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Glow Coils And Glow Bars

Glow coils and glow bars are essentially the ignitors for your gas oven. Glow coils are made of a highly compressed carbon material that maintains a measured value of resistance to the flow of electricity, which operates ignition components for the oven. Coils can be corkscrew-shaped--the common glow coil--or flat, also known as a glow bar. In either instance, the device is housed in a protective and perforated metal case. For our purposes, when we refer to the "coil," we're referring to both the glow coil and glow bar designs.

The device serves to open the gas valve and then to provide an ignition source to light the burner gas. The process is triggered by the passing of electrical current through the ignitor, which warps an internal piece of metal to open the gas valve. So long as the burner flame continues to heat this ignitor, the valve will stay on. But if the flame is extinguished, the valve shuts down the gas because the igniter's resistance has increased. A fully energized coil will obtain a temperature of nearly 3,000 degrees, making it glow an intense yellow-orange color.

Types Of Glow Coils

Regardless of the coil or bar structure, each design operates at a particular amperage. As such, the device is matched to the type of gas valve it operates. The aforementioned perforated metal case corresponds to the coil shape, making it easy to tell which type your oven uses. They can't be interchanged with one another, but fortunately there's really only one round coil design that fits all of that design. For flat glow bars, the variance comes in the length of the ceramic block to which the component is mounted.

Replacing Or Repairing A Glow Coil Or Glow Bar

First you need to determine whether the device needs replacing. If your oven isn't lighting, then the glow coil is likely the cause. Even if the ignitor is glowing, it will probably be a dull red, signifying that it's failing to draw sufficient current to operate the valve. You may smell gas if the valve can be opened slightly, so don't judge by that. If the bar color is abnormal (remember the bright yellow-orange mentioned earlier) then replace the bar. The replacement process is easy. Simply unscrew the cover plate over the coil or glow bar at the back of the range and disconnect the plugs, or find the device below the oven baffle. The device can then be unscrewed from the burner support bracket, pulled free and replaced.

Who Makes Replacement Glow Bars?

Many stove manufacturers make their own replacement parts for their respective ovens, but many also make universal assemblies as well. Those making such parts include: Amana, General Electric, Maytag, Norton (generic) and Whirlpool.

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