Lowes & Home Depot water heaters are junk, most plumbing companies won't even service them when a problem arises.
Not only do they use proprietary parts (left hand threads for thermocouples and control valve checks) the tanks are a thinner gauge metal so they won't last near as long.
When I pull up to a job with a Whirlpool or GE water heater the only thing I can do is suggest to replace them with a good brand (State, Rheem, Ruud, AO Smith) from a plumbing supply house.
The Whirlpool heaters have an internal issue where some become susceptible to miniature explosions lighting the burner coming from the pilot.
If someone is going to pay the same price for a water heater $400-$500 they are MUCH better off getting one from a plumbing supply house such as Coburns, Southern Pipe or LCR.
This post was edited on 10/8 at 11:53 pm