Home Appliances Kenmore sears's faulty product

Kenmore  -  sears's faulty product

Author of the complaint
12:34 pm
Featured review
This review was chosen algorithmically as the most valued customer feedback.

I purchased a townhome in 1995. The thing is that an A. O. Smith 40 gallon gas water heater was installed by the builder. It lasted a good 11 years. In January of 2006 it died. I purchased a Kenmore Power Miser 9 gas water heater. The fact is that the installation guy told me that they are all the same water heater. They just slap a 6, 9, or 12 indicating the amount of warranty years you are willing to pay for. I have a 9 year warranty, hence Power Miser 9. I basically installed it myself with the help of my uncle who is a union plumber for about 50 years. Anyway, we installed it on January something of 2006. In October 2006 I had no hot water. I called the 800 number on the side of the tank and they connected me to someone else who handles the warranties. They in turn connected me to Sears. Sears told me that they don't handle any of the warranties or the service. I was told that they hire plumbing contractors to install and do the service. They gave me the number for the nearest plumber that they use in my area. This person said I would have to purchase a permit to have the work done. In six days they sent a guy out to look at the water heater and he told me it was the thermostat. He replaced it. He also left five minutes after he installed it. Five minutes after he was gone the pilot went out. I went thru the phone numbers once again to find out that it would be another couple of days for him to get here. He shows up two days later and says I guess it was the tank. Apparently it is cracked inside and water leaks out and falls onto the pilot and puts it out. Another six days for the permit that I had to purchase for 70 dollars. He shows up and says well we didn't install it so you have to pay 140 plus tax and charges to hall the bad one away. I don't care at this point because I just want hot water. My wife and I have an 11 year-old daughter. We had been without hot water for a week and a half. I have had the new water heater installed and working. It is now May of 2007 and I don't have hot water with the Kenmore Power Miser 9. I call and go through all the same rude people working for Sears or Kenmore. Who ever it is answering the 800 number for customer service. I go through the same thing, being told they will send someone the earliest 6 days from now. My wife calls three days later and says she cannot go another day without hot water. She is told that they will call us back in a few hours. They will send someone out as soon as possible. Five hours later she calls and is told that on the order in their computer it says that someone will contact us within 24 hours. My wife explains that she was told someone would call us back shortly. They are rude and say that it is impossible for them to help us that quickly. My point is that Sears sells Kenmore products. Over my life time so far I have always trusted Sears products. The thing is that they were always good with customer service until a couple of years ago. Why am I paying for repairs on a water heater that is supposed to be covered for 9 years? It was replaced in less than a year and now it is 7 months later with the second one from Sears. The first Kenmore Power Miser 9 lasted 10 months. The second one lasted 7 months. Another shocking surprise is that I was told by the Sears or warranty people that my water heater is covered under warranty till 2008. I am pretty sure I am looking at a power miser 9 indicating a 9 year warranty. I haven't asked about that yet but am furious. How is it that American companies are automatically able to take advantage of law abiding citizens? How is it that Sears customer service is basically just a joke? I have refused to pay for another permit or service of any kind. Hopefully I will get the help I deserve. It is Sear's faulty product. They should be responsible for it. This is the second one I have been through in 17 months. When will we get justice in this country? Be careful what you are told by companies selling you products in this country. It will not only cost you your hard earned money but every ounce of patients and will eventually make you crazy with enough anger to make your head explode. It's bad enough that it happened after ten months of use but to happen again after only seven months it's unforgivable.


More Kenmore complaints & reviews

Kenmore - beware! don't burn your house!
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
Kenmore - kenmore refrigerator causes house fire
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
Kenmore - vacuum keep shrading the belt
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
Kenmore - liner getting cracked in less then 2 years
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
Add a comment
Dec 28, 2016 10:33 am

I purchased an electric Powermiser 9 water heater and had it professionally installed in 2012. Now, (late 2016), the thermostat is dying (thermal breaker tripping off daily). I called my electrician to ensure it wasn't tripping off due to house electric issues. It wasn't ($125 spent). I then called Sears as the unit is still under the 9 year warranty. After being transferred around a few times, I was informed that yes, the unit was under warranty, but that it cost $80 to have a repair person come to the house (a "diagnostic fee"). Fine. Annoying money-grab, but what can you do. At least it's still being repaired under warranty, right? Wrong. When the repair guy arrives a week later, he spends about 5 minutes looking at it and says "Yeah, it's the thermostat. Parts are covered under warranty, but labor isn't. It's going to cost $200-$300 to replace". The wife stalls him while I do a couple of quick online searches. The part costs $50-$60. The repair looks like it will take all of about 5 minutes. I tell the guy to GTFO. I'll do it myself. So we've spent over $200 (so far) to have a water heater *not* repaired under warranty. What a piece of junk. This will be the last Sears appliance I *ever* buy. And I'll make darn sure to tell anyone looking for appliances about my experience. Good riddance, Sears. You may have been good in the 1950s, but today, you're garbage.

Oct 28, 2016 7:48 am

I've read thru all the comments on this board and I'd like to thank everyone for the useful information. I have a Kenmore power miser 9 that's been giving me trouble for the last couple of weeks.
My pilot flame kept going out-I cleaned the filter, removed the glass door, took the whole burner assembly out and cleaned it, cleaned the thermo turned out that the high temperature safety rezistor thing that's installed in line with the thermo couple was broken, one end was disconnected, I soldered it back together and it has now been working for 2 weeks. To be more precise, the pilot is not going out anymore, I don't know if the part itself still functions to shut off the heater if the temp gets too high but I was gonna replace it with a piece of wire anyway had it not worked. Not the safest way but I'll keep an eye on it and that pesky pilot flame is now on and I have hot water.

Jan 28, 2016 1:17 pm

pm 5
pilot goes out on calm days

Jul 12, 2014 5:36 am
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

We bought a Kenmore power miser 12, 80-gallon, electric water heater in 2009 and by 2014, it was leaking in our basement. It only lasted 5 years. A repairman came out July 1st and could not determine where the leak was coming from. Our calls to Sears were transferred to Customer Solutions where the calls were dropped at Sears' end. We bought another water heater and installed it to have water for bathing and dish washing for Independence Day. I had 30 people here for a cookout. Sears has done nothing about the other 7 years the water heater should have lasted. They also sold a warranty that expired in 2011, just two years after we bought the water heater new. I will never buy anything from them again,

Aug 30, 2013 10:15 pm
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

Had a Kenmore water heater for about 18 years; never had a problem. Replaced it about a year ago and have had constant problems as the pilot keeps going out. Had several service calls; fortunately all were covered by warranty but continually losing hot water was not well received by the family. My experience with calling for tech help similar to others; long times on hold. Eventually, I succeeded in having them replace the water heater a few months ago. It went well for a while and then NO HOT WATER. Called again and someone came out and ordered a new pilot assembly unit. When it came in the mail, called for tech to come back and he did and installed it about 6 weeks ago. All was well until this week when the pilot went out on two different days! I'm thinking that is too soon for the air inlet to get so dirty as to cause my problems. In any event, this product stinks and I believe my next step will be to replace it. This time I will search Internet to see if I can get a reliable brand.

Jul 05, 2013 12:17 am

OK I am technician and there is a lot of misinformation out there so I will shed some light for the DIY community and frustrated owners of modern sealed gas chamber hot water tanks. Fact is, most of reasons for the pilot lights going out is a wind condition from the exhaust pipe and/or too much pressure in the gas line. Only in extreme dirty conditions will the pilot go out from a clogged holes in the ceramic air inlet port.

If you pilot won't light, first thing first is to check the glass window for an ignitor spark and listen for gas flow from the pilot light tube.
If you piezo pilot light ignitor won't spark … it's probably bad... replace it ...or not. (It should spark "anytime" you press the button)
You can buy these and the copper line thermocouple at Lowe's for around $10.
It's also quite simple to manually light your pilot … no need to smash out that glass viewing lens. (Follow along)
Get yourself a cold one …. "relax" ... gather up the following items; 10mm, 11mm & 3/4" open ended wrench, 3/8" socket & with wrench.
In a pinch … you could git er done with a Bud and a single Crescent Wrench!
Just don't on beat on anything, handle it like a bird. (For you English guys, different meaning, same result)

Looking at the bottom of your square gas valve we see 2 small lines and 1 big fat line.
The small copper line is the Thermocouple. (11mm wrench)
The small aluminum line is the gas feed for the pilot light. (10mm wrench)
The large aluminum line is the main gas feed for the burner. (3/4" wrench)

First things first is to remove the the "small" aluminum line, turn the knob to "pilot" press and "hear" if you have gas flowing.
No gas sound, you have a bad gas valve. No choice but to replace the valve.
If you "do" hear gas flowing your in luck. (Hearing the flow right off the valve is best way to check for gas)

********************************* At this point turn "OFF" the main gas valve for safety purposes.*********************************************

Next remove the small copper thermocouple line with the 10mm wrench and the large aluminum one with the 3/4" wrench. With all the lines loose, remove the two 3/8" nuts from the metal plate that the glass window is mounted in.
Now grasp the big aluminum line and carefully remove the whole burner assembly from the tank.
With a pair of pliers squeeze the tab on the legs that hold in the glass window. Remove the little glass lens assembly.
Now get in there with swifter duster and a vacuum up any dust/rust in the burner chamber, also clean up the chamber under the ceramic disc. You may notice a small amount of rust, this is usually from water leaking from rain storms down the exhaust pipe on your roof.
Make sure it is not leaking from the tank, this may be a tough call … but ... unless the area is actually wet to the touch you are probably ok. If its wet in the burner chamber and it hasn't rain recently, I'm sorry but its time for a brand new hot water tank.
If everything's dry in your burner chamber … let's proceed.

If you bought a new "180 degree" spark ignitor, pull out the old one and press fit in the new one, try and maintain the same gap between the electrode and the pilot light tube. You can even test it by hooking up the wire to the piezo element, just don't touch the wire or electrode or you will be in for a shock. Since "we know" the pilot gas flow is flowing from a previous step, simply re-assemble the burner in the chamber and tightened the two chamber nuts and the 3 lines on the valve assembly.

******************* With everything back together and the gas line turned back … lets get that pilot lit. ****************************

If your igniter is still not sparking (like mine) you can simply reach though the window your removed earlier and light the pilot with a long match, or better yet (and safer) a flexible propane candle lighter.
Once the pilot tube is lit, keep holding down on the pilot valve for 1 minute before letting go ... or it may go out.
With the pilot lit you can now push the glass window (with insulation) back into position.
Now just turn the the valve to "on" and the burner should light.

Some people have a problem with the pilot going out from wind, if this is your case I recommend your replace your pizeo element because you will be relighting that pilot all the time. If you suffer from too much gas pressure, the trick is to turn the main gas valve down so the burner still stays lit … but not rumbling hot ……... which can snuff out the pilot when it shuts off in a big huff.
If you bent in the tabs on the glass window retainers, you can remove the glass window and always manually re-light your pilot.
That's what I do, as I am to cheep to buy another piezo element.

If your too lazy or don't have the tools to clean up your ceramic air inlet you may have to leave the glass window out so the burner can draw in air. However this is a fairly rare condition and defeats the safety of a sealed burner. When I say safety, remember until recently gas hot water heaters used to have open heater chambers. But because some numb skulls left open fuel tanks or paint thinner cans in a small sealed room with the heater and things went ka-boomb, we now have sealed burners and tanks mounted 18" off the ground. Gas vapors tend to hover near the ground you see.

Hope this helps some of you get your heater back on line.

May 21, 2013 9:53 pm
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

After purchasing $61 pilot assembly I thoughoughly read warnings and bulletins included in box from manufacturer. Ceramic grid which is VERY hard to observe ( between floor and burner assembly ) might be clogged. Upon painful inspection ( face to floor ) it looked pretty damned clogged. Cleaned ( swiffer and vac ), and hoping for the best.

Mar 08, 2012 7:45 pm
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

The pilot on my powermiser 9 starting going out fairly regularly about 3 months ago. I pulled the pilot assy and noticed that there was a thermal switch in series with thermocouple. . .it immediately became the chief suspect. I soldered a wire around the device and replaced the pilot assy. . .ran it for a couple of weeks. . .the pilot never shut off. Pulled the wire bypass and re-installed the pilot assy. Pilot shut off within 24hours. Decided that the thermal switch was faulty and tried (in vain) to order just the thermal switch. The device is obsolete and could not be obtained given the number on the switch itself. . .so. . .ordered another pilot assy from a 3rd party. Things were fine for awhile (about 2 months) until we had a house full of company (of course). Pilot light started going out again. Didn't mess around this time, pulled the assy and bypassed the thermal switch. Since then the pilot has remained lit. I think that this was a knee jerk reaction from Sears to comply with a safety concern. The device probably was a cheap fix that utilized a product that did not have the proper specifications for the circuit. I do not recommend my fix. . .it definitely inhibits the safety shutdown were there an actual over-temp within the burner chamber.

Dec 11, 2011 12:00 am

Ok guys,
Here is my story. I've had the Kenmore power miser 9 since 2003. It's been working fine until last week (dec. 2 of 2011). Before I took the steps to call a technician I went online to try and solve the issue by myself. I went through numerous attempts to light the ignition but had no luck. The thought of calling a technician and paying hundreds of dollars (which chances are about 98% that I will be charged based on the many customer complaints about this product and poor SEARS customer service) was out of the question. I didn't replace the thermocouple nor any other part on the product. I didn't call a technician either. What I've done was something I either would regret (and pay for) or reap the benefits. I took the advice of many customers experiencing the same problem and broke out the glass. On one hand I was afraid the thing would blow up so I kept my distance before lighting the pilot. On the other hand I took it upon myself to try anyways, and Presto! It worked! and now I saved hundreds of dollars.
P.s. This issue was solved manually and not under any troubleshooting in the manual. I cannot vouch that breaking the glass will work for everyone. Keep it in consideration that by breaking the glass it may violate your warranty if it not yet expired.

Nov 14, 2011 10:29 pm
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

I want to thank Eric L for the technical and highly useful information about the Kenmore Power Miser gas water heater. He saved me hundreds of dollars in replacing a water heater that was just doing it's thing, as the saying goes. Now is Sear culpable in the marketing of a bad water heater? Not so fast. lets think about it. The unit is different than what we have all grown up with. This and most new units are of the sealed chamber design and I, along with just about everyone else completely forgot about cleaning that ceramic filter located underneath of the burner chamber. That, combined with the introduction of a Thermal Cutoff device in the thermocouple line and you could easily think this thing was kaput!. It's not.

I'm a fairly technical guy and I was stumped as to why it stopped working and why I could not get the pilot light to start. Here's the trick with this water heater. Clean the filter by getting the vacuum cleaner hose into the long openings under the boiler. Better yet, get the brush attachment in there somehow to clean that thing out. The blocked filter is causing the boiler to overheat and that little thermal cutoff device is stopping the regulator/thermostat from working. Then when you get all the dust, cat hair and dirt out from under the boiler, you have to fiddle around with the dial to get it JUST RIGHT when lighting the pilot with the piezo thingy. Turn it all the way to the left, get the pilot button pushed down, start clicking and while you're doing it slowly rotate the dial to the right till the pilot light fires up. You need like, three hands.

But it work. So, clean out the filters, dial left, pilot button down, click click click while slowly turning the dial up and Viola! instant on.


Sep 13, 2011 5:03 pm

I have a miser 12 bought in 2004. In March of 2010 I started having the pilot light issue. For 2-3 months I re-lit, vacuumed, bought a dryer lint brush, and left the basement window open year round to the utility room. That seemed to do the trick for quite a while. This June (2011) it stared happening again and no amount of trying to clean under there seemed to work, although the thing would tease me and work for 3-5 days sometimes. I don't have an air compressor, so I finally broke the glass window last night. It was super easy and doesn't seem very dangerous. This morning I took a hot shower. Way to soon to tell, but I'm hopeful. These postings did save me much aggravation as I never called sears. My original phone call in March '10 to my repair guy ended in his usual way (I'm pretty handy for a house wife), you can fix it yourself, this is what you need... (although he said thermocoupler which I quickly figured out not to be the case.) Although I will nurse this thing along for as long as I can... I can't wait to go tankless.

Ditto same issue with our Kenmor Water heater Power Miser 6. Just paid $152.00 for a tech who was 5 hours late with no call to fix guess what it’s the day after and it is still not working.. They are terrible… Waste of time and money SEARS should have a class action law suit against them


Noticed that the main burner would go out after lighting the pilot. Considering that the water could not possibly be up to temperature after only a few minutes of main burner ruled out the possibility of the pilot light/thermo-couple being the issue. I knocked out the sight glass per 2008-08-03 by Mark Karr's entry in these comments. So, let the water in the tank get cold (if it's not already). Turn the thermostat all the way up. If your main burner goes out within a few minutes after being lit; you'll know that it's being starved for air (and not the thermocouple). Outstanding Mark! Thanks!

May 09, 2011 10:52 pm
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

I have also played phone tag with sears passing me from person to person dept to dept each time asking me my name phone number ect. I finally said you know exactly who I am it's right there on your screen in front of you, they quit asking. Come to find out from service tech they are only allowed to be on the phone with you for two and a half minutes then pass you off so they don't become emotionally involved in anyway and cave in, so name phone ect. takes up quite a bit of there two and a half minutes same thing for the oops lost phone calls. Sears is smiling all the way to the bank.

Feb 26, 2011 3:39 pm

This tank is junk, and the [protected] service line support is worse! this water heater has a 9 yr warrenty on it, but they fail to tell you that you have to pay 65 for a tech to come out and check it (and then you would probably hear the warrenty is no good because you installed it yourself) Iv had about 20 rentals for 10 years and i do all my own repairs and total renavations of homes, so i do know what im doing, i had a whirlpool heater to do the same thing, so i called whilpool (bought from lowes) and tech support new exacualy what the defective part was, even though the labor warenty was past, they sent me a compleat new gas valve, ( NO CHARGE) with revised thermocouple/ limit switch components on the sent unit, i changed the valve out and it worked fine, sears has just lost my buisness, i always liked Kenmore but now ill never by another one because of there useless warrentys

Nov 24, 2010 4:58 pm

I am having the same issue with my PM9 pilot light not staying lit. When I called Sears, the tech support told me to get an "old fashioned" toilet brush (the horseshoe shaped one) and to remove the black plastic screen at the bottom, insert the brush and clean the internal screen while running the vacuum cleaner narrow attachment inside there as well. Worked a few times, but now I am back to the same problem, pilot light keeps going out. This is really pissing me off. Today when I called Sears, the "tech" told me I would need to have a few things checked with a manometer and a multimeter. I finally got on my computer and look what I found! Many more people with the same problem! This is such [censor]!

Nov 01, 2010 5:22 pm
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

Follow up to my last post… over the past week the pilot continued to degrade in performance. On Saturday I could only keep the burner running for 5 minutes at a time before the system shut down. After a 15 minute wait I could restart the system and get another 5 minutes before shutdown. I pulled the burner / pilot assembly and cleaned (wire brushed the rust off the burner, used air compressor to spray out dust, cleaned up the tip on the thermocouple). Also used this opportunity to vacuum and clean out the combustion chamber and ceramic dust filter. I reinstalled the assembly and tried again. Although the pilot flame looked cleaner, the burner would not fire. I pulled the assembly again and went down to our local appliance parts store and bought a new “pilot assembly with grommet” for about $60, installed this and the pilot and burner work fine now. I was hoping to install a $5 thermocouple from the hardware store, but the Kenmore assembly has a heat sensor located towards the tip of the thermocouple. So far it has been 48 hours without any problems.

Oct 20, 2010 3:59 pm
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

I have the PM 6 also. Purchased in 2004 and only during the past year have had problems with the pilot staying lit. The first time I fixed this by just cleaning the black plastic screen at the base of the unit. Today this didn't work. Called Sears for warranty status... warranty was over 2 months ago. Called a local plumber that I've worked with for years... they wont touch the unit (not exactly sure why).
Today I discovered the ceramic screen below the pilot vent. Worked for several hours fashioning an extension to the vac. By using this and a long dryer brush I was able to get air flow back to the unit.
Overall I like Sears, but I have to say that I probably wont buy another Kenmore water heater until they change the design (perhaps making the ceramic filter user removable/accessible would be a good idea). The unit is pretty expensive for only 6 years of use.

Aug 06, 2010 3:14 pm
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

I purchased a kE nmore power miser 6 in 2006 and have had nothing but trouble for the last 3 years. Well, I do have something... cold water!. After paying electricians and plumbers to come and check it out, replace this and that, etc. I decided to call the vendor I purchased it from only to be told that ther was no record of me buying anything at which point I was screwed because I did not keep the receipt. I have resorted to manually turning on the darn thing everytime someone wants to shower. SEARS SUCK!

Jul 20, 2010 2:16 pm

I am so glad I found this forum. We are having the same problem with our Kenmore Miser 9 as many other people. The pilot light will not stay lit, we light it constantly. We've had it less than a year. I figured it was something with air flow but wasn't sure. Now I'm on my way to check for lint on the micro screen and if all else fails we'll remove that window like other people. I would much rather find the solution by reading what other people have done than dealing with 800 numbers!

Yes it seems we all own the same (quality) LOL LOL P O S product from the most uncustomer friendly ripoff company in the world. I sure would hope that all who read this ? Seriously think twice before entering the dorrs of Sears to make any other purchases that will support them.They should be boycotted ! And I'm not just saying this for the water heater. Remember how they ripped off their customers for years selling customers batteries they did not need. And the shock absorbers for cars. The got caught defrauding their customers.There are other company's to purchase from in or near your city.

May 28, 2010 5:53 pm

I've had mine for at least 7 years now (installed myself no outside help) and yesterday I noticed the pilot out... so I re-lit it and about an hour later it was out again. Two more times I tried to light it and both times it went out. This morning I blasted it out with an air compressor (nothing dinky or micro with tiny bent tips) just plain good old fashioned compressed air (120lbs of pressure) after everything settled down I re-lit it only this time the pilot stayed lit only after seconds of holding it on and my burner flame was bright yellow and blue not just that blue with a lick of yellow here and there. I hope it goes another seven years... probably won't but I am sorry so many of you had so many problems. I just wanted you to know they can last a long time. I also see here you can attach photos so I just took a picture of the burner on, the pilot glowing, and the nameplate.

May 11, 2010 12:35 pm

We've been having the same issues. Wow, what's the solution?

Mar 17, 2010 12:44 pm

Good I found this web site! I was about to order Power Miser 12. But after reading all of these complaints I'll buy GE water heater from Homedepot.

Mar 11, 2010 12:50 pm

I have a PM-12 that had the pilot go out. -I relit it. It went out. Then I fixed it without all this fuss:

1) I could see that it was a lack of air because it wouldn't relight if the thermocouple was bad. -It failed after heating up.

2) I took my inspection mirror and saw the ceramic micro screen that is on the bottom of the combustion chamber was clogged with lint after three years of use. (pull off the plastic vent/lint screens under the unit and look up).

3) I used my shop vac micro attachments to remove the lint.

4) Viola! -She is fixed.

-No service call. -No fussing and feuding with Sears. I did it myself.

I prefer solutions to sitting here and complaining about things.

Jan 20, 2010 2:16 pm

Hi - we purchased the Power Miser 9 in Nov. 2004. Its leaking. Supposed to be 9 yr. warranty. What a laugh.
Phoned Sears this morning. They will replace it but it will cost us in the region of $350 to have this one taken out, new permit and installation. After reading everyones complaints re trouble with pilot lights after 2005 perhaps we should just continue mopping up the floor and stay with what we've got.!

We've thought about renovating our 1980's kitchen but after reading all the complaints with appliances not being reliable perhaps we should stay with our 23yr. old ones too. THINGS ARE'NT WHAT THEY USED TO BE.
Pauline & Lance B.C.

Jan 09, 2010 10:59 am

I have a Kenmore Power Miser 9, 40 gallon natural gas water heater that was installed in 2004. In the winter of 2008 into 2009 we were having issues with the pilot not staying lit. I replaced the thermocouple and cleaned the black screen on the bottom and this seemed to cure the problem for a while. It actually lasted for the whole summer and fall without issues. This winter 2009 into 2010, guess what, the problem resurfaced. I cleaned the black filter agian, unfortunately this time the problem did not go away. My wife and I were lighting the pilot approx. 20 times a day( annoying). I ordered a replacement Thermostat (cost $91.00 plus shipping) and had planned on replacing it. Decided to do a little more research while waiting for the part, glad I did. As previously mentioned in another posting here on this web site, I believe I have found and solved the problem. There is a ceramic screen on the bottom of the water heater under the burner compartment. You can see it with a mirror and flashlight through the opening where the black plastic screen is. If this becomes clogged with dust( which mine was) there will be insufficient air allowed in to maintain the pilot being lit. I noticed that the pilot flame and also the burner flame was very blue with little orange or yellow color in it.This is an indication of not enough air being supplied to the burner of pilot. After I cleaned the ceramic screen I noticed a difference in the color of both the burner and the pilot( more yellow and orange). The water heater is also runnig normally now( what a relief) now I can return the part I had ordered and get my money back. To try and avoid cleaning this ceramic screen in the future I have cut a piece of airconditioner filter and taped over the black screen on the outside. I think it will prove easier to replace this filter from time to time than cleaning the ceramic filter. Hope this helps those who are suffering from the same plague of this poor design. Good luck!

Dec 18, 2009 3:40 pm

I have had problems with the pilot light going off frequently with Kenmore Pwer Miser 9. It is a replacement for under warranty product and only 18 months old. The warranty has since expired. I called Sears Home Central and asked how and where can I buy the thermocouple. 4 different ladies answered at 4 different times and no one knew what a thermocouple is. I was also told it does not show up on their computers and maybe I am not saying it right even though I had spelled it for them. They did not have access to any technician and wanted me to schedule a service call with Sears ( smell a racket?).
Finally, I called their Burnaby, BC office and spoke to a lady Irene, who tried to answer me or brush me away without even listening to what I had to say. When I went down there, I ran into 3 different customers who had similar bad attitude and bad service experience. One customer spoke to me an asked me to go direct to some plumbing company and get it done. I have contacted a couple of them and they have informed me that for a Kenmore part I have to deal with Sears. I am back to square one. The lesson that I have learnt is that I should never ever buy anything from Sears again and no Kenmore product either.

Dec 02, 2009 12:50 am

Great, I just noticed my Kenmore / Power Miser 12 is leaking. I installed it in August 2008. Less than 16 months after I purchased it. After checking all the bad reviews, I know I am in for a world of problems with this unit and a lot of headaches from Sears. Not thrilled I have to pay someone else to install it, when I can do it myself. Not looking forward it this at all!

Nov 24, 2009 11:57 pm

We had insurance that "covered" replacement of original water heater when it went out within 6 months of house purchase. Home Warranty Plumbing sent a terrible technician to do the work. They put galvanized nipples to connect with our copper system. Hot water slowed and finally stopped when theses nipples completely occluded. Spent ~$300 to figure out the problem and get the Kenmore Economizer 6 repiped and vented properly. This week the water stopped again and the heater was stone cold. Argh! Thanksgiving week and other pressures made worse by the Sears telephone run around. The technician could not fix the problem but ordered a part we may or may not get before Thanksgiving is long past without a hot shower. I have boiled my pot of water to wash my hair like I was camping.
Sears has very poor customer service and they should have just replaced the heater for all the trouble this has caused everyone living here. Now I read that we can just break out the window so will try that tomorrow. No one can help but Sears sure likes to pass you around to every department. The "water heater hot line" does not deal with water heaters. The parts come from out of state somewhere. Maybe Indian tech support can help me.

Nov 10, 2009 8:07 am

The requirements to have flame arrestors on gas appliances are written in blood - other peoples blood.

Please, make your own choices, but don't presume to endanger other people as the result of your need to deceive yourself.

Nov 09, 2009 10:42 pm

Replaced my thermocouple in April of 2009 after a tedious battle with Sears, they insisting that although the Part is covered, we must pay $75 for a serviceman to install it. Finallly after I say, send me the part I'll pay your ridiculous $75 fee and INSTALL IT MYSELF, they supplied the part and reduced the part price to $35. OK fine.

No, 6 months later, pilot keeps going out. I learn above that this is due to a faulty inline thermostat, and one can either "break the glass" which reduces the temperature in the chamber, or replace the inline thermostat with a more standard one.

Seems to me the "open flame" creeping out of a 1x2 inch opening is less hazardous than me replacing the entire burner assembly and inline thermostat. There is another housing over the the hole where the glass window is, and another housing over that. I supposed flames could reach out side of that -- 6 inches or so from the actual burner itself .. but how likely is this? Really? So unless someone is piling, stuffing leaves, paper or other combustibles around the hot water heater, something I would tend to watch out for *anyway*, I think I may have to take my chances with the results of breaking the glass.

Which is worse -- breaking the glass or replacing the burner and inline thermostat?

Nov 07, 2009 9:35 am

Hot Water Heater Kenmore Power Miser 9 installed in July 2005. Had to have the thermocouple and gas value replaced in 2009. The hot water heater is not so great, but Sears repairmen response time, at least for us, was very good. Since it still had 5 more years on the warranty, we got the parts for free, but there is a $70 service call fee, and after the first year the customer has to pay for labor. It took the guy 20 minutes, and our bill was a total of $137. Wouldn't buy another one of these hot water heaters, but will wait until it absolutely becomes a big deal to buy a new, hopefully better one. Definitely disappointed in this product.


Did anybody get a replacement water heater from Sears?

Sep 23, 2009 4:31 pm

Thanks for the tip on the power miser 9 I've had the same problem with pilot light going out I replaced pilot assembly about a year ago its started going out again I've pulled the glass and we'll see how that goes. I would have to agree its a piece of junk and would not recommend it to anyone .

Sep 12, 2009 1:16 am

I bought the Sears PM12 during March of 2005. It worked flawlessly until about three weeks ago after I connected a small but powerful fan to the air output venting pipe that exhausts in my sons upstairs bedroom. I turned off the vent line from the main trunk in the basement and connected the now free vent line to the fan using a reducer which fit the ten inch fan output face and reduced the other end to fit the six inch input for the line going to my son's room. I did this to pump the cold basement air on a more constant basis to his room which was not being cooled enough from the regular air conditioner. In order to cool the top floor, we would have to freeze on the main floor. I found that the basement was 8 degrees cooler than the main floor and the main floor was a constant 5 to 8 degrees cooler than the bedrooms upstairs.

What all this has to do with the PM12: The pilot light would go out on the PM12 ever 2 to 4 days and always during a time when the basement fan was operating. Even though the fan intake was at least 20 feet from the water heater, I eventually deduced that the fan created periodic periods of oxygen starvation for the water heater. I came to this conclusion because the pilot never went out when I had the fan off.

My basement has no apparent air leaks due to my excellent job of insulation and a tight floor sweep on the basement door. I resolved the issue by removing the basement door floor sweep. Now I have a 1/4 inch gap between the door and floor. When the fan is on and the basement door is closed, I can feel the large/rapid flow of air being pulled down the basement stairs through the gap. Since removing the floor sweep, allowing more air volume to the basement, the pilot has not gone out.

I agree with the other writers that the real issue with keeping the pilot lit on the sears PM models is maintaining enough air availability to the pilot.

Richard Freeman

Aug 01, 2009 2:29 pm

Please be Safe! The flame arrestor is important because it prevents flash backs. An opening the size of the window can permit a flashback. If you are going to remove either the window or the ceramic fliter, then PLEASE cover the opening with fine wire mesh or coarse steel wool. Flames will not penetrate these materials.

Aug 01, 2009 4:25 am

I removed my glass window and the pilot light has stayed lit for 3 days.

Thanks for the advice!

Jul 30, 2009 12:32 am

Another POS Kenmore water heater. After the tank in the last one cracked after about four years and two tech's replaced the pilot twice they gave me credit on a new one. The new PM9 is the Low NOx burner and right at a year and three months the pilot went out. (Only 1yr warr on all but the tank). Called Sears Service and they said it would be five days before they could come out. I did the troubleshooting in the service manual and the TC was good (+12mV) and if I keep the pilot TC hot with a propane torch thru the window hole the burner would light and the pilot would stay on. Without the torch, as soon as the heat from the burner dissipated the pilot would go out.
I ended up removing the pilot assembley and reconfiguring it so the TC was closer to the flame and level with the flame and so far no problems. Somehow Kenmore thinks the small pilot flame will burn downhill and keep the TC up to temp to keep the main gas valve from shutting down. I don't recommend repeating what I did but I'll be dam*ed if I'm going to line the pockets of Sears Service again. What a POS! No more Kenmore for me!

Jul 27, 2009 3:37 am

Hello all. About a year ago in 2008 I purchased a miser 9, after the unit I had in my home for years gave up. I installed a kenmore in my mothers house and asked her if she had problems with it. She said no. So I bought one and installed it. I had my buddy who is a plumber by trade help with the install. It worked flawlessly. Then when the California summer started heating up, the pilot began to go out . I went to sears repair center and ordered a new thermo coupler . Didnt have a problem for the rest of the year and through the winter. Well here we are in summer again and yes you guessed it .. its out again so. I think I to will remove the window or at least clean the screen at the bottom of the unit. I too will be going tankless soon.


Learn how the rating is calculated

372 complaints
130 resolved 242 unresolved

Kenmore contacts

(added by reviewer)
8330 Hansen Rd, Florida United States