How to replace a thermocouple:



The thermocouple is installed next to the pilot light on a gas furnace.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.

                   Thermocouple and flame sensor picture

Water Heaters

How To Replace A Water Heater ThermocoupleT
he 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.

  1. Turn off the gas supply to water heater

  2. Remove outer and inner doors.

  3. Disconnect the burner assembly from the gas control by loosening the pilot tube, supply tube and thermocouple connections.

  4. Remove burner assembly from the combustion chamber.

  5. Remove the old thermocouple from the bracket. It may be held in place with tension or a screw. Loosen the screw, if any, and pull firmly and twist the thermocouple from the bracket.

  6. Install the new thermocouple. Position the thermocouple tip so that the pilot flame heats the top 1/2 inch of the tip.

  7. Replace burner assembly in combustion chamber.

  8. Tighten the main burner supply tube, pilot supply tube and thermocouple connection to the gas control valve. Turn the thermocouple no more than one quarter turn beyond hand tight.

  9. Turn on the gas supply

  10. Check main supply tube and pilot supply tube at the gas control valve for gas leaks with a soap and water solution. Bubbles indicate a leak. Tighten all connections if a leak is found.

  11. Light the pilot light.

  12. Check that 1/2 inch of the thermocouple tip is positioned in the flame.

  13. Replace inner and outer doors.


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.