Mailbag: Gas Stove Burners Won’t Ignite Automatically

ignitor problem wrote:

I read your information on how to assess a problem with ignitors on gas cooktops. I have a KitchenAid KGCT305EBL0. Power to plug is okay. Gas is okay and lights manually. When knob is turned to Lite position there is no clicking sound at any burner. It seems I need to replace the spark module. Correct? When I searched for parts I came up with a spark ignition switch and a spark module assembly. Aside from a bunch of bucks what is the difference in these and what do I need? Can I replace this or do I need to call in a pro? And lastly, if I require the part that is almost $100 would it be considered bad form to park a box of matches next to the cooktop, tell the wife to use the ole manual light method, and spend the $100 on beer?

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You have described the classic symptoms of a burnt-out spark module. The spark ignition switches are the little switches attached to the knob of each surface burner. If the spark module won’t spark no matter which surface burner switch you turn on, then the spark module is the problem. The seminal reference on this subject, which you mentioned, is my illuminating Appliantology article, How to Troubleshoot a Gas Stove that Won’t Fire Up–this is recommended reading for anyone working on gas stove ignition problems.

spark module for a kitchenaid range--click for larger viewspark module for a kitchenaid range--click for larger viewYour range will use one of the two spark modules shown here. Just look at your existing module and match it to the one you need. Spark modules are easy to replace and usually rate only a single mug on the SUDS-o-meter scale of appliance repair difficulty.

You pose an interesting conundrum: spend money on the spark module to fix the stove or just light the burners with matches and use the money to buy beer. It’s a tough one, I know–I faced exactly the same dilemma at my house. My wife wrote a haiku about it:

the bamboo reveals all

My husband loves beer.
Too drunk to fix spark module.
Click click click click click.

I ran out of beer one morning and, in a rare, lucid moment, replaced the spark module. Then she wrote me this haiku:

the bamboo reveals all

My sweet honey pie,
my love for you knows no bounds
‘cept five seven five.

And she proved it by buying me a six-pack. Now that’s true love!


8 thoughts on “Mailbag: Gas Stove Burners Won’t Ignite Automatically

  1. Anonymous

    another ignitor problem:

    I turned my stove on this morning and it came on like clock work but the clicking sound persisted. I shut the range off and still, every 3-5 seconds…it clicked. I can’t get the *@#$ thing to stop clicking without unplugging it! It’s like Chinese water torture. Any ideas?

  2. sally anderson

    I have the same problem – on a 50 year old Wedgewood gas stove. I don’t think it has a spark module. Is there some thing i should clean that may be blocking the gas? I’ve stuck needles in all the little holes but it still won’t start without a match.

  3. Trudy

    The same thing hapened to me after I cleaned the cooktop. Two of the burners will light automatically, but the other two must be lit with a match. I also have cleaned the little holes. Is someone going to answer? Thanks.

  4. Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    Sounds like two different problems here: one, the spark module click continuously but the burner never fires up; the other, the spark module only fires up when the switch is turned, but the burner never fires up. In the first case, let the switches dry out and/or replace as needed.

    In both cases with the burners, keep this in mind: if you have spark, gas, and air, you WILL have flame. Absent any one of those key elements, no flame. It’s that simple.

    So, if your burner isn’t firing up, make sure you have a visible spark from the electrode and that it’s jumping to the right place. You may hear a clicking, but id that spark is getting grounded out or misdirected somewhere, it’s not going to be in the right place to ignite the gas.

    Make the ignition ports in the sealed burner head are free of gookus so that there is gas present near the electrode to be ignited by the spark.

    This ain’t rocket science, people. But you will have to apply your nascent powers of observation to ensure the three key elements are present: spark,gas, air.

  5. Anonymous

    There is a visible spark and sometimes the burners light but not always. The flames aren’t very big. Where should I look for blockage?

  6. Anonymous

    I have a stove that keeps clicking after it has been ignited. I have replaced the spark module and burner switches twice. Still, click click click. Any suggestions?

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