How to Fix Your Gas Range: A Do it Yourself Guide

Having fixed TONS of gas ranges in my day, I’m amazed how easy it is to repair a sick oven that won’t light due to a faulty bake ignitor. Yet folks are willing to fork over a couple hundred to solve the problem because “they’re afraid of gas”. Here’s the thing: I’m going to walk you through this step-by-step, so A). you can look like a hero, and B). you can eat at home and stop spending money on take out!

Most gas ovens nowadays no longer have the little standing pilot flame that fires up the oven bake burner like your parents probably had in their stove. In a way, those things were great, because if the power went out, you could still light the oven and cook a meal, (or heat the kitchen in the dead of winter during an ice storm). To save gas burning twenty-four-seven keeping a pilot light going,manufacturers have devised a new method of lighting the gas bake and broil burners with a carbon electrode, or ignitor. The way the thing works, is you punch in the numbers on the control panel you want to heat your oven to, the control opens a relay that sends electricity down to the ignitor, the ignitor begins to glow bright orange until it pulls enough amps (usually about 3 amps) to open the gas safety valve, which allows gas to flow into the bake burner and is ignited by the glowing ignitor. When the oven reaches the desired temperature, the sensor inside the oven cavity sends a signal to the control, which shuts off the flow of electricity to the ignitor, which in turns starts to cool off, closing the gas valve. The burner then goes out until the sensor calls for heat again to maintain the desire temperature. Most oven lighting problems is due to a weak ignitor. Fix the ignitor, chances are the oven will light. Ignitors can be bought online at…just plug in your model number (usually found on the tag located behind the drawer face) and follow the prompts to locate and order an ignitor. (See STEP 1 to determine if it’s actually the ignitor…)

Step 1. Pull the range away from the wall. Shut off the gas to the range. Pull the plug out of the outlet. Remove the racks and the 2 screws in the back of the oven bottom. Lift out the oven bottom, exposing the burner. If there’s a shield sitting on top of the burner, remove the nut holding it in place (you may have to use a fews drops of penetrating oil to make sure the nut comes off easily), and remove the shield. Remove the range drawer and put aside. Plug in the oven, set the temperature for 350, and observe the ignitor. If it’s not a very bright orange…almost yellow…then it’s weak and needs replacing. You can also clamp an amp meter on one of the ignitor wires to make sure it’s pulling about 3 amps. If not, replace the ignitor

Step 2. Pull the plug from the outlet again. Looking into the back of the oven where the drawer sits, you’ll see the 2 wires from the ignitor snake down: one to the gas valve, another off to the side. I like to disconnect those wires if possible, or if not, cut them as close to the ignitor as possible, then skin back 1/4″ of insulation to expose the wire. Using a 1/4″ nut driver or socket, remove the two screws that mount the ignitor to the burner. Use oil once again to keep from stripping them as they back out. Toss the old ignitor, attach the new one the same way the old one was mounted, connect the wires to the ones you cut and stripped with the ceramic wire nuts provided with the ignitor. Put all the pieces back the way they came out, turn on the gas valve, plug her in and throw in a meatloaf!

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