If your furnace stops working, the wet and chilly winter of Glen Allen, VA, can become very uncomfortable. The thermocouple to blame. Here is a brief overview of the thermocouple and potential signs of a faulty device.

What Is a Thermocouple?

A thermocouple is a component alongside the pilot of a furnace, which makes the gas valve open or close. It sends a tiny electric current to the sensor located on the gas valve, signaling the valve to open and shut. If the valve is open, the pilot will stay lit.

If you’re facing a problem keeping the pilot lit, it’s probably the thermocouple. A faulty thermocouple can often keep the gas valve open without igniting the burner. In this case, the toxic carbon monoxide gas can leak, causing a dangerous situation.

How a Thermocouple Looks

A thermocouple is a small tube-like device. The unit consists of a tube, a bracket, and a wire. It connects to the metal wire, making it easier to detect.

Signs of a Faulty Thermocouple

If you don’t see a flame after turning on the furnace, don’t start blaming the thermocouple without inspecting possible signs of wear. Before calling an HVAC technician, look for the following signs indicating a faulty thermocouple:

  • A discolored or a cracked tube is a sign of a faulty unit. Such problems require expert help.
  • Check the metal wires attached to the thermocouple to check if you can detect a bare wire or a missing connection.
  • A malfunctioning connector can also cause the thermocouple to stop working.

A thermocouple is a very sensitive device that can easily break. You shouldn’t handle it yourself. After the inspection, call an HVAC service provider to fix the problem.

If you need help with your furnace, contact us for advice. Since 1989, we’ve been providing top-quality service in Glen Allen and its surroundings. You may call Foster Plumping & Heating for any kind of HVAC service.

Image provided by iStock

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