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Gas Grill Repair & Maintenance

Gas Grill Ignitors &
Start Buttons

Ignitor systems most commonly consist of a gas collector box, ceramic electrode, wire and ignitor push button. Contrary to popular belief, these systems are highly dependable and should provide several years of dependable performance. Most ignitor problems that we have encountered are actually burner-related problems or a result of excessive grease and char buildup.

How They Work

When the gas is turned on at the control knob it begins to flow to the burner and escapes through the burner ports. As the gas escapes it accumulates in the collector box and is ignited by an electric spark generated when the ignitor push-button is activated.


With the gas shut off watch the electrode tip inside the gas collector while activating the igniter. It may be necessary to use a small hand mirror to see inside the collector box. A spark should jump from the electrode tip to the collector box or from the electrode tip to the burner for burner mounted electrodes. If you are getting spark and the grill still will not light, check the venturi tubes for blockage. Gas escaping at the venturis may catch fire at the control valves.

No Spark

Check the wire connections for corrosion or looseness. Operate the pushbutton while watching the connections from the underside of the grill to assure the spark isn't jumping from a connection to the grill body.
  • There should be a 2" clearance between the wire and the grill body
  • Check that the electrode isn't cracked or broken. It is normal for the wire to fit loosely in the porcelain
  • Greasy electrode? The spark will track through the grease to the grill body. If this happens, replacement is required
  • Dirt and rust on the electrode wire tip, or the metal surface that accepts the spark, can prevent the electrode from sparking. Remove rust by lightly sanding with emery cloth or fine sandpaper
  • Check that the burner ports are not clogged and possibly preventing gas to enter the collector box
  • The locking nut on the push-button serves as an electrical ground. Loosen it first and retighten to assure a good connection

Side Burners

Check the spark gap on the side burner along with the main electrode. Both electrodes are in series, which means that if the side burner electrode spark gap is too large, neither electrode will spark. To adjust side burner electrode, first try positioning the electrode closer to the burner. Use caution if trying to bend the electrode wire closer; the porcelain electrode is fragile and will break if bent near the tip.

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Please note: The information provided is not intended to take the place of the owners manual that was supplied with your grill. Specific safety, repair and maintenance information varies between grill models and brands. Always refer to your owners manual.