wife heard loud bang. He discovered that water heater had exposed flame emitting from gas inlet. He turned off gas to contain flame. When he restarted it there was ball of fire shot from tank & fire started again. He immediately turned it off.

Whirlpool EE3J50RD045V

  • Date: 6/2/2015

Electric water heater’s circuit board malfunctioned twice & melted electrical wires connecting heater & was replaced. The new unit has also melted. Both incidents caused melting the cover, shorting it out, tripping circuit breakers & disabling the units. No Injury.

Whirlpool BFG1F4040S3NOV

  • Date: 8/3/2015

Water heater gas valve has leaked off & on for several years. The valve has leaked for last 2 weeks & bubble testing showed nothing. I did a web search & found out valve leaks from a control knob that is very seldom ever moved once set. Possible Explosion Hazard.

Whirlpool 40T940UNG-400

  • Date: 11/15/2016

The consumer stated that her water heater was emanating an odor like burning plastic. The manufacturer switched it for another unit of the same model but that unit also had a burning odor. The consumer is concerned the product could cause illness.

Whirlpool Energy Smart

  • Date: 1/9/2017

My husband was downstairs & noticed a burning smell. Upon investigation, he noticed the unit on top of our water heater smoking. He pulled the circuit breaker and opened the unit to find the wires inside smoldering.

Whirlpool NU501T122-403

  • Date: 5/20/2019

Consumer's gas water heater emitted loud humming and popping sounds. Fire on the burner is getting bigger. Consumer turned off heater. Consumer states that the water is sometimes scalding hot. Consumer states this is a big fire hazard.

Whirlpool NU40t62-403

  • Date: 1/20/2020

Consumer reports that the water heater went off one night and they were unable to relight the pilot after several attepts. After calling the service hotline and having replacement parts sent they were still unable to relight it. It was later found that the igniter had melted

Whirlpool E1F50RD045V

  • Date: 10/6/2020

Consumer reports that electric water heater at their home quit heating. They found that the heater elements were ok, but bottom wires were completely burned through and the wire insulation was charred & plastic cover was burned. No injuries were sustained.

Whirlpool NU50T61-403

  • Date: 3/22/2021

The Consumer reports that flames blow out of the front of the water heater when it lights and the flame runs with a sputtering sound. This water heater is subject to recall, but two online registration attempts were ignored and calls to the toll free number were unsuccessful.

Whirlpool NU40T61-403

  • Date: 4/21/2021

The Consumer reported that flames were shooting out from the front of the gas water heater burner assembly, near bottom of the water heater.

Whirlpool NU40T61-403

  • Date: 6/12/2021

AS 58 YO consumer turned on hot water on washer, there was banging sound. Consumer saw flames coming through vent of water heater. Gas main line was shut off. Technician found flame melted ignitor wire which fused onto metal. 58 YO spouse, 21 YO & 26 YO children were involved

Whirlpool EE3J5ORDO45V

  • Date: 6/25/2011

while using an Electric Water Heater consumer noticed a burning smell and upon investigation discovered the electrical panel smoking & a hole had been burned into the top cover. consumer concerned about fire hazard.

Whirlpool EE3Z80HD055V

  • Date: 10/20/2014

Lack of hot water prompted 66 YOF to check out electric water heater. Plastic housing had melted. One of 220 lines completely burned & broke loose. It melted copper.

Whirlpool Energy Smart EESZ50RD055V

  • Date: 5/30/2012

On 2 occasions, the box on top of the water heater has shorted out and actually melted from the heat. Fire hazard. The consumer called the company; they said they will replace it. The consumer stated that this product is dangerous.

Whirlpool NU50T 121-403

  • Date: 11/14/2018

The consumer reports that their natural gas water heater was sounding like a blow torch. Finally, it quit working and melted the wire on the thermopile assembly. The consumer thinks that the burner assembly got too hot.

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