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Appliance Repair

Sunday, May 22, 2011
So it came to pass that, in the past few weeks, my oven stopped worked. I have a Whirlpool Accubake SF362LXSS0 gas oven and, when it should have been making heat, wasn't doing anything. Symptomatically, I'd turn it on and, five seconds later, hear the release of gas inside the oven, hear the igniter click 5 times, then... nothing. No heat, no reaction, nothing. The oven would periodically try again. Every once in a while it would manage to ignite, but it wasn't consistent. Furthermore, it wouldn't always re-light when it was on - it would turn off once at the right temperature and wouldn't be able to turn itself back on.

This, of course, bothered me. I'm not the world's greatest cook, not by a long shot. While I consider myself above average in many areas, "ability to cook" isn't anywhere close to that list. Still, not being able to use the over was hampering me.

Determined that this was something I could probably diagnose and fix myself, I started doing my research. First, I took my oven apart to find a few facts. I found that the igniter was sparking - I could see it - and I was getting gas. A friend once advised me that there could really be three problems in a situation like this: fuel, air, or spark. Air wasn't a problem, spark was present, so it seemed to be a gas problem, though I could smell the gas.

Armed with this diagnostic information, I eventually found myself at the forums of AppliancePartsPros.com and started reading post by other people who had similar issues. Most resolutions centered around the gas regulator, and I thought that might be my issue, too.

Because it's just down the street from me, however, I decided to stop by E & M Maytag Home Appliance to see what some of the parts might cost. Armed with the part numbers I might need, I went in and started talking to them. Eventually, I ended up talking to a service guy who said, "You know, you're getting a spark, but it just might not be very strong. Before replacing anything, why don't you take the igniter off, clean it with a wire brush, and see if that helps?"

Whirlpool oven igniter

Curious, I went back home. Then I tried turning on the oven with the igniter removed but an extended lighter held on it its place. When the gas kicked on, it ignited immediately. I tested it several times, and it appeared that the E & M Maytag folks were right: the spark wasn't strong enough.

I then took a wire brush and cleaned the ignitor. I put it back in, hooked it up, and gas ignited immediately when the igniter sparked. Problem solved, and with little more than a screwdriver, a flashlight, and a wire brush!


So I finished reassembing the oven and baked myself a pizza in celebration.

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