What Does A Thermocouple Do In A Water Heater? Interesting Facts!

Do you know what does a thermocouple do in a water heater? When the pilot light turns off, the thermocouple, a thermoelectric device, switches off the gas source connected to the water heater.

There is a generation of electric current in small amounts by the thermocouple when heated. This generated a tiny amount of electric current, so the pilot gas valve was kept open. In the short term, when the pilot light turns off, it indicates the stopping of the electric current. Thus, the gas valve gets closed. 

what does a thermocouple do in a water heater

However, with the technology we have these days, most water heaters do not have a thermocouple. Instead, it has a microprocessor that controls and consistently monitors the burner operation. Also, this microprocessor maintains the water temperature level accurately and consistently. It has an LED that indicates that the pilot is in power mode when flashes. My friends, there are more things that you should know, so without further ado, let’s start!


Things That You Must Know About A Thermocouple

After knowing what does a thermocouple do in a water heater, let us now look at some essential things that you must know about a thermocouple in a water heater. Nevertheless, your water heater may still have a thermocouple, and you wonder why it has one. Perhaps you are one electronics enthusiast who wants to research thermocouples. Whatever reason you have, this article is for you. This section will present various truths concerning a thermocouple. 


#1. Thermocouples can be replaced

It has been said earlier that the thermocouple is the one that senses the pilot light’s heat and makes way for the gas to flow towards the burner. It secures your safety from the dangers that may come from the heater. However, a thermocouple needs to be replaced or repaired at times, and this must not be lightly taken since it will be dangerous, especially for the user, if the proper action will not be urgently implemented. You may do this task yourself or hire a plumber if you are not confident.


Remove the burner assembly

Tight sealings cover the combustion tanks of the water heaters that have electronic cognition. This serves as protection to the source tube as well as the chamber, burner section, and thermocouple. Removing the secure cover of the burner assembly is the primary thing that you must do. It is a panel that can be removed by unscrewing. However, screws may vary with different manufacturers. After which, you can now remove the burner assembly by first disconnecting the source of the burner then pushing the manifold slowly downwards, fixing the thermocouple connections and the pilot set up. 


Thermocouple removal

Having done the previous step accurately will ensure that damage will not happen to the components inside the water heater. Now, you are ready to get rid of the gasket of the cover plate. Just make sure that you do it in a conscientious manner. Then proceed to clean the metal gaps between the water heater and the cover surface. Slowly remove the thermocouple that is broken. It is to be noted that you must not deform any connections between the pilot and the cover of the thermocouple. However, depending on the model of your water heater, there are certain instances that you have to cut the connections of the thermocouple.


Install the new thermocouple

To replace the old thermocouple removed from your water heater with a new one, it is better that you buy a sealed one. You may be very familiar with how you will install the new thermocouple, especially if you already have the product right after you remove the old one. Just connect the thermocouple to the connection that has been left open after you have removed the thermocouple from each of them. Then, try to turn on the control valve and test it if it functions well. Your water heater now must run again like brand new. 


#2. Replacement cost of a thermocouple

Looking at the job of replacing a thermocouple above must have been very easy for you. Everyone must be severe about repairing or replacing the thermocouple of the water heater because the water heater will not function with a faulty thermocouple. Thus, you must be ready for a certain approximated amount to replace a thermocouple, especially since you will also pay for a professional plumber to assist you or do the job. Nevertheless, it will not cost you that much. It is as low as 200 dollars. However, you must always have this amount – or more – ready so that you can urgently fix the thermocouple problems of your water heater.


It’s A Wrap

At the end of this article, I hope that you have learned what does a thermocouple do in a water heater. Also, it was fun doing a little exploration with you in the world of thermocouples, especially regarding the truths about it that one must be mindful of. Thank you for reading up to this point of the article. Your time and effort are very much appreciated!

You may want to find out why flush water heater and how to test an electric water heater.

Leave a Comment