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I almost always test them. Get two sets of jumper wires with alligator clips on each end. I disconnect the thermocouple then alligator clip the end of the thermocouple-the part that screws in the gas valve- and alligator clip to the copper wire or outside of the thermocouple wire. connect to volt meter, lite pilot and watch the voltmeter. easy as that.
old water heaters I may just replace the thermocouple but flammable vapor units are worth testing because of the extra work to replace.