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A thermocouple is a bi-metallic junction that when heated gives an small electric output. The tip of it sits where the pilot light is ( and it is a copper tube going to the gas valve) and the pilot light heats it up. It creates electricity after it heats up (which is why you have to hold the pilot light knob down when lighting) and opens the gas valve to keep pilot light lit after you let the pilot knob go back up. When it stays lit without having to hold it down, (make sure the thermostat is set low so it doesn't light the burner while you have your hand down there) then you turn the pilot knob to on. It should stay on and you can set the furnace to heat and raise the temperature where you want.
does the pilot go out when you let off the button? Or does the pilot not light at all?
If you dont get any gas at all to the pilot the the gas valve is bad. Of you get a pilot light that goes out when you let go of the button then the therno couple is not reading the flame (needs adjustment so the pilot flame touches it) did you kink the new thermocouple? or over tighten it at the gas valve. if it was kinked its now toast,cant straighten them. If kinked and starightened the fluid inside has broken the inner seal and wont work.
if it is direct vent chances are it has electronic pilot.. it does not have a standing pilo and match size upt. if in fact it did have a buning pilot there is a part called thermocoupling. it will look like a 1/8 in. copper wire coming out of the bottom of the gas valve and goes right to the pilot. anywhere from 10 in. to 20in.. unscreew nut at gas valve pull out from pilot area [ it just clips in at pilot] take it to any home center
You need to replace the thermocouple. When you light the pilot it is supose to heat the thermocouple. the thermocouple produces a small electric current which allows the gas valve to open and keep the pilot going. and allowing the main burner to come on.
if your hot water heater is electric there is no open flame or pilot light. They have electric heating coils,normally they are 220 volts.Follow the metal conduit up and back to the box check the breakers there will be two of them in for the hot water heater if it is 220 there will be only one fuse/breaker if it is 110. Check to see that they are on.
are you holding button down long enough for thermal coupler to warm up? after pilot lights up, don't immediately let go of button for about 15 to 20 seconds then let go and pilot should stay on. If not, you may need a new thermal coupler for that water heater
Pilot lighted furnaces have a thermocouple made from disasimilar metals that when heated create electricity to actuate a relay that alows the gas to flow to the furnace.
When the thermocouple gets coated with carbon from the pilot lights constant burning it acts as an insulator and keeps the thermocouple from getting enough heat to generate electricity, a very good safety factor.
What you have to do is locate the thermocouple it should be located over the pilot light, you will see a gray substance around the thermocouple it will be hard like cement, take a knife and scrape away as much of the gray material as possible then sand the themocouple with a medium sandpaper until it shines, use one of you wifes emery boards, this should solve your problem.
There is a small probe that is heated by the pilot flame. This is called a thermocouple & keeps the gas valve open by generating a small electric current. Most likely the pilot flame is too small, or not heating the thermocouple properly. Either turn the pilot up a bit, or gently bent the thermocouple bracket to put it in the flame a bit more. Do not try to bend the thermocouple itself. If this does not help, a new thermocouple may be needed.