For RV owners who want to use their oven, there’s a high probability that doing so will require manually lighting the oven. Thus, the question of how to light RV oven (the easy way) is one that many RV owners will have. Assuming, of course, that the RV oven you have works by using propane as its fuel source.

We will get into later that there’s an alternative out there that more or less makes this question pointless, but first we want to answer the question. And here it goes. If you want to learn how to light your RV oven, you need to learn how to light the pilot light.

That’s truly the key, and here’s the step-by-step guide to doing so:

  1. Clean the oven prior to lighting it
  2. Turn the propane gas ON (that connects to the oven)
  3. Turn over the oven knob to the pilot setting
  4. Light the pilot
  5. Set the temperature to your desired preference

Let’s dive a little deeper into how to light an RV oven, shall we?

How do propane RV ovens work, anyway?

Photo by EJ Strat / Unsplash

It’s not as if the concept of an RV oven that uses propane to function is complex, it’s just the fact that one typically needs to be lit by a lighter or match to function (and that they don’t have a sparking mechanism).

As soon as that pilot light is lit, however, the oven will work like virtually every other oven you’ll ever use. The propane gas tank that such an oven would use would be an external one attached to the outside of your travel trailer.

How to light an RV oven

From the steps that we listed above, you can see that the only one that really requires more explanation is the step of lighting the pilot. Again, that’s really what you have to learn to do. With that being said, we’re still going to detail all the above steps to leave no doubts in your mind about how to light RV oven.

Keep in mind, however, that it’s always a good idea to consult the owner’s manual (if you have access to it or can find it online) for any specific instructions that it may have regarding this process.

1. Clean the oven prior to lighting it

No, your oven doesn’t need to be spick and span as most ovens in the world aren’t. Yet, with that being said, if your oven is overly congested with dirt and food residue it may not work properly. If you look inside your oven and you can easily tell that it’s filthy inside, go ahead and clean it out.

If it looks fine and not too dirty, you can just go ahead and skip this step if you want.

2. Turn the propane gas ON

The propane tank that runs to the oven needs to be turned on. Yep, that’s pretty much all this step requires. Easily the hardest one of them all. Ironically, though, it will present the biggest issue if forgotten. The propane kind of needs to be on!

3. Turn over the oven knob to the pilot setting

Next up, the real work begins as you’re going to need to turn your oven knob to the pilot setting. Now, depending on how your oven works, gas may be allowed to flow just by turning to the pilot setting. Yet, most RV ovens will require pushing in the knob to allow gas to flow.

Quick note, be sure that you have your match or lighter ready to go before pushing down the pilot knob. Pushing down the knob for too long can actually cause a flare-up, so you don’t want to just push it down unnecessarily.

4. Light the pilot

Yep, it’s now time to finally light the pilot which is the main event of how to light RV oven. Thankfully, the process isn’t too complex. You’re going to need to reach back with your match or lighter to light the pilot. In the meanwhile, the oven knob needs to be held in (unless that’s not required for your specific oven).

5 to 30 seconds may be needed to heat up the thermocouple after you’ve lit the pilot light, so you may have to hold down the knob for several seconds. If the flame goes out, just repeat the process and be sure to hold the knob down longer after the pilot has been lit.

5. Set the temperature to your desired preference

With the pilot lit, you can now set the oven to your desired temperature. Now, there’s something else that we want to point out about the ovens that require pushing the knob to light the pilot.

While camping, you can leave these ovens in the pilot setting if you want. However, for models where gas is allowed to flow just with the oven knob set to the pilot setting, gas will leak into the oven if the pilot setting is active. Due to such, it’s best to turn the knob to the off setting for ovens of this nature.

A few additional notes when lighting your RV oven

The main steps have been covered, but here are a couple of additional notes when figuring out how to light RV oven:

  • Whenever you disconnect and reconnect your propane tanks, there’s a chance that you may need to purge the air from the propane lines to get your appliances (which would include the oven) to even light. Doing so is not difficult as you can do so by lighting a stove burner. After it’s steadily burning, you know you’re good to go.
  • It’s a good idea to invest in a carbon monoxide and propane detector for your RV to detect if there are ever dangerous gas levels inside.

What about an electric RV oven?

Unplugged black cord
Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Okay, so what happens if you have an electric oven or even an oven that utilizes an automatic ignition? Is the question of how to light RV oven still relevant to you? Nope. If you don’t have to manually light your oven, you have nothing to worry about with all of this.

However, propane ovens are very common in RVs whether you’re talking about older or even newer rigs. They have a very simple operation, but the choice is still there for an electric oven if you’d prefer to go that route.

What’s nice is there are many different types ranging in different prices, technology, capabilities, and sizes. Finding one that suits your needs and budget is definitely more than possible.

Better yet is the fact that this type of RV oven is not hard to find on the market today. But, and this is a big but, you have to keep in mind that an electric oven will use electricity as its primary fuel source. Okay…you might be thinking, that’s kind of obvious.

The reason it’s a big deal is that, unlike a home, an RV is going to be severely limited in how many watts and amps it can run at any one time. An electric oven may suck up a lot of juice, leaving you a lot more limited with what you do while it’s running.

Thankfully, it’s not like an AC in an RV that would need to run several hours at a time to be useful. For a lot of people, though, the traditional propane RV oven will be just fine. Especially now that you understand how to light one!

Final thoughts

Not using the oven in your RV just because you don’t know how to light RV oven should now no longer be an issue for any of you who did have a problem with it in the past. It’s all about lighting the pilot and once you do that, you’re in business.

As you saw, the process of doing so is really not all that difficult. If you’re someone who uses the oven often, though, we could see where it would get kind of annoying to light it all the time. The more you do it, though, the more you’ll get used to it, and the easier it will be.

Then again, you could always switch to an electric oven if you get sick and tired of lighting the darn thing. Either way, needless to say, a propane oven can serve its function very well if you can get over having to light it! Have a good one, everyone.