Gas burner sparks but won't light unless I blow on it!

arlinekSeptember 18, 2012

Isn't that strange? This is a cooktop, not a stove, about 10 years old by Amana. Sparks are very visible but just won't catch (only on one particular burner - the main one I always use) unless I blow with a pretty good puff right onto the area bet. the ignitor spark and where the gas comes out. I guess it's implying that the spark is not quite reaching the gas outlet or vice-versa? Actually there aren't tiny holes to "unplug" as I did try using a needle but the only place to clean is the area around the ignitor as there's a teeny-tiny open hole within the ceramic sparker on each side of the tip and that's it. The holes around the burner are very visible (they're not really holes but u-shaped openings) and so there's no residue to be seen to clean up. What to do or try?

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Sounds like the cover(diffuser) is dirty at the point where the spark is occurring. Means no gas coming out that one opening---blowing pushes gas from the next one into the spark.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 10:49PM
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    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 7:28AM
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Look at the holes in the burner cap around the ignitor.

I bet one or more of them is clogged.

If the burner cap is easily removed (some just need a slight turn and then lift off) you can carefully is small wire or even a toothpick form the onside and outside to clear the holes.

It gets a little harder if the cap is not easily removed, but a small wire still often works from the outside.

Be careful, many of them are relatively thin aluminum and easily damaged.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 9:49AM
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Okay, thank you for your help! For an unrelated matter, had the gas co. out and had him look at the burner while he was here. He said the ignitor is broken as the spark is shooting out in all directions ("like lightening") except not in the right direction. So, we need to replace the ignitor. Here's the prob: There are two phillips screws that hold down the round burner apparatus. I'm presuming, obviously, I have to remove that burner to get to the ignitor. However, (and remember this is a gas cooktop, not a stove), those two screws are rusted out and rounded out in the interior so a Phillips just turns and turns. How the heck do we remove those two screws? Do we have to drill them out - oh no!!!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 4:14PM
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I also should add that the two screws are below the surface level of the burner, as though buried in a hole so can't get a file or cutting tool to attempt to file a new slot or even cut off the head of the screw. (See, I DID research first!)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 4:21PM
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Remove that burner assembly and take it to a machine shop. They can remove the screws. While I do not claim to be a machinist, I can do it in my shop. Heating the screw in the thread area with a torch and then letting it cool will loosen the grip of the rust. Welding a nut to the screw head offers a way to grip the screw for removal and the welding heat helps loosen the screw. The machine shop may mill or drill the screw.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Left handed drill bits are your friend.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 10:15AM
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I thought I would update anyone interested (in case you have a similar prob.) about the outcome. Thanks for the encouragement about drilling out the rusty screws as that DID work! When DH looked at the removed ignitor to ready it for replacement, he felt it looked perfectly good but slightly at an angle. (I might have dislodged it slightly in vigorously trying to clean it.) He straightened it out and now it works perfectly - no need to buy a new one - yay!! So, just being a fraction out of alignment prevented the spark from properly reaching the gas. Thank you all.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 11:33PM
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