What's up with my gas stove?
October 1, 2009 5:07 PM   Subscribe

What's the deal with my gas stove?

When I turn on the left rear burner, it seems to ignite normally, but the right rear burner also sparks. The right rear burner continues make a clicking noise and spark, but doesn't ignite, and noise/sparking doesn't stop when I adjust the flame on the left burner. What's going on? Is this dangerous? When I turn on the right rear burner, everything seems perfectly normal. The front burners seem fine too. I turned all the burners off and I don't smell any gas or hear hissing, but I'm a bit nervous. This is the make/model of the stove.
posted by zembla3 to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Well, on page 5 of the owner's manual, under Operating the Surface Burners, it says this:
Release the knob and rotate to the LITE position. Note: All four electronic surface ignitors will spark at the same time. However, only the burner you are turning on will ignite.
I don't think I've ever seen that myself on the stoves I've had, but it seems to be operating correctly. Maybe it's only really obvious on the rear burners.
posted by cabingirl at 5:15 PM on October 1, 2009

Cabingirl - the problem is that when you lower the flame on one burner from the "LITE" position, the others are supposed to stop sparking. They're not supposed to continue making the clicking noise. That was how the stove always used to operate.
posted by zembla3 at 5:18 PM on October 1, 2009

Oh, sorry, I had already forgotten you said that the rear burner keeps sparking afterwards. The wiring diagram suggests there is an ignitor module, perhaps something's gone wrong with it?
posted by cabingirl at 5:18 PM on October 1, 2009

When you turn the gas knob, you're both opening the gas valve for whichever burner you're lighting and actuating an electrical switch which turns on the sparker, which sparks all the burners simultaneously. The sparker switch (sorry, don't know the technical term) attached to the knob for your left rear burner has failed. Should be a cheap part, but a bit of a pain to install.
posted by jon1270 at 5:44 PM on October 1, 2009

So then I can assume this isn't dangerous? It's not indicative of a gas leak or anything?
posted by zembla3 at 5:48 PM on October 1, 2009

Nope, not a leak, not a hazard. But, using that left rear burner may cause the spark module to wear out sooner, since it keeps sparking as long as the burner is on.
posted by jon1270 at 5:59 PM on October 1, 2009

This happens on my cooktop, and as several have indicated it's a common feature that all burners spark whe one is turned. The reason that mine usually does it is that there is some impediment to gas flow from the burner being used. There are small holes around the cap which distribute the gas to encircle it and sometimes these get blocked by debris or even water after being washed. They should be clean and dry.
posted by Neiltupper at 12:33 AM on October 2, 2009

It's not supposed to do this, and if my stove did it I'd have it repaired right away because I rely on my stove and don't want any part of it malfunctioning, but no, it's not especially hazardous as long as you don't keep flammable objects near the unlit but sparking burners.

To those of you who keep saying "it's supposed to do this," please read more carefully: the problem described is that the sparker is still going after moving the controls away from the spark setting. It's not that all burners spark simultaneously which of course is a common design.
posted by majick at 5:38 AM on October 2, 2009

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