What to Do When Your Oven Won’t Stay Lit

By Lyle Weischwill | Feb. 06, 2024 3:17 pm PST

What to do when your oven won't stay lit

Is your oven’s igniter failing you? There’s nothing more frustrating than an oven that won’t stay lit, especially when you’re right in the middle of cooking a meal. But don’t worry, this problem is more common than you think, and in most cases, you can troubleshoot and fix it yourself.

In this article, we will guide you through the reasons why your oven’s burner might not stay on and provide step-by-step instructions to troubleshoot and fix the issue. Plus, we will share some handy tips to help prevent future oven heating issues. So, let’s get your oven back up and running!

Why Your Oven Burner May Not Stay On

It can be quite a hassle when your oven’s burner won’t stay lit. This problem could be due to several common issues such as:

  • A faulty or weak igniter.
  • Gas supply problems.
  • Clogged oven burner ports.

Here’s a closer look at these potential culprits. Oven ignition system image

Defective Igniter

This device heats until it’s white-hot and then ignites the gas from the oven burner to heat the oven. Because the igniter is wired in series with the safety gas valve, the gas valve won’t open unless it detects that the igniter is hot enough to ignite the gas.

A weak igniter may heat properly and ignite the burner when you initially start the oven. After the burner heats the oven to the set temperature and cycles the burner off, a weak igniter won’t heat up enough to reignite the burner as the burner attempts to cycle back on to maintain the set oven temperature.

A weak igniter is the #1 cause of a gas oven not staying lit. Replacing a faulty igniter can often fix a gas oven that won’t keep heating properly. We recommend that you have a service technician replace the oven igniter.

Problems with Gas Supply

If your oven’s pilot light won’t stay lit, it could be due to an issue with the gas supply. Make sure the gas valve supplying your oven is fully open. Also, check for any blockages or kinks in the gas line that could be restricting the gas flow. If you suspect a gas supply issue, it’s always safest to schedule a professional technician to assess and fix the problem.

Clogged Burner Ports

Over time, the burner ports can get blocked by debris, grease, or food particles. These blockages can prevent the pilot light from staying lit. To clean the burner ports, turn off the gas supply and remove the burners. Gently clean out any buildup using a soft brush or a toothpick. Be sure to carefully reassemble the burners and relight the pilot light.

If you’ve tried troubleshooting these common causes and your oven’s burner still won’t stay lit, it’s best to seek professional help. An experienced technician can diagnose and fix the issue, ensuring your oven operates safely and efficiently.

How to Fix an Oven That Won’t Stay Lit

If your oven won’t stay lit, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

1. Check and Replace the Igniter

Follow the steps shown in this video to check the igniter in your gas oven:

If you determine that a weak or failed igniter is the culprit keeping the oven burner from staying lit, replace the igniter.

If you’re highly adept at repairing appliances yourself, you can follow the steps in this DIY video to safely replace the igniter in your oven: How to replace a gas range oven igniter.

To have a Sears Home Services Technician replace the oven igniter, schedule a service appointment on our website. (Scheduling service by a technician is always the safest route to take when repairing a gas oven.)

2. Inspect the Gas Supply Line

A blocked or faulty gas supply line can prevent the oven from staying lit. Make sure the gas valve is fully open and there are no obstructions in the line. If you suspect a gas leak, it’s crucial to contact a professional technician for assistance.

3. Clean the Burner Ports

If the burner ports are clogged with debris, this can cause the flame to go out. Turn off the gas supply and carefully remove the burner assembly. Clean the ports using a soft brush or compressed air, ensuring they are free from any blockages.

Reassemble the burner and test the oven to see if it stays lit.

If you’ve followed these troubleshooting steps and your oven still won’t stay lit, or if you’re unsure about performing any of these repairs yourself, it’s best to schedule service to have a professional repair the oven.

Preventing Ignition Issues in Your Gas Oven

When you’re having trouble with your oven’s ignition system, regular cleaning and maintenance will help keep your oven running optimally.

Cleaning the Burner

Debris and grease can build up around the oven burner over time, blocking the gas flow. Make sure to clean your oven regularly, wiping down the interior and removing any food particles or grease buildup. Don’t forget to clean the oven burner tube, using a soft brush or cloth to gently remove any grease, spills or debris.

Sears Home Services Tech discussing oven maintenance with customer

Schedule Annual Maintenance for Your Oven

While regular cleaning and can significantly reduce oven burner ignition issues, it’s also important to schedule professional oven inspections. A qualified technician can thoroughly check your oven, looking for any underlying issues that might affect the pilot light. They can clean and adjust the igniter and burner to ensure it stays lit and functions efficiently.

By following these preventative maintenance tips, you can lessen the chances of encountering heating problems with your oven. Remember to clean your oven regularly and schedule professional inspections to keep your oven working its best.

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