There is nothing more frustrating than going to start a BBQ cookout only to find your gas grill igniter is not working. A faulty igniter has been the undoing of many a summer BBQ, so what can you do to prevent this from happening to you, and how can you repair it when it does?
Thankfully, there are several things that you can do to ensure that your gas grill igniter is always sparking, and your BBQ is kept in the best condition possible.
To help you, we have taken a closer look at what you can do to ensure your next family cookout goes smoothly.
What is a gas grill igniter and how do grill igniters work?
Before we take a look at why your gas grill igniter is not working, we thought we would examine what they are exactly. As the name suggests, this is the vital component of your gas barbecue which causes it to ignite and heat up.
The igniter is designed to create a spark which will then light the gas that is being supplied either by a natural gas line or a propane tank. There are typically four primary components to any gas grill igniter:
A Spark Generator
This is one of the main aspects of any igniter, and it is responsible for generating the electric charge needed to ignite the gas. There are two common versions of a spark generator, a piezo igniter or a battery-powered igniter.
To work out which type you have on your gas grill, you should look for a battery pack. If you have one, then you have a spark generator powered by external batteries, and if you do not, then you have a piezo igniter.
A battery-powered igniter uses the voltage that these batteries provide to create the spark and will repeatedly click when the starter is pressed or turned.
Piezo starters, on the other hand, do not require an outside power source and instead generate their spark by having a small spring-loaded hammer hit a special crystal such as quartz, which then emits the required charge.
When pressing this starter, you will usually hear a loud snap sound when pushed.
Another essential part of any grill igniter is the wires. These are responsible for carrying the charge created by the spark generator to the electrodes.
These electrodes are attached to the ignition wires and are what emit the required spark to ignite the gas.
The final aspect of a gas grill is the collector box. This is the part of the igniter which helps to collect the gas to make sure that it is faster to ignite.
It is important to remember that some grills will only have one igniter for the entire thing, with carryover tubes, then carry the gas and flame over to each additional burner. Other grills will then have different electrodes for each burner.
Why isn’t my gas grill igniter working?
There are many reasons why your grill igniter might not be working. However, if you are hearing a regular clicking noise or there is a loud snap when you press the button, then thankfully, the issue is not with your igniter and the problem will likely be with the supply of gas or a faulty burner.
In these instances, you can troubleshoot why your gas grill is not working.
If you are not hearing any noise being emitted from your grill when you press the ignition button, but you are able to light your burners by using a match, then it is likely a fault with your igniter.
This can be incredibly frustrating to find, but usually it can be quickly fixed, and there are four common causes for your igniter to be malfunctioning:
1) Dead or corroded battery
If you have a battery-powered spare generator, then one of the most common causes for your gas grill igniter not working is because the battery is either dead or has become too corroded to work. This will not be an issue, though, if you are using a gas grill that uses a piezo igniter.
To fix this issue, you should turn your igniter button cover counterclockwise to remove it and reveal the battery. Simply remove the old one and replace it with a new one before refitting your button cover. Try to reignite your barbecue, and it should light.
If it does not, then the issue might be elsewhere.
2) Electrodes are corroded or dirty
If you have replaced the battery, but the barbecue is still not igniting, then it might be that your electrodes are dirty or have become corroded. From fumes, food particles, and grease, your burner faces a lot, and if you are not regularly conducting a thorough clean, then residue can soon start building up.
Thankfully, this is a very easy fix to make. All you will need to do is ensure your electrodes are completely clean. To do this, use a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol and carefully rub the metal tips of the electrode until all residue is removed.
Let the electrode dry and try to ignite your grill again.
If the electrode is corroded, then you can use lightly sand the metal tips to remove any of the build-up.
3) Loose Connections
Another very common cause for your gas grill igniter not working is a loose connection. To check for this, make sure that your electrodes are all in working order and are not cracked, and examine your wiring for any fraying or damage.
If they all look in food shape, then you should disconnect and reconnect the wires and electrodes and carefully secure each one.
4) Wet Weather
Finally, the other reason might simply be because your igniter is wet. This will mean it cannot light as it would normally, but you can use a match to bypass this until your igniter has dried out.
When should you replace gas grill igniter parts?
If you have tried these fixes and they have not worked, then it might be time for you to replace your parts. This is especially true if your battery is still not working or there are signs of damage on your electrodes or wires.
How to replace a gas grill igniter
No matter whether you have a battery-powered igniter or a piezo one, it is very easy to replace them in five simple steps:
- Turn off your gas supply and ensure all cooking knobs are turned off.
- Unscrew the front part of your igniter button and loosen the collector box.
- Look at how the wires are connected and then disconnect them to remove the collector box.
- Attach your new kit in the appropriate position.
- Screw your collector box back in and check if the grill will fire up.
Although it can be frustrating to find that your gas grill igniter is not working, it can be a very quick and easy fix to get your barbecue working again. To minimize the risk of a failure, you should also ensure that you are keeping your grill clean, as this will ensure it remains in the very best condition possible.