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Old 06-21-2013, 07:04 PM   #1
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Thermocouple


I lurk and read more than I post but recently I had my thermocouple start acting up after I replaced the pressure release/overflow valve. It is a 2004 reliant water heater so I realize its toward the end of its life not to mention the fact that it sounds like popcorn when it's heating up at times. The pilot light will light and it will run for 10-25 min and then it all goes out for no reason. Long story short I went to replace the thermocouple after removing the burner unit and was hit with a bit of a surprise. Instead of the standard issue replacement I found what is pictured below. Now my question is can I replace it with a standard issue thermocouple or do i need to spend the extra cash and get the one with the temperature cut off button?
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:51 PM   #2
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Thermocouple


Replace the unit.

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Old 06-21-2013, 07:52 PM   #3
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Thermocouple


For the time and energy you will be wasting trying to source out that thermocouple it would be better to replace the tank.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:48 PM   #4
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Thermocouple


The pop corn sounds when heating up is from all the sediment buildup. Needs to be flushed out and cleaned. I'm sure the anode rod is gone as well, should have been replaced at the 3-4 year mark.

Only way to get one of those thermocouples is to buy the whole burner unit from reliant or whirlpool for about 50-75 bucks plus shipping. Had the same problem with my kenmore. Wouldn't take the standard thermocouple for 8 bucks, Had to end buying the whole burner unit from sears.

Up to you. You can try to flush it out/clean it and replace burner unit yourself. Clean filters to, while you got the burner unit out, clogged filters can also sufficate pilot. You might be able to get a few more years out of it. Try that first, go from there.

Too bad, that's a stinker, because your tank is less than 10 years old. I wouldn't invest too much time and money in it, luckily hwh are inexpensive, you can buy a new 40 gal. one for 499 at lowes.HD, sears,etc.

Last edited by jmon; 06-21-2013 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:51 PM   #5
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Thermocouple


You will void the manufactures warranty if you attempt to repair the valve if you are not a licensed Gas Fitter

Replace the unit.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:14 AM   #6
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Thermocouple


Thanks for the insight. Seeing how it is on its last leg I will replace now versus having a dissaster in my basement. When replacing, is there a specific brand that sticks out or is more of a personal preference? Also, tankless was the "rave" for a while and am curious is it still the way to go or is it better to just replace with another 60 gal gas?

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Old 06-22-2013, 11:18 AM   #7
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Thermocouple


Tankless might sound good at first but for retrofits there can be high additional costs with running an adequate gas supply and to install the vent. Depending on how much you need to do those costs along with the higher initial unit cost may never be recovered. I did the math the last time I needed a water heater and it wasn't even close.

Many decent brands but one thing I like personally is a unit with a digital control like my AO Smith Effex (other brands have them, too). Yes, it needs ac power to operate but keeps a much more accurate (narrower) temperature control band.
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:55 PM   #8
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Thermocouple


Quote:
Originally Posted by lk00331 View Post
Thanks for the insight. Seeing how it is on its last leg I will replace now versus having a dissaster in my basement. When replacing, is there a specific brand that sticks out or is more of a personal preference? Also, tankless was the "rave" for a while and am curious is it still the way to go or is it better to just replace with another 60 gal gas?
AO Smith are one of the preferred brands of plumbers- also Rheam.

Avoid the temptation to buy a deal from the box store

Tankless will be cost prohibitive for retro- IMO

Why 60 gal?
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:19 PM   #9
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Thermocouple


Tankless water heaters are only worth it if you can install it yourself.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:27 AM   #10
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Thermocouple


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AO Smith are one of the preferred brands of plumbers- also Rheam.

Avoid the temptation to buy a deal from the box store

Tankless will be cost prohibitive for retro- IMO

Why 60 gal?
Good question. For some reason I thought it was a 60 gallon. Not even close as it is a 40. And I'm pretty lucky the wife works at Ferguson and can nail down a pretty good deal on an AO Smith water heater so I will be replacing within the next few days.

Thanks to all who responded.

Leroy
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:50 AM   #11
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Thermocouple


Well guys, replaced the the 40 gallon with a 50 gallon AO Smith. All went pretty smooth. Went back downstairs the other day just to double check how things were holding up. Felt the hot line out and it was pretty warm. Checked the cold side coming in.......felt pretty warm. Is this normal? Seems really odd to me. Did I forget something in the install? If I need, I can post pics later when I get home.
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:25 AM   #12
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Thermocouple


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Originally Posted by lk00331 View Post
Well guys, replaced the the 40 gallon with a 50 gallon AO Smith. All went pretty smooth. Went back downstairs the other day just to double check how things were holding up. Felt the hot line out and it was pretty warm. Checked the cold side coming in.......felt pretty warm. Is this normal? Seems really odd to me. Did I forget something in the install? If I need, I can post pics later when I get home.
Probably normal. As pressure in the tank rises, some water will move a little ways up the supply line to equalize. Also metal pipes will conduct heat pretty well.

Just a couple of questions for you. How far from the tank did you make your observation? What was the piping material? When you ran hot water in a fixture, did the supply pipe cool down?

Post a couple pics when you can. Thanks.

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Old 07-16-2013, 10:33 AM   #13
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Thermocouple


It was quite a way up the line or seemed to me at about 3 feet or so. When I ran the new lines (copper) I sweat in a shutoff (which wasnt there before) and a 3/4" male adapter after that. From there i just ran a flexible line to the dielectric nipples (easiest way cause I am kinda strapped for time with three girls, a wife, work and school).

I will post some pics of my work when I get home.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lk00331 View Post
It was quite a way up the line or seemed to me at about 3 feet or so. When I ran the new lines (copper) I sweat in a shutoff (which wasnt there before) and a 3/4" male adapter after that. From there i just ran a flexible line to the dielectric nipples (easiest way cause I am kinda strapped for time with three girls, a wife, work and school).

I will post some pics of my work when I get home.
When you ran hot water in a fixture, did the supply line cool down?

Was an expansion tank or backflow preventer installed? Please post some pics of the new tank install when you get a chance so we can better assist you. Thanks.

Last edited by jmon; 07-16-2013 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:54 AM   #15
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Thermocouple


Yeah, I will post some pics when I get home. Unless the backflow preventer was inside the dielectric nipple then no i did not install one, which I cant imagine is too difficult of a task. I didnt install an expansion tank either. Some swear by them and others say they are not necessary so I was on the fence and needed to get this installed as going down to light the pilot light every 30 min so we had warm water was becoming quite irritating. If an expansion tank is necessary, I will add one as well. I'll get some pics up around 6.

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