How To Clean Thermocouple On Water Heater? 11 Easy Steps!

If you own a water heater, you must know what a thermocouple is, but how to clean thermocouple on water heater? First, you need to what is a thermocouple. It is basically a connected safety device to the furnace and is used to determine if the furnace’s pilot light is on or off. It is connected directly to the gas valve on the furnace. 

This gadget detects when the light goes out due to a lack of heat and turns off the gas supply. However, when a thermocouple detects heat, the fuel line remains open.

how to clean thermocouple on water heater

That’s the reason it is critical to keep the thermocouple operational and to perform thermocouple cleaning on a daily basis. Let’s start with this in-depth guide about cleaning a water heater thermocouple. This is a simple task that the homeowners may complete on their own.


How To Check If You Have A Dirty Thermocouple?

Before we can answer the question of how to clean a thermocouple on a water heater, we must first determine whether or not the thermocouple is dirty. A clogged thermocouple can not detect heat gain or loss. It is also possible that it would not provide accurate readings. Even if the pilot’s light is lit, the gas connection will be cut off. It’s also possible that the light inside the pilot isn’t working properly.


Steps To Clean A Thermocouple On The Water Heater

To avoid injury, make sure the electricity supply is turned off before cleaning a thermocouple. It is possible that the thermocouple ends are rusted. This could cause power to be cut off. With abrasive fabric sandpaper, sand the limitations of the piece. To make rubbing on tiny places easier and more flexible, tether the sandpaper to the fabric. Repeat this process until the entire item has been thoroughly cleaned. Here are the steps on how to clean thermocouple on water heater:


Step #1. Shut the gas inlet valve

First and foremost, safety! Turn off the water heater’s fuel source. When working on a water heater, this is always the first step. Cut the power if it’s electric. It’s gas in this scenario, and you’ll need to shut off the gas valve.


Step #2. Remove the burner assembly

Before you start doing anything, snap a photo so you can understand how it should appear after you’re finished. With the wrench, you’ll need to detach the burner component from the control center. It has three connection points (thermocouple, main supply tube, and pilot supply tube). You must move the entire unit out of its container after separating them.


Step #3. Clean the thermocouple

Sand the ends of a thermocouple with the emery cloth sander, then wipe it down with the lint-free cloth. Hopefully, you won’t have to disconnect the thermocouple from the assembly to get to the ends, but you might have to. If you do, make sure to place it back together precisely the same way it was before. Take a photo!


Step #4. Clean burner

Now is an ideal time to scrape anything debris off the top of the burner while you have it out. If you eliminate the encumbrances, they will burn faster effectively.


Step #5. Replace and reconnect the burner assembly

Do you recall the photo you took? When you’re finished, you want it to appear the same. Reconnect the three wires to your water heater’s control center.


Step #6. Gather the supplies

It’s a simple DIY method to clean the thermocouple. Your toolkit’s essential tools and materials are sufficient; screwdrivers, emery sandpapers, lint-free clothing, and a camera are required. They’re readily accessible at home improvement stores if you don’t already have any.


Step #7. Turn off the power

Turning off the electricity is the first step. Turn off the gas valve to cut off the fuel source to the water. This should be the first step for your safety, whether you’re cleaning or replacing the thermocouple. Every year, there are several reports of house fires and accidents caused by water heaters. Check to see if you’re following the safety precautions.


Step #8. Identify the thermocouple

A thermocouple is a small metal tubing or wire adjacent to the gas heater. To loosen most water heaters, you’ll need a wrench or screwdrivers. Remove it and thoroughly check it for rust and accumulation. The correct course of action is to replace it if it has rust. If you notice heap or oily sludge, move on to the next cleaning step.


Step #9. Clean the corrosion and build-up

Carefully hold the thermocouple in your palm. To sand, it, use emery sandpaper. If you don’t have access to sandpaper, you may alternatively use steel wool or an abrasive sponge. To eliminate the accumulation, use mild, consistent pressure. Make that the threading on the screws connecting the thermocouple to the device is clean. If you’re going to use any cleaning product, ensure it’s not flammable.


Step #10. Wipe it clean

Once you’re confident the build-up is gone, wipe it off with a lint-free soft cloth. If there is still any accumulation on the thermocouple, steps were repeated 5 and 6 until glossy and clean.


Step #11. Light the pilot

It’s time to double-check your work after you’ve connected it to the unit. Light the pilot and turn on the fuel supply. Set the temperature on the dial to your preference. You’re OK to go if the pilot is adequately lighted. You may also want to read about sizing a new water heater.


It’s A Wrap!

Do you believe our step-by-step approach to cleaning a thermocouple on a water heater is basic and straightforward? Your water heater may not be providing hot enough water for various reasons. One of them is a dirty thermocouple, which many people ignore. You can get an idea of the causes of thermocouple failure and their solutions.  You might want to tell your friends about how to clean thermocouple on water heater that now your know-how. They’ll be grateful to you all for saving them money on replacement and repair while still allowing them to reap the rewards of a fully functional water heater. Please share your ideas with us as well. You may want to read related articles; know where to take old water heaters and how long to drain the water heater.

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