Try This Simple Fix If Your Gas Burner Won't Light

It's always unsettling when you turn your stove knob to ignite your gas burner, but all you hear is clicking. Rather than lighting, the range stays as it was, but the smell of gas begins to permeate the air. It's one of the hidden downsides of gas stove tops — they don't always light when you want them to. To prevent accidents, this means you have to figure out what's causing the issue. The most common reason your burner won't catch is because a sufficient amount of gas can't flow through. 

This is usually because some of the gas jets or ignition ports are clogged with food. If a pot bubbled over or grease splashed from a pan, the pointy end of a paper clip will help unclog the holes, allowing the gas to flow through again. This is a great hack to try before calling a repairperson because it's safe and free — you don't have to buy a specialty tool — instead, all you need is a spare paper clip from the junk drawer. Here is how to use it to unclog the burner holes and any caveats to keep in mind while doing so.

How to use a paper clip to unclog the gas orifice

What might be specifically clogged is the gas outlet found just underneath the burner cap. It's a piece of brass with a pin-sized hole in the middle. This small hole is in charge of distributing the correct amount of gas to the burner. If it looks gunked up with food or debris, straighten out your paper clip to make it long enough to access the brass component. Pop it into the hole, and rotate the paper clip several times so you can remove any built-up residue. 

Just make sure to be gentle so you don't accidentally damage the mechanism, by moving the paper clip gingerly, and don't push it in too deep. You can also do this to the ignition ports, which are found just underneath the burner cap. Carefully use the paperclip to remove any blockages. Once done, put the burner cap on again and try lighting the burner. If this was the issue, it should immediately catch.

While this will likely fix your issue, there are certain times you should call a technician instead. For example, if you tried turning it on but there was no clicking noise and no flame, that might signal an issue with a component, such as a faulty ignition switch, and it's best to leave that replacement to the professionals.