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What Are The Most Common Gas Range Igniter Problems?

Benjamin Adams  |  September 13, 2019  |  7 Min. Read

Gas Ranges  |  Pro Appliance Tips

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Imagine you are cooking your family Thanksgiving dinner. You turn on your stovetop to then discover two of your burners are not working.

It’s not the time for an ignition issue.

Unfortunately, broken or malfunctioning gas range igniters are the second most frequent repair call in the appliance industry. 

In this article, you’ll learn about the most common gas igniter problems, why they happen, and how to prevent them.

Before you buy any gas range, you should know how to maintain your range proactively, so Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t become a mad scramble.

Pro Tip: Before any holiday, use your self-cleaning mode and check every burner by turning them on. You don’t want to call for repair the day before Thanksgiving.

We do not recommend that you attempt to replace spark igniters, switches, or modules yourself.

What Are The Most Common Gas Range Igniter Problems?

The most common issue with gas burners is trouble getting the spark to ignite the gas.

The issue can usually be attributed to a dirty igniter electrode, burner orifice, or porthole caused by a spill and general uncleanliness.

Last year, we serviced 14.3% of gas ranges. Most service calls were due to failed igniters. 

Most Reliable Freestanding Gas Ranges

  Service Qty Shipped Qty Service Ratio
Whirlpool 13 465 2.80 %
Signature Kitchen Suite 1 28 3.57 %
Amana 2 46 4.35 %
Samsung 52 944 5.51 %
LG Electronics 3 51 5.88 %
Premier 9 52 17.31 %
Bosch Appliances 44 227 19.38 %
Kitchenaid 65 311 20.90 %
Bosch - Benchmark 10 35 28.57 %
Jenn-Air 134 418 32.06 %
BlueStar 13 30 43.33 %
Blomberg 19 25 76.00 %
Grand Total 383 2678 14.30 %

Most Reliable Professional Ranges

  Service Qty Shipped Qty Service Ratio
Samsung Chef Collection 0 1 0.00 %
Fisher & Paykel 2 10 20.00 %
Bertazzoni 3 14 21.43 %
Thermador 85 346 24.57 %
Jenn-Air 36 138 26.09 %
Wolf 75 278 26.98 %
Miele 10 20 50.00 %
La Cornue 1 2 50.00 %
BlueStar 20 36 55.56 %
Grand Total 232 845 27.46 %

Most Reliable Dual Fuel Professional Ranges

  Service Qty Shipped Qty Service Ratio
Jenn-Air 17 57 29.82 %
Wolf 70 215 32.56 %
Miele 11 31 35.48 %
Fisher & Paykel 3 8 37.50 %
La Cornue 12 24 50.00 %
Thermador 54 108 50.00 %
Grand Total 194 573 33.86 %

Below are the most common gas range igniter problems we see in the appliance industry.

Igniter Won’t Light

Spark Igniter Elecrode

Gas Range Spark Igniter Electrode 

A burner with a spark ignition may have trouble igniting after being cleaned, as left-over moisture may be on the igniter electrode.

If the spark igniter electrode has been moved out of its position, it also may not ignite the incoming gas and click continuously.

This can also happen if the burner cap or base is not in the correct position with the porthole facing the igniter electrode.

The gap between the igniter electrode and burner base should be about the thickness of two dimes.

If the burner is in the correct position, but the gas is still not igniting, check to make sure the porthole is clear by inserting a needle into the hole.

If the spark igniter lights the burner but does not stop clicking, the igniter electrode is likely dirty, and the metal rod of the electrode should be scrubbed clean.

We recommend using sandpaper or a fine steel brush to clean the electrode.

Spillovers can cause the igniter to develop a barely visible film on the metal of the electrode. It may still allow the burner to ignite, but not be able to sense that the flame is lit to stop the sparking.

For reference, here is a video of a functioning gas range igniter and electrode in slow motion.

Fully Functioning Direct Spark Ignition In Slow Motion [VIDEO] 

 

Igniter Constantly Clicks

After being scrubbed clean, if the spark igniter is still clicking continuously, the electrical polarity at the outlet may be reversed, or the outlet may not be grounded; this would likely only be the case if the range is newly installed.

Ceramic Base Is Broken

A spark igniter electrode is made of metal, but the base of the igniter is ceramic. This ceramic base can withstand the high temperatures put out by the burners.

However, the ceramic is fragile and can be broken by a pot or surface grate. If you break the ceramic, you will have to replace the igniter.

Burner Color Changes

A properly operating spark igniter will produce about three to five blue sparks per second while igniting. If the sparks are very light in color, almost white, the igniter electrode may be weakened and will likely need to be replaced.

Short on time? Get our free Gas Cooking Buying GuideLearn More

Igniter Sparks Erratically

If the igniter is sparking slowly, there may be a wiring issue. Erratic sparking usually indicates a bad spark module.

However, cleaning the igniter electrode should always be the first course of action.

If you are getting no spark at the igniter, check the power going to the unit, it may be disconnected. This could also be the result of a bad spark module.

How To Prevent Gas Range Igniter Problems

Chances are, you will have an igniter issue at some point during the lifespan of your gas range.

The best prevention for igniter issues is to keep all parts of the igniter and burner clean.

What About My Gas Range Oven Igniters?

There is not much maintenance that can be done on the oven igniters of your range without having an experienced technician performing the service.

In most gas ovens, the bake igniter and gas orifices are hidden and not easily accessed.

The broil igniter may be exposed in the oven; these can be cleaned with sandpaper or a fine steel brush just like the cooktop igniters.

To keep the igniters and orifices clean in the oven, use the self-clean function if available.

Safety Disclaimer

Whenever performing any maintenance or cleaning on your range, be sure that the range is powered off and the gas is not flowing.

It is a good idea to disconnect the range’s power at the circuit breaker.

Yale does not recommend that our customers attempt to replace spark igniters, switches, or modules themselves.

This service should be performed by an experienced technician. Service performed by an unauthorized individual may void any manufacturer/servicer warranty.

Always read reviews before calling any repair agency.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What Are The Different Types Of Gas Range Ignition Systems?

Modern residential gas ranges are fueled by either liquid propane or natural gas. With either fuel, an igniter is needed to create the flames at the burner. Over the years, there have been several types of igniters used in ranges, such as standing pilots and glow bars.

Now, almost all modern ranges utilize direct spark ignition. Some gas ovens still use glow bars for the bake and broil burners but will ignite the surface burners with direct spark ignition.

In a direct spark ignition system, a temperature control opens the gas valve of the range while simultaneously sending an electrical current to a spark module. This spark module produces a spark at the burner to ignite the incoming gas.

2. What Are The Most Reliable Gas Range Brands?

The most reliable freestanding gas range brands are Whirlpool, Signature Kitchen Suite (SKS), Amana, Samsung, LG, Premier, and Bosch.  

  1. Whirlpool: 2.8%
  2. SKS: 3.57%
  3. Amana: 4.35%
  4. Samsung: 5.51%
  5. LG: 5.88%
  6. Premier: 17.31
  7. Bosch: 19.38%

Our repair rates are based on the number of ranges we serviced divided by the number of ranges we sold in 2018. 

You can read more about our most reliable freestanding gas ranges by clicking here.

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about the latest gas ranges and technology? Read the Yale Gas Range Buying Guide with features, specs and detailed profiles of every major brand. Well over 580,000 people have downloaded a Yale Guide.

View our gas cooking buying guide

Related Articles:

WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Benjamin Adams

Benjamin Adams is a customer service representative at Yale Appliance and Lighting. Ben has years of experience in the appliance and HVAC fields. When he is not providing support to our customers and technicians, he can be found chasing snow storms and skiing the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire. Ben has studied journalism at UMass Amherst and combines his writing skills with appliance knowledge to author helpful blogs for the Yale website.

A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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