Is your gas stove igniter click, click, clicking, but nothing’s happening other than the smell of gas filling up the kitchen?

Or maybe your stove isn’t clicking but you still smell that gas?

And then there’s always the chance your stove does ignite but it’s not heating up well at all?

Like any other appliance, gas stoves demand some troubleshooting and repair from time to time.  It can be annoying and requires a little work, but the good news is it’s not difficult to troubleshoot and fix.

So, let’s tackle a handful of potential problems and get to some simple steps you can take to see what the issue is and, hopefully, put the problem to bed.

Try These Steps:

Step 1: Identify You Have an Igniter Issue

The gas burners aren’t working like they should be?  Now that could be one of several things.

  1.  You’ve got a gas supply issue.
  2.  You’ve got issues with burner cleanliness.
  3.  You’ve got ignighter issues.
  4.  You’ve got issues with knobs and switches.

So, how do you tell which is which?

Step 2: Check Each Burner for Clicking and the Smell of Gas

First thing to do is check to see if it’s clicking.  If it is but nothing is happening, the next thing to check is if you smell gas.  No tools are required for this.  You’ll know pretty soon because it has a very distinct odor.

Side Note: The odor in natural gas isn’t actually the smell of natural gas.  Natural gas is, well, naturally odorless.  No, to detect natural gas leaks easily, a chemical is added to it called mercaptan.  And you’ll know it when you smell it because it sort of smells like rotten eggs.

Okay, check the other burners to see if you smell gas from them.  Don’t do them all at once.  Make a note of each burner you’ve already checked, whether you heard clicking or if you smelled gas or both.

Step 3: You Heard Clicking at All the Burners But Smelled No Gas

Let’s assume the case if you heard clicking at all the burners but smelled zero gas at all at any of them.  Not a whiff.

In this case, you may have a gas supply problem.

So, for this troubleshooting step, you have to check to see if your stove is actually hooked up to the gas supply line.  Sounds weird, right?  But stranger things have happened.

To check that, there is usually a line with a small shut-off valve behind the stove.  It’s usually a yellow valve.  Kind of like the ones you’ll see on a gas water heater.

Find that valve and make sure it’s open.  If it’s shut, that might’ve been your problem all along, especially if any work has been done recently on the stove or if it was recently installed. 

Gas supply open and close
To turn the gas on, turn the tap parallel to the pipe.

It’s not uncommon for a technician or appliance installer to forget to turn the gas back on after their work is done.  If it’s a new stove, the installers may have hooked it up, tested the stove, and then shut it back off but forgot to turn it back on when they pushed the stove back into place.

Now, if you have checked that valve and it’s open but there’s still no gas smell, check the main shut-off to your house.  Again, a gas company technician may have had to check something outside the house, turned it off, and forgot to turn it back on.  

You can also check with the gas company to see if there’s any outage in your area.  If there’s a leak somewhere, it’s pretty normal for the gas company to shut off a few blocks in the affected area until the leak is fixed.

Or, maybe a neighborhood kid decided to play a prank on you.

If none of that works, it’s probably best to bite the bullet and call a technician for help.  Safety first.

Step 4:  You Smelled Gas But Heard No Clicking

With this one, it’ll probably be just one or two burners that aren’t clicking.  In this case, it probably comes down to needing to do some house cleaning.

What you’re going to want to do in this case is unplug the stove.  If you want to shut the gas off, too, that’s perfectly okay.

Next, remove the grate or grates of any affected burners.  Also, remove the burner caps and look for any wires that may be loose or need replacing.  Then, clean out any gunk, grease, and food debris that may have gotten in there.

Stuff like that can definitely impact the efficiency of a burner igniting.

Lastly, check for any burner ports that may be clogged.  You might think the flames would prevent ports from clogging up by burning anything stuck there well away but, it happens.

If you find clogged ports, simply take a needle or pin and poke and scrape out the clog.

Now your freshly cleaned burners should be good to go.

It should also help any issues you may have had in the past with a burner that just wasn’t getting as hot as you want. Degrading efficiency until it finally stopped igniting.

Don’t use a wooden toothpick.  That should be clear without saying.

Step 5:  Unless You Have A Bad Igniter

Yeah, even when you clean up the burners nicely, there may still be an issue with making fire.

And that issue might be a bad ignighter.  If that’s the case, it may be repairable but, in all likelihood, it’ll have to be replaced.  You can choose to do the work yourself or call in a technician.

The good thing about calling in a technician is they can groom the entire stove, including checking all your gas connections.

Something to think about.

Step 6:  You’re Not Actually Turning The Knob to IGNITE

That’s not meant to be an insult.  Of course, you’re turning the knobs to IGNITE.

This is where there may be an issue with the internal alignment of the knob itself.  This happens a lot with dishwashers.  You think you’re turning your dishwasher to START but you’re possibly turning to halfway through the wash cycle and not even knowing it.

Maybe knob says it’s on IGNITE but, actually, it isn’t.  Chalk it up to normal wear and tear.

Again, this may require the attention of a technician to get the internal logic and alignment put back to normal.

Hand turning oven knob
Sometimes there are issues with the internal alignments of the knobs, so even if you’re turning them to “IGNITE”, they won’t work because they are not really in that position.

Step 7:  Your Burners Click Even When They’re Off

That would be the result of a ghost.  Your stove is clearly haunted.

Kidding, of course.

No, that would probably be due to moisture affecting switches behind the knobs.  The easy fix is to remove the knobs and let the internals dry.  That should do the trick.

If it doesn’t, call a technician to take a look at what might be going on.

Conclusion

A stove that doesn’t ignite is no stove at all.  And nobody wants to put up with that kind of problem.

But with the seven steps above, you now have a decent road map to follow in pursuing what exactly is going on and how to fix it.

Happy troubleshooting and fixing!