Thermocouple constantly needing replacing

The Tank Thermocouple constantly needing replacing

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    I have a 14 year old hot water heater. For the past 5-6 years it has been needing to have the thermocouple replaced 2-3 times a year. I just had it replaced last week, now it’s out again! I am not mechanically inclined nor will I go near anything that might potentially blow up on me, so I don’t repair this myself, I call the plumber. My question is, why does this keep happening? It seems to me that it’s just a bit excessive for this $10 part should continually go bad. I don’t have the money to replace the hot water heater, so I want to prevent this stupid part from continually malfunctioning by getting to the sourse of why it malfunctions and fix that instead.

    Larry Weingarten

    Hello: Things that come to mind: Thermocouples do not fail at the rate you talk about. This leads me to question both the situation and the plumber. The situation could be a problem. For example, corrosive atmosphere with a huge pilot flame might corrode the thermocouple faster than normal. The plumber might simply replace the thermocouple because he doesn’t know where else to look. Certainly, I’d want to know if the old thermocouple is being tested to measure its output. If not, how does one know what’s really bad? Does the pilot flame hit it correctly? Is the pilot orifice dirty? Is the thermocouple screwed into the control with clean contacts? There are things that make it look like a bad thermocouple that aren’t 😕 By all means, should a new thermocouple be needed, use a different brand, by a brand name manufacturer. Honeywell and White Rogers are two.

    Time to replace the anode! It is the single most important thing to do to keep the heater going. At the same time, replace the relief valve. No point keeping an unsafe heater alive. Do read up (elsewhere on this site) on how to assess a heaters condition before deciding to replace the anode.

    Yours, Larry


    You need to give us a description of the failed thermocouple. Is it black or dark in color at the wire were it connects to the tip? Compare the color to the portion where it screws into the thermostat.

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