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Why won’t my gas oven heat up?

Dear Angie: My gas oven won’t heat up but the broiler and burners are working. What could be the problem? – Denise N., Roseville, Calif.

Dear Denise: Your problem is likely with your oven’s igniter. This is the most common reason for oven failure, according to highly rated appliance repair specialists on Angie’s List.

This issue normally presents itself with the oven igniter making a “clicking” sound as it attempts to light. After it clicks a few times, instead of hearing the igniter “catch” and light, it just stops clicking and you’re left with a cold oven. Wait a few seconds and you’ll likely smell the natural gas that emanated from the igniter. It’s important to turn the oven off at this point, as this is obviously a potential safety issue; the most serious being the risk of carbon monoxide emission. Most ovens should reach 350 degrees in seven or eight minutes.

Though most older ovens use a heat resistance igniter, many newer systems use a spark igniter. It’s important to know which type you have before attempting to make the repair. A qualified appliance repair technician can assess which type you need.

Fortunately, replacing the igniter isn’t an expensive repair, but it likely will require the services of an experienced technician. First, you’re dealing with high voltages, which could pose the risk for electrical shock. Plus, if the igniter is not installed properly, it could create other separate issues, costing you more in repairs in the long term. Expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 for a new igniter to be professionally installed, though your oven brand and type could increase that cost.

If the problem isn’t with your igniter, then it’s likely with the main valve. This repair is more expensive to make, but would still likely cost less than replacing the stove altogether.

I recommend you find an appliance repair technician who has experience and training to work on your brand of oven. The technician can test to determine exactly what the issue is, so you’re not wasting your money on trial-and-error fixes. If the tech knows in advance what brand of oven you have and the potential problem, he or she will likely have the part on their truck and can make the repair the same day, saving you both time and money.

Also, many appliance repair companies will waive any service charges for diagnosing the issue, if you hire them to make the repair.

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