You’re getting ready to cook a nice casserole for the family for dinner, and you reach over to turn on the oven, but nothing happens. There’s no click, no heat, nothing. Your oven igniter no longer works, and you can’t afford to replace the oven or have a technician fix it for you. Don’t worry; you can easily replace the oven igniter yourself, with a few instructions.
Most gas ovens use a glowbar igniter for their electronic ignitions in series wit an oven valve. The current passes through the igniter, acting as a heater that will cause another piece of bimetal to “warp”, which in turn opens the gas valve. When the burner flame continuously heats the igniter, the valve will remain on, but if the flame is extinguished, the resistance of the igniter increases, and the valve is turned off. These igniters are the most common part of an oven to fail.
You’ll find there are two basic types of igniters – flat and round – and they re not interchangeable, so you’ll need to know which one you are looking for prior to making a purchase.
While you can use meters to diagnose the problem with your oven, you don’t really need to – if you see the igniter glowing (a dull red) but the oven doesn’t light, you need to replace the igniter. You may even smell a gaseous odor. Even if it does light but takes more than two minutes, you need to replace the part. More than ninety percent of the time, the igniter is going to be the problem with an oven that won’t heat up. If you don’t see any glow at all, you can be fairly certain that the igniter itself is broken; inspect if for cracks, and if found, you definitely must replace it.
What makes the replacement of the igniter so simple is that you don’t have to worry about polarity of the part – you simply wire the new piece in exactly as the old one was prior to removal. Be sure that you don’t attach it directly to 120 volts because it will burn out. Also, you want to make sure that the igniter and the valve are in series with each other to avoid burning out both pieces in a hurry. The new igniter should come with ceramic nuts to secure it back into the position of the original part, making installation a breeze. The entire process should only take a few minutes.
Of course, you may find that, after you’re finished replacing the oven igniter, the part will glow and the oven still won’t light, in which case you need a new valve. Because of the price of this piece, you shouldn’t replace it more than once – the second time it goes out, you should replace the oven entirely.
Replacing the oven igniter is the simplest way to repair your oven, and it takes little technical knowledge or effort on your part to get it done. With a little information on how to diagnose the problem, you’ll be on your way to do-it-yourself heaven!