A gas stove in an RV is a nice luxury. You can have an instant burner flame just like any household stove. On top of that, many RV stoves now come with a gas oven where you can bake cookies or even a frozen pizza!
But what do you do when that RV stove won’t light? Don’t worry because there are a couple of quick tricks that you can do to see what the issue is.
Weak propane flow or a failed igniter are the most common reasons an RV stove won’t light. This post will walk you through some quick tests and fixes to diagnose that stove is not lighting, including:
- Checking RV propane System
- Testing Igniter
An RV stove is a rather simple gas appliance. It is comprised of a burner and an igniter, much like a basic Coleman tabletop stove with a small 1lb propane tank.
Sure, there are hoses, valves, and control knobs, but at its core, it is just propane used as a fuel source through a burner. The typical RV stove itself has no electrical components to speak of. Even with an RV oven, these are simple and easy-to-diagnose propane appliances.
Table of Contents
A propane issue is the most common of the two potential issues, so let’s start with that.
Like a household stove, your RV stove uses a fuel source for the burner. Where a house may have natural gas for its flame, an RV will use propane gas as the fuel source.
Both natural gas and propane work very similarly in using a stove. Both burn similarly and have that signature blue flame. The advantage to use a propane tank in an RV is that it is portable and easily refillable.
But sometimes, an issue with your RV propane system may disrupt the propane flow where your stove light.
We have all forgotten to turn on the propane tank valve in our RV adventures. Before moving on, I suggest a quick check to ensure the gas valve is turned.
Also, if you have a double propane tank system, a switch valve dictates which take to start with first. Try switching from one tank to another and see if that improves the gas flow.
Your RV gas supply has a propane regulator to reduce the tank pressure to an adequate psi rating for your appliances. A propane tank has a gas pressure of around 150 psi. A propane regulator will drop that down to 10 to 20 psi.
If there is an issue with your pressure regulator, it could be clogged or reduced so low that it won’t allow a good gas flow.
Testing an RV Pressure Regulator: A simple way to check a regulator is by either sound or sight. If you can’t get the stove to stay lit, and the flame is yellow or orange, there is not enough pressure, and could be the regulator. If you can’t light the stove at all, listen if you hear the gas. It should sound like a bike tire losing pressure with some hissing. Remember, this is a flammable gas, so only do it for a second and in a well-ventilated RV with no open flames nearby.
Another potential cause of the RV stove not lighting is if there is any air in the gas line. As an RVgoer, you are likely turning on and off the propane valve and, in some instances, having a period of time where the RV is not being used. Sitting around and moving the RV can cause some gas to release, causing air pockets in the line.
Test gas line for air: If you are getting the flame and having it burn out, it is likely due to air within the gas line. To get the air out of the gas line, turn on the burner knob and re-light it a few times. After a few tries, any residual air in the line should be out. If you are still getting the flame burned out, you may have a leak in the gas line, causing air to keep coming in.
Testing for gas leaks: The soapy water method is the best method for propane leaks. This method uses soapy water on the propane system to see where the gas may be leaking. For a full post on how to do this, visit my post on checking for propane leaks.
If all is well with the propane, where you get good pressure and no air pockets, the next potential issue could be the igniter.
The gas igniter took the place of the old-school pilot flame. Instead of a constant small flame, the propane lighting is now controlled by a control knob. As you turn the control knob, it creates an electrical current resulting in a spark. That spark is just enough to ignite the propane from the stove burner.
Sometimes, just like any component, it can fail. Let’s see how you can do a simple test.
Testing igniter: As you turn the control knob for the igniter, you should hear a “click.” As you turn the knob, look at the igniter to see if you see a spark, similar to a car spark plug. It may be hard to see if it’s a nice sunny day in your RV. If you don’t see a spark, try manually lighting it with a BBQ lighter. Light the flame on the lighter first, then turn on the gas burner. If it now lights, there is an issue with your igniter, which must be replaced.
A propane stove is a simple gas appliance. With its basic components of a gas burner and igniter, a few quick tests can be done to see the issue. First, check your propane gas and ensure your valves are open and there is no air in the gas line. Then, easily check your igniter. If you don’t see a spark, use a BBQ lighter to see if the stove will light.
Tony is an avid camper and RV traveler. He fell in love with camping on his first RV trip with his wife over 25 years ago. Tony loves sharing lessons learned and tips about RV maintenance and safe traveling.