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I've bought a new stove which is supposed to be auto ignition. If I turn on the gas and turn the knob thing, a flame flickers underneath but the stove doesn't light, I have to use a lighter to light it.

Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A couple of things. First, you just bought it, it surely came with a manual, you should check there to make sure you're doing it right.

In general there are a couple of things that come to mind:

  • You may need to turn the burner to high to get it to ignite.
  • You may not be waiting long enough. It takes a few seconds (at least on mine).
  • There may be something wrong with your stove. For example, maybe the burners aren't installed properly. You're seeing the spark, so that part is obviously working. If giving it a few seconds on high doesn't get it to ignite, and the manual provides no help, I'd suggest calling the manufacturer or the dealer, they'd be in the best position to diagnose a defective unit.
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What type of ignition switch is it? Some of these are run by a spark plug and/or a battery. Does yours have this? and have you checked to make sure those are firing correctly?

Even still you should be able to leave the gas off and look for a spark.

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Well, the spark plug is probably firing, as OP says "a flame flickers underneath". –  derobert Aug 5 '11 at 19:39
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My experience with the modern home appliance gas stoves is that all the parts that constitute the heating area disassemble easily. This includes the burners.

When I've had problems with burners not lighting, it has always been:

Note: Am including information for both electronic (spark) ignition and pilot ignition stoves.

  1. The pilot flame is being impinged by something (usually a small chunk of carbon or food) which keeps the pilot flame too far away from the burner to light it. To fix, clean the pilot light assembly well and check the alignment an proximity to the burner.

  2. The spark gap has changed, causing the spark to arc to something other than the burner body. To fix, bend the arc electrode to where it is arcing to the burner proper.

  3. The burner bodies sometimes have extra perforations at a single point which bring the combustible gas closer to the arc source or pilot flame. To fix, check the alignment of the extra perforations to the ignition source and adjust as necessary.

  4. In many cases, there are different sizes of burner bodies which fit into respectively different size receiving holes, make sure the correct burner bodies are in the receivers.

  5. Also in many cases, the burner bodies are distinctly keyed so they only fit into the receiving holes in one position. In order to set them correctly, I set them into the receiver and turn them, using no downward force, until they drop in to position. A slightly raised burner body, due to not being keyed to the receiving gas port, would allow gas to exit from the wrong area of the burner, causing flame where it shouldn't be.

  6. In one instance, each burner was in three pieces, the bottom skirt, the middle main burner body and the top burner cover. Each of these pieces was keyed to the size of the burner receiver, and each of the three pieces was keyed to fit well only to the correct matching part.

So, all that being said, your statement that "a flame flickers underneath but the stove doesn't light" leads me to the conclusion that the burner body(s) are slightly misaligned, allowing combustible gas to leak out at the bottom of the burner assembly - or, that the pilot light or spark electrode is misaligned.

Take one burner apart; if it is a simple matter of lifting the parts off (which it should be, as they do need to be cleaned and the spilled food dug out of the gas ports occasionally) and get to know how it fits together. If all is well there, check the ignition source for location in the proper place to ignite the combustion gas coming out of the burner in the proper place.

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