Home & Garden

Oven igniter might not be doing its job

Angie Hicks
Angie Hicks MCT

Dear Angie: The oven of my gas range takes a really long time to preheat. Sometimes, I'll leave it on for an hour, and it doesn't heat up at all. Is it unsafe to do that, and what could be wrong with my oven? — T.M.

Dear T.M.: The likely issue is a weak or failing oven igniter.

Heat resistance igniters can lose resistance as they get hot over time and won't send enough resistance to the gas valve to allow the main valve to come on.

This intermittent starting can happen when the igniter is getting weak and before it goes out completely. If it doesn't draw enough amperage, the igniter won't send out the gas needed to light the oven.

This is a very common problem in ovens, and the repair typically costs about $150, though that can vary depending on the type and brand of oven you have.

It's worth noting that some manufacturers have gone to a spark ignition system instead of heat-resistance ignition.

A common problem with spark igniters is when the igniter fails to generate a spark. A qualified technician can tell you what type of igniter you have and can diagnose whether the problem is related to the igniter.

As with any appliance that is not operating properly, especially a gas appliance, this issue could cause an unsafe condition, and you should have it repaired by a qualified appliance repair professional as soon as possible. A weak igniter could lead to ignition problems, improper gas flame or high carbon dioxide emission from gas ovens. Most gas ovens should heat to 350 degrees in about seven to eight minutes.

Talk to your repair professional before his or her visit and describe the brand of oven you have and the problem. That will help to ensure they have the parts needed for the repair when they come to your home, so they won't have to make another trip, which could delay the repair and increase the cost. Most appliance repair companies will waive their service call charge if you hire them to make the repair.