Whirlpool range in a kitchen.

When it comes to essential appliances in the kitchen, your oven/range is near the top of the list. Sure, there are lots of things you can get done with an alternative appliance like a microwave or toaster oven versus the oven. But when it comes to the burners on a stove, they’re essential for doing everything from boiling water to searing steak and cooking perfect eggs in the morning. What do you do when a burner won’t turn on? Don’t panic. There are a few ways you might be able to solve the issue yourself. And yes, that relates to all types of stoves, including gas, induction, and electric.

Before you call a repairperson, consider these potential fixes first.

Troubleshooting a gas burner

GE range with gas burners on and pots on top.

The way you turn a gas stove on is much different than a traditional electric burner. While it still has a knob, you need to push this in and turn lightly to ignite the flame. Adjust to the right heat level once you hear it ignite and the flame starts burning. If the burner isn’t lighting, the first thing you need to confirm is if it lights electronically or with a pilot light. Most modern stoves no longer use a pilot light. But if you have an old stove that’s been in your family for generations, you might still see this.

Checking electronically lit gas stoves

If the gas stove is electronically lit, check that it’s plugged in. I know, that seems like such an obvious thing. But it’s entirely possible that it has become unplugged, or the outlet isn’t getting power. A simple way to ensure that the appliance has power is to turn on the oven light. If it illuminates, it’s getting power. If not, your issue relates to power.

Insignia gas air fry range

Once ruling out lack of power as the issue, next check that the gas valve is fully open. Also confirm that you don’t have a clogged gas burner orifice, the shiny piece beneath the burner cap. This can be caused by a pot boiling over, for example. Give the burner a good clean, particularly by the spark ignitor and burner holes and on the underside of the burner cap. Use an abrasive sponge, or an old toothbrush is also a good option to get into all the tiny crooks and crevices. Use a paper clip to clean out the gas burner orifice and break up any clogs. (Be careful to be gentle while doing this).

Checking pilot light gas stoves

For older gas stoves that are lit by a pilot light, the most obvious (but also most important first check) to make is to look to see that the pilot light is actually lit. Turn off the lights in the kitchen so you can see it more easily. If so, the issue could be with the igniters. Try to turn it while looking underneath and see if there’s a spark.

Troubleshooting an electric burner

If you have an electric stove, it’s actually much easier to diagnose what’s going on with a burner that isn’t turning on. First, make sure to unplug it before following any of these steps. Look at the burner rings. If they are burned to a crisp, it’s time you replace them. If they look OK, check the prongs where the burner connects to make sure it’s not loose and fitted correctly. You can fidget with the prongs, gently spreading them out then plugging back in to see if that fixes the problem. (You’ll have to turn the range back on to verify if this fixes the issue, of course).

Amana electric coil range

If not, switch the burner for another that does work to see if it lights up. If so, the issue might be a bad connection in the socket. It could also be a faulty switch with the knob that controls turning the burner on and off. The connection can burn out over time. Alternatively, you might need to replace the burner altogether. This is relatively simple to do: they lift up and pop out easily from the prongs. Then, just pop a new one in.

If this doesn’t work, it might be the actual burner socket that needs replacing. This is the tiny piece the burner prongs plug into that’s attached to the stove with screws. Remove it and take it with you, along with the model number of your oven, to a local shop. Find a helpful salesperson who can find the matching part (you might also be able to order it online).

Troubleshooting an induction burner

Insignia induction range

Popular over the last decade or so, induction stoves have a flat stovetop. They look sleek and modern. But if a burner stops working, it can be more challenging to troubleshoot and fix.

The way these stoves work is through an electromagnetic field between the cooktops and the cast iron or magnetic stainless-steel pot or pan you place over the flat top. The most obvious reason the burner isn’t working is that the pot or pan you’re using isn’t compatible with induction cooking.

If this is the first time you’re using the stovetop or you have a new pot or pan, verify that it is approved for use on induction cooktops. It needs to be made of ferromagnetic material, like stainless-steel or cast iron. You can find some aluminum and copper pots and pans that work with induction cooktops through a ferromagnetic disk at the bottom. An easy test if you’re not sure is to find a magnet and see if it sticks to the pan. If it does, the pan is not the issue.

Whirlpool electric range induction burner on

If you rule that out, go to the next most logical step, which is to verify that there is power to the stove. Check the cord for any signs of damage and make sure it’s plugged in securely. The outlet itself could be the issue. To rule this out, plug something else into it to check. You can also go to your circuit breaker and verifying that the breaker is not damaged or burnt. Then, turn it off, wait 5-10 seconds, and turn it back on. It’s possible the breaker was tripped or is outright blown. Doing this will reset the power to the stove and might fix any issues.

Finally, one thing that might have happened is that the stove was accidentally put into lock mode. This is a safety feature in many ovens that’s useful for families with young children or rambunctious pets. It prevents the stove from being turned on until you unlock it. Check your owner’s manual to see how to unlock the stove. Most ranges with this feature have a simple lock button you need to press and hold to turn the feature on and off.

What’s next?

Hopefully one of these fixes has solved the issue. If not, you may have to seek help from a professional, like someone from the Geek Squad who can help with appliance repairs. If it turns out the stove burner on the oven/range is beyond repair, or repairs would be too expensive, it might be time to consider buying a new one.

You can find a wide selection of ovens/ranges at Best Buy Online.

I am a tech expert and journalist with 17+ years of experience in trade and consumer tech journalism. I write for a number of technology, business, parenting, family, and lifestyle Websites, blogs, and magazines. A self-professed lover of tech, I'm also a passionate foodie who loves to cook and bake, a TV junkie, and proud mother to an 8-year-old son.

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