It’s supposed to be simple: Push the spark igniter on your gas grill and you’re fired up and ready for steak. But after a few years, those piezo-style igniters stop working. They bind up and refuse to “click,” or they click but don’t produce a spark. Rather than replace them every few years with the same trouble-prone style, why not upgrade to a battery-powered spark generator?
You can buy a new-style spark generator and electrode for about $20 at some home centers and online (one online source is grillparts.com). You’ll probably have to mount it in a different location. That’ll mean abandoning the old piezo unit and drilling a new hole. If you’re OK with that, grab your drill, bits and a rotary tool and get to work. The entire project takes about one hour from start to fire. Here’s how.
First, connect the wires from the existing electrode to the new spark generator and press the button. If you get a spark, the old electrode is good and can stay put. If you don’t get a spark (and the battery is installed properly), you’ll have to replace the old electrode as well.
Next, find a new location for the generator that’s within reach of the electrode wires. Make sure the new generator won’t interfere with the gas valves or supply line. Then drill the hole (Photo 1).
The spark generator we bought had side tangs and snap clips to hold it in place. To accommodate those locking features, just cut side grooves in the freshly drilled hole with a rotary tool and a cutoff wheel (Photo 2). Then insert the new spark generator, drop in a new battery, and twist on the push button cap. Connect the electrode wires (Photo 3).Test the unit and get ready to grill.