Gas stoves are often preferred for serious home cooks who like precise temperature controls and instant heat, but gas stoves can have several common problems that delay your cooking. It only takes a few minutes to troubleshoot most of them. Take necessary precautions when troubleshooting, performing maintenance, or repairing a gas stove. Always leave any repairs that could cause a gas leak to the professionals.
1. Surface Burner Won't Light
A very common gas stove problem is a surface burner that won't light. This could be caused by the pilot light being extinguished if your stove has one or the burner portholes getting clogged. If your gas stove is equipped with an electric igniter, there could be a loss of electricity that's keeping it from working. The ignition switch could be malfunctioning if the stove has power but you don't hear the usual clicking when you try to light it. If your stove clicks when you try to light it but you don't smell any gas, there could be a disruption of the gas flow.
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If your stove has a pilot light, make sure it's still lit and relight it if necessary. If your stove has an electric igniter, make sure the stove is plugged in and, if so, check that the circuit breaker has not been tripped. Removing the burner cap and grate and cleaning the gas stove to remove the debris underneath might help. If it's still not working, you might need an appliance repair technician to diagnose the issue.
2. Pilot Light Goes Out
Not all gas stoves have a pilot light. Newer models often have an electric ignition system that eliminates the need for a pilot light. If you have an older gas stove, you likely have a pilot light and could have issues with the flame going out. Common causes of the pilot light going out include drafts and debris. It could also be a case of the stove getting old and the pilot light wearing out.
If the flame of the burner continually goes out, clean out the pilot light opening. If that doesn’t work, try adjusting the flame of the pilot light itself. For older stoves, it could be a sign that it's time to replace it due to age and wear on the appliance.
3. Weak Burner Flame
If the burner flame on top of the oven appears to be less impressive than normal, the problem could be clogged burner flame openings. Low-quality flames could also be caused by too little gas or too little air getting to the burner.
Clean the burner caps, grates, and gas valves on the stove to remove debris that could be clogging things. You can use a toothpick to clean out the gas valves. Call a pro if you suspect the problem is not enough gas. You should always leave work related to the gas supply to a trained professional.
4. Oven Burner Doesn't Light
If your gas oven burner won't light, you could have an issue with the pilot light or electric ignitor. The pilot light being out or a lack of power to the electric ignitor could be to blame. If not, the ignitor could be worn out or damaged and need to be replaced. Sometimes you can have an issue with the oven lighting if the burner is dirty or blocked. Another possible issue is a malfunctioning temperature control thermostat, which tells the oven when to turn the heat on as the temperature drops.
Check the pilot light first if the oven burner refuses to light. Check the power cord and breaker if you have an electric igniter. Cleaning the burner could resolve the issue if it's clogged. If the thermostat is to blame, you'll need to have it replaced.
5. Gas Odor
Smelling a strong gas smell could be a sign of a serious problem. You'll typically smell a slight gas odor when you light a burner, but more odor than usual requires a little troubleshooting. If the odor of gas can be detected and the pilot flame is lit or the electric igniter is plugged in, it could indicate that one of the burners isn't shut off completely. A gas smell could also indicate that you have a gas leak in your stove, which is a potentially dangerous situation.
Smelling gas when the pilot flame isn't burning means you need to ventilate the house by opening windows and then relight the pilot light. If the pilot light is lit or you have electric ignition, check all burners to make sure they're off. If you find that they're all in the off position, turn off the gas supply to the stove, ventilate the kitchen and nearby rooms, and call the gas company for assistance.
6. Noisy Surface Burner Flame
Unusual noises associated with your flame typically indicate a gas flow problem — usually either too much air or too much gas is getting to the burner. This situation creates a loud hissing sound, and you might notice yellow in your flames. Unless you know what you're doing, this situation is better left to a professional. Too much or too little gas can cause a dangerous situation in your gas stove.
You can adjust the air shutter if you feel comfortable doing so. You'll need to shut off the gas supply and remove the top of the stove to reveal the burner tube. Follow the tube until you find a slot with a screw near it. Twisting the screw adjusts the size of the slot, which adjusts the airflow. A professional can easily adjust the air shutter to ensure your burners have the correct ratio of gas-to-air to burn safely.
7. Greasy Cooking Surface
When you cook frequently, you're bound to have grease buildup on your gas stovetop. This not only makes your stove look dirty, but it also increase the risk of a kitchen fire. Regular cleaning of the burners helps ensure more efficiency, using less gas on a lower flame.
Unless you want a grease fire, always wipe down the cooking surface each time you use the stove. Wait until everything is cool to avoid burning yourself. Use grease-fighting dish soap to create soapy water and use it with a soft cloth to wipe the surface of the stove. You can also wash the grates in the sink to get them clean without dripping water in the burner.