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My Gas Stove Igniter Keeps Clicking: What Should I Do?

Gas Stove Igniter Keeps Clicking

You’re in a rush on a weeknight to get dinner on the table. This is a pretty common scenario.

You put a skillet on your favorite burner to get the process started. Yep, most of us also have one of those.

Then it happens. Ugh. When you move the switch to “Light”, your gas stove igniter keeps clicking, but doesn’t turn on.

If you’re like most homeowners, the last sound you want to hear coming from an object that uses gas and gets blazingly hot is ticking.

What’s going on? What should you do?

This is quite a common problem, primarily with stoves that have a spark ignition system. The most important thing to know is that a clicking stove isn’t dangerous, though you should deal with it promptly.

A normal igniter clicks up to three times before it sparks and lights your stove. Sometimes, however, the igniter will click continuously—even after the stove is lit. The following are some of the more possible causes and solutions to the problem.

Problems With The Burner

Several burner problems may cause clicking. Such problems include poor alignment, dirt, and moisture in the burner cap.

How can you troubleshoot burner problems?

Check for malalignment of the burner cap by following these steps:

  • Ensure that the cooktop is cool.
  • Remove the burner crate.
  • Remove the burner cap.
  • Center the cap on the base. Make sure that it’s not skewed and then secure it into place.

Is the cap on correctly? You might have a moisture problem. You can also check for excess moisture by:

  • Removing the burner cap to examine it for moisture.
  • Air drying the cap.
  • Speeding up the drying by using a dry towel, a dry fan or putting it in an oven for about half an hour at 350 degrees.

Still not working correctly? Try checking for food, dirt and other debris by:

  • Closely examining the cap for debris stuck in the burner.
  • Using a paper clip or metallic pin to clear out any debris from the burner grooves.

If the problem is not with the apparatus itself, you might have an issue with your switch.

Problems With The Spark Ignition Switch

The spark switch initiates ignition by sending an electric current to the spark module. The switch may get shorted due to moisture, electricity upsurge or various other reasons. A damaged ignition switch may begin to send a continuous current to the spark module, causing it to click continuously.

How can you troubleshoot a faulty spark igniter switch?

Use a multimeter on each of the stove switches. A spark ignition switch that shows continuity is faulty and should be replaced.

While we’re talking about the clicking issue, it’s important to acknowledge a related problem that most people find even scarier.

gas stove sparking continuously

Gas Stove Sparking Continuously

Okay, we said “related,” but in all honesty, this is pretty much the same problem.

If you hear a clicking coming from your stove and take a closer look, you may notice that it is also sparking continuously. Essentially, you might see what looks like a little blue bolt of electricity sparking without stop.

Again, not something anyone wants to see in connection with a gas appliance, but remember it’s basically the same problem as above, which is not immediately dangerous.

Spark ignition systems are modified pilot ignition systems. Instead of relying on a pilot flame to ignite the cooking gas, a spark is used to light the pilot gas.

The spark module powers the spark electrode for each surface burner. Damaged spark modules may begin to spark continuously on their own. If the spark modules of your stove are damaged, you should get a replacement.

What other things can go wrong with your gas stove?

gas oven problems

Other Gas Oven Problems You Might Encounter

What other gas oven issues might you have to deal with over time?

Beyond sparking and clicking, there are a couple of additional problems commonly associated with gas-fueled ovens:

Gas Oven Not Lighting Up

 What if your oven is not lighting up?

Here are a few possible causes:

  • Defective ignitor
  • Faulty temperature sensors
  • Problems with the control board

Low Gas Oven Flame

 Perhaps your oven is lighting up, but the flame is unusually low?

The most common reasons for this issue are:

  • Damaged oven burners
  • Faulty thermal sensors and thermostats
  • Defective safety valves
  • Control panel problems
  • Broken internal fuses

Let’s go into each of these issues in more detail.

gas oven won't light

When Your Gas Oven Won’t Light

One of several issues might hinder the lighting or heating up of a gas oven.

Ignition Problems

The pilot flame may fail to ignite the oven burner if it’s poorly adjusted or if the tubes running from the pilot flame to the burners are blocked.

The electric igniter, on the other hand, has two principal functions:

  1. To open the valve.
  2. To light up the gas in the burner assembly.

If there’s a problem at any point along this reaction chain, your oven might fail to light.

Ignition problems might include:

  • Poorly adjusted pilot light
  • Blocked oven gas tubes
  • Problem with the power supply to the igniter
  • An ignitor that doesn’t get hot enough to open up the valve
  • No gas flowing through the valve
  • An ignitor that fails to get hot enough to set the oven gas aflame

How can you troubleshoot problems with the ignition system?

Check The Power Supply

The steps to follow to make sure you aren’t experiencing a power problem include:

  • Ensuring that the oven is plugged in properly.
  • Checking whether there’s power supply to the oven.
  • Confirming that nothing interrupts the supply of electricity into the oven.
  • Assessing the integrity of the power supply cable.

As you might imagine, most homeowners may need to enlist the help of an appliance repairperson or electrician to test these types of power supply issues, as dealing with electrical currents can be quite dangerous.

Check The Gas Supply To The Oven

Perhaps it’s not the electricity that’s the issue, but it’s the gas not making its way to your burners. In that case, you’ll want to:

  • Ensure that there’s enough cooking gas flowing into your oven.
  • Check to see that the gas supply to your gas range isn’t being interrupted.

Similar to problems related to your power supply, any issues linked to your gas supply will most likely require the assistance of a professional to avoid any potential health risks, which can include exposure to toxins, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisioning.

Check The Ignition Switch

If you have ruled out any malfunction of your power or gas supply, your switch might be broken. You can check this by:

  • Turning off the oven power.
  • Disconnecting the switch.
  • Using a multimeter to test whether the switch is working correctly.
  • If faulty, replacing the switch.

Check The Ignition Generator

Next up in your troubleshooting process is to check the ignition generator. You can do so on your cool oven by:

  • Identifying the ignition module of your oven.
  • Assessing the integrity of the wires running into it.
  • Using an old toothbrush to brush away any gunk that might be on and around the ignitor.
  • Using a multimeter to test if the ignitor module is working correctly.

If the oven has a pilot light ignition system, try:

  • Turning off the power of the range.
  • Using a short wire to clean out the flash tubes running from the pilot to the oven burner.
  • Turning on the power to the range.
  • Checking whether the pilot flame is present.
  • Adjusting the pilot flame height by turning the pilot ignition screw.

What should you do if the ignitor is faulty?

Repairing a faulty ignitor isn’t always possible. Most issues involving defective ignitors are corrected by replacing the ignitor entirely.

Thermostat/Thermocouple/Thermal Sensor Problems

A thermocouple opens up after the pilot gas has been lit and remains open for the duration which the oven is turned on. If it fails to open accordingly, the oven fails to light.

Modern gas ranges have thermostats and thermal sensors built into them to control their oven temperature. If the thermostat or thermal sensor is faulty or calibrated wrongly, it may stop your oven from heating up.

Some thermal sensors also have thermal fuses. The thermal fuse may blow up if the oven overheats. Though this is fairly uncommon, it does occur, and when it does, it prevents the oven from lighting.

How can you troubleshoot thermal sensor problems?

Reset the “time cook” function.

If your oven has a pilot ignition system:

  • Check whether the pilot flame is present.
  • If there’s no pilot flame, hold a lit matchstick or lighter over the flame aperture for about 10 seconds. This heats the thermocouple and opens up the gas valve.
  • The pilot flame should come alive.
  • If this pilot flame goes off when the lit matchstick or lighter is taken away from the flame aperture, then the thermocouple is most likely faulty.

If your oven has electronic thermal sensors (or thermostat):

  • Identify the thermal sensor (or thermostat).
  • Use a multimeter to assess the resistance of the thermal sensor (or thermostat).
  • Check from the user’s manual whether the oven’s ignition system has a fuse.
  • Identify the fuse, clean it out, and use a multi-meter to test its continuity and resistance.

What can you do if the thermocouple/thermostat/thermal sensor is faulty?

If any of the mentioned parts is defective, it’ll need a replacement. Additionally, a blown fuse will need to be replaced.

Control Panel Problems

The control panel is like the oven’s brain. It directs the functions of the gas range. An oven that fails to light could have faulty controls. The main culprit in this case usually is a failure of the power output from the controller to the ignition system.

How can you troubleshoot control panel problems?

There’s always a risk of electric shock when troubleshooting control board problems. Because of this, you always want to work with expert appliance repair professionals. An experiened pro will make sure to check for problems with the output relays at the oven’s control board, then be able to advise you on what controls are defective and which of those faulty controls need to be replaced.

gas oven low flame problem

Gas Oven Low Flame Problem

Have you noticed your gas oven not heating properly? There are several possible reasons why the oven flame is so low that the oven doesn’t heat up.

First, check to ensure that you have an adequate gas supply. You can do this by examining how the cooktop burners burn. If these burners do not light or produce a weak flame, check the gas supply valve to your stove.

Once you have determined that’s not the issue, it’s on to the next thing down the list.

Defective Burner System

If the burner element of an oven is broken, it might be impossible for the oven to reach the set temperature.

How can you troubleshoot problems with the burner system?

  • Follow the oven’s user guide to expose the burner elements.
  • Clean the burner element and remove any particles (which may result from corrosion or overheating) that might be obstructing the burner holes.
  • Inspect the burner element for any visible defects, such as blistering or breakages.
  • Fire up the oven.
  • Put your hand close to the heating element and assess whether the burner heats up.

What can you do if the heating element is damaged?

You may find that the burner element is very corroded, burnt through or it doesn’t work for one reason or another. The most effective solution here is to replace the burner element entirely.

Faulty Valves

Defective valves may result in an oven that doesn’t heat correctly or doesn’t reach the set temperatures. Some oven valves also have a flame failure device (a safety valve) which when damaged may cause a low oven flame. Flame Failure Devices complement the action of the valve by restricting gas flow through the valve until there’s sufficient ignition flame.

How can you troubleshoot problems with faulty valves?

  • Use the oven’s user manual to expose the burner element.
  • Turn the oven on and watch the burner tube.
  • If the oven has a pilot ignition system, the burner tube ignites immediately, and the fire spreads across quickly. Electric ignition systems take about 30 seconds before ignition occurs.
  • In case there’s no flame or the flame that occurs after ignition is weak, then it’s possible that the valve in your oven is damaged.

What can you do if the oven valve is damaged?

Replacing a faulty valve is the best means of restoring proper oven function.

Defective Thermostat/Thermal Sensors

Modern ovens have thermostats and temperature sensors that turn the burner system on and off so as to regulate the internal temperature in the oven. When either the sensors or the thermostat malfunction, the oven may produce little or no heat.

How can you troubleshoot oven sensors?

  • Disconnect the oven from its power supply.
  • Most modern ovens display a fault code when the temperature sensors fail.
  • Expose the thermal sensors by following the user’s guide.
  • Test their resistance using a multimeter.

How can you troubleshoot faulty oven thermostats?

  • Disconnect the oven from its power supply.
  • Follow the oven’s user manual to expose the oven thermostat.
  • Use a multimeter to check for continuity on the appropriate thermostat contacts.

What should you do if the thermostat or sensors are damaged?

Temperature sensors and thermostats should be replaced if they are defective.

Other possible causes of low oven flame include control panel problems and broken internal fuses.

ABC Can Solve Your Appliance Problems

The hardest part about repairing a gas range is figuring out the cause of the problem. Understanding how many years your household appliances have left can also help figure out the scale of the problem.  Resolving issues on your own may seem like a good way to save money, but often you’ll end up spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with it. Moreover, you’ll still pay for any parts and tools you need, and if you get something wrong, that’s even more time and money. When you work with ABC’s trained technicians, you know that the job will be done right the first time. 

Tom Riggs

Tom Riggs is the Division Manager for Mechanical Services, overseeing sales and operations for HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Appliance Repair and Water Quality for all ABC Austin branches. He joined ABC in 2014. Before ABC, he was an HVAC Service Technician, HVAC Comfort Advisor/Sales and Operations Manager. Tom attended Universal Technical Institute. He's an avid outdoorsman and enjoys country living with his wife and two sons.

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