HomeX Logo

Sorry, the web browser you're using is not supported by this website.

Please use Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or another browser to access homex.com. Thank you.

Skip to main content

We use cookies to enhance your experience. For details on how we use cookies, collect data, & how to manage your consent please see our Cookie Policy & Privacy Policy.

A Broken Thermocouple Can Impact Your Water Heater

The thermocouple is a sensor that controls the gas valve on your gas water heater. When the thermocouple isn't working, you could lose hot water — or even experience a gas leak in your home.

Checking For A Broken Thermocouple

A thermocouple is a small sensor with a big responsibility. When your gas water heater's pilot light turns on, it triggers the thermocouple to release a small electric current, which then allows the gas valve to open.

If the thermocouple breaks, the gas valve won't know whether to stay open or closed. In turn, your water heater could malfunction and the unburned gas could begin to leak into your home.

How to check for a broken thermocouple

  • Gas can be serious business. If you can smell gas in the air, open some doors and windows to vent it out of the room. Do NOT use a fan to blow the gas smell out. An electrical spark in the motor could ignite the fumes. After opening the doors and windows, clear everyone out of the house just in case. Check back occasionally to see if the gas fumes have cleared. If you can still smell gas or it's gotten worse, it's time to leave and shut off the gas at the main valve. After the valve is shut off, call the gas company and let them know. They'll be able to help.

  • Check the gas line that is going to the hot water heater. The valve on the line should be in the "on" position. It's "on" when the handles of the valve are lined up with the pipe (parallel). If the valve has been bumped or turned off, simply turn it until it is back inline with the pipe.

  • Try lighting the pilot light while holding the safety button down for about a minute. Repeat the process a couple of times if the pilot light won't stay lit. If the pilot light stays on as long as you hold the button down but goes out as soon as you release it, that's a sign that the thermocouple isn't working. It'll need to be replaced.

If a broken thermocouple isn't the problem, you can investigate other causes of no hot water.

What to Do if Your Thermocouple Is Broken

If the problem with your water heater seems to be your thermocouple, address the issue as soon as possible. You should contact a technician who can make sure the problem doesn't lead to more serious consequences.

NOTE: This content is for informational purposes only, and HomeX and its affiliates disclaim all liability related to it. If you decide to perform any tasks based on this information, you assume all risks, including the risk of loss or damage to property or personal injury.

Let's Get It Fixed!

Our virtual experts can diagnose your issue (for free!) and resolve simple problems.

What Did You Think of This Article?

What Did You Think of This Article?