How to Troubleshoot an Oven Igniter

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Gas ovens need an igniter to get the oven to produce heat. The igniter provides the spark needed to light the gas supply and create a flame. The amount of gas is then manipulated to turn the oven's heat up and down. If your oven igniter stops working, troubleshoot it immediately to prevent the oven from filling the room with gas. Avoid using the oven again until the problem with the igniter is found and repaired.

  • Inspect the igniter for dirt and debris. The igniter may be clogged from oven grease and dust. Cleaning out the igniter with warm water on a soft rag corrects this problem. Let the igniter dry fully before trying to use it again.

  • Verify the oven is getting gas. If gas flow is impeded, the igniter won't have anything to light. Smell around the oven. Natural gas is naturally odorless, but the gas company adds a non-toxic sulfer-based compound called mercaptan to it that smells like rotten eggs for easier detection. If the smell is strong, then you have a leak and should evacuate your home immediately and call your gas company.

  • See if the igniter is glowing if you have a glow bar ignition system. If you have that type of ignition and the igniter isn't glowing when the oven is activating, it may not be getting electricity to it or the unit itself is faulty and needs replacement.

  • Turn off the oven and ensure the gas is completely off in the event of a mini explosion in the oven. This happens when gas builds up in the oven and a weak igniter has enough power to light the gas. The result is a burst of flame as the gas is consumed. There will also be a strong smell of gas. Do not handle this job yourself; seek professional assistance immediately.

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