Readers ask: How Does A Thermocouple Work In A Water Heater?

How do you know if you have a bad thermocouple?

If you can’t get the flame to light at all, and you’re sure the gas is on, there’s probably an obstruction in the pilot tube. If the flame lights and goes out when you release the gas control knob after holding it in for the recommended 20 to 30 seconds, that’s the sign of a thermocouple malfunction.

How do you clean a thermocouple on a water heater?

Clean the thermocouple – using the emery cloth sandpaper, sand the ends of the thermocouple and then give it a finishing touch with the lint-free cloth. Hopefully, you can get to the ends of the thermocouple without having to detach it from the assembly, but you may have to do that.

Can you light a water heater with a bad thermocouple?

However, if the thermocouple is faulty, the gas valve will not open, which can prevent the pilot light from being lit. This will typically require a professional plumber to correct the problem.

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How much does it cost to fix a thermocouple?

The thermocouple is an apparatus that senses whether the pilot light is lit and triggers the gas control valve. Repairs typically cost about $150 to have it done professionally, though a new thermocouple itself only costs about $20 on average.

How long does a thermocouple last?

All things considered, the question remains, “How long should my thermocouple last?” The answer to that question is that it depends on the application. In an ideal environment, that length of time can be indefinite.

Can I clean a thermocouple?

The best way to clean your thermocouple is to use either a piece of steel wool or the coarse side of a sponge to gently clean off any soot or other remnants. You can use a pencil eraser to clean between the threads of the screw that connects the thermocouple to the control valve of your system.

Can you bypass a thermocouple on a water heater?

Realistically, you have just disabled the thermocouple, but you can also reach in and unclip it from its holding bracket where it meets the pilot light. In most cases it will be held on with a gravity clip, but some are held on with a screw that must be removed with a small screwdriver.

Why do thermocouples go bad?

Changes in temperature can cause regular expansion and contraction in metal, which will cause thermocouples to weaken over time. After enough time, metal fatigue can cause a thermocouple to break. If thermocouples start to give out unusual readings, it may be suffering from metal fatigue.

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How do I know if my thermocouple is good?

Select the ohms or resistance option on your multimeter. Place one test lead on the side of the thermocouple and the other to the end that screws into the gas valve. If the thermocouple has proper continuity, a small resistance reading should be visible on the multimeter.

Can thermocouple be too long?

The length of a thermocouple has no effect on its measurement accuracy or its ability to transfer the signal to the instrument. In other words, thermocouples do not experience “voltage drops” or power loss along its length as a high current power line might possess.

What’s the difference between a thermopile and a thermocouple?

The main difference between Thermocouple and Thermopile is their method of measurement. The thermocouple is a thermoelectric instrument, while the thermopile is an instrument that modifies thermal energy into electrical output.

Can a thermocouple work intermittently?

a safety device that has started to go bad, or has failed permanently. In this client’s case, the thermocouple was initially working intermittently, and then finally failed. This allowed the gas to flow long enough to heat up the thermocouple and generate some electrical current flowing back to the gas valve.

Why does the pilot light keep going out on my water heater?

If the pilot light goes out, the thermocouple senses the drop in temperature and signals for the gas valve to close. If you have a faulty thermocouple is the most common reason that your pilot light is malfunctioning. Over time your water heater will collect dirt, dust and other kinds of debris.

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