How to Light a Gas Oven (AVOID Doing This!)

Gas ovens come with quite a long list of advantages. From even cooking to faster preheating, gas ovens can help food retain its natural juices and bring out its flavors.

Yet, do you know how to light a gas oven? Are they easy to operate? Or do you need to be aware of certain safety precautions? That’s what we’re here to find out.


So, let’s get started.

How to Light a Gas Oven

There are two kinds of gas ovens. The first is the older version that relies on a pilot flame to ignite the burners.

The second is more modern and relies on an electric ignition system.

Let’s take a look at how to light each one.

Using an Electric Ignition System

More modern ovens light up with the help of an electric ignition system. All you have to do is press the ignition button for this to work. This button might be hidden behind a panel so you can look around to find it.

As you’re pressing, you’ll hear the sound of electric sparks going off. At the same time, you need to slowly turn the temperature dial to release small amounts of gas.

When the electric sparks catch hold of the gas, the burners light up.

Using a Pilot Flame

Before we get started, let’s talk about what a pilot flame is and how it works.

A pilot flame, or pilot lighter as it’s sometimes called, is a small flame situated at the base of the oven. In some ovens, you may find that the manufacturer designed this flame to burn non-stop at a low level, even when the oven is turned off.

On other models, however, the pilot flame only burns whenever the oven is turned on. So, anytime you want to light the oven, you have to light the pilot flame first.

It’s worth mentioning that the amount of gas emitted by the pilot flames on these models is pretty minimal. So, they’re safe to ignite.

While the former is much easier to use, the latter example is safer and uses up less gas consumption.

Either way, the pilot flame has the same function: to light up the oven burner. So, how does it do that exactly?

When you turn on the oven, you feed the pilot flame more gas. In turn, this lights up the burner.

Things You’ll Need

To light a gas oven, you’ll need a couple of things:

  • The oven’s user manual to help you pinpoint the location of the pilot flame
  • Long matches or a pilot lighter

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these five easy steps to light up your gas oven using the pilot light.

Step 1: Turn Off the Temperature Dial

Look at the temperature dial and make sure it’s in the ‘Off’ position. Ovens with a constantly burning flame should always be turned off when you light them.

Step 2: Locate the Pilot Light

You might need the user manual for this step. If you don’t have it, proceed as follows:

  1. Open the oven door and look for a small opening marked ‘Pilot Flame’ or something along those lines. The opening might be in any of the back corners of the oven floor, the center, or in the front.
  2. If you can’t find the pilot hole in the oven’s main compartment, open the broiler door and look there. Still can’t find it?

Then, it’s time to remove the entire broiler carriage. You should see the opening for the pilot light in the back of the empty broiler chamber. Get a gas detector to make sure that there are no leaks. There also shouldn’t be any draft or explosive objects nearby. Check if there are no problems with the oven before you proceed. When in doubt, ask someone else to check the device. Everything should be clean as well. A lot of people let dirt drip into the area around the pilot light and this can cause problems.

Step 3: Use a Match to Ignite the Pilot Light

When you finally locate the pilot hole, light a long match and put it inside the opening. You can also use a stove lighter for this step if you prefer.

As we mentioned above, a flame that’s designed to burn all the time will light up even with the temperature dial in the ‘Off’ position.

Alternatively, suppose the oven is designed to be manually ignited each time you use it. In this case, you’ll have to turn the temperature dial slowly once you place the match or lighter in the pilot flame opening.

Step 4: Start Cooking

Once the pilot light ignites, remove your hand and throw away the match. Next, set the oven temperature to your desired setting.

Then, replace the broiler carriage and close the broiler compartment if you’ve taken either of them out. Finally, close the oven door and start cooking!

Safety Precautions

Luckily, more and more gas oven manufacturers include many safety features in their units. This has made them more user-friendly over the years.

Still, they can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Take a look at some safety precautions to keep in mind when using a gas oven. Read the manual of your device to see what needs to happen.

Install sensors and don’t forget to turn the gas oven off after you have used it.

Gas Leaks

If you smell gas, never attempt to light anything. Even turning on room lights can create a spark, which can quickly lead to an explosion.

Start by creating adequate airflow to fan out the gas. Next, find the source of the leak. Start by checking to see if any burners have been left on accidentally.

Call your local gas company if you suspect that the gas cylinder has been compromised. If you can’t reach them, dial 911 and ask for the fire department.

Proper Ventilation

We previously mentioned that the best thing to do when you smell gas is to open up the windows and doors to air out your kitchen.

Another good idea is to install an exhaust fan or range hood. Use it daily to fan out excess moisture, smoke, and unwanted odors while cooking.

Regular Clean-Ups

As you’ve probably noticed, ovens tend to build up layers of grime residue. If left unchecked, they can lead to poor performance and may even damage the integrity of the unit.

Not only that, but those layers of oils and debris can catch on fire, which can cause serious injuries.

Therefore, regular oven cleaning and maintenance are essential to keeping your unit in optimal condition while avoiding injuries. The best way to do that is to use a spray cleaner to regularly wipe the entire stove, especially the area around the pilot flame.

A Final Note

In this post, we talked about how to light a gas oven using a pilot flame and an electric spark ignition. While the method mainly depends on the make and model of your oven, the most important thing to remember is to always take the necessary precautions before, during, and after lighting up your oven.