How to Replace a Water Heater Thermocouple


A bad thermocouple is a very common problem for a water heater. A thermocouple is what keeps the pilot flame lit. If the thermocouple goes bad, the pilot light will go out and you will have no hot water. Learning how to replace it will save you time and money.

Things You'll Need

  • Thermocouple
  • Crescent wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Turn the gas shut off valve to the closed position. The shut off handle will be perpendicular to the pipe. Remove the cover from the burner area.

  • Use a crescent wrench to unthread the pilot, thermocouple, and main gas connections from the gas valve.

  • Remove burner panel, if it's a spark ignitor then you will probably have to remove four screws, like on this one. On non-spark models the panel just slides out.

  • With the panel removed, you can take out the whole burner assembly.

  • The thermocouple either slides out or is threaded out. You may need to tap it out with the end of your wrench if you are having trouble with a slide out thermocouple. A universal kit will cover all you bases, it's not a bad idea to order a couple and keep some on hand.

  • Slide burner assembly back in and reconnect pilot gas, main gas, and thermocouple. Relight the pilot.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't forget to shut off gas.
  • If your water heater is power vented, unplug the power cord.
  • Thermocouple may be hot to the touch.

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