4 Reasons why your gas oven won’t light but smell gas [Solved]

You are not alone if your gas oven doesn’t light despite smelling gas. I have been there too. As an avid home chef, I was devastated to find out that my beloved gas oven wouldn’t ignite.

I felt frustrated and confused about why it wasn’t working properly and what needed to be done.

Fortunately, my experience with this issue has taught me a few things about troubleshooting and repairing a gas oven that won’t light.

Why does my gas oven won’t light but smell gas?

Your gas oven won’t light up but smell gas either because of internal leakage of the gas, failed ignition, clogged burner, or simply because you are not giving your oven enough time to light up.

How does a gas oven work?

First, let’s understand how a gas oven works. Gas ovens require a steady supply of gas to cook food. In a gas oven, gas is ignited with the help of an igniter. To start, you open the gas supply and then press the igniter button to turn it.

When you turn on the igniter, electric current flows to the igniter, heating it to a very high temperature. After a few seconds, the igniter reaches the desired temperature, and the oven is good for cooking anything.

4 Reasons Why the oven won’t light up but smell gas

As per my experience, there could be three main problems why your oven won’t light up but smells gas:

  1. You are being hasty – not giving the oven enough time to light.
  2. Internal leakage of gas connection.
  3. Gas igniter failure.
  4. Clogged burners

Let’s look into the details of each of the abovementioned problems and see how you can fix them.

Reason #1: You are being hasty in lighting the oven

Sometimes, it is not the oven; it is you! Some ovens take 30 to 35 seconds to light up after turning the gas on. In some older ovens, it is seen that with time, this time taken by the igniter to heat increases by up to 1 minute.


Before you do anything else, make sure to give your oven enough time to light up. Being too hasty could be why your oven is not lighting but smelling gas.

Reason # 2: Internal leakage of the gas

Once you rule out the slow ignition problem, it is time to see if there is an internal leakage of the gas connection.

Sometimes the gas leaks inside the oven and does not reach the igniter. In this case, the igniter does not light up the oven, but you can still smell the gas.


Check for gas leakage inside the oven. You can do the soapy water test or use a natural gas leak detector to see if there is gas leakage.

Reason # 3: Clogged burner

A common reason some gas ovens won’t light up is the accumulation of debris or food spills that block the gas from reaching the burners. In case of a clogged burner, you may also notice a problem with the oven pilot light.


This is probably the easiest problem to solve. You can use any light brush to clean the clogged burner. However, do not use sharp-edged objects to clean the burner, as you may risk damaging the burner in the process.

Reason # 4: Check Gas Igniter

Gas igniters heat up using electric current and become red hot. The gas that comes out of the gas burner burns due to this red-hot igniter. Sometimes this igniter won’t get hot enough to burn the gas or break down, and electric current won’t pass from it, and it will not get hot.


When the igniter stops working properly, you will see that your oven won’t light up, but you can still smell the gas.

To fix this, follow the following steps:

Step 1: Check the igniter

To check if the igniter is working properly, first turn off the oven’s circuit breaker and confirm the power is completely off by checking the light and other components of the oven.

Step 2:  Remove the racks

After cutting down the oven’s power supply, remove the racks and that large metal panel at the bottom of the oven to expose the igniter and gas burner. Depending upon the design of the oven, there might be some other parts at the bottom that you need to remove to see the igniter.

Step 3: Remove the igniter

Now remove the igniter and check for cracks on it. If there is any crack, the igniter must be replaced.

Step 4: Check the igniter with a Multimeter

If there is no crack, check the igniter with a Multimeter. Set the multimeter to its lowest possible resistance value and place the probes on the tips of the igniter plug.

If the multimeter shows infinity or stays at zero, the igniter is no longer working and needs to be replaced.

Step 5: If required, replace the igniter

To fix this issue, you need a new igniter and replace it with the defective one. All igniters are different and come with various electrical connections.

So, you need to get the right one by checking your oven’s model and serial number to get the right igniter compatible with your oven.

How to install a new igniter in a gas oven?

Every oven has a different internal structure, but the following steps are generic for most ovens. You can see the oven user guide if your oven structure is different.

Step 1: Connect the igniter

Connect the new igniter with the wire harness. While connecting the harness, avoid touching the carbide electrode, as it gets damaged if you touch it with oily hands.

Step 2: Place the igniter onto the bracket

Place the new igniter onto the bracket, so the screw holes line up. Now tighten the screws and make sure not to damage any wire.

Step 3: Place the racks back

You can now put the bottom panel of the oven back and put the racks back right at the place from where you removed them.

Step 4: Switch the oven on

Now turn the oven, and your oven is good to go.


So, to conclude, there could be many reasons why your gas oven won’t light up but smells gas. I hope the solutions discussed in this post help you fix your gas oven. If no one of the above-mentioned solutions works, call for technical assistance. Happy cooking!

Hello, I'm Eva, a professional electronics engineer with a passion for optimizing your home appliances. I'm your go-to expert for all things appliance troubleshooting, here to simplify your challenges.

Leave a Comment