How To Clean Thermocouple On Hot Water Heater?

How to Clean the Thermocouple on a Water Heater –

Cleaning the thermocouple in a water heater is an important part of routine water heater maintenance. If you don’t, the water will soon get too cold to be heated properly. As a result, the supply of hot water will be cut off. We’ll teach you today how to clean the thermocouple on your water heater so that you don’t have to deal with this inconvenience.

What is a Thermocouple?

I’ll save you the technical verbiage and just state that a thermocouple is an electrical device that is used to detect changes in temperature.In comparison to other kinds of temperature measurement, thermocouples have the benefit of not requiring external power or stimulation.This makes them particularly useful in a wide range of commercial and industrial applications.A thermocouple may be found in a variety of applications including diesel engines, gas turbines, kilns, gas water heaters, and thermostats, among others.A thermocouple can be affected by a variety of factors, including corrosion and accumulation.

  • They have the ability to block power from reaching the pilot light, preventing the water from heating.
  • Although it is not a difficult or expensive procedure, replacing the thermocouple is not recommended.
  • However, before you proceed, double-check that it is not just filthy.

If this is the case, a thorough cleaning will restore it to working order.That’s where we come in today, to help you.How to clean the thermocouple on a water heater is the purpose of this guide.It’s wonderful that you’re still here with us!Let’s get down to business and talk about the procedure.

How Does a Thermocouple Work?

The following is a straightforward description of how a thermocouple operates: A thermocouple is made up of two separate electrical conductors that come together at one end to produce an electrical junction.When one of the conductors is heated, it creates a milivolt of temperature-dependent current, which may be interpreted as a measurement of temperature by the user.The Seebeck Effect is the name given to this phenomenon.The precision of thermocouples is one of their major drawbacks.It’s difficult to produce a system inaccuracy of less than one degree Celsius on a continuous basis.

Steps to Clean the Thermocouple on your Water Heater

When the thermocouple is in good condition, the pilot light is the primary sign of such condition. If the water heater is not operating correctly or the reading on the water heater is inaccurate, it may be necessary to clean the thermocouple on the water heater. Follow these procedures to thoroughly clean the thermocouple on a water heater and restore it to peak performance.

When the thermocouple is in good condition, the pilot light is the primary evidence of this fact. If the water heater is not operating correctly or the reading on the water heater is not accurate, it may be necessary to clean the thermocouple on the heater. These instructions will assist you in restoring the thermocouple on your water heater to peak performance.

Identify the thermocouple by its shape. When it comes to the safety device, it is a thin metal tube or wire, if you choose. If possible, it should be located near the pilot light tube. In order to clean the thermocouple on your water heater, you may need to use a wrench or screwdrivers to remove it from the water heater.

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Remove any rust or buildup that has formed.To remove the buildup, carefully scrape it away using emery cloth, steel wool, or an abrasive sponge.As you apply even pressure to the thermocouple, make sure to scrape the threads of the screws that attach it to the device as you go.Make sure the cleaning product you use is not flammable before you use it.Be cautious while using cleaning products.

Using a lint-free cloth, clean the surface. After cleaning, use a microfiber cloth to wipe the thermocouple of the water heater to remove any remaining particles.

Reattach the thermocouple if necessary. Once you’re certain that the thermocouple is clean, reconnect it to the device.

Start by turning on the water heater. Replace the pilot light as well and wait to see if the water begins to heat up again. If this is the case, congrats! The problem was resolved as a result of the cleaning. If it does not, on the other hand, you may have to replace the thermocouple altogether.

How to Replace a Thermocouple

If you are certain that the thermocouple is faulty, the instructions below will guide you through the process of replacing it and restoring hot water to your house. Prior to beginning this procedure, make sure that the power is completely turned off.

Remove the thermocouple from the rest of the assembly. To release the nuts and screws on both ends of the thermocouple that link it to the water heater, use wrenches or screwdrivers (depending on which you require).

Remove the thermocouple by sliding it out of place. This will cause it to be disconnected on both ends.

Make use of the old thermocouple to make a purchase for a replacement. If you plan on purchasing a new thermocouple from the shop, bring the old one with you to ensure that you get the correct one. It’s important to perform thorough research before purchasing something online, such as a product like this one. Alternatively, you may look for the brand by name.

Install the replacement thermocouple in its place. If you purchased the correct one, this should be a straightforward procedure. Insert the thermocouple into the metal bracket and secure it in place using a screwdriver. For starters, use your hands to tighten the bolts into position to prevent stripping them. Then, using a wrench, gently tighten the screw with little pressure.

Restart the water heater if it has been turned off. If everything is done correctly, your water will begin to heat in a short period of time.

  • Following this tutorial, you will learn how to clean the following additional appliances in your home: The best way to clean sprinkler heads
  • the best way to clean a tankless water heater
  • etc.
  • How to Clean the Tracks of Sliding Glass Doors
  • Central vacuum pipe cleaning
  • how to clean a washing machine drain pipe
  • how to clean a central vacuum pipe
  • Stove Top Grates: How to Clean Them


There you have it: all the knowledge you need to clean or replace a thermocouple on a water heater. A good practice is to inspect the thermocouple every few months and clean away any buildup that may have accumulated on its ends. This will ensure that it performs at its peak and lasts for an extended period of time. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

How to Clean the Thermocouple on a Water Heater — FAQs

How do I know if my thermocouple is bad?

It is common to find a pilot light in the vicinity of a thermocouple.The thermocouple’s principal function is to maintain the pilot light’s illumination for as long as the device for which it is designed is in operation.Consequently, if the pilot light fails to illuminate, it’s possible that the thermocouple is at fault.In the case of a gas water heater, if the light does not come on at all and you are certain that the gas is turned on, a blockage in the pilot tube may be the source of the problem.When you let off of the gas knob, however, the flame will ignite and then go out, indicating that the thermocouple is at fault.

What are some types of thermocouple?

  • Thermal couplings are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, each of which is best suited for a certain purpose. They differ in terms of characteristics, stability, melting points, and so on. The following are examples of thermocouples in various configurations: Types B, R, and S of platinum/rhodium alloy thermocouples
  • Types C, D, and G of tungsten/rhenium alloy thermocouples
  • Types E, J, K, M, N, and T of nickel-alloy thermocouples
  • Types P, Iridium/Rhodium alloy, HTIR-TC, Pure noble-metal, and Platinum/Molybdenum alloy thermocouples
  • Types E, J, K,

Are there universal thermocouple?

Some thermocouples are constructed with adapter fittings that allow them to be used with many types of pilots, including scree-in, push-in, and clamp type pilots.These thermocouples are frequently used in 30 mV systems and in gas furnaces, among other applications.Please do not assume that because thermocouples are universally applicable, they may be used for any purpose.There are several different varieties of thermocouples, each of which is ideally suited for the application for which it was designed.

What is the difference between a thermocouple and an RTD?

Thermocouples and RTDs (Resistance Temperature Detectors) are both used to measure temperature changes, with the difference being that RTDs do so using the concept of resistance to the passage of electricity rather than resistance to heat.When comparing thermocouples to resistance thermometers, one major distinction is that thermocouples are more sensitive and respond faster.The other distinction between RTDs and thermocouples is that RTDs are more exact.While an RTD can be accurate to within 0.1 degrees Celsius, a thermocouple is not accurate to within 1 degree Celsius at any temperature.

What can make a thermocouple fail?

A thermocouple is a device that responds to temperature changes by expanding and contracting in response.This will cause the thermocouple to degrade over time if it occurs too frequently.If the rapid temperature changes persist, the thermocouple will eventually fail and will be unable to perform its intended function..Thermocouples are built to survive for a long period, however not as long as the device for which they are intended to be used.As a result, you may not need to change yours as regularly.

What is the difference between the Type J and Type K thermocouple?

The Type J and Type K thermocouples are two of the most regularly encountered types.Type J thermometers are comprised of iron and a nickel/copper alloy and are capable of measuring temperatures ranging from 0 to 816 degrees Celsius.They are accurate at the temperatures they claim to be at and are reasonably priced.It is comprised of chromel and a nickel/aluminum alloy, and it is known as a Type K thermocouple.Though more expensive than the Type J thermocouple, it is more adaptable since it can measure a greater range of heat between 0 and 1260 degrees Celsius, making it a more cost-effective alternative.

How to Clean Thermocouple on Water Heater?

Do you find that your showers are cooler than you would want them to be, or that the water you use for dishwashing is lukewarm?Knowing how to clean the thermocouple on a water heater may help you go back to taking more pleasurable showers and doing more efficient dishwashing, among other things.The thermocouple is a critical component of your gas water heater’s pilot light, since it allows for more effective water temperature regulation and hence greater efficiency.Unfortunately, it is susceptible to rusting and wearing down with time.There is no need to replace your thermocouple when all you need is a little elbow grease, a few tools, and this step-by-step instruction to resurrecting your thermocouple’s functionality.

Things You Need to Clean Your Water Heater’s Thermocouple

A simple task such as cleaning the thermocouple on your gas water heater is not difficult to complete.However, there are some preparations that must be made in order to complete the task.1.A Wrench with Adjustable Hexagons While open-end wrenches may be sufficient, you may find yourself with a large number of these tools on hand if you are unfamiliar with the sizes of the various nuts in your system.The use of an adjustable wrench removes the need for many tools and increases the efficiency of your operation.

  • Emery Cloth No.
  • 2 Emery cloth is a type of abrasive cloth that is almost identical to a nail file in appearance.
  • While both have fabric backings, the distinction is that an emery cloth has fabric backings while an emery board or nail file has a wood basis.

Despite this, the function is the same as before.As well as cleaning the thermocouple ends, they remove oxidized coatings from the thermocouple ends.3.A Cloth that is devoid of lint After the thermocouple has been cleaned, this sort of cleaning cloth is great for applying a final touch to the procedure.There will be no fluff left on the surface, which is one of its primary advantages.The thermocouple should be cleaned with a microfiber cloth, as recommended.

  1. 4.
  2. A little brush or a piece of steel wool Although it is not required, a tiny brush can be used to remove dust and debris from the thermocouple and the burner assembly.
  3. If you are unable to remove persistent stains using an emery cloth, you can use a steel pool.

Step-by-step Guide to Cleaning a Water Heater’s Thermocouple

Step 1: Disconnect the gas supply to your water heater.When working with your gas water heater, always remember to keep your safety in mind.Turn off the gas to your unit by pressing the shutoff button.If your machine is equipped with a power chord, it is also recommended that you unplug it.In certain cases, a gas water heater will have two separate gas supply valves: one that supplies gas to the furnace and another that supplies gas to the water heater.

  • It would be safer to turn off both valves at the same time.
  • Using a set of pliers or a vise grip to shut off your gas supply valve, if your valve does not have a lever or knob, you can still shut off your gas supply.
  • Step 2: Disconnect the water heater’s burner assembly from the water heater.

If your burner has an access cover, you must first remove the screws that hold it in place.Remove the screws or nuts that hold the burner plate in place by loosening them and pulling them out.Remove the nut that links the burner supply line to the control center and turn it counterclockwise.You’ll also need to unplug the pilot light supply tube and the thermocouple from the circuit.Any connections that are linked to the control center on your machine must also be disconnected at this time as well.Check to see if the tank base is equipped with a vapor sensor.

  1. If you have a sensor, make sure it is disconnected.
  2. Exit the water heater by sliding the burner assembly out of the way.
  3. The thermocouple will be accessible now.
  4. If this is your first time removing the burner assembly, it is recommended that you take a picture of the unit before disassembly to avoid confusion later.
  5. This photograph serves as a reference for reassembling the device once it has been cleaned by removing the thermocouple.

Step 3: Clean the Thermocouple on the Water Heater Using an emery cloth, sand the thermocouple ends until they are smooth.Some plumbers propose using steel wool to clean persistent stains off the thermocouple, which they say is more effective.After cleaning, check to see whether there is any dirt, soot, or residue left behind.Make a visual inspection for signs of corrosion in the area between the thermocouple terminal and the power line.

  1. If there is any rust, it should be removed.
  2. Finish by wiping the thermocouple ends with a clean microfiber towel or another kind of lint-free cloth to remove any remaining dirt.
  3. Pro tip: Avoid using so-called thermocouple cleaning solutions, no matter how easy they may appear to be in the short term.
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It is possible that some of these goods include combustible chemicals, which can be hazardous to your system and to your property.Step 4: Thoroughly clean the burner Maintaining the thermocouple is only one part of your cleaning responsibilities.It is also the best time to give the burner a thorough cleaning at this time of year.Make use of your steel wool or emery cloth sandpaper to scrape as much discoloration off the burner’s top as you possibly can.Remove any dirt that may have gotten into the burner ports or holes with a fine bristle brush.Cleaning your gas water heater’s burner helps increase the efficiency of the unit.

Step 5: Assemble the Burner back together.Return the burner assembly to its original location in the water tank.Make sure that the burner tube is securely resting on the bracket for maximum security and stability.Threading and tightening the mounting screws or nuts on the burner plate will keep it in place.

  • If your unit is equipped with a vapor sensor, make sure to reconnect it first before connecting the various wires to the water heater gas valve.
  • Position the thermocouple in relation to the gas valve and tighten it down.
  • Reconnect the pilot light supply line and the burner gas supply tube to the control center or gas valve, if they were disconnected previously.
  1. Replace and secure the water heater burner access cover.
  2. Step 6: Turn On Your Water Heater Open your water heater’s gas supply line and plug the power cord of your unit if it has one.
  3. Turn on the pilot light and adjust the thermostat to your desired temperature.
  4. It would be best to dial in a temperature not higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Check your water if it is in your desired temperature.


Do you believe our simplified tutorial on how to clean the thermocouple on a water heater is straightforward and easy to follow?If so, please share your thoughts.The fact that your water heater is not providing hot enough water might be due to a variety of factors.One of these is a filthy thermocouple, which is something that many people ignore.Now that you know how to clean the thermocouple on your gas water heater, you might want to pass along your newfound information to your friends.

  • He or she will be grateful to you for sparing them the expense of costly repairs and replacements while still allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a fully operational water heater.
  • Please share your ideas with us as well.

How To Clean the Thermocouple on a Water Heater

Whether the hot water temperature setting on your washing machine is not working, you’ve been washing your dishes with tepid water, or you’ve been taking the dreaded cold shower, it’s likely that your home’s water heater is not performing properly. If you have a gas water heater, a corroded thermocouple might be the source of your problems.

What is a thermocouple and why does my water heater need one?

Gas water heaters that rely on a pilot light to ignite the burner will also be equipped with a thermocouple or thermopile to monitor the pilot’s performance (a thermopile is, essentially, multiple thermocouples connected in a series making the component more sensitive than a single thermocouple).Whenever the pilot light is extinguished, the thermocouple works as a safety measure, stopping the gas valve from opening and potentially flooding the area around the water heater with natural gas, as is the case when the pilot light is out.A malfunctioning thermocouple, or one that is just filthy, may prevent the gas valve from opening or the pilot from remaining lighted on a constant basis.It is as a result of this that the burner assembly does not generate a flame and that the water in the tank remains unheated.Be advised that if the pilot light goes out on your water heater, you will need to relight it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • Newer models of water heaters will feature a pilot setting on the gas valve, as well as a spark electrode to ignite the pilot when turned on.
  • If you have an older model, the pilot setting will be available, but you will have to manually relight the pilot with a long match or lighter.

Accessing the thermocouple

  • It is common for the thermocouple to be positioned on the burner assembly, which is located at the bottom of the water heater tank. However, depending on the kind of your water heater, the procedures you must do to reach the thermocouple will differ. However, the following are some basic principles you may follow: Check that the water heater’s power wire is disconnected and that the gas supply is turned off prior to starting
  • Remove the burner access cover and, if required, unthread any mounting screws that are in place.
  • After that, remove the nuts or screws that are holding the burner plate in place.
  • Remove the nut from the burner supply tube in order to disconnect it from the gas or control valve. Keep in mind that you may also need to remove a pilot supply tube from the system.
  • Release the thermocouple if needed by your model by disconnecting any wires from the valve and unthreading the nut holding the thermocouple in place.
  • The vapor sensor should be detachable from the tank base if applicable.
  • You may now remove the burner component from the tank in order to have access to the thermocouple, if necessary.

Cleaning the thermocouple

  • Using Emery cloth sandpaper, gently wipe the end of the thermocouple to remove any dirt or buildup that may have formed. Additionally, you should clear up any corrosion that may have formed where the power line joins to the thermocouple terminal if it exists. Keep in mind that you may need to remove the thermocouple from the burner assembly in order to completely clean it. Remove any leftover debris from the component by wiping it down with a lint-free cloth. If necessary, attach the thermocouple to the burner assembly using a screwdriver. Reinstall the burner assembly in the tank, ensuring sure that the burner tube is supported by the bracket if one is present.
  • Thread and tighten the mounting nuts or screws to ensure that the burner plate is securely attached to the storage tank.
  • If required, reattach the vapor sensor to the tank’s bottom base.
  • Reinsert the wires into the gas valve and, if necessary, tighten the thermocouple to the valve.
  • The burner supply tube, as well as the pilot supply tube, should be reconnected to the valve if necessary.
  • Make any necessary repairs to the burner access cover and tighten it down.
  • Reconnect the gas supply and plug the water heater’s power cable back into the wall outlet.
  • Test the water heater to see if it is heating the water as planned by relighting the pilot light.

Find the right water heater parts with Repair Clinic

However, if the water heater is still not producing enough heat to heat the water, the thermocouple may be completely faulty.Other possibilities include a completely defective pilot, a restricted pilot, a faulty igniter, a malfunctioning gas valve, or a faulty pressure switch located within the power vent blower housing.All of these components may be located on the Repair Clinic website by entering the model number of your gas water heater in the search box at the top of the webpage.After that, you may use the component category and part title filters to narrow down your search to the precise replacement part you’re searching for.AO Smith, Bradford White, Lennox, and Honeywell are among the top water heater manufacturers represented at Repair Clinic; nevertheless, it is important to ensure that you are getting the correct water heater part for your specific water heater.

How To Clean Thermocouple On Water Heater – homedude

The most recent update was made on September 27, 2021.The date is September 27, 2021.homedude is made possible by donations from readers.If you make a purchase after clicking on one of our affiliate links, we may receive a commission.More information may be found here.

  • If your water heater is not heating up properly, it is possible that the thermocouple has been corroded or damaged.
  • Maintaining the cleanliness of the thermocouple is an essential step in guaranteeing its long-term operation.
  • This article will walk you through the process of cleaning a thermocouple on a hot water heater in seven simple stages.

Learn how to clean the thermocouple on your water heater by gathering the essential supplies and tools, as well as having some basic DIY abilities under your belt.You will discover that it is a pretty simple and uncomplicated operation that you can complete on your own.For full instructions on how to clean the thermocouple on a water heater, continue reading this article.

Tools Needed

  • In order to clean a thermocouple, you will need the following tools: A wrench, screwdrivers, emery cloth sandpaper, a lint-free cloth, and other miscellaneous tools.

You may also require a camera in order to photograph the assembly while it is being disassembled. This will make it easy to put everything back in its proper place when the cleaning procedure is over.

Steps To Take When Cleaning The Thermocouple

Cleaning a thermocouple is a simple chore that can be completed by almost anybody with a little knowledge of home improvement. The following are all of the stages that must be completed:

Step 1: Cut off gas/power supply

  1. The first step in cleaning a thermocouple is to turn off the gas supply to the device.
  2. This is accomplished by shutting down the gas valve on your gas water heater.
  3. It is necessary to cut off the power source if the system is electrical in nature.
  4. When it comes to cleaning the thermocouple, this is the normal technique to follow.
  5. It also applies if you wish to replace something with something else.

It’s a vital safety measure that must be taken.

Step 2: Remove the entire burner

  1. It is at this point when a camera comes in helpful.
  2. Your smartphone’s camera will suffice in this situation.
  3. Before removing the burner, take a picture of it for your records.
  4. If you don’t have a camera, you’ll have to rely on your memories to get you through the day.
  5. As soon as you are ready to remove the burner, carefully remove it from the middle of the stovetop.

You will observe that the burner is connected at three points: the main supply tube, the thermocouple, and the pilot supply tube.This is standard practice.It is possible that this will differ significantly based on your model.These connectors must be disconnected in order for the complete burner assembly to be readily pulled out.

Step 3: Detach the thermocouple

It is now necessary to determine the identity of the thermocouple. It is normally situated right next to the pilot light on the ceiling. Remove the filthy thermocouple by using a wrench or screwdriver to pry it out.

Step 4: Observe the thermocouple

Clean and inspect the thermocouple for dirt, debris, and corrosion before using it. Any of these might have a negative impact on its operation. If the thermocouple becomes corroded, it may be necessary to replace it. If you are dealing with debris and dirt, the next procedure should be sufficient to resolve the situation.

Step 5: Clean the thermocouple

Using the emery cloth sandpaper, sand the ends of the thermocouple until they are smooth. This will get rid of any dirt or other material that may have accumulated on the surface. While it is important to sand the components carefully, it is also important to be thorough.

Step 6: Give the thermocouple a finishing touch

To finish up, clean the thermocouple with a lint-free cloth to give it a polished appearance. This will eliminate any filth that may have remained and will assist to guarantee that the burner operates more efficiently.

Step 7: Reassemble the burner

  1. Return to the photograph you took and use it as a reference to reinstall the thermocouple in the burner and reassemble the system in the same manner as it was before you took it apart.
  2. Ensure that the main supply tube, the thermocouple, and the pilot supply tube are all properly connected to the hot water heater’s control center.
  3. Depending on the sort of system you have, you may need to open the gas valve or the main control valve, or switch on the power supply.
  4. Once the pilot light has been ignited, check to see that the heater is presently operating as planned.


  1. The thermocouple may require replacement if it is not performing as expected after being cleaned.
  2. If this is the case, it may be necessary to purchase and install a new thermocouple.
  3. Fortunately, you may replace the thermocouple by following the same technique as described previously.
  4. Instead of cleaning a filthy thermocouple, just install the replacement thermocouple after removing the old one from the burner assembly after removing the old one.
  5. Remember that cleaning a water heater thermocouple should not entail the use of any chemical cleaning solution.

The majority of the time, the wires are obscured by smoke or dirt.It is sufficient to use a ball of steel wool or emery cloth sandpaper to remove the dirt.Chemical dirt removers, on the other hand, are more likely to cause damage to the components, resulting in a faulty thermocouple.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the best way to tell whether the thermocouple in my water heater is bad?
  2. If the pilot light comes on, but the flame goes out when you release the button after a few seconds, your thermocouple is faulty.
  3. The water heater pilot light will not stay lighted because a faulty thermocouple will cut off the gas supply or electricity to the burner and water heater pilot due to the malfunctioning thermocouple.
  4. How can you determine whether or not a thermocouple is operational?
  5. To test a thermocouple in a water heater, you’ll need a multimeter.

If your thermocouple is in good working order, you should be able to measure around 30 or 40 millivolts of voltage.You may complete the check on your own, but you may want assistance to maintain the pilot flame going while you perform the test and decide whether or not you require a replacement thermocouple for your vehicle.What is the root reason of thermocouple failure?Metal fatigue can lead to the failure of a thermocouple.As a result of the frequent expansion and contraction cycles caused by temperature fluctuations, the thermocouple will grow weak over time as the metal expands and contracts as a result of the temperature variations.

How to Clean Thermocouple On Water Heater: What to Know

  1. Your gas water heater may be clogged with debris and thus not function properly if it’s not operating.
  2. As a result, instead of incurring replacement costs, you may clean it up at your convenience!
  3. If the heater has abruptly ceased operating, it is possible that the thermocouple has failed to function properly.
  4. The thermocouple is a component of the gas water heater’s pilot tube and is responsible for controlling the temperature of the water.
  5. If you’re looking for information on how to clean a thermocouple on a water heater, look no further.

It is possible for the thermocouple to corrode and wear out if it is not properly maintained.However, this does not imply that you must replace it immediately.Cleansing the device is a simple task that can be accomplished with a few tools.Throughout this essay, we’ll go through how to clean the thermocouple on your water heater at your house.

Tools and Materials

Make sure you have the following supplies and tools on hand before you begin cleaning your thermocouple:

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Emery Cloth

Emery clothsandpaper may be thought of as the fabric equivalent of a nail file. It’s coarse and performs the same purpose as an abrasive nail file in terms of abrasion. It may be used to polish, smoothen, and sand the ends of a corroded thermocouple, as well as to eliminate the rust off the thermocouple.

Adjustable Wrench

In your toolbox, you could have a few wrenches, and you might have a wrench kit at home. Each of them is intended for a certain variety of nuts. An adjustable wrench, on the other hand, can assist in resolving the problem because it is adaptable to different nut sizes.

Steel Wool

  1. It’s possible that you’re familiar with steel wool if you have porcelain or glass dishware in your house.
  2. These are bundles of thin wire sponges that are used for dishware cleaning since they are capable of scraping dirt off surfaces without damaging them.
  3. Keep these steel wool bundles on hand since they’re great for removing tough stains from carpets and upholstery.
  4. Using a little brush can be used in place of steel wool if you couldn’t locate any on your hunt.

Lint-Free Cloth

Purchase a lint-free cloth, such as a microfiber cloth, to provide the ideal finishing touch to your project. It is capable of cleaning the thermocouple without leaving any fluff or lint behind.

Step-By-Step Guide to Clean Thermocouples

Step 1: Shut Off The Water Heater’s Gas Inlet Valve

To begin, turn off the gas feed to the water heater. If you want to keep yourself secure, this is very crucial. You may also use a vice grip or pliers to shut off valves that don’t have a knob or lever to turn them off. In the event that your water heater has two gas supply valves, be sure that both are turned off before beginning your repair.

Step 2: Disassemble The Burner

  1. To complete this procedure, remove the access lid on your burner using your tool.
  2. It is possible to detach the burner assembly from its control center in this manner.
  3. The complete assembly is connected to a total of three different points in the building.
  4. The main supply tube, the pilot supply tube, and the thermocouple are the components that make up the circuit.
  5. Using a screwdriver, loosen the screws that hold the burner plate and the supply line to the control unit.

Remove the thermocouple and the pilot light supply tube from the circuit.In the event that your tank base has a vapor sensor, remove it as soon as possible.After removing the assembly from all three units, slip it out of the cover it was enclosed in.In the event that this is your first time dealing with a water heater, be sure to take photographs after finishing each stage of the process.After you have cleaned the thermocouple, you will be able to reassemble the burner unit with relative ease.

Step 3: Clean The Thermocouple

  1. The thermocouple should be removed from its assembly, according to several plumbers, in order to ensure appropriate cleaning.
  2. If you do this, photograph it for simple re-assembly later on.
  3. You can now clean the thermocouple’s edges with the emery cloth sandpaper that you previously applied.
  4. After that, use your steel wool bundle to wipe up the stains and remove any remaining dirt from the device’s surface.
  5. Before reassembling the thermocouple, make sure there isn’t any dirt left on the connector.

After that, grab your lint-free microfiber cloth and clean up the device’s ends in preparation for the final touches.Some hardware stores may try to offer you thermocouple cleaning products, which are not recommended.They frequently include combustible chemicals, which can be hazardous to your health and safety.Instead, make use of the three tools listed below to clean the thermocouple.

Step 4: Clean Off The Gas Water Heater Burner

  1. This is a completely optional step.
  2. On the top of the burner, there is frequently some trash and dirt scraped off of it.
  3. You may also clean it up now that you’ve removed it from the system.
  4. Remove the stain buildups from the top of the burner with an emery cloth or steel wool, and then rinse thoroughly.
  5. If you examine attentively, you might be able to see material trapped between the burner holes and the ports.

When cleaning these little spots, use a small brush to get into the corners and completely clean them.Although it is an optional procedure, cleaning your gas water heater’s burner can extend the life of your appliance.

Step 5: Reconnect and Reassemble The Burner

  1. It’s time to rebuild the heater now that you have photographs of all of the final processes.
  2. As a first step, connect the burner assembly to the heating tank using the provided connector.
  3. In order to accomplish this, you must reconnect the three wires to the control center of the gas water heater.
  4. Place the tube on the bracket to ensure that it is balanced and in a solid position.
  5. Then, by putting in the nuts/screws on the burner plate to the mounting, you may tighten it down.

Make certain that you follow the right procedures for this phase.

Step 6: Turn On Your Gas Water Heater

Following the reassembly of the gas water heater, it is necessary to turn on the gas. After that, check the pilot light and turn it on. Make the necessary adjustments to the dial to get the required temperature. Check the temperature with a linked water supply to check whether it is comfortable for you. More information may be found at: How to Clean a Hot Water Heater with Vinegar


  1. Some gas water heaters may take a long time to get up to temperature and reach the temperature you wish.
  2. If everything is operating properly, you’ve now successfully cleaned a clogged thermocouple and repaired your water heater without the need to hire a plumber.
  3. If, on the other hand, the situation appears to be getting out of hand, don’t hesitate to bring in a professional.
  4. Please let us know if our instructions on how to clean the thermocouple on a water heater was useful!

How to Clean Thermocouple on Water Heater

  • If you believe you require a new thermocouple, have you considered that it is possible that the one you now own requires cleaning? It is possible that your water heater is not heating up correctly because the thermocouple has become rusted and damaged. It is a thermocouple that detects the presence of the pilot light and allows the water heater to regulate its internal temperature. How to clean a thermocouple on a water heater is covered in this section. This is a project that even the most inexperienced DIYers can do. What exactly do you require? Lint-free cloth
  • sandpaper made of Emery cloth
  • an adjustable wrench

Water Heater Thermocouple Cleaning in 5 Steps

  1. Shut down the gas input valve for your own safety! Reduce the amount of fuel that is supplied to the water heater. When working on a water heater, the first step is usually to turn it off. If it’s an electric device, turn off the power. In this particular instance, it is gas, and you must turn off the gas valve.
  2. Remove the burner assembly and take a picture of it before you start so you can remember how it should appear after you’re finished. It will be necessary to detach the burner component from the control center with the use of the wrench. It’s related in three different ways (thermocouple, main supply tube, and pilot supply tube). It should be possible to move the complete assembly out of its container after they have been separated.
  3. Clean the thermocouple – sand the ends of the thermocouple with the emery cloth sandpaper before wiping it down with the lint-free cloth to finish it off. Hopefully, you will be able to reach the ends of the thermocouple without having to remove it from the assembly, but it is possible that you will have to do so. If you do, be sure to put it back together precisely the way it was before you started. Take a photograph
  4. (Optional) Clean the burner – while you have the burner out, this is a great time to scrape any debris off the top of the burner. Eliminate any impediments so that it may operate more efficiently.
  5. Replace and reattach the burner component – do you recall the image you snapped of the process? When you’re finished, you want everything to appear exactly the same as it does now. Replacing the three lines to the control center on your water heater tank is a simple procedure.
  6. Light the pilot – You must first open the gas valve, then light the pilot and adjust the temperature dial to the appropriate setting (we recommend no hotter than 120-degrees F). You should be able to resume operations after all of this is completed.

Now What?

  1. Allow enough time for your water heater to warm up.
  2. If it’s functioning, that’s fantastic!
  3. Ultimately, if the thermocouple is still not functioning, you may have to spend the money on a replacement.
  4. The good news is that PlumbersStock provides an extensive assortment of water heater components.
  5. When you receive your replacement thermocouple, you may refer to our article on how to replace a water heater thermocouple.

More information on thermocouples in general may be found at the following link: Thermocouples |Wikipedia.Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries about our products or if you have any inquiries regarding your home improvement projects.Additional resources in this area include: How to Check the Element in a Water Heater How to Replace the Element in a Water Heater How to Replace the Thermostat on a Water Heater The T&P Valve Continues to Open

How To Clean A Thermocouple On A Gas Water Heater: Step By Step Guide

  1. Gas water heaters, as well as the thermocouple that regulates the flow of gas through them, are essential components of your home’s heating system.
  2. In addition, they require periodic maintenance in the same way that all other appliances do.
  3. This ensures that the gas water heater is operating properly and that no potentially hazardous gases are seeping into your house.
  4. So, what is the best way to clean a thermocouple on a natural gas water heater?
  5. To clean our thermocouple, I use the following procedure: Cleaning a thermocouple requires the use of steel wool or 60-grit sandpaper as well as a clean cloth.

Before you begin, cut off the gas supply and remove the thermocouple, which you should polish with steel wool or sandpaper before wiping it down with a towel to remove any residue.Every six months, I clean our thermocouple to keep it from being coated with soot and dirt.If you are unable to remove your thermocouple without first removing the burner assembly, you should contact a plumber immediately since your entire burner assembly may need to be repaired or replaced.Depending on how much soot your thermocouple has accumulated from the flame, it may begin to oxidize.This can result in the thermocouple breaking down, which might result in a large explosion or possibly a fire danger on the scene.

  1. It is not a glamorous profession, but it is one that is very necessary.
  2. Do you want to know how to clean the thermocouple on your gas water heater?
  3. It’s simple, and this step-by-step instruction will take you through the process step by step.

We will also go into further detail about how thermocouples function and how to keep them in the best possible condition.Please continue reading!

What Is A Thermocouple?

  1. A thermocouple is a tiny device found towards the bottom of gas water heaters.
  2. It measures temperature.
  3. These devices regulate the amount of gas that should pass through them in order for them to function properly.
  4. It then makes use of this process to heat up enough hot water to meet the demands of your home.
  5. This little gadget provides an electric current to the pilot light, which allows it to remain illuminated.

If you don’t clean and replace the thermocouple on a regular basis, corrosion can create a build-up of contaminants.As a consequence, you may find yourself in potentially harmful circumstances that you might have simply avoided.The most common cause of a malfunctioning water heater in the houses that I have evaluated is an improperly maintained thermocouple.If you are planning to sell your house, having functional and well-maintained appliances, such as water heaters, may increase the value of your property significantly.Typically, the thermocouple device does not function on its own.

  1. However, it is used in conjunction with another gear known as the standing pilot.
  2. When the appliance is in use, the standing pilot is a little flame that remains lit during the operation.
  3. As a result, when the pilot light is turned out, the water is no longer heated.

The thermocouple must be in good working order in order for the pilot to remain operational.It is the principal means by which the sensor attached to the pilot receives an electric current that allows it to remain operational.The sensor is located on the gas valve, and it provides a signal to the pilot to keep the pilot light on at all times.The thermocouple is made up of two metals, which allows it to function as a probe that generates voltage when two wires are heated.The Seebeck Effect is a scientific phenomena that explains why this is happening.

Are Thermocouples Universal?

  1. Although thermocouples are not universal in nature, some particular versions are compatible with the vast majority of gas water heaters on the market.
  2. It is possible to purchase so-called ‘universal thermocouples’ for a reasonable price online or at home supply stores, as well as most hardware and department stores.
  3. Consider the length and kind of one before acquiring one.
  4. Thermocouples may, in rare instances, fail to function properly in conjunction with other safety components.
  5. In these rare instances, a malfunctioning thermocouple might prevent the gas valve from functioning properly.

In most cases, this is not a concern since other safety devices will detect and shut down the system before any damage is done.When these, too, fail, the situation becomes problematic.For example, if both fail to operate properly, you may still be able to receive gas flowing into your home despite the fact that one of them is failing – only this time without being monitored by either of them.

7 Easy Steps In Cleaning Your Thermocouple

Step 1: Prepare The Tools

  • Listed below are some of the products you’ll need before starting the cleaning process: A multiway wrench is the tool that will assist you in unscrewing all of the bolts and nuts across the complete system.
  • A screwdriver: This is used to loosen any screws that have become too tight in the system.
  • An emery cloth is a tool that looks similar to a nail file, except it has a cloth backing. This is used to sandpaper the surface of the thermocouple in order to remove any soot that has accumulated. It also eliminates any oxidation coatings that may have formed.
  • After you have finished rubbing away all of the build-up with the emery cloth, you should use this lint-free fabric to finish the job. Because it avoids any possibility of residue lingering on the thermocouple after it has been cleaned, lint-free cloth is the ideal choice.
  • Fine grit sandpaper or steel wool: A brush can be used in place of steel wool if you don’t want to use steel wool. This is the final piece of equipment that you will use to dust off any leftover particles from the thermocouple’s surface. The remaining parts of the water heater assembly can also be cleaned with this product.
See also:  How To Install A Tankless Hot Water Heater

Step 2: Disconnect The Water Heater Gas Supply

As a result of the fact that certain gas water heaters have two supply injectors, it is better to switch them off simultaneously. When dealing with a gas-powered water heater, remember to always keep your safety in mind. In addition, keep any open flames or sparks to a minimum. If there is an excessive amount of gasoline in one region, this might result in an explosion.

Step 3: Disassemble The Water Burner

  1. If your heater has an access lid, you must first remove the mounting screws from the heater.
  2. Then, loosening and removing the nuts that hold the burner plate in place is the next step.
  3. A few of turns of the screwdriver will be enough to release any threaded linkages that connect the component to other components.
  4. If there is anything else hooked into your control center, make sure to unhook them as well.
  5. By gently tugging on any protruding connections, you may accomplish this goal.

If they don’t come apart easily, apply some pressure to their release levers while gently tugging at each wire at the same time until they finally break free from one another’s grasp.Remember not to tug on them with undue force or drag them out of their natural position.This is necessary since else you will simply wind up causing damage to anything.Check the base of your tank to check if it is equipped with a vapor sensor.If this is the case, remove it.

  1. Remove the burner installation from the water heater in order to have access to the thermocouple.

Step 4: Sand The Thermocouple

  1. Sand the thermocouple ends with an emery cloth to make them smooth.
  2. This can help you get rid of any persistent stains you may have on your clothes.
  3. This will aid in the preservation of a clean sensing region, which will be beneficial while heating water in the future.
  4. Before beginning the cleaning procedure, inspect the terminal and power cable for corrosion and remove it with a clean cloth.
  5. Complete the process by wiping off all of the sanded surfaces with a clean microfiber towel to verify everything is in proper operating condition.

Step 5: Cleanse The Burner

  1. It is also important to clean your burner if you want to save money on your energy costs.
  2. If you look within those ports or openings, you’ll be shocked at how much junk may gather.
  3. In order to remove any dust that may have settled in these crevices while the steel wool and emery cloth are doing their magic scouring, a tiny brush should be used to remove any dust that has settled in these crevices.
  4. Improved efficiency as well as general safety inspections will be made possible as a result of this.

Step 6: Reconstruct The Gas Water Heater

  1. To guarantee safety, return the burner unit to its original place in the tank and check that it is firmly balanced on its bracket.
  2. Before going on to the next stage of attaching other components, make sure that all of the mounting screws or nuts are tight.
  3. Reattach any wire that was removed during the disassembly process, as well as any external components such as internal sensors that were previously removed.

Step 7: Turn On the Gas Water Heater

  1. To keep your water heater functioning well and save money on gas, you should adjust the temperature setting to between 120°F and 140°F on a regular basis.
  2. Turn off the power or disconnect it if there is a cord before you begin working with the item to ensure that electricity does not flow through it while you are working with it.
  3. Then, reconnect the natural gas supply line before manually re-igniting the pilot light to ensure proper operation of the appliance.
  4. Make sure you don’t go above 160 degrees Fahrenheit since at these temperatures, corrosion may begin to form inside your apparatus.
  5. As a result, there may be possible leaks in the pipes, as well as other safety concerns to consider.

Carbon monoxide poisoning and fires caused by spontaneous combustion are examples of such dangers.

How Do I Know If My Thermocouple Is Bad On My Water Heater?

  1. Soot, dust, and debris may accumulate on the surface of a thermocouple over time.
  2. This build-up is the most common reason of the thermocouple not sensing heat and, as a result, not functioning properly.
  3. As a result, the sensor within the device is receiving incorrect values, which is undesirable.
  4. Finding out if the thermocouple in your gas water heater is faulty demands a keen eye and a lot of patience.
  5. You must keep an eye out for warning indications.

It’s also necessary to clean, repair, or replace the thermocouple if you see any of the following signs:

Water Temperature Drops

  • If you observe a reduction in water temperature or if you are not getting enough hot water, it is possible that the thermocouple is clogged with debris. The thermocouple may also be the source of the problem if you discover that there is no hot water at all in your home. When the thermocouple stops working, the pilot is turned off as well. Because of this, the burner does not light, and the water does not heat as a result. There is, however, a catch: This indication might be generated by another defect other than a faulty thermocouple. In any case, because we’re talking about a thermocouple, here’s how you may determine whether it’s to blame for the lack of hot water: Manually lighting the pilot is your first attempt
  • follow along with the directions provided on the tank.
  • If the pilot light comes on but the flame goes out as soon as you release the switch, it is a clear indicator that the thermocouple has failed
  • however, this is not always the case.

Irregular Thermocouple Volt Readings

  • 30 to 40 millivolts is the optimal reading for a thermocouple that is in good working order. And this is the reading that appears when the pilot is turned on. Even if you have a multimeter at your disposal, you will want assistance to conduct this test. Here’s how you can put it to the test: To begin, remove the thermocouple from the gas valve by unscrewing it.
  • Next, you’ll need to calibrate your multimeter so that it can read millivolts.
  • The person assisting you should maintain the gas control knob pressed in to keep the pilot light on. You should maintain this position for around one minute to ensure that the probe is properly heated.
  • Then, with one lead shaft attached to the thermocouple and the other end attached to the multimeter’s connection, you’re ready to go.
  • If you receive a reading that is less than 25 millivolts, the thermocouple is defective
  • otherwise, try another one.

The Thermocouple Is Loosely Attached

  1. Occasionally, problems might emerge as a result of a thermocouple that is not securely connected.
  2. And it is for this reason that it must be the first item that you confirm.
  3. You must tighten a thermocouple using a wrench in order for it to be correctly set.
  4. Applying too much pressure will result in the nut being useless as a result of the excessive force used.
  5. Once you’ve tightened it down sufficiently, try igniting the pilot flame again, but keep an eye out for any smoke that may come out of the pilot.

If this occurs, please replace your old one with a new one that is similar to it.

When Should You Replace A Thermocouple?

  1. You should replace your thermocouple when there is no hot water running or the readings on the multimeter are below 25 millivolts.
  2. You should also replace it if the accumulation of dirt on the thermocouple has become too large to be repaired and is interfering with its operation.
  3. The following indications should also indicate that your thermocouple is too damaged to be repaired and that you should have it repaired instead: No Hot Water

When your gas water heater fails, it will have an impact on the entire home.. You won’t have any hot water for cooking or cleaning up after supper, and you’ll have to take cold showers, which will be difficult in the winter because of the chilly temperatures. Your thermostat becomes overheated.

  1. One of the most hazardous aspects of a defective thermocouple is that it may cause your thermostat to become too hot, which might result in a full-blown fire.
  2. This has the potential to be disastrous.
  3. Flawed wiring is one aspect that contributes to this fire outbreak since it can result in electrical fires or even tiny, unintentional blazes as a result of static electricity build-up.
  4. Increased Electricity Bills

If you fail to discover a damaged thermocouple, you might end up in this situation. When it gets too late to correct the problem, the situation deteriorates, and energy spikes become more frequent as a result of decreased efficiency rates. The Smell of Natural Gas

  1. One of the tell-tale indicators that your thermocouple needs to be changed is the smell of gas coming from it.
  2. The last thing you want to deal with is a buildup of dangerous gases in your home or office.
  3. If you utilize natural gas or propane, breathing high amounts of these gases is harmful to anyone’s health, regardless of their age.
  4. In addition, these gases might be the source of an explosive fire.

Can You Replace A Thermocouple Yourself?

  • Yes, it is possible. However, in order to complete the task properly, you must possess some fundamental abilities. It will cost you roughly $20 and will take you approximately 45 minutes to complete the entire exercise. Overall, the following is a straightforward way to replacing a thermocouple on your own: Gather all of the tools you’ll need: To do this task, you will need an adjustable wrench as well as a collection of different wrenches for different bolt sizes. It would be helpful if you could also bring the new thermocouple that you are replacing.
  • Disconnect all electrical and gas supplies: In order to ensure the safety of everyone, you must unplug any gas and electrical inlets. In addition, make certain that the water heater is disconnected and turned off. The following step is to remove any connections to the complete burner unit by unscrewing any bolts that may be present.
  • Remove the thermocouple from the burner unit by disassembling it as follows: Following the removal of the burner, you will need to remove the thermocouple. Make certain that the new water heater is the same model as your existing gas water heater
  • Replace the thermocouple as follows: Reverse the procedures you did to deconstruct the system, then reconnect the complete system with the new thermocouple you installed.

It is important to note that when replacing the thermocouples, you should also clean the complete system. Follow the procedures we described before to ensure that the work is completed thoroughly.

Can Water Damage A Thermocouple?

It is important to note that while replacing the thermocouples, you should also clean the whole system. Keep in mind the stages we outlined before in order to do a comprehensive job.

Take Away

  1. It is critical that your thermocouple is kept clean in order for it to function properly.
  2. Because your gas water heater represents a big financial investment, you want to make certain that it operates well and lasts as long as possible.
  3. The thermocouple should be cleaned out about once every six months or so to keep the machine in good working condition.
  4. It is possible to employ someone who understands what they are doing if you do not know how to do it yourself!
  5. Because of the greater demand levels associated with a dirty-running appliance, you will see an increase in your monthly electricity bill.

As a result, keep this in mind while reviewing your electricity costs each month.After everything is said and done, be sure that no new regulation regulating gas water heaters is in effect before dealing with anything that involves them, such as changing a thermocouple.DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is not intended to be professional guidance.Before beginning any job, you should contact with a competent expert and verify that all necessary permits have been obtained.It is owned and operated by Hubert Miles who is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by placing advertisements and links on their websites that direct traffic to (hereinafter referred to as ″″ or ″ Associates Program″).

  1. As an affiliate, participates in a variety of affiliate programs with other websites.
  2. Hubert Miles receives a commission for recommending visitors and commerce to these businesses.

How To Clean A Thermocouple On A Gas Water Heater: Step By Step Guide

  1. Gas water heaters, as well as the thermocouple that regulates the flow of gas through them, are essential components of your home’s heating system.
  2. In addition, they require periodic maintenance in the same way that all other appliances do.
  3. This ensures that the gas water heater is operating properly and that no potentially hazardous gases are seeping into your house.
  4. So, what is the best way to clean a thermocouple on a natural gas water heater?
  5. To clean our thermocouple, I use the following procedure: Cleaning a thermocouple requires the use of steel wool or 60-grit sandpaper as well as a clean cloth.

Before you begin, cut off the gas supply and remove the thermocouple, which you should polish with steel wool or sandpaper before wiping it down with a towel to remove any residue.Every six months, I clean our thermocouple to keep it from being coated with soot and dirt.If you are unable to remove your thermocouple without first removing the burner assembly, you should contact a plumber immediately since your entire burner assembly may need to be repaired or replaced.Depending on how much soot your thermocouple has accumulated from the flame, it may begin to oxidize.This can result in the thermoc

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