6-Step Guide On How To Clean Thermocouple On Water Heaters!

If you’re looking for a straightforward way to improve the performance of your water heater, then replacing the thermocouple is a great place to start.

A thermocouple helps control the flow of gas to your water heater and is essential for it to operate safely and efficiently.

While changing a thermocouple can seem like a daunting task, with these easy steps it can be done in no time!

How To Clean Thermocouple On Water Heaters

What is a thermocouple?

A thermocouple is a safety device that is used to control the flow of gas to your water heater. It consists of two different metals that are connected together and exposed to an electric current. This current creates a tiny voltage between the two metals, which allows the gas valve in your water heater to open or close depending on its temperature.

Without a thermocouple, it would be impossible for your water heater to function properly and safely as it would be unable to sense when it’s hot enough to produce hot water. As such, replacing your thermocouple is essential if you want your water heater to work correctly and efficiently.

How to Tell if You Have a Bad Thermocouple?

It is important to know if your thermocouple is functioning correctly so that you can ensure the safety of your water heater. A bad thermocouple can lead to dangerous situations and potentially cause harm. Fortunately, there are some signs that indicate a malfunctioning thermocouple.

These include an orange or yellow flame instead of a blue one from the pilot light, an unusually loud noise coming from the burner assembly, the pilot light going out frequently or not staying lit, and strange odors coming from the burner plate.

If you experience any of these issues with your thermocouple, it is best to replace it immediately in order to avoid any potential hazards.

Things You Need to Clean Your Water Heater’s Thermocouple

Before you can replace or clean your water heater’s thermocouple, you need to gather the right tools and materials. This is an important step because having the right equipment will make the job easier and safer.

One of the essential items that you need is an adjustable wrench. While open-end wrenches may suffice, having an adjustable wrench eliminates the need for several devices and makes your work more efficient.

You will also need a lint-free cloth and some cloth sandpaper to clean any dirt or debris from the surface of the thermocouple. Additionally, you should also shut off both the hot water supply and gas supply to your water heater tank before starting any work on it.

All these steps are necessary for proper maintenance of your water heater’s thermocouple since they ensure that all safety devices function properly while providing you with hot water efficiently. Knowing the right tools and materials needed to replace or clean your thermocouple can help save time, money, and energy while keeping yourself safe in the process.

How to Clean Thermocouple on Water Heater?

One of the most important steps in ensuring that your water heater works efficiently is regular maintenance and cleaning. This includes regularly checking and cleaning the thermocouple which is a vital safety device that regulates gas flow to your water heater. Cleaning your thermocouple will help keep it functioning properly, allowing you to get hot water when you need it without any risk of gas leaks.

To clean your thermocouple on a water heater, make sure to have an adjustable wrench, lint-free cloth, and some cloth sandpaper at hand. Prior to starting your work, remember to shut off both the hot water supply and gas supply to the tank for safety purposes.

Once these steps are complete, use the wrench to loosen up any connections between the thermocouple and other parts of the heating system such as the burner assembly or control center. Using a lint-free cloth or sandpaper, gently wipe away any dirt or debris from the surface of the thermocouple before reattaching it back into its original position.

Cleanliness is key to keeping your water heater’s thermocouple functioning properly and safely! By following these simple instructions, you can rest assured knowing that you are getting hot water with no risks of dangerous gas leaks in the future!

Step 1: Turn Off Your Water Heater’s Gas Supply

It is imperative that you take safety precautions when dealing with your gas water heater. First, make sure to turn off the gas supply to your unit. This is especially important if there are two separate valves: one going to the gas furnace and another going to the water heater.

To be extra safe, turn both of them off. Be aware that some valves do not have a knob or lever; in this case, you can use a pair of pliers or a vise grip to shut off the valve. Remember, safety first when dealing with your gas water heater!

Step 2: Remove the Water Heater Burner Assembly

Removing the water heater burner assembly is an important step in replacing a thermocouple on a water heater. To do this, you will need to loosen and remove the screws or nuts that secure the burner plate.

Additionally, you must also disconnect the pilot light supply tube and the thermocouple from the control center. If your unit has any wires connected to it, make sure to disconnect those as well.

Finally, if your tank base has a vapor sensor, check it for proper connections before proceeding. Following these steps will ensure that you safely and effectively remove the entire burner assembly from your water heater tank.

Once removed, you can clean all parts of the burner assembly with a lint-free cloth and cloth sandpaper for a thorough cleaning process.

Step 3: Clean the Water Heater Thermocouple

It is important to clean the thermocouple on your water heater for it to work properly. After you have removed the burner access cover, burner supply tube, pilot tube, and pilot supply tube from your gas water heater, the next step is to clean your thermocouple.

This can be done by sanding the thermocouple ends using an emery cloth. If there are any stubborn stains on the thermocouple, some plumbers recommend using steel wool. However, ensure that all dirt, soot, or residue has been removed after cleaning.

Also, check for any sign of corrosion between the thermocouple terminal and power wire, and remove any rust with a microfiber or lint-free cloth if present. Cleaning your water heater’s thermocouple regularly is essential in order for it to continue providing hot water safely and effectively with its electric current flow and safety devices.

Step 4: Clean the Burner

Now that you have turned off the gas supply, removed the burner assembly, and cleaned up the thermocouple, it’s time to give the burner a thorough cleaning. Use steel wool or emery cloth sandpaper to scrape as much stain as possible from the top of your burner plate. Make sure to get all of those little crevices too! Afterward, use a small brush to remove any debris that might have gone into the burner ports or holes.

Cleaning your water heater’s burner is an essential step in this process and will greatly improve your gas water heater’s efficiency. Not only will it allow for better heat exchange between the pilot light and the thermocouple, but it also ensures that nothing obstructs the flow of air or gas coming from your control center and control valve before reaching its final destination at the vapor sensor. A clean burner means safe operation and a longer life span for your water heater tank.

Step 5: Reassemble the Burner

Reassembling the burner is the next step in replacing a thermocouple on a water heater. This process will require you to rest the burner tube onto its bracket and securely fasten it using mounting screws or nuts. Furthermore, if your unit has a vapor sensor, make sure to attach this first before reconnecting the different wires to the gas valve.

When everything is ready, position the thermocouple onto the gas valve and tighten it securely to ensure that it stays in place. Lastly, reconnect both the pilot light supply line and burner gas supply tube to the control center or gas valve for your safety device to work properly.

With everything in place, you are now ready to move on with installing your new thermocouple and getting your hot water back up and running again!

Step 6: Turn On Your Water Heater

Once you have followed the steps above to change your thermocouple on your water heater and have ensured that all safety devices are in place, it is time to turn on your water heater. To do this, open the gas supply line of the unit and plug its power cord if it has one.

Then set the thermostat to the desired temperature which should be no higher than 120°F and light the pilot light. Finally, check that your water is reaching your desired temperature before using it.

Regular maintenance of your water heater is essential for safety reasons as well as for efficiency purposes. This includes checking for any signs of wear and tear or corrosion in order to prevent any potential leaks or fire hazards.

Ensuring that you change out a dirty thermocouple when needed can also help extend the life of your unit as well as protect you from any dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide due to inadequate ventilation. Follow these easy steps and you can rest assured knowing that your home will be safe and comfortable with a functioning water heater!

What are the Symptoms of a Bad Thermocouple?

When it comes to a bad thermocouple in your water heater, one of the most common symptoms is an often-failing pilot light. If you find yourself constantly having to light the pilot only for it to go out again after a few days, it could be time to take a closer look at your thermocouple. It could potentially just need cleaning, but there’s also the chance that it might need to be replaced altogether.

Having a professional opinion can help you decide what the best course of action is and ensure that you get the job done properly with minimal disruption and cost. To get an expert opinion you can trust, turn to us here at Boss Plumbing.

We have years of experience dealing with faulty thermocouples and can provide all the necessary services for replacement or repair. Don’t let your pilot light keep going out – contact us today!

Can I Replace a Thermocouple Myself?

Can you replace a thermocouple on your own? The answer is yes, but it may be best to leave this water heater repair job to the professionals at Boss Plumbing. Replacing a thermocouple is not an overly complicated task for an experienced technician, however, if you lack knowledge about gas-powered appliances or have never worked on a water heater before then you could be putting yourself and your home in danger.

At Boss Plumbing we have trained technicians who know how to safely navigate the complexities of your water heater. From cleaning the dirty thermocouple and burner assembly to replacing the entire burner assembly including the pilot tube and supply tube, safety devices such as vapor sensors and electric current control valves, our technicians can make sure that all necessary steps are taken to ensure proper installation of your new thermocouple.

So don’t risk making a mistake or causing harm to yourself—leave it up to us at Boss Plumbing. Our technicians will perform the job right the first time while giving you peace of mind knowing that everything has been taken care of properly.

When Should a Thermocouple be Replaced?

When it comes to hot water, you don’t want to take any chances. If your water heater is over 10 years old and you’re still finding that you have no hot water when you need it, the thermocouple may be the culprit. Cleaning the thermocouple with a lint-free cloth and emery-cloth sandpaper may do the trick, but if not, it’s time to replace it.

Replacing your water heater’s thermocouple can be a tricky process that requires knowledge of pilot lights and gas supply valves. To ensure that your new thermocouple is correctly installed, call in professionals such as those at Boss Plumbing who know exactly how to work with gas water heaters — from removing the burner access cover and burner plate to cleaning the burner tube and burner supply tube.

They will also be able to inspect other areas of your system such as the control center and pilot supply tube for any further issues. Don’t wait until you find yourself unable to get hot water when needed — give us a call today so we can get your thermocouple replaced quickly and safely!


Keeping a clean thermocouple on your water heater will save you from costly repairs and replacements. Taking the time to check and clean it every so often is all that is required. With our step-by-step guide, you can follow along easily and ensure that your water heater is producing hot water.

Keeping the burner assembly, pilot tube, control valve, gas valve, vapor sensor, and other safety devices in good condition will provide peace of mind when using your water heater.

So take some time out of your day to check your thermocouple on water heaters. This small task could save you a lot of money in the long run!