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Why Is My Gas Grill Igniter Not Working? How to Replace a Gas Grill Igniter

It’s a nightmare scenario for any outdoor cooking enthusiast: you’ve got your burgers in hand, the gas supply on your grill is turned on, and you push the button to light it.

But nothing happens.

If you’ve run into this issue before, you understand how obnoxious it can be when your gas grill igniter isn’t working properly.

Thankfully, troubleshooting the issue and replacing the igniter if needed is a fairly easy process that will have your grill back up and running in no time.

With just a few household tools, we’ll share everything you need to know about checking your igniter’s functionality and replacing it if it truly has gone bad.

In this article, we’ll walk you through all of the possible reasons why your igniter isn’t working, how you can try to fix it, and how to replace the ignition system entirely if it’s beyond saving with a little elbow grease.

Before you know it, you’ll be able to easily light your grill again (and feel accomplished that you’ve got another DIY project under your belt!).

What Is a Grill Igniter and How Do Grill Igniters Work?

A grill igniter is the system within your gas grill that lights the gas flow and creates flames. It is basically the ignition system.

These systems work by creating a spark when they’re turned or pressed, which in turn ignites the gas.

The ignition system of a gas grill has four primary parts:

  • Spark Generator: This component creates the electrical charge. There are two prevalent kinds: piezo igniters, which don’t require an external power source and battery-powered igniters. Piezo igniters work by striking a crystal, such as quartz, with a tiny spring-loaded hammer to generate a charge, and they produce a sharp snap sound when activated. On the other hand, battery-powered igniters use a battery’s voltage to create a spark and produce a repetitive clicking noise when pressed.
  • Igniter Wires: These transport the electrical charge from the spark generator to the electrode.
  • Electrodes: Attached to the igniter wire, the electrodes emit the spark that lights the gas.
  • Collector Box: This component aids in trapping the gas for faster ignition.

You use your grill control knobs to adjust the flames higher or lower.

What Are the Different Types of Igniters?

The two most common types of gas grill igniters are piezo igniters and battery-powered spark generators.

  • Piezo igniters: Piezo igniters don’t need any outside power source, like a battery or an electric outlet, to work. They use a spring-loaded hammer to hit a crystal, which then emits the charge to create a spark. Piezo igniters are activated by pushing a button or turning a knob, making a sharp snapping sound when in use.
  • Battery igniters: As the name suggests, a battery igniter uses the voltage from a battery to create a spark. They usually use ordinary disposable or rechargeable AAA, AA, or 9-volt batteries. These igniters create a clicking sound when in use.

Piezo ignitors are the most popular gas grill igniters due to their reliability and longevity. Battery Igniters have a limited battery lifespan and will need to be replaced more often. Fortunately, they are very easy to replace.

Why Isn’t My Gas Grill Igniter Working?

The Battery Is Dead or Corroded | The Electrodes Are Dirty or Corroded | The Electrodes or Wire Connections Are Loose | There Is a Problem With the Burners | Wet Weather

Igniter not working? First, let’s determine if it is, in fact, your igniter that’s having issues.

If you’re turning the knob or pressing the button on your grill and hearing that snapping or clicking sound but don’t see a flame, the issue could actually be with your burners or the gas flow itself.

But if you’re trying to light your grill and your igniter isn’t making any sound, you likely have an igniter issue on your hands.

Thankfully there are a few common reasons why this can happen, and they’re usually easy to fix!

The Battery Is Dead or Corroded

If you have a battery-powered igniter, your first step at the sign of trouble should be to determine if your battery is dead or corroded. Replace the battery, and give it another go.

If your igniter still isn’t lighting your grill, it’s likely not a battery issue, and you’ll have to keep troubleshooting.

The Electrodes Are Dirty or Corroded

The electrodes, the part of your igniter system that actually emits the spark, can get hit with a lot of grease and grime from your grill. When they get dirty, they won’t be able to function properly.

To clean a dirty electrode, dampen a cotton swab with a bit of rubbing alcohol and rub it over the electrode’s metal tip or casing. Let it dry, then try again.

If you can tell that the electrode has some corrosion on it, you can gently sand this off with some sandpaper.

The Electrodes or Wire Connections Are Loose

If you don’t see any dirt, corrosion, cracks, or breaks on the electrodes, your issues may be due to a loose or faulty wire.

Take a close look at the wires to make sure there isn’t any fraying. Fraying can happen over time due to weather conditions and even critters chewing through the wires.

If the wires look intact as well, it could be an issue with the connection. You can troubleshoot this by disconnecting and reconnecting the electrodes from the wires, ignition box, and ignition switch to make sure they’re secure.

There Is a Problem With the Burners

As we mentioned earlier, the issues you’re having lighting your grill may be due to the burners and not the igniter at all.

To check this, turn on your gas flow and try to light it manually (very carefully!) with a lighter or match. If you don’t get a flame, you’ll know the issue is with your burner. They may be clogged and just need a good cleaning.

Wet Weather

Rainy or snowy weather can put a damper on your grilling experience, literally. A wet igniter will not be able to light your grill.

If you’re dead set on grilling in wet weather, turn the gas on and light your grill manually with a lighter or match. Once your grill is on, the heat should help to dry out the igniter.

When Is It Time to Replace Igniter Parts

Even with all of this troubleshooting, you may need to replace parts of your igniter to keep it working as intended.

If your gas grill igniter is not clicking and you’ve tried swapping out the batteries and cleaning or sanding down the electrodes and the igniter still doesn’t work, or if you’ve spotted any frayed or corroded wires, you’ll know it’s time for a gas grill igniter replacement.

Thankfully, replacing a grill igniter is pretty easy and inexpensive with an ignition kit!

How To Replace a Gas Grill Igniter

Oh no! Your gas grill ignitor is not working!

To replace a gas grill igniter, make sure your grill is completely turned off and cool.

  1. The gas supply should be off, and your control knobs should be set to off as well.
  2. Next, find your grill’s igniter box and unscrew the front panel to loosen the box. Once you have the box open, remember how the wires are connected and arranged in the box (snapping a photo with your phone is a smart move).
  3. Disconnect all of the wires and take out the old igniter box. Connect your new igniter kit to your grill’s ports the same way the previous kit was connected (this is the time to pull out that photo you took!).
  4. If your grill has multiple igniters, be sure you’re replacing the correct one (or that you’re replacing all of them if you’ve found them all to be faulty).
  5. Screw the igniter box back into place, and you’re good to go!

*Notes

Make sure the gas supply has been completely turned off before doing any work on your gas grill. That includes the tank and control knobs.

Materials and Tools Needed

To replace an igniter, you’ll need a universal BBQ igniter or an ignition kit that fits your model of grill. Non-universal igniters will have either two or four wires — be sure to check which kind you have before purchasing your replacement.

You’ll also need a screwdriver or wrench to unscrew the box, as well as batteries if you have a battery-powered igniter. You may also want to grab gloves and paper towels to protect your hands and work surface from any grease and grime.

Gas Grill Igniter Tips

When replacing a gas grill igniter, consider these helpful tips:

  • Safety First: Before starting any work on your grill, ensure that the gas supply is turned off.
  • Refer to Your Grill’s Manual: Your grill’s user manual can provide specific instructions on how to replace the igniter for your specific model.
  • Proper Tools: Make sure you have the right tools handy. Typically, a screwdriver, wrench, or pliers may be needed to remove the old igniter and install the new one.
  • Check the Fit: Ensure that the replacement igniter is the right fit for your grill. If it doesn’t fit into the existing hole, you may need to enlarge the hole using a drill with a metal bit or heavy-duty metal snips. Remember to wear safety glasses if drilling.
  • Check Connections: When installing the new igniter, ensure that all the connections are secure, especially the igniter wires. Loose connections can cause the igniter to malfunction.
  • Test the Igniter: After the new igniter is installed, test it to ensure it’s working properly. You should hear a clicking sound and see a spark.
  • Clean the Grill: It’s also a good opportunity to clean the grill, removing any built-up grease or residue that could interfere with the operation of the new igniter.

To keep your igniter working as expected, be sure to give it a little TLC whenever you clean your grill. Wipe off any dirt and debris, and dry it off afterward to protect against corrosion.

A grill cover can also help shield your grill and igniter from snow, rain, and other elements or critters that can damage the electrodes or wires.

How Do You Light a Gas Grill When the Igniter Doesn’t Work?

If your igniter isn’t working, but you need to use your grill NOW, you can light it manually.

  1. First, open up the lid and make sure your control knobs are all in the off position. The last thing we want here is to unexpectedly ignite leaking gas.
  2. Next, find the best place to light your grill. Some grills will require you to light them manually through the cooking grates, while others have a dedicated hole where you can stick a lit match or lighter. If you’re not sure of the best way to manually light your grill, check your owner’s manual.
  3. Next, open up your gas tank valve if your grill has one, and turn on the gas to one burner. Bring your lit match or lighter to that burner and wait for it to light.
  4. If your grill can be cross-lit, you can turn on your other burners once one is lit, and they will light as well. If your grill doesn’t have this feature, you will need to turn on the gas and light each burner individually.

Finally, close the lid to let your grill preheat, and you’re ready to go!

Gas Grill Igniter FAQ

Changing out your gas grill igniter can be a scary roadblock preventing a fun day of barbecuing. But like we just showed you, it is easier than you might think.

Still have some burning questions about troubleshooting your gas grill igniter?

Read on to find the answers to these FAQs!

How Do I Know If My Gas Grill Igniter Is Bad?

The easiest way to know if your gas grill igniter is bad or not is by trying to use it — if it’s bad, you won’t hear the snap of the hammer hitting the crystal (on a piezo igniter) or the clicking noise when it’s trying to create a spark (on a battery igniter).

Can You Manually Light a Gas Grill?

Yes, you can manually light your grill by turning on the gas to one burner and placing a lit match or lighter through either the designated match hole or just above the burner to light the gas. I suggest using a long-handled match or lighter to prevent burns.

Why Won't My Grill Igniter Click?

If your igniter isn’t clicking, it may be because the wiring is faulty. You’ll need to open up your igniter box to check that the wires are all intact and connected correctly. You should also check for damage, like frayed wires or cracking.

Final Thoughts on Our How to Replace a Gas Grill Igniter Guide

Learning how to troubleshoot and replace a gas grill igniter is an easy yet needed skill that can save you a lot of time, money, and hassle in the long run.

Instead of calling off your next backyard barbecue when you can’t get your grill to light, you can follow the DIY steps in this guide to check, fix, or replace your igniter or light your grill manually if needed.

While the project is fairly simple and quick, it’s still important to prioritize safety — always make sure your gas supply is turned off before troubleshooting or fixing your igniter.

The next time your igniter is giving you trouble, don’t worry — you’re just a few steps away from getting your grill fired back up and ready to cook!

If you’ve had any experiences with faulty igniters, positive or negative, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments below. Let’s keep the conversation going!

Cheers,

Pat G.

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DisclosureAt The Grilling Life, I am committed to researching and writing thoughtful, informative and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your outdoor cooking needs.  If you like what I do, you can support me through my chosen links, which earn me a commission.  This allows me to continue sharing with you my love for all things barbecue.  Your support is truly appreciated.

Patrick Ginise

A backyard warrior, certified carnivore, lover of good whiskey, grill master and I’m Living The Grilling Life!

I have a passion for cooking with live fire and smoke, no matter the weather. I’m a real person just like you, who loves outdoor cooking and BBQ. Food, fun, and time spent with family and friends are what it’s all about! It is my mission to take my passion and knowledge for outdoor cooking and all things BBQ and share this expertise in techniques and grilling equipment with you. In other words, Living The Grilling Life!

I have personally tested over 150+ Grills and Smokers and hundreds of grilling thermometers, temperature controllers, grill brushes, grilling tools, fire starters, and other BBQ products.