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What to Do If the Gas Cooktop Surface Burner Won’t Light

Gas Cooktop
Feb 2021

Gas cooktop surface burners – also known as “gas stoves” or simply “stoves” – have been a part of human society for centuries. Even with the advent of more advanced cooking appliances, many people – including professionals – still swear by them. This is not surprising. After all, they boast superb cooking capabilities and excellent temperature control. As a bonus, they are also durable and cost-effective.

Gas stoves have withstood the test of time for a reason. However, they are not unbreakable, and they may go kaput at some point. Unfortunately, nothing can be more frustrating than wanting to cook your meals, but the burner simply won’t heat up no matter what you do. But, here’s the good news. There are easy fixes, some of which you can even do by yourself.

Find Out Why Gas Cooktop Surface Burners Won’t Light and How to Fix

A gas burner is essentially a stone that is powered by combustible gas, including propane, butane, liquefied petroleum gas, and natural gas. Like any other kitchen appliance, it may have some issues at one point or another. A burner that won’t light up is, without a doubt, among the most common ones.

There are several possible reasons behind this. It could be that the surface burner has already gotten unbelievably after repeated usage. Alternatively, there might be issues with the stove’s igniter or wire connection.

After diagnosing the problem, you could attempt to fix it by yourself. It is perfectly doable – just make sure to follow our instructions to the letter. However, be aware that the DIY route may not always work, and you may need to call a professional appliance repair company eventually.

Important note:

Before inspecting your gas burner, make sure to switch off the gas supply first. This part regulates the flow of liquid propane gas or natural gas to your stove.

Reason 1: The Gas Burner Is Dirty

A gas stove consists of several parts, the most notable of which are the burners. These are typically raised above the stove surface and are responsible for emitting a controlled flame once switched on. Most gas stove models come with four surface burners, although some might have a fifth warming area.

Keep in mind that a stove is something that you use daily. Hence, if you do not clean it regularly, expect it to get grimy over time. As oil and food residue pile up on the surface, the burner could get clogged, preventing the gas from flowing to the igniter. As a result, the burner won’t emit flames properly.

A filthy, obstructed burner is by far the most common reason why gas surface burners won’t light up. Lucky for you, it is relatively straightforward to resolve and is just a matter of deep-cleaning your stove.


Things will get dirty from here on. As such, we suggest wearing some reliable dishwashing gloves (or household cleaning gloves) before getting down to business. Also, please refer to the product’s instruction manual for the recommended cleaning method and products. If you have lost your hardcopy, try downloading it from the manufacturer’s website.

What you will need:

  • Dishwashing soap
  • Baking soda
  • Non-abrasive scrub pad
  • Old toothbrush
  • Toothpick or paper clip
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Microfiber towel (for drying off)

Related Article: What Are the Different Types of Stovetops and Which Is Best for You?

How to clean dirty surface burners:

  1. Ensure that the burners are completely cool to the touch before getting started.
  2. Remove the metal grates covering the burners. Place them in the sink.
  3. Take out the burner caps, which are the removable ceramic discs found atop the burner. They should lift off easily.
  4. Directly below, you will find the burner heads sitting above the gas tube. Pry them off as well. The heads will usually lift off with relative ease, although some models may come with screws that you will have to remove first.
  5. Both the caps and the heads should lift off easily. Be extra careful not to damage the ignition electrode if your stove has one.
  6. Wash the burner caps and heads in the sink. Afterward, soak them in a mixture of liquid dish soap and warm water for about 30 minutes. Doing so will help dislodge any caked-on food debris.
  7. While waiting, start working on the metal grills. Wash them in the sink. You can use dish soap and a non-abrasive scrubber to get rid of the grime. For hardened residues, you may need to use a mixture of 2 parts baking soda and 1 part water.
  8. Clean the area surrounding the gas burner as well. A warm, soapy water cloak should do the trick. If the debris is too stiff and unyielding, wash the area with soapy water. After that, submerge it with the baking soda mixture. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
  9. After 30 minutes, use the scrub pad and an old toothbrush to clean the burner caps and heads.
  10. If the food debris is stuck in any part of the burner, especially on the small slots of the heads, use a toothpick or a paper clip to force them out.
  11. Rinse everything well, including the caps, heads, metal grates, and the burner area. Wipe them off with a microfiber towel.
  12. Reinstall the burner parts. While doing so, make sure not to bend or damage the ignition electrodes.
  13. Turn on the gas stove. If grimy burner heads are indeed the culprit, it should ignite the gas now.

Reason 2: The Igniter Is Faulty

What if your burners are already sparkling clean, but your gas stove still won’t light up? The igniter might be the problem. After turning on a burner, the igniter inside will spark up and produce the much-needed heat. Over time, though, the igniter may start malfunctioning and fail to produce a spark that is powerful enough to ignite the gas.

The first thing you need to do is test if the issue indeed lies with the spark igniter. If so, you will need to take the cooktop apart, locate the igniter, and replace it with a new one.


The exact procedure on how to remove your igniter may vary from one model to another. Hence, make sure to refer to your product’s manual for specific instructions.

How to check a faulty igniter:

  1. Perform this experiment only when the kitchen area has grown sufficiently dim. Also, you will need to turn on the gas valve.
  2. Turn the control knob and note the spark that your burner creates. A functioning igniter should produce a blue spark. If there is an orange spark instead, it indicates that the igniter is already defective. If you do not see any spark at all, it is a clear sign that the igniter is already out of commission.

How to fix a faulty igniter:

  1. Before anything else, make sure to switch off the gas valve once again. Furthermore, unplug the power cord.
  2. To gain access to the spark igniter, you will need to disassemble the gas stove.
  3. Begin by removing the control knobs, which should slide off effortlessly into your hands. If not, you can wrap a tie or a flexible wire around the knob, making it easier to separate from the shaft underneath.
  4. Carefully lift off the metal grates. Next in line are the burner caps and heads.
  5. Once these components have been removed, you should be able to detach the main top of the stove. Some models may require you to unthread some screws first. Lifting off the top will reveal the wiring below.
  6. Disconnect the wiring from the spark igniter. Then, you simply have to replace the old igniter with the new one and reconnect the wires.
  7. Reassemble the gas stove.
  8. Test your igniter once more. Again, you should see a blue spark to confirm that it is finally back in action.

Reason 3: The Wire Connection Is Loose

Another important component of gas stoves is the control panel or the control board, which is usually where the on and off buttons can be found. It is essentially the brain of your cooktop. If there is a loose wire between the burner and the control board, then the burner might not work properly, and that includes failing to light up when it needs to.

How to fix a loose wire connection:

  1. Follow steps 1 through 5 from the previous section (How to fix a faulty igniter). You will need to dismantle the gas stove and reveal the wiring mechanism underneath.
  2. Check every wire that directly attaches to the burner, ensuring that each connection is tight and secure.
  3. You may also want to check the wires for any signs of damage, including any cuts or breaks. These could cause a short and prevent the burner from igniting.
  4. If this is indeed the problem, you should find a loose wiring connection. All you have to do is plug it back and ensure that it is fixed into place.

Related Article: Electric Stove Not Heating Up: Causes and How to Fix

Fix That Faulty Gas Burner Once and for All

The gas burner will always be a mainstay in the kitchen. But like any other kitchen appliance, it may also fail you at one point, such as not lighting up just when you are about to prep some delicious meals. It might sound hopeless, but there are easy ways to go about it.

If you are fortunate, then the root cause will be as simple as having dirty, clogged burner heads. Alternatively, it might be due to a defective ignitor or a loose connection. By following the detailed instructions above, you could troubleshoot and even solve these problems with your own hands.

However, if your gas burner still won’t fire up even after following these procedures, then you are most likely dealing with a larger, more complex issue. If so, the best course of action is to consult a professional. And for immediate, satisfying results, make sure to stick only to highly reputable appliance repair companies. Call Prime Appliance Repairs today!

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