Water Heater Thermocouplers

What is a Water Heater Thermocouple and What Does It Do?

The water heater thermocouple is a small but important safety component in your water heater. By acting as a sensor to determine if your pilot light is on, it allows for the flow of gas to your heater. If your pilot light is off, the gas valve is shut keeping you safe!

How Does the Thermocouple Work?

Rather than using a battery or electric current from your home, the thermocouple uses the heat from the pilot light to generate a small amount of electricity. How small? We are talking about millivolts – that is 1/1000th of a volt! Residential home outlets (in the United States) are typically 120 volts. Quite a difference. The thermocouple is made of two different metals (nickel and copper) with a welded end and a non-welded end. The welded end is called the hot-junction and is the part that is heated by the pilot light. The non-welded (the cold junction) is attached to the gas valve solenoid which remains open if there is enough current. Heating the bi-metal thermocouple should produce enough millivolts of electricity to keep the valve open. If the pilot light turns off and the metal cools or if your thermocouple has failed, the gas valve will remain closed. No gas means no heat, which means no hot water for you!

How Can Flowrite Plumbing Help You?

With 40 years of experience, we can quickly identify what the problem is with your thermocouple and if necessary, we can replace it for you. Quickly and efficiently. Call us today at 805.888.7523 and let us help you get your hot water back!

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