How To Know If Your Water Heater Thermocouple Needs A Replacement


How To Know If Your Water Heater Thermocouple Needs A Replacement

A tiny metal cylinder known as a thermocouple is located inside the burner section of your gas water heater, directly in front of the pilot light. It is a safety device that detects when the pilot light is burning. If the pilot light stops working, it is the job of the thermocouple to alert the gas valve to stay closed until the pilot light is relit. Here is a guide to water heater thermocouple replacement!

Thermocouple: One of the Most Frequent Gas Water Heater Problems

When the pilot light stops working, the burner would not light up, resulting in not having enough or any hot water. This usually happens when the thermocouples wear out. You can try to relight the pilot light first by paying attention to the instructions taped to the tank. Holding the button down for 60 seconds should relight the pilot, but if the flame goes away as soon as you let go, the thermocouple may be defective.

Many mechanics choose to replace the thermocouple without disassembling the burner unit. However, taking apart the burner makes it easier to replace the thermocouple which will then enable you to clean the burner, and while you are at it, it also vacuums the burner compartment.

Even though this task is straightforward, you should not undertake it unless you are confident in your ability to relight the pilot and know how to switch off the gas to the water heater. A few wrenches are required to remove the burner, a screwdriver may be required to remove the access cover, and a small brush and dish soap to check for leaks.

Hardware stores and home renovation outlets have thermocouples for water heaters. Measure it after removing the old thermocouple. then purchase a replacement in that size. The thermocouple can be mounted in practically any water heater using the accompanying components. 

How to Replace Thermocouples

Disclaimer: Before attempting to replace a thermocouple on your own, it is recommended that you refer to your water heater’s service manual on the correct steps to take. Alternatively, you can also consult with an actual water heater technician.

Firstly, you should disconnect the old thermocouple. Turn the temperature control valve's top knob to "Off" and the water heater's lever handle gas valve off. Remove the nuts connecting the burner gas line, the pilot gas line, and the thermocouple by using open-end wrenches. After it disengages, insert the new thermocouple. Push the new thermocouple in after sliding the old one out. Take note of the previous thermocouple's location and mounting specifics, then install the new thermocouple in the same manner. 

Then, reinstall the burner and tighten the nuts. Insert the thermocouple, the pilot tubes, and the burner ends into the gas valve. Place the nuts into the thread slowly and hand-tighten them. Never use a wrench before turning the nuts at least two full rotations by hand to prevent stripping the threads.

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