In today’s modern world, we’re used to getting exactly what we need at the push of a button, the turn of a dial, or a “Hey, Alexa…” So when your stove won’t instantly light, it’s incredibly frustrating. Not to mention, the build-up of gas that eventually ignites can actually be unsafe and even startling.
Luckily, learning how to fix a gas stove that won’t light isn’t very difficult in most cases. In fact, only a few potential scenarios could have caused the problem. This guide will walk you through the possibilities, helping DIYers pinpoint their issues, make repairs, and decide when to call a pro.
One of the most common scenarios is that there is a spark without any gas. When this is the case, the cause is usually a clogged gas orifice. This occurs when food boils over a pot and soaks the burner, and once the food cools and hardens, it blocks the orifice. This is one of the easiest repairs to do. First, check that the gas valve is open (the valve should be in line with the pipe). If the valve is open, try the following technique:
You will need:
Start by removing the grate from the stove, then remove the burner cap from the burner head (the cover between the burner and the flame). Next, remove the burner head—screws sometimes hold in these, so you may need a screwdriver.
Once everything is off, use a sponge, warm water, and mild detergent to clean the burner cap and head thoroughly. Dry thoroughly with a microfiber towel.
In the recess where the burner head sat, there will be a bronze fitting with a hole in the middle. This is the gas orifice, and it’s what is most likely clogged. To fix this, unfold a paper clip or take a needle or pin, push it into the hole, and twist or spin it around in the orifice. This will break down the gunk or food in the gas orifice, allowing gas to flow again. Just reassemble the burners and test light the burner.
Another possible scenario is that there is gas coming from the burner but no spark. How it works is that sparks will come from the igniter, which is a small, white cylinder with a metal contact protruding from the top. An electrical pulse jumps from the contact to the burner, igniting the gas. The way to test for this issue is to turn off all the lights in the kitchen and attempt to light the stove.
You want to see a spark that’s cool white or blue. If it’s yellow or orange, it’s time to address the igniter. Here’s how to do it:
You will need:
First, check that the stove is plugged into the wall and that the breaker is not tripped. Next, remove the grates, burner cap, and then the burner head, using a screwdriver if needed. Flip the burner head upside-down to check the connection between the wires and the igniter. If there is a lot of corrosion on the igniter, it may be time to replace it. Otherwise, attempt to snug the wired plug connection to the ignitor by pushing the two together by hand before replacing the burner head, cap, and grate.
If the connection is solid, attempt to clean the igniter’s contact. Start by removing the grates and burner cap. This should expose the igniter. Dab a bit of rubbing alcohol on the cloth and then gently wipe the igniter with it. Reassemble the burner and attempt to start the stove.
First, unplug the stove from the wall outlet. Next, remove the grates, burner cap, and burner head from the stove (using a screwdriver if needed). Remove the wires from the bottom of the burner and tape them to the stove surface so they don’t fall in. Clean the burner head and cap with a small amount of detergent and dampened sponge.
To replace the igniter, remove the screw holding the igniter into the burner head. Place the new igniter into the burner head and tighten the screw. Next, plug the wires back into the contact underneath the burner head, and fasten it back in place on the stovetop. Test the stove to see if it lights.
Unfortunately, when the stove has gas and the igniter is new, clean, and should otherwise be working but doesn’t, the issue may require a professional’s expertise. If that’s the case, the professional may need to disassemble the stove, replace the igniter module, wiring harness, and individual igniters. This requires specific parts and a bit of experience, so it’s best left to experts.
Also, if the gas valve is clearly on, and the gas orifice has been cleaned, call a pro. A blockage in the gas line may prevent gas from flowing. It’s important that any repairs are done safely, or they could lead to leaks or dangerous conditions, so calling a professional is recommended.