No hot water - Why replace Thermocouple?
When you consider why your water heater isn’t working one reason could be the thermocouple. The thermocouple plays a very important role in the safety and operation of your water heater as it relates to gas flow, which is highly flammable! Let’s start with the most important information, if you smell gas get to a safe distance and call a professional immediately.
What Does a Thermocouple Do?
Without getting into the science behind Thermoelectric Energy Conversion, the Thermocouple is responsible for cutting off the flow of gas if your pilot light goes out. Anytime you’re dealing with gas to your home, and the potential leakage of gas, it’s best to let the professionals do their job. While some may try to replace this on their own, you do risk gas leakage when taking apart or repairing your Thermocouple on your own.
The Thermocouple is heated by the pilot light and then converts this heat to electricity. The electricity it produces is slightly less than a AA battery, but powers the thermal cutoff switch. When power is no longer supplied to this switch, it cuts off the flow of gas to the burner, which is no longer lit since the pilot light has gone out. This cutoff means gas won’t flood your attic or garage when the pilot light isn’t lit.
Why did it stop working?
When the thermocouple fails, it stops your water from being heated. Thermocouples can fail for a few reasons including buildup of carbon which insulates the metal causing a drop in voltage, oxidation, or even metal fatigue causing it to break. In most cases a replacement is required and the longest lasting fix.
When replacing your Thermocouple, you’ll need to disassemble the parts of your water heater that would usually be flowing with gas, and then reassemble these parts properly so that gas doesn’t leak and create a dangerous situation. For this reason, we highly recommend you use a trained professional for the replacement of your Thermocouple or any other gas related issue you may be having.