Can Thermocouple Touch Metal?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by molo, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. molo

    molo Member

    Sep 23, 2006
    Cold New York
    Hello all,

    On a gas hot water tank, I placed the small metal cover that covers the hole into the pilot and realized it was touching the thermocouple, could this cover pull heat from it, and prevent the flame from turning off at the proper temperature?

  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Nov 23, 2006
    disabled-retired industrial fabricator
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    The thermocouple at the pilot only keeps the gas coming as long as the pilot is burning and keeping the thermocouple hot. If your heater is running too hot, the problem would be elsewhere ... such as possibly at the thermostat or gas valve. If you suspect your heater is running too hot, put a meat thermometer in the flow of a nearby faucet for a minute or so and compare that reading to the thermostat setting.
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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    No. The thermocouple is a selfcontained generator and the current is carried by the internal wire. If the tip gets too hot, or not hot enough, that will disrupt the current and cause the pilot to go out, but it has nothing to do with when the thermostat turns off or on.
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