Question about Whirlpool Water Heaters

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I have whirlpool gas water heater sg1j5040t3nov. It is blinking 6 times which says upper sensor failure. Is this something we can fix. Please advise.

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  • Michael Douglas Feb 12, 2013

    Hi Everyone, I'm back again almost a year later with the exact same failure mode. I went through the process of resetting heater - removing and replugging the connectors to no avail. I looked at the Upper sensor - it looked fine. Out of idle curiosity - I looked at the lower sensor and to my shock - I noticed the plastic threading on the sensor was cracked and no longer sitting against the tank. I pushed on it and it snapped against the side wall of the tank. I then restarted heater and it worked like a champ again. The sensor is mounted on a threaded stud and if the sensor comes loose again - I

  • Michael Douglas Feb 12, 2013

    I'm going to purchase a nut that will fit and hand tighten the sensor against the tank. Well I've learned that the manufacturer in this case crossed wires which made it a headache for me to trouble shoot. Hope this helps another weary soul out there who wants to fix this problem.

  • Suzanne Nimmo
    Suzanne Nimmo Aug 13, 2014

    How old is your unit? Ours is only 4yrs old. Should this be happening so soon?

  • Big Cooter Nov 15, 2017

    Michael Douglas: same problem here .. 6 flash upper sensor light .. but it was the lower temp sensor that was loose on its stud. Seems like Whirlpool left the nuts off the temp sensor studs (upper and lower) .. added 10-24 nuts to tighten up sensor ... but the 6 flash code is back, after 1 day of running .. more troubleshooting ...

  • Big Cooter Nov 19, 2017

    update: upper and lower thermistor temp sensors reading around 2.7 kohms .. so probably both are good .. replugged the 4way white connector into bottom of control unit several times .... water heater has been operating normally now for 24hrs ... suspect that white connector/terminals is the typical junk used in most appliances .. if problem returns ... I will solder the thermistor leads directly to the controller circuit board.



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Called whirlpool and explained the problem. They said I need to replace that upper sensor and so they sent me a part in the mail which cost roughly $25. (usd) not including the overnight shipping which is around another $25 or so. This picture is what I received in the mail. Comes with directions of installment. I have whirlpool gas water heater sg1j5040t3nov. - _273.jpg

Posted on Dec 08, 2010

  • kimerysue
    kimerysue Feb 23, 2014

    Is it possible to scan this document and upload?


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I have the exact same model. A few days ago, I noticed the six flash failure signal plus loss of hot water. I looked at the sensor - and being a passive component - I found it very hard to believe this item failed. It looked brand new. So I replaced the cap and reset the main controller board. It has been working fine ever since. I jiggled all the connectors to make sure I was getting good contact. Works like a champ again.

Posted on Jan 23, 2012

  • rick Oct 23, 2012

    when you say you replaces the "cap" what cap are you talking about?

  • Michael Douglas Feb 12, 2013

    The cap or plug - covers the upper and lower sensor. When you remove the plug / cap - you will see the insulation. Burrow through the insullation to expose the sensor.


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Just wanted to add my experience with this same problem. First time it happened was last year, about this same time of year. I ordered the part, paid $20 for shipping, and installed it when it came in. Everything worked fine until this year, when, with a house full of guests, it started flashing and shut down again. I called Whirlpool, got the same offer under warranty, and told them I'd rather buy a new hot water heater. Just before I hung up, the help desk person suggested I turn the control to off, and disconnect the sensor for 3 or 4 minutes, then plug the sensor back in and relight the pilot. I turned the control to OFF, disconnected the sensor and came back in an hour. I plugged the sensor in, and relit the hot water heater. That was 2 days ago -- it's been working ever since. Good luck!

Posted on Jun 15, 2014

  • Steve Gibson
    Steve Gibson Jun 30, 2014

    UPDATE: Upper Sensor failure returned -- again, and again, and again. I've found that shutting down the heater and letting it sit for a couple hours allows me to relight the pilot and get a full tank of hot water. Going to order ANOTHER replacement sensor (thermistor) from Whirlpool and pay the outrageous $20 shipping -- this should ship via US Mail for $1. When it fails again in a year, I'm replacing the unit.


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1 Answer

How do I install the upper sensor on a whirlpool water heater model SG1J5040T3NOV

Reverse engineer the sensor. Look for the same type behind the removable panal. Make sure it is the same part number.

Jan 13, 2015 | Water Heaters

1 Answer

Light flashes three indicating sensor failure where is this sensor i need to change

Whirlpool energy smart electric?

Replace thermistors.
Remove upper and lower covers, They are located under the foam insulation. Cut back insulation. Insulation must be put back when finished.
Call Whirlpool for parts, and they will also send instructions.
You will need model and serial number from label on side of tank.
This will also determine if 6 year warranty is in effect that will cover cost of parts.

If you need further help, I’m available over the phone at

Oct 30, 2012 | Water Heaters

1 Answer

Water in basement in flood that covered the lower element. When power was turned back on, the green light on the top of the heater was blinking twice. When I hit the reset button, it is now blinking...

Yes sensor should be replaced along with lower element.

1) Manufacturer's say that flooded water heater should be replaced: Call homeowner's insurance company.

2) Brand of water heater is not known, but it could be the American or Craftmaster or Whirlpool energy-smart electric with control box.

3) With energy-smart:
1 flash is start-up failure, and 3 flashes is sensor failure.
The moisture probably shorted element and/or lower sensor.

4) The moisture inside tank will take long time to dry out, especially since the foam insulation is wrapped tight. To dry out element and sensor, you have to remove cover and insulation over element, but if you leave insulation off and run water heater, then the sensor is exposed to cool outside air and will not read temperature inside tank.
Plus a wet water heater is electric shock hazard.

5) Add a comment for more free help.

6) Take a moment and rate answer for accuracy:
And take advantage of fixya expert assistance live.
For a price, expert works with you while you work on water heater or any do-it-yourself project.
Fixya is always less expensive than a service call.

Sep 13, 2011 | Water Heaters

2 Answers

Hello - I have a 6-7 yr old Whirlpool EnergySmart 50 gallon 5500 watt water heater. (Two control boards fried and were replaced free). Symptom now is not enough hot water. No 'error codes' are blinking...

1) Residential water heaters are non-simultaneous. Only one element works at a time.
Upper element comes on until top of tank is heated, and then lower element is switched on until lower part of tank is heated. Lower element keeps tank hot during standby hours

2) Typical Whirlpool energy smart has 4500Watt elements. Look at label on side of tank
If both elements were ON, that would draw 9000Watts or 37.5 amps, requiring 50 amp breaker and 8 gauge wire. V x A = Watts.
All dual-element tanks are 240V.
Whirlpool energy smart requires 10 gauge wire and 30 amp breaker so electronics are not starved during operation. If your wire or breaker are undersized, that is suspect for repeated failure.

3) Typical electric water heater heats 21 gallons per hour. First hour delivery is higher since elements heat water as you use it. Overall however, electric water heater cannot re-heat as fast as gas because gas water heater burner carries more BTU punch per minute than electric element. Gas heats about 41 gallons per minute, with higher first hour delivery.

4) IF YOU HAVE OLDER energy smart and installed newer board, then you could have non-simultaneous operation is reversed so that lower element comes on first.
Read following post at Fixya:
Contact Whirlpool 1-877-817-6750

5) Another potential problem is that you have sediment inside tank and that is reducing efficiency of lower element.

Add a comment with your experience so others with same-similar problem can benefit.

Also take advantage of fixya expert assistance live.
For a price, expert works with you while you work on water heater or any do-it-yourself project.
Fixya is always less expensive than a service call.

Apr 09, 2011 | Water Heaters

1 Answer

Whirlpool energy smart gas hotwater heater with flame lock model# SG1J5040TJNOV Product # 0733156 shuts down with an upper sensor failure (controller flashes 6 flash alarm) extinquishing pilot and...

If the water heater shuts off again unplug the white the sensor plug underneath the thermostat (The black plastic box). Then plug it back in. This sensor plug has a black and white wire going to it and it's possible the plug could have been loose going into the thermostat..
If the problem persists you will need to contact the manufacturer at 1-877-817-6750 and they can assist you.

Nov 03, 2010 | Whirlpool Water Heaters

1 Answer

Whirlpool Energy Smart Water heater - light is solid green then every now and then blink a couple of times then go solid again.What does this mean?

2 flashes = high water temperature (the water heater comes set at 120, and you can set it lower or higher)
3 flashes = sensor failure (temperature sensor similar to a thermostat on regular water heater)
4 flashes = upper element
5 flashes = lower element
Links below are for Whirlpool manuals

The water heater is working right now.
If the elements go out, they are available at any hardware store.
The temperature sensor is easily replaced and can be ordered from Whirlpool.
You might want an extra temperature sensor on-hand so repairs are not delayed.
Link below shows the product in detail.
Let the water heater do its job until it fails.

Oct 22, 2010 | Water Heaters

1 Answer

I have a Nortitz natural gas water heater, model #N-063s-1. Acouple of days ago it stopped heating the water. what can I do myself to fix this matter. Thanks,

There are many reasons a tankless heater will stop heating water. The first thing I would look for is a flashing red light on the burner indicator. The flash break down goes as follows

continuous blinking - typically means ignition failure or the unit is overheating; look for visible water inside the unit, have your gas pressure checked, or check the flame rod/igniter for buildup of debris

three blinks - typically indicates 16 error code; typically resolved by performing a descale

4 or 5 blinks - exotic error codes; for these you should definitely contact Noritz tech support

If there is no flashing light, first check your filter for debris. If the filter is clean, your flow sensor is probably stuck. Again I'd recommend contacting Noritz tech support to help you clean the flow sensor.

Jul 31, 2010 | Noritz 6.3 Gallon Residential Tankless...

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