Grill Repair: Ignitors

Gas grill Ignitors & Start Buttons

Let’s ignite some knowledge about grill Start Buttons – they’re like the matchmakers of your grilling experience!

Gas Grill Ignitors and Start Buttons by Category
Electronic ignition modules require a fresh battery for optimal performance.

Reliable Ignition, really!: Contrary to common misconceptions, these ignition systems are like the dependable friend who’s always there for you. They typically consist of a gas collector box, insulated ceramic electrode, wire, and that trusty ignitor push button. You can count on these systems for years of reliable performance.

Most issues folks encounter:

For electronic ignition start buttons, replace your batteries. We get a lot of calls from customers who do not realize their ignitors utilize a AAA, AA, or 9V battery.
For Piezo/Manual ignitors (electronic, too), most issues aren’t actually ignitor problems; it’s usually grease and char buildup near the burner and ignitor that kill the chance to spark.

How They Work: Picture this – when you turn on the gas at the control knob, it flows to the burner and escapes through the burner ports. The gas gathers in the collector box, waiting for its moment of glory. Then, when you hit that ignitor push button, bam! An electric spark lights up the gas, and your grill comes to life.

The first electronic ignition system for gas grills was introduced in the 1960s, revolutionizing the way people started their grills.

Scroll down for grill Ignitor testing and repair

Gas Grill Ignitor Troubleshooting

Spark Testing

If you ever suspect something’s off, here’s a trick: with the gas shut off, keep an eye on the electrode tip inside the gas collector as you activate the igniter. You might need a small hand mirror for this. What you want to see is a spark jumping from the electrode tip to the collector box or to the burner (for burner-mounted electrodes).

If you’re getting sparks but your grill’s still in the dark, check those venturi tubes – gas escaping there might catch fire at the control valves, and nobody wants that surprise!

Testing a removed (or new) piezo/manual spark generator

  • Test for a spark by connecting red and white wires to spark generator
  • Hold the round eyelet on the red wire about 1/4" away from the electrode (don’t let touch).
  • Push starter button several times, and you should see a spark each time the button is pushed.

No Spark? No Problem!

If there’s no spark in your life (specifically your grills), don’t fret. Here are some checks to get that spark back:

  • Check wire connections for corrosion or looseness.
  • Ensure there’s a 2" clearance between the wire and the grill body.
  • Examine the electrode for cracks or breakage. Loose wire in the porcelain? Normal! But if it’s greasy, replacement is on the menu.
  • Rust and dirt on the electrode tip or the spark-accepting metal surface can dull the spark’s sparkle. Lightly sand it down with emery cloth or fine sandpaper.
  • Make sure those burner ports aren’t playing hide-and-seek with gas flow – they should be open for business.
  • That locking nut on the push button? It’s the grounding hero. Loosen it first and then tighten it back up for a good connection.

Side Burners and trouble lighting

Ah, don’t forget those sidekicks – side burners. Main burner ignitors and side burner ignitors are in this together and are like partners in crime. If the main burners electrode gap is too wide, or the side burner electrode’s spark gap is too wide, neither of them will spark. To adjust the side burner electrode, try positioning it closer to the burner, but be gentle. That porcelain electrode is a delicate soul and can break if you bend it near the tip.

So there you have it, the ignition system – your grill’s matchmaker, ready to spark some grilling magic!