Gas burners my hiss or sputter or cease to work at all. Here is some helpful information on how to repair and maintain gas burners.

A gas burner's cooktop emitting a blue flame.
Healthy gas burner flame is blue.

Burner Hisses or Sputters

If your gas burner is hissing, sputtering, or burning a yellow flame, it is not operating efficiently. The problem is caused by too much or too little air being supplied to the flame. Here is how to make an adjustment:

Wait to perform your repair until the stovetop surface is cool. Make sure all controls are turned off. Take the grates off the surface of the stove, and then lift up the cooktop. Use the metal rod found inside to prop the cooktop open.

Locate the faulty burner’s air shutter. This is often near the front of the appliance. Unscrew the shutter’s setscrew, until it is loose but not off. Turn the burner on high. If a noisy flame is your problem, slightly close the shutter until the flame burns quietly. If a yellow flame is your issue, open the shutter until the flame burns blue. Retighten the shutter’s setscrew, close up the cooktop, and replace the grates.

Gas Burner Does Not Work

Most problems with gas ranges have to do with the flame—either it isn’t quite right or it’s nonexistent. Many new gas ranges have “electronic ignition,” a spark igniter that starts the flame as gas flows through the burners.

If, when you turn on one burner, it fails to spark but you hear sparking at other burners, food or cleaners may have clogged the burner ports. Be sure the burner is cool, then remove it and wash it thoroughly. Insert a toothpick in the orifices around its perimeter to remove any debris or clogs.

A gas burner with and without cover, including gas ports and an electronic ignition spark.
When you lift the cover off of this gas burner, you can see the gas ports and the electronic ignition spark (don’t touch the spark!).

If this doesn’t do the job, the igniter or the burner switch may need replacement by an appliance repair person.

If none of the burners work, be sure the pilot light is lit if your cooktop has one.

Be aware that gas cooktops rely on electrical power for their ignition systems. Be sure the unit is plugged into its receptacle. You’ll typically find the receptacle behind a freestanding range or at the back of the cabinet below a built-in cooktop.

Also make sure that the circuit breaker serving the appliance is in the “On” position or that its fuse has not blown.

Check both the main electrical panel and any secondary subpanels that supply power to the appliance.

Diagram of an electrical panel, including color-coded branch circuit breakers and a main breaker handle.
Main Circuit Breaker Panel

If necessary, reset the circuit breaker or replace the fuse.

Man’s fingers holding a red circuit breaker switch, including an arrow pointing to a direction.
Turn the circuit breaker all of the way off, then flip it back to “ON.” © HomeTips

If the circuit blows again, there is probably a short in the electrical system. Call an electrician.

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About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years as a remodeler and builder, Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort