Karen Answers!
How to Replace a Busted BBQ Ignitor.

Question Submitted:
Hi Karen,

So I’ve just recently learned how to light my BBQ. I’m working from home right now and I got tired of having to wait for my husband to get home to work the heavy machinery. I feel liberated and now I want to grill everything! The thing is, my igniter is broken and I hate having to search around for a lighter all the time. Can this be fixed DIY?


Karen’s Answer:


Sure your problem can be fixed DIY!  Just start smoking.  You’ll have lighters everywhere if you do that.  No more searching needed!

You’re welcome.


Not helping?  O.K.  First of all …. Woah!   Slow down.  Are you sure you want to learn how to fix your BBQ ignitor?   I find it’s sometimes best to leave a few jobs for the boys.  Or the girls.  Whatever the case may be.  Otherwise, I mean … what the hell are they good for?  Everybody needs a job that only they can do.

I, for instance,  am incapable of “learning” how to fill out the benefit forms that need to be done so we can be paid back for things like prescriptions and the dentist.  Nope.  I just can’t seem to wrap my head around those oh-so complicated pieces of paper.  Wayyyyyy over my head. So the fella has to do it.  Filling my tires with air?  I couldn’t possibly figure that out.

And he believes me.  Sucker.  My fella actually believes the girl who installed her own central vac is baffled to the point of hyper-ventilation by a tire pressure gauge.  Isn’t that cute?

What a dumb, dumb.  Which is proven time and time again by the fact that for some reason he cannot seem to learn how to make the bed properly. I just don’t get it.  I’ve shown him over and over again, but he just can’t seem to do it.  Mmmm ….

So, Kathy, provided you’re really sure you want to do this I’ll let you in on the information you’re asking for.  And believe it or not, it’s cheap and it’s easy.  Two of my most favourite things!  And as luck would have it your question came in 2 days after I discovered my BBQ ignitor had stopped dead in it’s tracks.  One day it was fine … the next – pfttt – nothin’.


Have a look-see at how to fix your BBQ ignitor! Sorry if the video is a bit long, but I wanted to show everyone from start to finish that this could be done in about 5 minutes. No fancy editing tricks here. It’s the real deal, tip to tail.

How to install a BBQ ignitor

How to install a BBQ ignitor when the one that came with your $1,500 BBQ craps out.

At this point I would like to ask you all to kindly send me pictures of YOUR filthy BBQ grates so I don’t feel quite so alarmed about mine.  I do clean them before I cook on them.  That disgusting crud you saw was the LAST dinner I made on them.  Steak if I remember correctly, with baked potatoes, corn in the husks and red peppers with goats cheese and a balsamic/honey dressing.  You’d think something so good would make for a better looking mess.

Materials you need to fix broken BBQ ignitor:

New AA Battery

Some type of wrench for gripping nut (hee … I said nut)

Universal BBQ ignitor kit

Possibly a drill and bit for drilling out metal on front of BBQ to house new, larger ignitor.  Strong snips could also be used to do this. (if you do use a drill MAKE SURE YOU WEAR SAFETY GLASSES.  Men don’t dig girls in eye patches.)

Now granted … this wasn’t my best camerawork.  So if there’s anything you don’t understand just shoot me an email and I’ll be sure to help you out.  Provided I’m not busy making the bed.


  1. earthpuppy says:

    You should have your own tv show!

    • Karen says:

      Kay, um … I feel a bit silly here … ’cause I don’t know if you’re joking or not. But I kindda do have my own show. 🙂 Currently on W Network in Canada! That one’s done, tho … so if you have another show for me to host, let me know! 🙂 Go to http://experts.wnetwork.com/Entries.aspx to have a look at a quick little webisode from the last show. Or maybe you were joking. Uf. Feel like a dolt either way! 🙂

      • earthpuppy says:

        Oops! Sorry-I’m not in Canada so I wasn’t aware. Glad you do. Just wish I could watch it!

        • Karen says:

          Hah! That’s O.K. I have a single line in my “About” section so I didn’t know if you had seen it and were joking.

  2. Langela says:

    Looks easy enough. I actually made the mistake this week in helping to fix our hay baler. Now I can no longer fake ignorance. In that anyway. I still have no idea how to fill my car’s gas tank! 😉

    • Karen says:

      Amnesia. Claim amnesia.

      • Langela says:

        What I usually try in a situation like this is to say, ” I just don’t (fill in the blank) enough to remember how to do it. Sorry, Honey. I wish I could help. I’ll just sit here and hand you your tools.” Funny enough, though, my oldest daughter (9) now says, “Dad, your poor wife can’t do that, she’s just a woman. Here, let me help.”

  3. A says:

    I only 3 hours ago found this blog, and I have a general comment, not specific to this post (although I did recently inherit a grill with a broken igniter).

    This site is the Eames-chair-side-of-the-road-find of my internet life. You are every thing I want to be in life. Except Canadian.

    • Karen says:

      A. That is one of the nicest comment I’ve ever received. Plus the most clever! Thanks. Hope you keep visiting! – karen

  4. The Itty Bitty Bag Company says:

    You are fantastic! I think I became empowered after watching my mom feel so powerless with most jobs around the house. My dad of course would never fix a thing. Recently, I repaired my front brick steps, we had a few fallen bricks. I love setting a great example for my girls that women can do anything! Thanks for reinforcing that belief. I look forward to following you. Now to fix that damn ignitor. Arggg…

    • Karen says:

      🙂 The ignitor is easy! You may have a bit of figuring out to do but you’ll do it. LOVE your ittybitty bags by the way. The burlap ones are my fav.!

  5. I JUST got your exact same grill on craigslist yesterday and the ignitor did not work, replaced the bat and still did not work. There was a spring on the inside that the bat went inside, i pulled that up and stretched it out a bit and it worked like new. Funny I stumbled on this one day later.

  6. deborahinPS says:

    Hello Karen,
    Today was the day I found your blog site and have perused it for the best part of the day. Good thing Sundays are mine to do as I please! I have to say I’m more than impressed 🙂
    I have a terrific tip for food encrusted BBQ grates…Always keep a piece of tin foil pressed down on the grates after each use. Keep it on while preheating the next time you BBQ, or leave the BBQ on for an additional 10 minutes after cooking (not my recommended way, as I forget to return to turn the BBQ off!)Viola! The tin foil and heat combination reduce the stuck food bits to dusty ashes 🙂

    p.s. The foil piece can be re-used time and again.

  7. janet says:

    hi karen i have a large wooden mirror that i would like to spray paint silver i think i know how to do that… what i am looking for is some ideas on how to dress the mirror os it not just plain silver. i like butterflies

  8. Christine says:

    Thank you. This is my favorite DIY because it was just a battery change to fix mine!

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  10. Alan says:

    If one or more ignitors are working, but one or more are not, the problem could be broken porcelain insulators on the ignitors. On my BBQ half the insulator is in the flame area and half is not, so thermal stress (an apparently unknown phenomena to the designer) cracked the insulators right at the metal bracket.

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