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In your house, you rarely need to think of your oven pilot light — you only worry if it goes out. But in your RV, you’re responsible for lighting it and turning it off before you start driving.
The troubleshooting guide above gives a quick, simple walkthrough of how to light a camper oven. Plus, you’ll learn when to leave it on and when to turn it off. Let’s cover all that.
How to Light a Camper Oven
Lighting an RV oven is easy once you locate the pilot light under the bottom tray inside the oven. Here are the steps for lighting RV gas ovens:
- Park, level, and stabilize your RV.
- Ensure you have LP in your container(s).
- Open the valve on top of the container.
- Set the regulator switch to the correct position (for towables with multiple containers).
- Check adequate propane flow by lighting a burner on your RV’s propane stove.
Step 1: Open the oven door.
This makes it easier to check the pilot works properly and prevents LP gas from dangerously building up inside your oven.
Safety tip: It’s also a good idea to open a window, door, or roof vent before lighting your camper’s oven.
Step 2: Identify the lighting method.
Depending on your RV, your oven may be equipped with a Piezo igniter switch. Or, it will require manual lighting using an extended stick lighter to avoid burning the hair on your knuckles.
Some RVs have a Piezo igniter switch/knob that only works for the cooktop. These igniters can also malfunction on older RVs, requiring manual lighting as an alternative.
Step 3: Turn the RV oven selector knob to Pilot and hold.
This starts gas flow through your LP gas line to the pilot light.
Step 4: Turn the Piezo igniter knob or light manually.
If you have a Piezo igniter, use the control button (a switch or knob) to light the pilot. If not, hold an extended stick lighter to the pilot assembly under the burner tray.
Step 5: Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Once lit, continue holding the knob for 20-30 seconds to ensure the pilot stays lit and maintains a healthy blue flame with orange tips.
Step 6: Slowly release the knob.
When you slowly release the knob, visually check that the pilot doesn’t go out.
Step 7: Adjust the temperature.
Turn the oven safety knob to the desired temperature. Now you’re ready to continue your baking preparations to make something like this mushroom casserole or skinny banana muffins.
Final Steps for Camper Oven Pilot Safety
If you remain stationary in a campground, the pilot can remain lit when you’re done baking. To do so, simply return the oven safety knob to Pilot instead of turning the knob to OFF.
Before you travel, however, you’ll need to turn the pilot light off. To do so, turn the oven safety knob to off and ensure the pilot light goes out before departing. This provides safer travel and also helps you conserve propane.
Are There Other Pilot Lights on your RV?
On most modern RVs, the oven pilot light is the only one you’ll need to worry about. Older RVs did require manual pilot lighting on gas water heaters, but many units are now equipped with a direct spark ignition (DSI) system.
If you have a water heater that requires manual lighting, check with the manufacturer before proceeding. Most older models will be manufactured by Suburban or Dometic, but this isn’t always the case.
Either way, you’ll need to fill the water heater tank and open the exterior access panel before manually lighting the pilot. From there, follow your manufacturer’s pilot lighting instructions.
Many RVers don’t think about baking during their vacations, but your oven’s operation is critical if you’re ever hosting the holidays in your RV.
If you’re ever worried about a leak in your RV’s propane system, shut off all LP appliances, close the valves on your LP containers, and contact your nearest Camping World Service Center.
If you’re curious about how frequently to service components like your RV stove and oven, check out our downloadable RV ownership and maintenance booklet!
Do you have any other questions about lighting your RV oven pilot light? Let us know in the comments below!
Most articles I read say you have to have your propane shut off on your trailer when traveling. Do not know about motorhomes??
I believe that many RV furnaces have electronic ignition that lights the burner when the furnace starts up. I have a 1993 Pace Arrow 35V with the original furnaces and they require no pilot lighting.
Thanks for your guidance, its very easy to understand and i think i can easily follow.
Can you leave the pilot light on in your rv for extended periods or should you re-light it every use
Puma palamento 29 ft 5th wheel
Where do i light the furnance piliot? I use the thermostat and i can hear the gurnance kick on but its only blowing cold air. Please help
It sounds like you’re referring to the pilot light on an RV furnace here and not an RV oven, although you are indeed correct that the furnace blowing cold air could be the result of a lack of propane. But the furnace’s fan can also operate and move cool air if the pilot isn’t sparking due to a faulty switch or relay.
I do agree that trying the simple fixes is the best way to begin, but sometimes a certified technician can identify and solve your issues much more quickly!
You are right about this George!
Your RV oven is the main appliance you’ll need to light the pilot in. But this will always depend on the make and model of your RV as well!
You’re right about the recommendation to shut the propane off before towing a travel trailer. Generally, most motorhomes are constructed a little differently. One, they usually have their propane container stored inside a storage compartment and the propane lines are contained within the body of the RV. This is unlike many travel trailers with propane lines running underneath, exposing them to potential damage form flying debris while towing.
The general idea behind shutting propane off before towing is to keep the majority of the flammable liquid contained in the propane containers in case of an accident. That way, there’s a minimal amount of fuel remaining in the lines in case of a fire.
Hopefully that makes sense. And please don’t hesitate to reach out with additional questions!
Great tips! Thank you so much for sharing!
Usually, the pilot for the heater is outside the vehicle. Be sure the vehicle is level. Turn on the propane to light. If you have difficulty lighting, the thermo-coupler may be bad, or you have little spider webs inside your chamber. Clean these out. You can place those stinky, moth resistant cotton balls inside your furnace cover and that will keep out the spider. Also, if this is a frequent occurrence, keep a spare thermo-coupler with you and the small tools to replace it. It’s an easy procedure. I turn on the stove burner when lighting the oven pilot light. It provides a draw for the propane to move through the lines.
I am having the sme problem. Did you ever get a working solution? Thanks! Dee
I’d reach out to the service department of your local Camping World. They will be able to make the proper suggestion.
Usually blowing cold air means there is no propane coming to the pilot light ( out of fuel, blockage , turned off ) . Try the easy fixes first before going to a shop which may take 6 weeks to get in for an appointment!
Hi John, it’s really easy to get the pilot light going, so I’d say to re-light it every trip. If you move the RV or it will sit for a long period of time, then go ahead and turn it off between uses. If you’re camping in the same spot for an extended period of time and actively using your appliances, you can leave the pilot light lit.