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Kettle stopped whistling


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My 10 year old Simplex kettle stopped whistling.  It now makes a sadly muffled croak, not the sharp piercing sound that makes it easy to hear from any room in the house.  Online searches haven't gotten me very far.  I did find an official looking use and care guide PDF that says nothing about fixing this issue, but does warn against what would have been my next step--boiling some vinegar in it:

 

Quote

- Don’t use abrasive cleaners that may harm the exterior or interior finish of your kettle.

- Don’t use wire or other abrasive de-scaling products such as lemon or vinegar, which will cause damage to the pure tin or nickel plated lining of your kettle.

 

The ball in the spout rattles when I shake the empty kettle, so it's not completely stuck or jammed.  I presume it's something to do with scale or rust or something keeping it from seating tightly enough to hold the steam in until whistle pressure is reached.  

 

It's always and only been used with Los Angeles city tap water.

 

Suggestions for next steps?

 

I've already entered a query to the company here, but am asking the smart community here because I anticipate a long time before I get a reply from them due to life in COVID times.

Edited by Wholemeal Crank
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3 minutes ago, weinoo said:

This was your first problem.

 

I prefer not to add to pollution & climate change by bottling, shipping & filtering water when what comes out of my tap is perfectly fine to drink. 

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I'd look at the seal between the pot and the lid.  If that isn't coated with gunk then the whistle itself is the issue.

 

I'd be surprised if the whistle itself is copper or nickle plated.  It could probably take a little vinegar. 

 

Or maybe just boil the thing for a while

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1 hour ago, Wholemeal Crank said:

 

I prefer not to add to pollution & climate change by bottling, shipping & filtering water when what comes out of my tap is perfectly fine to drink. 

I’m sure Mitch was just joshing. 

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58 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I’m sure Mitch was just joshing. 

 

Yes and there is that urban legend about the miracle of NYC water in pizza dough for example.  L.A. water comes from northern California mountains and is extensively monitored. I think @gfweb makes sensible points above. Interested to see what manufacturer will say. 

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OK.  I am not 100% sure, but this may be the problem.

 

In order for the whistle to work, there has to be some kind of a valve to shut off the steam from going out the spout.

 

If the valve is stuck, (by a tea leaf?) the steam will escape from the spout instead of blowing the whistle.

 

Check that out with a flashlight.

 

Just guessing.

 

dcarch

 

1920757310_teakettle.thumb.JPG.857cc9b4da08b8c5197ce183fae828a8.JPG

Edited by dcarch (log)
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The whistle is a ball-valve in the spout, so steam is supposed to exit there.  That ball does rattle as usual when I shake it suggesting it moves freely.....my first idea was scale where the ball sits so it doesn't sit as tight and the ball lets steam out at too low a pressure.  Looking again, there is also another valve in the lid itself....which would seem to permit free exit to steam, so lid fit can't need to be that tight when this hole is clearly part of the design.  

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6 minutes ago, Wholemeal Crank said:

The whistle is a ball-valve in the spout, so steam is supposed to exit there.  That ball does rattle as usual when I shake it suggesting it moves freely.....my first idea was scale where the ball sits so it doesn't sit as tight and the ball lets steam out at too low a pressure.  Looking again, there is also another valve in the lid itself....which would seem to permit free exit to steam, so lid fit can't need to be that tight when this hole is clearly part of the design.  

 

I just looked at a few tea kettles about the same design as yours on youtube. It appears that the whistling comes form the top, not from the spout. 

Are you sure?

 

dcarch

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D'Oh.  Just reread.  So the whistle is the hole in the lid, and insufficient blockage by the ball valve in the spout, letting too much air out that way, would not allow the whistle to sound loud enough. So back to my original idea that the valve and/or lid seating may not be tight enough.  The lid rim and pot rim are now spotless, so no scale there to encourage leaks; the spout....hm...

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The light spot blue spot is the slit on the inside of the whistle part of the lid, with the whistle passage lit by light from the outside of the lid.

 

The dark spot is a bit of tarnish that looks original, like from soldering or welding that inner bit of the whistle in place.  It is not a hole.

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1 hour ago, Wholemeal Crank said:

D'Oh.  Just reread.  So the whistle is the hole in the lid, and insufficient blockage by the ball valve in the spout, letting too much air out that way, would not allow the whistle to sound loud enough. So back to my original idea that the valve and/or lid seating may not be tight enough.  The lid rim and pot rim are now spotless, so no scale there to encourage leaks; the spout....hm...

 

Carefully block the spout (don't burn yourself) when it's boiling.  If it it whistles, the problem is in the spout.  If it doesn't, it's the lid. 

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39 minutes ago, dscheidt said:

Carefully block the spout (don't burn yourself) when it's boiling.  If it it whistles, the problem is in the spout.  If it doesn't, it's the lid. 

 

That is a correct suggestion.

But before you do that, you may want to soak the spout and the whistle into a cleaner such as URNEX TABZ to clean out old stuff inside and the ball valve.

 

dcarch

 

 

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15 hours ago, dscheidt said:

 

Carefully block the spout (don't burn yourself) when it's boiling.  If it it whistles, the problem is in the spout.  If it doesn't, it's the lid. 

Doesn't whistle, as best as I can close off the spout (using a heavy oven mitt over a soft washrag; then jammed a bit of old rag in the spout--helped maybe a tiny bit, but not enough; and steam is definitely coming from the back of the lid/pot junction.   I got a reply from the company, pursuing that now. 

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