How to replace a thermocouple:
The thermocouple is a gas furnace component located near the pilot light burner. It is a safety device that shuts off the gas if the pilot light goes out or the electric igniter fails. If the pilot light won't stay lit, the thermocouple may be faulty and should be adjusted or replaced. To adjust the thermocouple, you must tighten the thermocouple nut with a wrench. Take care not to apply too much pressure to the nut -- just tighten it slightly. Then try lighting the pilot. If the pilot won't stay lit, replace the thermocouple with a new one of the same type. Here's how to replace a thermocouple:
Step 1: Unscrew copper lead and connection nut inside threaded connection to gas line. Under mounting bracket at thermocouple tube, unscrew bracket nut that holds tube in place.
Step 2: Insert new thermocouple into hole in bracket. Be sure steel tube is up and copper lead is down. Under bracket, screw bracket nut over tube. Push connection nut to threaded connection where copper lead connects to gas line. Make sure connection is clean and dry.
Step 3: Tightly screw nut into place, but do not over-tighten. Both bracket nut and connection nut should be only a little tighter than if hand-tightened.
The thermocouple is a safety feature in gas water heaters which determines if the pilot light is lit. The heat of the pilot light flame creates millivolt current in the thermocouple which energizes a magnet that in turn allows the gas control valve to operate. If the pilot light goes out, the thermocouple produces no power and the magnet closes the valve and will not allow the gas to flow.
Caution: Please read our safety information before attempting any maintenance, installation or repair.
A common symptom of a faulty thermocouple is the pilot light will not stay lit. Check that the thermocouple connection to the gas valve is tight and the other end of the thermocouple is properly positioned in or near the pilot light flame. If it appears properly installed then it may need to be replaced.
Replacing the thermocouple should restore power to operate the gas valve and keep the flame going. If the problem continues, the problem may be with the gas valve itself. If the gas valve fails, due to its high cost, it may make sense to replace the entire water heater, especially with older models.