I have a 10 year old Whirlpool 50 gallon gas water heater and the pilot won't stay on. I can light the pilot after several attempts, then heat the tank. But after the burner goes out, eventually the pilot goes out. A local plumber told me over the phone it probably needs a new thermocouple. Sounds like a probable solution. Is this the most likely problem? There is a panel on the lower front of the unit held on by 2 screws. Through that panel go 4 things - 2 gas lines (one flexible and one solid - one for the burner and one for the pilot?), copper thermocouple line and orange pilot sparker wire. The pilot light sight glass is also in the panel. Can the 2 gas lines be disconnected and this door removed to replace that TC?
This may be solved by tomorrow. I called Whirlpool because it has a 12yr warranty and the heater is 10yr old. They are overnighting me a free thermocouple/burner retrofit kit. Install instructions online look pretty easy.