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How Does A Thermocouple Work On A Patio Heater

How Does The Thermocouple Work

Patio Heater Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit – DIY Thermocouple Cleaning

The thermocouple is a safety device in the gas-powered patio heater. It is connected to the electromagnetic switch through the tilt switch to ensure safety.;

The tilt switch is for safety if the patio heater flip over. The electromagnetic safety valve is there to prevent gas flow just in case the pilot light goes out.

If you look at the top of the image you see a part of the thermocouple in the pilot fire. The other part is connected to the electromagnetic valve through the tilt switch.;

When the fire heat up the thermocouple it creates an electromagnetic field in the electromagnetic valve.;


When the reset button is pressed the electromagnetic field pull back the spring which creates a gateway for the gas to flow through. At this time the heater will start producing heat.

The tilt switch is another safety mechanism which blocks the current flow if the tilt switch is tilted.;

Installing The New Thermocouple

Take the new thermocouple and connect the connectors to the tilt switch. Connect the other end to the gas valve. Use an 8mm wrench to tighten this connection. Run the thermocouple and wires back through the box housing.;

Essentially putting it back in the reverse way as the old thermocouple was removed. Insert it through the hole at the front, reconnect the housing, and tighten the bolt around the new thermocouple.

How Do You Know If You Have A Bad Thermocouple

After performing a test with the multimeter, a reading of below 25 millimeters indicates that you need a new thermocouple. You can also tell if the thermocouple is bad if the heater will not ignite.;


If the pilot light is not staying lit, the thermocouple is likely to blame. If the pilot flame is lit but very small, you may only have a small obstruction in the pilot tube.

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Now About Carbon & Corrosion

As Patio Heaters age, the Propane can begin to form a layer of Carbon around and or in the orifice. A simple solution is to use a toothpick to make sure you bore out the orifice to its unclogged state, and also use light sandpaper to sand off the outer coat of Carbon. This can clear things up considerably.

****Keep in mind were assuming youve checked to ensure your Propane Tank is on, and that it has gas.

Sometimes there is air in the gas line which is blocking propane from getting to the heater head unit. The solution for this is to purge the gas line. Open the gas line by turning the knob on the propane tank to fully open. Then depress the control knob for two to three minutes. Make sure all gas has cleared before attempted to ignite the patio heater.


How To Clean A Patio Heater Thermocouple

How Does A Thermocouple Work On A Patio Heater  Fun In ...

To clean the thermocouple on your propane heater, youll need the following items:

  • Steel wool
  • Pencil erase
  • Screwdriver;

Once you have the tools, clean the thermocouple on your patio heater by following these steps:

  • First and foremost, you must turn off the heaters fuel source.
  • After that, youll be able to find the thermocouple. Take a look at the owners manual for your patio heater to figure out where the thermocouple is located.
  • Now you must unscrew the screws around the thermostat with a screwdriver.
  • The thermocouple can be removed after all screws have been removed. It is simple to pull it out of the pilot assembly.
  • Take a dry sponge or steel wool at this point.
  • Steel wool can be used to gently rub the thermocouple. If youre going to use a dry sponge, make sure youre utilizing the abrasive side. Otherwise, you will be unable to successfully complete the cleaning process.
  • Continue cleaning until all dirt in the thermocouple has been removed.
  • Now you can start cleaning areas between the threads of the thermocouple screw with the pencil eraser. The thermocouple is connected to the patio heater at these points.
  • You can reattach the thermocouple within your patio heater now. After that, you may test the functionality of your patio heater to verify if it is working properly.

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    Meaning Calibrations And Designs

    Though they may be tiny electrical devices, thermocouples are one of the most crucial patio heater parts.


    If you dont know where to look for patio heater thermocouples, check around your heaters flame. They have copper casings that you can sport effortlessly.

    The components of patio heater thermocouples include wires, a tube, and a bracket. The tube is above the bracket. Under the bracket are copper lead wires which connect to the gas valve. A nut binds the wires and a bracket together. However, designs may vary slightly.

    A wires diameter determines its temperature range. Each calibration has a unique temperature range.

    Typically used thermocouples are the base metal thermocouples. Its categories are E, J, K, T, and N. Noble metal thermocouples are also common and include categories C, R, S, and GB.

    How Do You Clean A Thermocouple On A Propane Heater

    The items youll need to clean the thermocouple of your propane heater include:


    Here is the procedure for cleaning thermocouples:

    • Cut out the fuel supply of your propane heater.
    • Use your screwdriver to loosen the screws on the thermocouple.
    • Remove it from the pilot assembly.
    • Gently rub it with your steel wool or the rougher side of your sponge.
    • Rub until you remove all the soot on its surface.
    • Clean the threads of its attachment screw using your pencil eraser.
    • Once your unit is clean, put it back on the pilot assembly.

    Safety tip dont use cleaning products on thermocouples as some may contain flammable materials.

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    The Pilot Wont Light Or Stay Lit

    If the spark igniter produces a spark but the pilot wont light or stay lit, a clog in the gas supply line to the pilot could be to blame. The pilot feed tube located on the ignition assembly and attached to a small brass fitting connects the pilot tubes supply line to the heaters main gas line. Often, one or both of these components becomes clogged with insects, carbon deposits or accumulated dust and debris.

    To unclog the line, start by removing the emitter screen with a screwdriver to expose the ignition assembly. Grab a small wrench and loosen the orifice from the gas line. Use a toothpick, needle or compressed air to remove the blockage from the pilot tube and orifice, then reconnect the orifice to the gas line. Finally, reattach the screen.


    How To Bypass The Thermocouple

    Bypass thermocoupler on an outdoor patio heater

    Here it is, lets get started, first of all, you got to pull off the cover over the assembly to access everything.;

    okay now, up over in here youre gonna see the thermocouple, the main igniter wire and the tube that gives propane.;

    When you turn the know on the pilot and depress the knob, what happens is the thermocouple gets warm and produces a small amount of electricity. That electricity comes through into this tilt switch. The tilt switch has a little ball rolling around in it.;

    If the ball is right where it is supposed to be, it is not tipping over, it will send power through to the back of the valve with a little electromagnet inside it.

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    Removing The Old Thermocouple

    You will see that everything is connected so that the igniter and thermocouple are held into place. This ignition assembly can be loosened by unscrewing one screw.;

    Unscrew the box housing at the back of the thermocouple and slide it back. Loosen the nut that holds the thermocouple in place with a pair of pliers. Then you can pull the wire connectors loose with your hand.

    The Burner Goes Out After A Few Minutes

    The thermocouple of a gas patio heater is a safety component designed to prevent gas leaks when the pilot goes out. Its a copper rod that sits next to the pilot tube on the other side of the spark igniter; it allows gas to flow through the pilot tube when it detects heat from the pilot light.

    If the thermocouple is too far away from the pilot tube, it cant detect the heat and will restrict the gas supply. Free-standing portable units are most prone to this malfunction because the thermocouple may be bumped or wiggle out of place while the heater is being moved.

    To fix a thermocouple thats too far from the pilot light, remove the emitter screen to expose the ignition housing. After locating the thermocouple, use pliers to gently squeeze the thermocouple and pilot tube closer together. Reattach the screen.

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    How To Clean Patio Heater Thermocouple

    Regularly cleaning your heater and thermocouple is the best way to ensure it lasts longer. Keeping it clean will help it to light and stay that way.;

    Winds can blow debris into the heater and rainwater can wash out the fire. When possible keep the patio heater under a canopy or out of the elements when not in use.

    Common Outdoor Patio Heater Problems And Parts Selection

    Cleaning Thermocouple & Pilot Tube on a Patio Heater

    It is fast becoming winter, and its time to get out the patio heaters, dust them off, and turn them on for patio heating comfort well into the evening hours. Hopefully, you had covers on your outdoor patio heaters during the summer months to protect your units from needing yearly service. The insulated canvas is great for keeping dust, insects, and varmints out. However, most outdoor natural gas and propane heaters will still need some parts replaced to keep them burning hot, efficient, and clean.

    Each patio heating season, the consistent use of your units in cooler evenings can wear out the igniters, switches, valves, and regulators. Thankfully, you have a resource full of patio heater partsto keep your units running strong year after year.

    Dust accumulation is common with outdoor natural gas heaters along with spiders and smog because they can;clog and narrow the pilot flame that heats the thermocouple. The thermocouple is what signals the gas valve to open and deliver gas to the burner. If these ports are restricted in any way, the outdoor patio heaters will not have a strong pilot, and in some cases, may not even have a pilot at all. This means your unit will not turn on or will struggle to turn on.

    We have a very thorough selection of patio heater parts and vast knowledge of outdoor patio heater repairs and annual service. We can help you with virtually every service need.

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    Starting Problems Or Decreased Heat Production

    Dust, grime, and debris collect on outdoor furniture and fixtures. When these elements build up on the gas or electric heating element of a patio heater, the heater may have trouble starting or producing enough heat. If your patio heater is having these problems, a simple cleaning may be all that is needed.

    Remove the emitter screen to expose the burner or heating elements so they may be cleaned. Because things should be kept dry, dust and filth should be blown away with compressed air rather than a damp towel.

    Reassemble the screen. Remove the emitter screen and clean the individual ports of a gas burner with a pipe cleaner or straw brush to remove dirt and debris. Reattach the screen after it has been cleaned.

    Where Are Thermocouples Used On Heating Equipment

    Thermocouples are used as safety devices that will shut off equipment by shutting down the LP or natural gas fuel supply on some gas-fired heating equipment such as gas fired furnaces, gas fired heating boilers, and gas fired water heaters.

    Typically the thermocouple sensor is mounted right in the flame of the pilot light on gas fired heating equipment.

    Our photo shows how you may spot the copper tubing of the thermocouple extending between its sensor at the pilot flame of a gas burning furnace and its connection to the gas control valve.

    The thermocouple on gas fired heating appliances is mounted to sense the presence of a gas flame or gas pilot flame. The other end of the thermocouple’s tubing connects to a port on the gas regulator or gas valve

    But not all of these systems use a thermocouple. Some gas fired heating equipment relies on an electronic ignition to ignite the flame. Those devices generally will not use a thermocouple.

    If a thermocouple is used;you’ll see a small copper tube connecting the flame sensor to the valve.The thermocouple and safety shutoff do double duty, since on burners that use a pilot flame the thermocouple senses the pilot flame and won’t permit the gas valve to open if the pilot is not lit.

    A bad thermocouple itself can prevent a gas furnace or boiler from working – if you can light the flame at the pilot manually but then the flame goes out when you release the manual gas feed valve, the thermocouple is probably bad.

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    Loose Connections And Fittings

    Loose fittings and connections may be the cause of problems with your propane heater. Typically a loose connection can be detected by smell, however being an outdoor heater the breeze may be taking the odor away? There is a simple fast easy check for this possible problem in the solution below!

    Solution for Loose Connections

    You should examine the regulator and ensure it is connected tightly to the propane tank. Check the fittings as well.

    The advisable and most recommended way is to use soapy water mix and dowse the connection area the presence of bubbles indicates there is a leak.

    I like using a spray bottle, you can reuse any spray bottle, but it is nice to have a go-to soapy water bottle for all your household needs. Like, slow leaks in your tires, and other appliances. Here are some spray bottles for your special solutions available on Amazon, Spray Bottles

    Get Rid Of The Spring In The Electromagnet Valve

    How To Repair A Propane Patio Heater

    Im gonna show you how to disable it. Okay, so first things first you gotta unscrew the screws that keep it together.;

    When you press the knob a piece of metal goes all the way through and presses the spring mechanism.;;

    If you bypass this whole spring and valve mechanism then what happens is that the gas bypasses the whole thing and goes through to the jet.;

    So if you want to bypass the thermocouple you have to get rid of the spring mechanism. You can bypass the spring mechanism by simply using a screwdriver to pop out the little e-clip and take the valve off and problem solved.;

    Pull off the spring and throw that in the trash. Replace the casing of the valve, make sure you line up everything so it doesnt leak propane all over.

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    Reply: Checklist For Thermocouple Problems

    Bruce, Check for these other causes of loss of the gas pilot flame

    • Thermocouple sensor tip not properly mounted, secured in the flame path
    • Thermocouple’s indicating end not fully secured into the gas valve.
    • A bad replacement thermocouple or thermocouple tubing that was bent, kinked, damaged during installation
    • Thermocouple not properly connected at the control, e.g. the sensor connector not fully screwed-in
    • Sudden drafts. We often find this problem in southern climates where heating equipment may be installed outdoors or in a shelter exposed to wind.
    • Low gas pressure, weak flame
    • Inadequate combustion air – very dangerous, can be fatal
    • Dirt on the equipment burner, thermocouple, connections, wiring
    • Dirt or debris or insects clogging the pilot orifice or pilot light gas tube
    • Symptoms of Bad thermocouple or dirty thermistor on gas fired equipment: Short cycling or unexplained on-off cycling of heating equipment has also been traced to a dirty or failing thermocouple .
    • A less likely problem is a failed gas control valve.
    • Something else we haven’t thought of

    What if there is NO Constant-On Pilot Light? Direct-Ignition Gas Fired Heaters

    Many modern gas fired heating appliances, boilers, furnaces, water heaters, use an electronic ignition or spark to light the pilot.

    On these appliances there may still be a thermocouple to confirm that there is a good gas flame when the burner is on – since we don’t want to continue supplying gas if there is no flame .

    Ultimate Patio Heater Thermocouple Guide: How

  • Last words
  • Have you suddenly noticed that your patio heater isnt operating as well as it used to? Faulty thermocouples are one of the most common causes of malfunction. This is a safety feature that ensures the pilot light is turned on.

    Well go over patio heater thermocouples in detail in our troubleshooting guide, including where to check for them. When the thermocouples in your patio heater arent working properly, well let you know. Well also show you how to clean them and how to bypass the thermocouples on patio heaters.

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    Where Is The Thermocouple Located

    How Does a Patio Heater Work

    If youre not sure where to look for thermocouples for your patio heater, look around the flame. You can easily see these because they have copper casings. Patio heater thermocouples are made consisting of wires, a tube, and a bracket. The tube extends beyond the bracket. Copper lead wires connect to the gas valve under the bracket. The wires and a bracket are held together by a nut. The designs, however, may differ slightly.

    The temperature range of a wire is determined by its diameter. The temperature range for each calibration is different. The base metal thermocouples are the most often used thermocouples. E, J, K, T, and N are the different categories. Noble metal thermocouples, such as types C, R, S, and GB, are also widespread.

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