Whirlpool Flame Guard Mini Review

Flame GuardWhirlpool Flame Guard Water Heaters are made by American Water Heaters, which is a subsidiary of AO Smith Corp. The Flame Guard is a name for a design of a Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) design that is used on all of the FVIR gas water heaters made by AO Smith Corp and its subsidiaries.

FVIR designs typically use a sealed combustion chamber for the burner with the air coming through a flame arrestor so that any flammable vapors present in the air drawn into the water heater to supply air to the burner cannot ignite in the water heater and flash back into the room causing a fire. The FVIR designs also incorporate a means of detecting a hotter flame caused by the presence of flammable vapors which can shut the pilot and burner of the water heater off.

The Whirlpool Flame Guard Water Heaters have had a poor history of customer satisfaction with the initial design utilizing a thermocouple that also included a one-time use thermal fuse that was not generally available except through American Water Heaters often taking a week to arrive unless the customer paid extra for expedited shipping. This practice resulted in a Class Action Settlement and a burner redesign, which eliminated the one-time thermal fused thermocouple replacing it with a conventional one and a resettable thermal switch. Despite the redesign the air intake on the bottom remains the Achilles Heel of the Flame Guard water heaters frequently clogging with dust and lint triggering a “False FVIR Event” due to a poor flow of combustion air into the burner.

Flame Guard Water Heaters are sold by Lowe’s and because of the many complaints associated with them we do not recommend purchasing them.

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