How do you repair a gas stove when it breaks down in the middle of a dish you are whipping up? Or even before you’ve set that pot atop the burner? Can you determine beforehand if your gas stove has a problem and if that problem is within your (or will require) expert attention?
Compared to electric stoves, most problems with gas stoves are simple, mechanical and may be resolved with a few troubleshooting measures that you can do yourself. To repair a gas stove in your kitchen, you need only keen observation and common sense. Do-it-yourself, self-help, usually works, unless of course if at any time you smell gas, suspect a gas leak, and cannot identify where the leak is coming from. This is the time to get expert help.
On your own, here are a few tips to repair a gas stove:
What do you do when you have clogged burners? Your gas stove’s burners have portholes around them through which gas is released and gets to the spark made by the igniter to light a controlled flame. Sometimes you will wonder why your burners are not lighting up even after several tries on your dial. Check out the burner portholes; they may be clogged so that gas cannot escape to reach the igniter. You can remove the burner top and grate, get the burner assembly with the portholes out, and check the clogs. In this case, you need only to clean those portholes, but do it by picking on each porthole with a toothpick or pin, making sure the hole is cleared but not deformed by your picking, brushing the holes to remove any leftover or residue, and then washing or brushing the burner completely. If this does not do it, get expert repair help already.
Can you adjust the flame setting or flame size? Ideally, you should see your stove’s flame as bright blue in color and consistently burning. The blue color is the result of the proper mixture of the gas fuel and the surrounding air that assures you that the fuel is being burned efficiently. If the flame is of a yellowish or whitish color, there may be a problem with how the gas ignition is aerated or how air is mixing with the gas fuel. You not only get sooty pans this way; you also run the risk of gas being overly fed into the burner. To adjust the air and gas mixture to the safest and most efficient level, you can adjust the stove’s pilot which is a screw valve located behind the control knobs. With a screwdriver, you can turn and adjust this pilot until you get a bluish flame to indicate you’ve reached the efficient air-gas mixture level.
Sometimes after cleaning and adjusting the pilot, you still cannot get an instant flame on your burners. You can also check the ignition this time. The spark ignition that is connected to your stove’s control knob lights up the mixed gas and air to ignite a flame. The igniter is located either on the left or right side very near the burner. Examine the igniter and check for clogs or severed wire or damaged spark mechanism. Brush it to clean the clogs and reveal any damaged mechanism, which if there are any, can be bought and replaced easily. Some gas stove models use electronic igniters which over time also turn defective due to normal wear or tear. If so, then it may be time to replace the electronic igniter, too. Also, you can check if there is any cut wiring or exposed insulation in your electronic igniter; the module may be grounded and is not working properly.
When you smell gas and trace it to your gas safety valve, check out the valve for integrity as in there are no loose hose clamps or faulty valve gates. If after tightening these clamps and valves there is still a trace of gas odor, take your appliance to a competent repairman.
There may also be times you are pushed to panic levels when your stove emits more smoke than it used to. Before you panic, check your stove first for drip-buildup. Sometimes fat and grease drip and are accumulated on the burners and the burner drip pans. When touched by flame and burned, these drips create much smoke. You can simply remove those drip pans and clean away the drip-down grease, washing and drying those drip pans totally before your next use.
These are just some basic tips on how to repair a gas stove. However, for problems that you cannot accurately pinpoint, it is always best to let the experts handle it. Take your gas stove to the nearest repair shop when in doubt.