We own a home which is “off grid”. Rather than use a wood burning stove, I want to install propane and get a propane range. Problem is, we don’t want the pilot light burning all the time, and the existing spark igniters are all electric! The easy solution is to light a match every time I want to light a burner, but I’m wondering if there isn’t a way to modify (or build) a non-electric spark igniter that sparks when I turn the burner on (or that is powered by a couple of AA batteries). Got any ideas?
The answer depends on the brand and model of your stove. Most very basic stoves with no electronic displays or timers, will have a spark ignition system that uses little or no electricity except for the brief period the valve triggers the spark. However, we designed an off-grid solar-powered home several years ago that based on our calculations would only need the generator to run about 3 hours once a week. After completion, the generator had to run several hours every day to avoid a drained battery each night. We said this was not possible, and returned to the site with full metering equipment.
After checking every circuit, we discovered their General Electric propane gas stove used more electricity than the entire house! Since GE loves electricity, they designed their gas stove with a “glow plate” down next to the oven burner which glows cherry red the ENTIRE time the oven is operating! Needless to say, we sent this stove back and had the homeowner purchase a non-electric model.
I would not try and modify your gas stove. Check to see how much electric ignition and controls draw when off, and then when energizing the spark ignition. If this is too much, then dis-connect and light with a match. This way there is no pilot light wasting gas.