Like any appliance in your home, a water heater can encounter many problems. When this happens it could prevent you from having the hot water that you need to take showers, do laundry, wash dishes, and do many other tasks that require hot water. It can often be very hard to figure out what the problem is with your water heater and may require the help of a professional plumber to come in and fix. However, there are certain things that you can do by yourself. When the pilot light does not light correctly, it may be because the thermocouple is dirty or needs to be replaced. Below are ways you can clean and replace the thermocouple on the water heater.
1. Cleaning the Thermocouple. If your thermocouple is dirty, the pilot light will not light or it will not stay lit for very long. In this case, you will want to clean it. The most important thing when messing with a gas appliance such as a water heater is to make sure that you are following the instructions on the unit to make sure that it is turned off correctly. Once the gas is turned off to the unit, you can begin to clean it. Remove the case to the furnace. You will want to use a wire brush or use very fine sandpaper. By sanding the tip of the thermocouple, you can get it to a point where it is ready to keep the pilot light lit once again.
2. Replacing the Thermocouple. If the thermocouple is damage, you will need to replace it altogether. The first thing you will need to do is to find a thermocouple that matches your water heater. These can usually be purchased for under $35. You will then want to turn off the gas to the heater, unscrew the thermocouple and the gas tubes and remove the burner. Remove the thermocouple and replace with a new one. And then put it all back together. The pilot light should now light once again. This can take a little bit of work but is something that most people can do.
Having hot water is necessary to get a lot of things done around the house. With just a few dollars and a little bit of time, you may be able to get your water heater working once again. For more serious problems, you will need to contact a plumber (such as one from AA Plumbing).