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How to troubleshoot Burner Won't Light

Friday, May 27, 2016
by James Savage

Easy DIY Gas Grill Repairs If the Burner Won't Light


One of the hardest parts of any DIY repair can be diagnosing the exact cause. The same problem can have different solutions, and finding the fix often is a simple process of elimination. Our diy gas grill repair section has troubleshooting tips and common questions that can help you find the problem, and our easy-to-follow repair guides make fixing the problem a snap.

So what do you do when you've planned for the big backyard BBQ for weeks just to discover the burners on your gas grill won't light? The neighbors are all coming, and the office crowd—even the in-laws will be there. You've decided on the menu and bought all the food. Don't panic! You might be able to figure this one out, get your get your part from Gas Grill Warehouse and fix it yourself.

Start with the Obvious

Make sure the propane tank has gas in it or that you have gas comming from your natural gas meter.. Once you confirm you have plenty of propane/natural gas, check the regulator hose and propane tank for signs of a leak or gas line from meter. Turn off the gas if you find a leak, and replace the tank or the hose if needed; the hose is usually available as part of the pressure regulator.

How to Test Gas Grill Burners

If the tank and hose or the natural gas supply are not the issue, narrow down the problem a bit more. It could be the gas flow or ignition, or a clogged or damaged burner. The easiest way to check is to test the burners for gas flow. Check to see if the burners are getting gas by carefully attempting to light them manually. Use a long-handled lighter or match with the burner valve turned on.

Possible Causes

If none of the burners light, the most likely cause is a gas flow issue from the pressure regulator. If the burners all ignite manually, gas flow is good and the problem is most likely with the spark igniter. If one or more ignite manually, the problem could be a damaged or clogged burner, the spark igniter or the manifold.

Repair: Gas Grill Pressure Regulator

The pressure regulator controls the propane gas pressure from the propane tank to the grill. Reset the regulator following the instructions in your owner's manual. (Sometimes due to the change in weather(pressure) the gas bottles will engage the safety lock and not allow gas to flow or reduce the flow.  To attempt to unlock the bottle turn off the bottle remove the regulator and reseat the reguler, and try to light again, you may have to do this several times for it to unlock.  If not able to unlock, bring your bottle to your propane supplier to unlock or replace the bottle) or if the regulator doesn’t allow gas to flow after resetting it, replace it. 

Repair: Gas Grill Igniter Electrode

The igniter electrode produces a spark that ignites the gas in the burner. Check the alignment of the igniter and make any adjustments needed. Check the electrode for any buildup of food spills, carbon or other debris, and clean the electrode if needed. Some ignition systems use a battery; check for a weak battery and replace it if necessary.

If the igniter still doesn't produce a spark, or if you find damage to the electrode, replace the igniter electrode. 

Repair: Clogged or Damaged Gas Grill Burner

The burner distributes the propane gas that creates the flame once ignited. Damage to the burner or a clog will prevent it from lighting. Remove the burner grates and flavor bars, and inspect inside the burner tubes and burner ports for clogs such as spider webs or food spills. Clean the burners and ports with a bottlebrush or stiff wire as needed.

If you find rust or damage to the burner, you can replace it easily by :

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.





Step 1: Turn off Gas Supply

Close the shut-off valve on the propane gas tank. or natural gas line.

Step 2: Remove the grates and flavor bar

Remove the cooking grates from the top of the burner box and then remove the flavor bar from the top of the damaged burner.

Step 3: Unfasten the burner

Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, straighten the ends of the cotter pin and remove it from the back of the burner. Detach the mounting screw from the back of the burner using a Phillips screwdriver.


Step 4: Remove the burner

Push the burner back and up slightly to release it from the manifold and then remove the burner.


Step 5: Install the New Burner

Push the new burner into the manifold and then secure it in place with the cotter pin and screw.

Step 6: Restore the gas supply

Open the valve on the propane tank or turn the natural gas on. Light the burner and check the flame. Adjust the burner if necessary.

Step 7: Reinstall the flavor bar and the grates

Allow the burner to cool. Reinstall the flavor bar and grates.