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Having Trouble Getting Your RV Stove/Oven Lit? Try These 7 Tips

Having Trouble Getting Your RV Stove/Oven Lit? Try These 7 Tips

One of the many great things about traveling and camping in an RV is the fact that we’ve got most of the modern conveniences of home, including appliances. But just like in a sticks-and-bricks home, appliances in your home-on-wheels can have issues that require troubleshooting. In this post, we’ll tell you what to do if your RV oven won’t light (or if your RV stove won’t light).

This is a relatively common issue to run into that could have various causes, most of which are very easy to fix. Read on to learn exactly what to do to troubleshoot an RV stove or oven that won’t light.

Troubleshooting an RV Oven or Stove that Won’t Light

RV ovens and RV stoves are gas appliances, generally fueled by propane. Your RV likely has one or two propane tanks on board that fuel your RV appliances. Your RV stovetop may have anywhere from two to four stovetop burners and your rig may or may not have an RV oven.

RV stovetops and ovens are connected to the LP gas line. Ideally, when you turn the knob for a stovetop burner (or when you push and hold a button depending on the appliance), or when you turn on the oven, propane is released into that line, and the stove or oven lights. But if that doesn’t happen, here are seven ways to troubleshoot and resolve the problem.

You’re Out of Propane

This is a common issue, especially for those newer to RVing, and an easy one to address. To light your RV oven and stovetop burners, you need propane. If you’re out of propane (or very low on propane), your stove and oven won’t be able to operate. No gas, no flame, no dinner. If your RV oven won’t turn on, try lighting one of your stovetop burners.

If you try to light your RV’s stovetop and it won’t light, first check another burner. If you’ve got two burners that won’t light, you likely need to fill your propane tank(s). If your stovetop burners light but your RV oven won’t light, then you’re back to #1 above which is most likely a burned-out pilot light.

You may want to read more about how long a propane tank lasts on an RV, and if you don’t already have a propane tank gauge, having one would be very beneficial.

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Your Propane Tank Isn’t Fully Open

Another common issue (if your RV oven and/or stovetop burners aren’t lighting) is that the propane tank itself isn’t fully open (or open at all). So, one of the things you always want to do when you’re troubleshooting an issue with your RV stove or oven is to make sure your propane tank is fully in the open position.

The knob to open or close a propane tank is shown

Sometimes the cause of an RV oven and stove that won’t light is as simple as a closed propane tank.

Your RV Oven’s Pilot Light Is Out

If you have an RV oven it may have a pilot light that needs to be lit. Some (newer) models don’t have a pilot light at all and instead may have a piezo sparker that operates with the turn of a knob or push of a button. If the pilot light goes out (or if you turn it off yourself), you may need to re-light it manually.

Generally, to light the pilot light manually, you usually need to turn the oven knob to the “Pilot Light” position and press & hold the knob in (check the owner’s manual for your oven to confirm). Doing that opens the valve for the pilot light gas so you can then ignite it (using a match or, better yet, a long lighter like for your grill), usually located at the back of your RV oven near the bottom.

Pro Tip: you can sometimes use the glass of your oven door like a mirror. If you position the angle of the door just right, you can look down onto the door glass to see a reflection of the pilot burner assembly at the back of the oven. This can make it easier to check the pilot to see if it’s still lit, or to help you see as you position your lighter to ignite it (this tip courtesy of the helpful & knowledgeable staff at Thompson RV).

You should see a blue flame when the pilot light has been ignited, but you’ll need to continue holding and pressing the knob for around 10-15 seconds before releasing it so the pilot light remains lit. Once the pilot light is ignited, it should stay lit. If it doesn’t, then you’ll need to troubleshoot what’s causing it to burn out. Note that some RVers don’t like to leave pilot lights ignited. If you’re among them, you may simply have forgotten to re-ignite the pilot light before trying to use your RV oven. In this case, your fix will be a simple one.

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Also note that it’s important to keep your LP-fueled appliances in proper working order so that if you lose the pilot flame, your oven will automatically turn off the gas to keep LP gas from entering your RV. It’s important to understand how your RV propane system works. And it’s critical to make sure your RV propane detector is up-to-date and working. Be sure to check out our YouTube video if yours needs replacing:

One Burner Has a Bent Gas-Release Tab

If only one of your stovetop burners isn’t lighting, but your oven and the other burners are operating normally, your issue is limited to that one burner. In this case, you’ll need to troubleshoot only the burner with the issue.

Some stovetop burners have a small tab behind each burner’s ignition/temperature knob. This tab can become bent or damaged so that it can’t push the gas release properly. Bending the tab back into place is likely to repair this issue.

If your stovetop uses a piezo-electric igniter, another quick thing to check is that the ignitor is sparking (look for the small white cylinder sticking up from the stovetop near the burner). If the piezo ignitor has failed, there won’t be a spark to ignite the gas. Turn the lights out and watch the area around the tip of that ceramic sleeve while turning/pushing the knob to ignite the stove. You should see a strong blue spark jump the gap from the ignitor to the burner.

The piezo ignitor on an RV stovetop burner

The white cylindrical, ceramic sleeve is the ignitor for the stovetop burner.

The Gas Line Has a Blocked Orifice

The propane line that feeds your RV stove and oven has a tiny orifice that maintains a low, but consistent flow of gas. If this small orifice becomes blocked by grease or other gunk, the LP gas can’t flow sufficiently (or at all).

A white arrow pointing to the propane orifice for an RV stovetop burner

Coming off of the back of the burner control knob on the front of the stove, this is a propane orifice that controls the flow of propane (while also mixing it with with fresh air pulled in through the opening surrounding it).

You can (very carefully!) use a small wire or even a needle to remove the blockage stopping the flow of gas. If necessary, you can also remove the tip by unscrewing it and then soaking it in a solvent like acetone or alcohol to unblock the orifice. If the orifice is blocked by caked-on gunk or is damaged and can’t be cleaned sufficiently, it may need to be replaced.

Thermocouple Issue

The thermocouple plays a key role in keeping your RV oven lit. It must not only remain clean but also be positioned properly and at a particular distance from the gas port for your appliance to be able to light. This is because the thermocouple needs to be properly heated to send a signal to the gas valve to remain open which allows the gas to flow. If the thermocouple isn’t positioned properly (and, therefore, can’t sense the heat to know that the burner has remained lit), the gas won’t be able to flow.

White circle around the thermocouple in an RV oven

Looking in the rear of an RV oven, down at the bottom, you’ll see the thermocouple alongside the burner tube (circled in white in the above image).

So, once your pilot light’s flame lights and stays lit, make sure it’s heating the thermocouple. It may simply need to be repositioned, but if adjusting the location of the thermocouple to better align with the pilot flame doesn’t work, the thermocouple could need to be replaced. The body of the thermocouple is ceramic and can crack over time, or the wire that runs from the thermocouple can also get damaged.

If your thermocouple is bad and can’t send the signal to the gas valve, you can replace the thermocouple yourself. You’ll likely need to use a small wrench to remove it from the gas valve and take it to a hardware store or RV shop where you can pick up a new one. Or you can order one online (here’s one for a Suburban Stove/Oven… check your oven’s parts list to confirm before ordering a replacement):

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Note that if your pilot light is lighting but won’t stay lit and you’ve troubleshot common issues like no gas or your propane tank not being fully open, your thermocouple’s spacing may be too wide. Try carefully adjusting the spacing so it aligns more closely with the pilot flame.

Air In the Gas Line

Sometimes air can enter the LP gas line that runs to your RV oven, which can make it impossible for your oven to light. This can happen when changing out your tanks (or getting a built-in, onboard tank refilled). There’s usually an easy way to expel the air, but you’ll want to take precautions.

When you open the gas line for one of your stovetop burners, the line for the oven and burners are joined so any air should be released through the open gas line. However, be sure to open some windows and run your vent fan to allow any gas to be dispersed, and be sure not to cause a spark or light a flame when you’ve released the gas into the air.

Keeping Things Working & Cooking

These are the 7 most common issues that need to be addressed when you have an RV oven or stovetop that won’t light. Note that it’s a good idea to have a propane leak detector on hand in your RV to assist with the process whenever you’re troubleshooting any of your propane-fueled RV appliances.

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Will B.

Saturday 18th of May 2024

Or.... the Furrion ovens just have a bad design to them that makes you click, click, click, lean, look and repeat 10 times.

Good article, though, for a completely non-functioning oven!

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PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

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