water heater thermocouple

One of the most common water heater repairs is changing out the thermocouple. The thermocouple in a gas hot water heater is a safety device that is designed to shut off the gas when the pilot light goes out.

The thermocouple on a water heater is a small brass tube that is about 20″ long and extends from the pilot light to the gas valve. Most brands of water heaters will use a universal thermocouple that will be stocked by most plumbers providing residential service work. However, there are water heater brands like Kenmore that use a unique thermocouple that can only be purchased from Sears. It’s usually tough to get parts from Sears, especially the one in Overland Park. Last time we tried to get a thermocouple from Sears in Overland Park they told us it would be 5-7 days until the new part would arrive. When you are without hot water, waiting up to a week is not a good option.

A typical indicator that the thermocouple needs to be replaced is when the water heater’s pilot light will not stay lit. We can usually replace a thermocouple within a hour or so and the part is inexpensive.

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