There are entire websites and Pinterest boards dedicated to stove humor. However, we know a stove burned that won’t light is no laughing matter. Like the other appliances in the kitchen, the stove is a useful tool, but it is also one that is necessary. In the United States, nearly 40 percent of people claim to cook at home three to five times a week1. Your family’s three squares-a-day depends on whether or not the stove burners light.
You use your stove almost every day and there’s never a worst time to learn that the stove burner won’t light, except perhaps on Thanksgiving. Since stranger things have happened, it pays to know how to trouble shoot the problem.
Clean burners work better than dirty ones. A grimy burner cap can inhibit your stove’s functionality. The burner may not light in such a case, but cleaning is an easy fix. Turn off the burners. Remove the burner caps and heads to clean with water and mild detergent. The small holes in the burner head may be clogged with leftover food particles and grease. A soft bristle brush combined with the water and detergent should be sufficient for cleaning. Thoroughly dry the area with a soft cloth or if you prefer, wait until the burner caps and heads air dry. Once dry, replace the burner, being careful to positioned correctly. Do not completely cover the igniter. The burners should light.
A stove burner that won’t light might be attributed to a malfunctioning electrode, which, similar to a spark plug in your car, is responsible for ignition/sparking the gas that is delivered through the system in low loads. A properly functioning electrode is constantly sending out sparks to the gas that crosses its path. It triggers a spark, or should, every two to four seconds before shutting off when the pilot light ignites. The electrode may need to be replaced if it is failing to spark in a continuous fashion. Replacing an electrode isn’t a job for the average homeowner/DIYer. It’s best to call a professional to complete the job and to ensure that the oven will safely operate when the electrode is replaced.
Looks can be Deceiving
It’s the tell-tale sign of a gas flame that makes us believe the stove is working correctly, but don’t let the warm glow of the stove’s igniter deceive you. The igniter (not to be confused with an electrode that sparks the gas), glows as heat is drawn into it via electric current. Its purpose is to heat sufficiently to create a reaction inside the safety valve, that allow the valve to open and safely release gas to be ignited. A glowing igniter is not a sign that the stove is working properly. However, there may be a connection between the igniter and why the burners won’t light. The culprit causing the problem could be dirt in the igniter. Cleaning the igniter would be a simple process, however, it requires disconnecting the stove from the gas supply. Seek help from a professional if you are uncomfortable with disconnecting the gas yourself.
Once the gas is disconnected from the stove, dirt lodged in the holes of the igniter can be addressed. A needle from your sewing kit is all you need. A small needle can be used to clean out the holes. If after cleaning the burners still won’t light, the igniter might need to be replaced.
Replacing appliances or even the elements of appliances can be costly. A home warranty plan offered by FPL Home* can help to reduce costs when a major appliance breaks down due to normal wear and tear. To learn more, call 844-965-1133.
*FPL Home is an unregulated subsidiary of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). The home warranty plans are offered and administered by FPL Home, Florida license #E099597, and not FPL, and are provided by Lyndon Southern Insurance Company (FL Lic. No.: FL-03698). The home warranty plans are service plans and not warranties. Please refer to the full home warranty plan provisions for complete information including details of benefits, coverage, specific exclusions, arbitration provisions, class action waivers, conditions and limitations.
** Appliances Warranty Plus and Home Warranty Plus are brand names of the service plans and are not warranties.