Why Might a Rayburn Go Out? 8 Rayburn Problems Explained

While Rayburn range cookers are known for their reliability, some users report that their Rayburns go out. The technology behind the Rayburn is simple, so there are not many things that can go wrong with the system.

The most likely cause for your Rayburn to go out is that the burner is starved of fuel, which can occur for several reasons. Low-grade fuels may also cause your Rayburn to go out. Also, irregular servicing/poor maintenance could cause a Rayburn to go out.

In this post, we are going to discuss in detail why a Rayburn might go out, and what you can do to resolve the issue. Keep reading.

How does a Rayburn work?

A Rayburn works on the principle of radiant heat. Solid fuels such as natural wood, peat briquettes, and manufactured smokeless fuels are used to fuel Rayburns. There are oil and gas-run models as well. While the specific mechanisms of these models differ from those of solid fuel models, the basic principle remains the same.

Here is the basic internal mechanism of a Rayburn. The unit has a firebox with a large opening, and you can fill the box with pieces of wood. A typical Rayburn has two ovens used for cooking and boiling.

At the top of the Rayburn is a single piece of thick iron cast hotplate that absorbs heat from the fire. Therefore, the center of this plate is its hottest part. The newer models come with highly sophisticated mechanisms for temperature control. Ash accumulates in an ash pit, and the pan has to be emptied regularly.

A Rayburn intended for both cooking and central heating has a cylinder installed with it, filled with hot water. The temperature generated by the system heats the water, and the hot water is used to run radiators or underfloor heating.

8 Reasons a Rayburn might Stop Working

If your solid fuel Rayburn keeps going out, it is important to identify the underlying reason first. Below, we are going to discuss some of the most common reasons your Rayburn might stop working.

  1. If you are having a hard time setting up the fire, there is probably something wrong with the way you are trying to set up the fire. Consider using paper to get the flame started.
  2. Adding too little fuel is a possible reason the fire is going out. If there are flickering, weak flames, you should probably add more fuel to the fire.
  3. The other extreme—adding too much wood—can also cause your Rayburn to go out. See the manufacturer’s guide to make sure you are putting the right amount of wood into the firebox.
  4. A solid fuel Rayburn will work appropriately only if you use appropriately prepared fuel. Use dry, seasoned firewood and avoid using wet wood at any cost. Your Rayburn will not stay lit if you use wood with too much moisture.
  5. If your Rayburn is not properly drafted, it will have a hard time staying lit. Although the system has a self-cleaning mechanism, sufficient drafting is needed. Due to insufficient drafting, smoke may get pulled back into the firebox, leading to creosote buildup.
  6. Opening the door of the firebox too often is another possible reason your Rayburn may go out. When fuel is burning in the firebox, do not open the door too often. Allow the heat to stay trapped inside.
  7. Closing the door too early can also cause the fire to go out. For a Rayburn to stay lit, air must travel via the draft control system and oxygen must be fed into the combustion box. If you close the door before this procedure takes place, fire will go out.
  8. Not emptying the ash pan can be responsible for the issue. For the smooth operation of your Rayburn, be sure to empty the ash pan regularly.

There are many different models of Rayburn ranges, and the internal mechanism of an oil-run Rayburn is not the same as that of a solid fuel model. When you purchase a Rayburn, you get a user manual that provides tips for troubleshooting. If your Rayburn is going out, the issue should be addressed according to the user manual.

How to Ensure Your Rayburn Stays on and Stays Working Well

As a rule of thumb, your Rayburn range should be professionally serviced once a year. Halfway through the heating season, additional combustion chamber cleaning may be necessary.

The internal mechanism of a Rayburn is not stupendously complex, and therefore you may treat an issue as a DIY project. You do not need a high level of technical competence to fix a Rayburn that does not stay lit. It’s very much like changing oil filters or plugs on a car.

As we have explained, your Rayburn may stop working due to several different reasons. Therefore, diagnosing the issue is of utmost importance. And if you fail to figure out exactly why your Rayburn is going out, consider contacting a professional service provider.

If you want your Rayburn to serve you for long, ensure regular maintenance and servicing. When it comes to maintenance, cleaning is the key. While your Rayburn cooker has a self-cleaning mechanism, there are some things you can do to keep the system clean.

In many cases, the only thing you have to do is to deep clean your Rayburn to keep it functional. If you have an old model, do not try to remove the lids because they are hinged on pins. In contrast, you can easily unscrew the lid hinge of a newer model. Unscrew the lids and clean them thoroughly.

Apart from that, here are a few more tips that might help you keep a Rayburn going:

  • Use only dry, seasoned wood with little or no moisture. With wet wood, you may not even be able to start a fire
  • Build fire appropriately. Use paper to start a fire, and kindle small pieces of wood first
  • Regularly empty the ash pit. The fire may go out due to too much ash in the pit
  • Do not add too little or too much wood to the fire. Make sure the amount of fuel is as per your Rayburn’s fuel capacity
  • When adding fuel, do not leave the firebox door open too long
  • Poor ventilation is one of the reasons for a Rayburn running intermittently. Make sure the room has enough ventilation for your Rayburn to stay lit.
  • Once the fire has started, use the air vents to control the airflow. If the air vents are not open enough or closed too soon, the fire may be starved of oxygen, and therefore go out. Close or open the vents as instructed in the user manual.
  • If you have to open your Rayburn, do so as per the recommendations provided in the manual

Other Potential Rayburn Problems

Formation of soot on the burnerFor Oil fueled Rayburn, this is caused by low quality oil. While for Wood fueled Rayburns, it is caused by poor quality wood pellets or moist wooden pellets.
Gas burner won’t light up.Food Debris on the Burner.
Loose connections.
Faulty Igniter.
Gas burner won’t heat up or uneven heating.Faulty Heating Element


As I have stated, the way you service a Rayburn largely depends on the model. If your Rayburn does not stay lit, think of the most obvious causes first. Whether it’s a solid fuel model or an oil-burning model, make sure you are using quality fuel. Even if the wood does not seem noticeably damp, it may be the reason your Rayburn is frequently going out.

And if you have to open your Rayburn, stay calm and patient. Don’t get overwhelmed because there are not a lot of things to fix. In most cases, deep cleaning is enough to restore the normal functionality of a Rayburn. If the issue persists, consider contacting a technician. An experienced technician can diagnose and fix the issue in no time.