The sensor is in a well. It just screws/threads into the PVC the water travels through. Just screw the well out and screw another one in. The grease is probably a heat sink compound for better heat transfer for the sensor.
The sensor is inserted into 2in schedule 40 PVC pipe
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The sensor is not that big. If you took a 2" pvc pipe and glued a 1" female threaded nipple to it, you could then install a smaller say 1/2" pipe ( plug at the end and threaded at the other ) into that female nipple. Does that make any sense ? Then you would insert the sensor into that 1/2" pipe or so called ( well )
it looks as if someone drilled and tapped 2" pvc tee and inserted a well into those threads. Drain down system unscrew old well insert new or reuse old with teflon tape and pipe dope. Insert sensor with heat transfer. Fill back up
The grease is just a packing inside the well, that is holding the thermal to the inside wall of the well. so as to get its best temperature reading as the water inside the pipe flows across the inside of the well. the grease is not actually inside the pipe where water is flowing, its just inside the well portion where the thermometer (temp sensing unit) is located.
sorry thats the best i can explain it, it was a topic we covered in our Automatic controls module.