If you have become accustomed to your gas cooktop, then you have also probably become accustomed to the clicking sound it makes when the burners are trying to ignite. This sound is the spark electrode making electric sparks to ignite the gas that is being released to the burner. Once ignited, the clicking sound will go away. However, if your gas cooktop burner keeps clicking once it is lit, starts clicking suddenly during cooking, or even keeps on clicking when the stove is off, you have a problem and it needs to be fixed.
Not only will this constant clicking get very annoying very quickly, but letting it continue to click will also wear out your igniter much faster. This means that while you might not necessarily need to replace parts of the ignition system when the clicking starts if you just leave it, you will probably need to eventually.
Before You Begin
Before troubleshooting this issue, it is important to remember that the clicking you are hearing and any sparking is not necessarily dangerous. It only becomes a danger if there is gas being released from the stove. If you smell or suspect a gas leak, shut off the gas supply, exit your home, and call your utility company.
Even if you don’t suspect a gas leak, when troubleshooting the issue, you will want to turn off the gas supply to your cooktop.
Finally, in order to stop the clicking temporarily while getting to the root cause, you don’t need to make an emergency call to any repair service. You simply need to cut the electricity to your gas cooktop. This will stop the sound and any sparks so you can investigate.
Common Culprits of Clicking Gas Burners
So, what is causing your gas burner to click? There are many causes, but not all of them necessarily need repair or a replacement part. You simply need to look at what is most likely.
Cleaning and Drying Your Gas Cooktop
Like many burner problems, a buildup of grease and food particles can cause the burner to start clicking. If you haven’t cleaned your stove in a while, or even if you clean it frequently but never check the burner head, now is the time to do it. Make sure all the small holes around the head are free and clear from debris. Use an item like a toothbrush or wire to clean these holes if necessary, but don’t use items like toothpicks that might break off inside the hole.
For this issue, moisture will also need to be considered. When wet, the burners may start clicking and will keep clicking until they are dry. If you just finished cleaning your cooktop or accidentally let a pot boil over, this can cause continuous clicking on your gas cooktop. The only real fix for a wet cooktop is time. Disconnect the power and wait, preferably overnight, for it to dry. You may also want to remove the knobs as well since this can be a source where water can enter and cause clicking, and it is often one that people don’t suspect.
There is a myriad of ways you can speed up the drying process, such as using a fan, hair dryer, or even rubbing alcohol, but really sometimes all you need is to just let it sit and dry naturally.
Faulty Spark Ignition Switch
Underneath the main cover of your gas cooktop, you will find that each burner has a spark ignition switch of its own which are all held together in a harness. These switches are controlled by the knob that, once turned to the light function, will close the switch allowing voltage to go to the spark module which directs it to an electrode which creates the spark. If a switch is faulty, it could result in a constant flow of power to the spark module that will cause it to continuously click.
As the switches are all wired together in the harness, you will need to replace every switch by purchasing a replacement switch harness for your model of a gas cooktop. This repair is as simple as unplugging the old harness and plugging the new one in, ensuring that the new switches in the harness are re-positioned in their correct places.
Faulty Spark Module
After the ignition switch, the spark module is the next part of the chain that sends voltage to the electrode on your gas cooktop. Like the switch, if the spark module has gone faulty, it can result in continuous clicking. This part can be tested for continuity with a multimeter in order to detect if it is faulty.
Replacing this part is simple. You merely need to unplug the wires from the old spark module and plug them into the replacement. You will want to take a picture with your phone in order to ensure that the wires are positioned and plugged in correctly.
Faulty Spark Electrode
Finally, if all other parts have checked out, this issue may be caused by a faulty spark electrode. This is the piece that actually creates the sparks. It is likely that if you have had clicking problems in the past, and let it click for longer periods of time, then that the electrode is now damaged. If it has not completely gone out yet, it will likely go out soon.
Unlike the above faults, replacing the electrode is a little more involved. You will first need to use a wrench to remove the orifice holder that contains the electrode on the clicking burner. Once done, the electrode will be located at the end of the wire attached to that burner. You can simply pull it off and place the new electrode on. Once done, you can secure it with the orifice holder and reassemble the burner.
While it is common for multiple burners to start clicking when igniting the stove, this does not necessarily mean you need to replace every spark electrode on your stove. If every burner keeps clicking, it is more likely an issue with any of the above rather than the spark electrode.