Photo of Gas oven in kitchen

How do you manually start a gas oven?

Some gas ovens in older homes often have a small flame in their base which is known as the pilot light. Some pilots will burn constantly at a low level.

When you turn these on they require more gas to feed the fire, which will light the oven burner. Other pilot lights will only burn when the oven is on.

With this type, you will need to light the pilot each time you need to light the oven. 

Check the temperature dial on your oven and make sure that it is in the ‘off’ position, if it is meant to burn constantly and has blown out, you will need to leave the dial in this position when you light the flame.

A user’s manual is perfect for locating the pilot light, if you have one. Without one, open the oven door and look in the base of the oven for a small hole marked ‘pilot light’. It may be in any area of the base of the oven. 

Then you need to light a long match and hold the flame beside the opening of the pilot hole. If it is designed to burn constantly it will light.

However, if it is designed to be manually lit for each time used then you will need to turn the temperature dial on slowly, and it should ignite as you do this. Remember to remove your hand and match as soon as it has lit.

How do you light a gas oven without a pilot? 

Older gas ovens will have a pilot light, however, modern gas ovens, as well as gas ranges, and water heaters, do not need a pilot light. This is because they use piezo-electric igniters.

This means that you will need to look for a button to press and ignite the oven. Once you have found this button, simply turn and press the knob.

Once you have done this, wait a few seconds after the fire is lit and then release the knob and adjust the temperature accordingly to the temperature you are seeking. 

Is it safe to light a gas stove with a lighter? 

Photo of Lighting up the stove using match

If you have a gas stove, and you have had a power outage you do not have to stop cooking. You can override the electronic ignition on surface burners, and therefore you can light them using a flame, lighter or match.

Do remember though that due to the safety features of gas ovens, you cannot manually bypass the ovens lighting controls though. 

If your gas stove igniter is broken though then you can often light it with a match or lighter. It is a useful alternative that saves you from forking out money to buy a whole new stove or oven.

Simply turn the gas dial to medium, carefully ignite your match or lighter and hold the flame close to the center of the burner. Wait a few seconds and the burner will ignite. 

It is perfectly safe to do this and is not that dangerous. However, it is best to avoid getting your fingers too close to the open flame or into the gas.

You should also avoid wearing long sleeves or anything flammable when you do this. 

This is a fantastic alternative to use in the event of electricity failures, or if your ignition button has stopped working. 

Does the oven have a pilot light?

While a lot of older gas ovens have pilot lights, most newer gas ranges and ovens do not have a pilot light.

Instead, the gas is ignited by an electronic ignition system that is in place, this is generally a lot safer than having a pilot light.

In this type of system, an element becomes hot and glows, much like the filament in a lightbulb when an electric current passes through it. In a gas oven the heat from the filament lights the gas.

Generally, as a rule these ignition systems are sealed in and are not repairable or adjustable. This means that when an electronic ignition device fails, do not try and fix it, it is not like a failure in a pilot light system.

Instead, call a professional to service it. 

How do I know if my oven igniter is bad?

If you are unsure if your igniter is producing the right resistance you can check the resistance of the igniter. Put the meter leads on the igniter terminals.

If you read measurements between 10 and 2500 ohms then the igniter is okay. If you receive no continuity, which will often appear as ‘OL’ on a meter then the igniter needs to be replaced.

If an igniter fails or goes bad the biggest issue is often trouble getting the spark to ignite the gas which can be attributed to a dirty igniter electrode. 

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