A gas stove is probably the most efficient way to cook food. But on the same note, having a gas stove comes with some small risks. One of them stands out – the potential risk of a gas leak. If natural gas leaks into the kitchen, it will cause unusual and harmful reactions in all kinds of animals, not to mention people. A light gas leak from stove will cause constant exposure, which will lead to long-term health dangers.
Leave it untreated and the leak may even cause more severe situations. A buildup of gas can be easily ignited with a spark or a different source – an explosion can literally take the house down and kill someone. Keep in mind that gas may leak even if you actually turn all the knobs off. All in all, there are more reasons wherefore leaks may occur. Smelling gas implies a quick reaction to prevent a catastrophe. Here is everything you need to know.
Top 5 Reasons Why You May Have A Gas Leak From Stove
Some reasons are nothing but innocent mistakes and they can be fixed straight away. Some others require a professional to come over and take a look at your installation. There are no reasons to fool around trying to do it yourself. Gas installations, leaks or stoves are not to become DIY projects if you have no experience whatsoever. Instead, you may require professional help even though it will cost you, it may save your life.
1) Problematic Appliance Or Piping
These are some of the main reasons wherefore you may have a gas leak. Both factors can occur out of nowhere, especially if you have old pipes or appliances. There are more appliances in your home that could rely on natural gas and not just the stove but the boiler could also be one or a different heating system. Your dryer or fireplace might be in the exact same situation. All these things put wear and tear on the piping in your home.
Appliances will naturally age with time and they may malfunction – seals could get too worn to prevent leaks, for example. Furthermore, the piping connecting them might corrode in the long run. Any of these issues can cause the gas leaking from stove burner. In other words, maintenance is critical. Even if you do not have a problem now, maintenance will prevent it further on. Pipes are meant to last for years or even decades, so if you have a very old home, this could be the cause.
2) Left Gas Stove On For 20 minutes or 30 minutes
This is by far the most common cause wherefore you may end up with a gas leak. On the same note, it is the most common cause of explosions that could be prevented. Leaving a burner on may not always cause an issue, but it is a serious risk that should never be taken. When you turn on the burner, gas will naturally flow out of the valve. If you ignite it, it will burn in a safe and clean manner, leaving no issues at all.
If the gas is not on fire, it will obviously not burn, but spread around the kitchen and reach the whole home. Gas in the air will increase the risk of fatal suffocation, but it may also cause an explosion. Turning a burner off is so simple that most people overlook the act itself, so they often fail to do it all the way to the end. Even if the knob is in the off position, you must make sure the valve actually clicks shut. Otherwise, it is not done and a bit of gas will still leak out continuously.
Now, there are more reasons wherefore a knob could let some gas out. Sometimes, for instance, you could turn the knob all the way off. It may even click shut. However, if the stove is too old and things are already malfunctioning or knobs feel loose, chances are they will not perfectly shut valves off. Therefore, you may end up with a problematic leak even if the knobs are in the off position – make sure you maintain the unit by the book then.
3) Problematic Burners
A problematic burner is also an issue and may lead to a gas leak from stove. For instance, if one of your burners does not light, you have a problem. As you turn the gas burner on, you should hear some clicking. The gas should ignite within a second or two. Many gas stoves rely on a so-called pilot light, while others simply use electric sparks. No matter which type of stove you have, these mechanisms must work flawlessly.
Whatever mechanism you have, it is essential to ensure the stove lights every single time. Otherwise, gas will leak out without a spark, meaning it will spread around the room. If you turned the stove to maximum, ready to cook something, the valve is well open and the room will fill with gas relatively quickly. Seconds later, risking a spark is no longer an option – instead, it becomes a dangerous action that will trigger a potential explosion. Even turning the lights could trigger such a disaster.
4) Problematic Pilot Light
The pilot light is one of the most common mechanisms used these days. Again, it must work perfectly to avoid problematic situations. To the less experienced ones, the pilot light is basically a tiny flame. It is maintained and lights the burners or the oven when in need. The pilot light is supposed to run permanently and will not require too much gas. If it goes off, you will not be able to ignite a burner, meaning the gas will go through.
Without the pilot light, burners will not ignite. Without ignition, they will not be able to run. Instead, gas will leak when turned on. The pilot light is located in different places, depending on the model you have. You should get the manual for your unit and ensure you actually have a pilot light, find its location as well, but also how to keep it lit. Should you deal with a problematic pilot light, simply relight it with a lighter or a match stick.
Pilot light out on stove smells like gas, may also be a sign of gas leaking from stove burner.
5) Poor Fittings
The pipes might be in good condition. For instance, a new house is less likely to experience such problems. Your appliances are just as good. They are well maintained and relatively new. At this point, it may seem like a gas leak is less likely to occur. No matter how well you look after your home, a gas leak could still occur. It may not be a consistent one, so you may only smell gas occasionally. Where is the catch then?
If the appliance is poorly fitted, gas can and will escape. It is highly contraindicated to avoid installing stoves or other gas-based appliances yourself because you could end up with an explosion. The problem may arise out of nowhere. For instance, you may have this issue even if you actually hire a professional. Get someone with certification and insurance as you do not want a random plumber to install your stove and end up with a leak just weeks later.
What To Do If You Experience A Gas Leak From Stove
Knowing what to do in an emergency will most likely save lives and a gas leak from stove can be classified as an emergency. If you suspect a gas leak, there are a few things you can do, as well as a few things you should never do. Moreover, gas leaks are relatively easy to detect because while odorless, natural gas is actually enhanced with a substance to give it a distinctive smell – therefore, you will be able to detect the leak.
The first step implies opening all the doors and windows. You want fresh air in as soon as possible. You need to ventilate everything and ensure the gas is diluted to prevent a catastrophe. Second, do not bother with the burners. The gas leak may not even be caused by the burners, yet this is the most common situation. It could also be a different gas using appliances, such as your heater. All in all, ignore the burners and turn off the gas from the mains tap.
The tap is most commonly located right by the meter. The handle should be moved about a quarter. Once it is 90 degrees from the actual pipe, the gas should be turned off completely. In other words, no matter where the issue is from, there is no gas coming in at all. Once you get all these covered, leave the property and make sure there are no family members or pets left behind. Go to a safe distance away from the house.
Many providers provide an emergency number, yet you can also find national gas emergency numbers online. Use your mobile phone or call from a neighbor – the idea is to rely on a phone that is not inside the property. Most emergency numbers are available round the clock. An adviser will tell you what to do next. An engineer will most likely arrive at the property to identify the issue. If you do not feel well, seek help from the GP or a local hospital.
Things You Should Avoid Doing
When it comes to things you should avoid, do not smoke, light matches, or use naked flames in the property. Avoid turning anything off. Light switches can also cause a spark and cause an explosion – in fact, these are the most common problems there. People turn the lights on and the gas accumulation explodes. Avoid using doorbells, mobile phones, or any other electronics that could cause a spark and start an explosion.
You know you have been exposed to a gas leak if you feel lightheaded or dizzy. Other symptoms include nausea, as well as headaches. If you can experience these signs and you know there has been a gas leak in your home, go outside straight away. Get some fresh air and reach to a hospital regarding this exposure.
If you can smell gas occasionally, you may get a tester and double-check whenever you experience the issue. Write down what you were doing. Do it again next time and call a professional. Tell them what they were doing and they will identify a pattern and the potential issue.
In terms of prevention, make sure you hire professionals for appliances installation. At the same time, it may pay off to get a gas detecting alarm. This way, you will get alerts for potential leaks. A carbon monoxide detector will also help, after all, this gas is odorless and colorless. It kills people.
Maintenance is king. No matter how careful you are with your appliances, the truth is things do wear and break. Your appliances may break down at some point or their seal may harden and crack, allowing gas to go through. Proper maintenance implies performing professional checks on a regular basis to ensure everything still works.
Piping is in the same situation. Dealing with pipes could be a bit difficult because you would have to go behind walls. Maintenance implies checking the connections that go into appliances. Corrosion is the most common issue out there – again, professional help is better than simply looking out yourself. If you do opt for such checks, make sure you get them done yearly.
Frequently Asked Questions
A gas leak from stove is not to fool around with , here are some of the most common concerns out there, as well as some extra considerations to keep in mind.
Does Gas Stove Smell Like Propane When Off?
Propane has a very powerful smell – it is also unpleasant, so it does not really feel like gas. To help you understand, it is similar to the spray of a skunk or perhaps some rotten eggs. Manufacturers add such scents on purpose, so users can detect a leak straight away – a serious health and safety hazard.
Before calling help, make sure the smell is actually propane and not coming from a different source, such as your garbage bin, dead vermin or sewage.
Generally speaking, both natural gas and propane have the same substance in their composition. Since natural gas is odorless, this substance is added to give it a distinct and unpleasant smell. This is a healthy and safety issue aimed to help people identify a leak before it becomes a life-threatening situation.
Your House Smells Like Gas But No Leak?
Sometimes, you confuse sulfur with gas. Double check the sink drains – some bacteria may provide a bad smell. Drop some bleach in the drain and let it sit for a few hours. There may also be something dead in the walls. All in all, you cannot really diagnose the problem yourself. If you suspect gas, get a gas tester or detector. In case if you can’t detect gas, chances are you are smelling sulfur, which has a few different sources. If you have dead vermin around and you cannot reach it, the smell will go after a couple of weeks.
When using a gas detector, use it in the affected room. Even if there are no gas using appliances in there, the gas may leak from another room or over pipes. Keep a gas tester around the house and use it whenever you suspect something. A professional will be able to check into deeper details though.
What Else Smells Like Natural Gas?
Natural gas does not have a smell, but it is enhanced with ethyl mercaptan, so people can detect a potential gas leak from stove easier. LPG and propane has the same substance in their composition, only for people to be able to smell it. Other than that, you are less likely to experience this smell too often, as there are no other things to get this smell. Some people find it to smell like cabbage, while others associate it with rotten eggs.
The tap water may also sometimes smell like sulfur, which could also remind you of rotten eggs. Sulfur is not as harmful as natural gas. But then, if there are sewage pipes behind walls or around, they might face some leaks. The smell is more likely to occur in basements though – you will notice it is not consistent, but only kicks in occasionally.
Generally speaking, a detector or a tester will get the job done and tell you whether you have a gas leak from stove or some rotting organic matter.
How To Check For Gas Leaks On The Stove?
Whether it is the stove or something else, combustion will release carbon monoxide, which is colorless and odorless. While certain scents are added to natural gas to help identify leaks, these scents are not transferred to carbon monoxide, so you will not smell it. Having a detector is by far the best way to ensure the level of CO in your home does not become dangerous. This gas will make you feel sick and can be deadly.
Protecting yourself is simple by using carbon monoxide detectors. If you are only interested in a simple test, you can find testers that will check the air around the appliance and tell you whether or not it is safe.
A leak will not necessarily be indoors though. While it may look like outdoor leaks are less likely to become problematic, the truth is they can be just as harmful, especially if a naked flame is used in the area. The gas reaches your home through underground lines. They can also face corrosion, break or leak. If you notice dead plants or vegetation around the yard – such as a single patch, chances are there is a leak down there.
Other signs involve hissing or puffing sounds, as well as hazy looks in particular areas. If you notice the signs of an outdoor leak, simply get a tester to figure out what it is. Get in touch with the local gas company as well – you need a professional to ensure that potential problems are dealt with responsibly.
Can A Carbon Monoxide Detector Detect Gas Leaks?
The truth is a carbon monoxide detector will not be able to detect a gas leak. Carbon monoxide is the byproduct of an incomplete burn. It is odorless and colorless. The good news is you can detect gas leaks normally by using your nose due to the strong smell. There are other smells that may seem similar, hence the necessity of a tester if you smell something funny.
Carbon monoxide is the main threat in the process, so this is what most manufacturers focus on. Natural gas is more volatile, but it is also easier to detect without an actual detector.
Accidentally Inhaling Gas Fumes From Stove?Is It Deadly?
If there is a gas leak and the gas fails to burn completely due to various problems, a byproduct occurs – carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide poisoning can seriously affect you and may easily kill you – in fact, this is a common death cause all over the world. A gas leak can kill you indirectly then.
A gas leak from stove may cause other problems as well, even if it is only an occasional gas smell from stove. According to Gas Safe Register, a leak can cause an explosion if it is exposed to a spark or an open flame. For example, turning lights on is a critical mistake when you smell gas because the spark is likely to lead to an explosion.
As a short final conclusion, a gas leak from stove could cause a series of problems and become fatal. The good news is gas can be smelled due to scents added by manufacturers, so you should be able to smell a leak as soon as it occurs. This is not the type of problem you can ignore – such as a light bulb going out. Get a detector or a tester if you are not sure – if the leak is serious, open the windows, avoid using the phone or turning lights on and seek help from a professional.