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gas stove troubleshooting: stove won’t light

Many cooks appreciate gas ranges/stoves and cooktops for their power and responsiveness. However, unlike their electric counterpart, gas ranges can’t just be dialed on; their burners must be ignited.

If you occasionally struggle with lighting your burners, here’s what to check.

Burner cap
A lot of ignition problems and uneven flames result from food spills and related dirtiness. Routine cleaning and general non-slobbing will avoid this.

After a spill, use a nonabrasive plastic scrubbing pad and mildly abrasive cleanser or soap to thoroughly clean the cap.

Make sure the cap is completely dry before replacing it over the burner. Take care that alignment pins are lined up with with the cap.

Don’t put them in the dishwasher.

Burner ports
Burner flames should be about 1″-1.5″, with a proper shape like the flame labeled “A” in the adjacent illustration. The flame should be blue, not yellow.

If these aren’t the case, your burner ports could be clogged, so you should clean it, following these steps:

  1. Make sure all the controls are off and the stove is cool. Don’t use oven cleaners, bleach or rust remover.
  2. Clean the burner cap as instructed above.
  3. Clean the gas tube opening with a damp cloth.
  4. Clean clogged burner ports with a straight pin as shown below. Do not enlarge or distort the port. Do not use a wooden toothpick. If the burner needs to be adjusted, call appliance service.
  5. Replace the burner cap, as shown in the first illustration.
  6. Turn on the burner. If the burner does not light, check cap alignment. If the burner still does not light, call appliance service.

Knobs
Push in the burner knob before turning to light to ensure that it’s set correctly.