Stove Top Burner Problems


No matter what type of stove you have, there are some problems that can crop up from time to time. They may be easy to fix, or you may need to call a service person. For some of the possible problems, there may be something you can do to lessen the chance of them happening at all.

Types of Stove Tops

  • Stove tops come in two common types: electric and gas. Electric stoves have burners heated with a coiled heating element called a calrod unit, though some older electric stoves may have a smooth top for easy cleaning. Stoves can be built into the same unit with an oven, a unit called a range. Or they may be built to be installed directly into an opening in the counter top. Both kinds can be fueled by gas or electricity.

Problems With Electric Stoves

  • Electric stoves won't work if the electricity is interrupted, either by a power outage or a circuit breaker. Electric stove elements can burn out, and each element also has a switch that can break. An electric burner can also be damaged on the surface by a substance being spilled or melted on it.

Problems With Gas Stoves

  • Anything that keeps the gas from flowing to the burner will cause it not to light, or light poorly. This could be an obstruction in the gas line or in the top of the burner. A problem with the igniter can also cause the burner not to light. If you have a propane stove, you can run out of gas and that can cause the stove not to work.

Troubleshooting Burner Problems

  • To determine if the problem is with just one burner, try another burner; if another burner lights, the problem is isolated to just one burner. A broken heating unit or switch, or a problem with the gas line or the burner top are examples of problems that can affect one burner. With an electric stove, you can sometimes remove the heating unit and plug it into another burner, as another way to narrow down the problem.

    On a gas stove, swap the metal part of the burner top that has the holes in it where the gas comes through (you'll see flames around this part when it's lit). This is a way to see if the holes might be clogged in this part.

Preventing Burner Problems

  • You can't prevent all problems with appliances, but there are a couple of things that you can do to lessen the chance of some burner problems. Keep your burners clean. Don't leave electric burners on when they are not needed. When cleaning a gas stove top, remove the metal part with the holes around it before you wipe the bottom of the burner surface, to prevent residue from your sponge or from the stove to clog the holes.

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