What do I do?
In life, it’s important to stop and smell the roses. This is a metaphor that simply means you must be in tune with what’s around you. Indeed, the same is true for your household. You must always pay attention to the various sights, signs and smells that could spell trouble, like the smell of gas from your stove. Knowing what to do about it is the first step.
There are lots of smells in your home that make you happy. Fresh coffee brewing in the morning, wood burning in the fireplace and the delightful scent of newly cleaned floors are just a few of the aromas that turn a house into a home. However, there are some odors that are not so pleasant like dirty laundry, spoiled food or the smell of gas from your stove. This last one can be quite dangerous and you will need to know what to do.
Reasons why you may smell gas from your stove
Gas is nothing to play with. If inadvertently ignited, it can be lethal. The flame from a candle or a small spark from the fireplace is enough to cause your entire home to go up in flames.
A gas leak can also cause physical reactions in both humans and pets. These might include drowsiness, dizziness, a severe headache or even death.
As you may or may not be aware, natural gas doesn’t actually have a smell. It’s odorless. Scent is added to provide a warning that there could be a leak. This is one of the most serious causes but there are others as well.
Someone accidentally left the stove on – it’s possible to turn your stove on or off but see no flame. This typically happens when you don’t turn it off all the way. It may look like it’s off, but it’s not. When this occurs, you will eventually smell gas from your stove.
The pilot light has gone out – this is the small flame inside the stove that stays lit. Its main purpose is to restart the main burner. Sometimes, it will go out if you run out of fuel or simply by turning off the gas. If your pilot light goes out frequently, it could be a sign of a more critical issue like a faulty gas valve or low gas pressure.
You might have a malfunctioning furnace – there are many reasons why your furnace may emit an odor of gas. It could be a leak in the heat exchanger or gas coming from the exhaust pipe. You should know that there is never any good reason for a gas smell to be coming from your furnace.
Things you should do when you smell gas from your stove
First, it’s important to note that you should never smell gas from your stove. While you might smell gas briefly when you light the stove or oven, this should disappear quickly. You may still want to have it checked to ensure you don’t have a faulty valve on the knob. Smelling gas from your stove when it is not in use is a clear sign that you could have a big problem.
- Call the non-emergency number of your gas company or local fire department. This might be your first option if the smell of gas is not that strong or only happens intermittently. They will come out immediately to determine if you have a leak and where it’s coming from. Don’t worry about calling them unnecessarily, even if nothing is found. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Try to determine exactly where you smell gas from your stove. Does it happen when you turn on a specific burner? Is it coming from the oven area? This may help you to provide more detailed information to the technician when he arrives.
- Stop using your stove. Even a small leak can result in big problems. Don’t make it worse by putting more gas into the air. Make sure all the burners are completely turned off and all flames are extinguished. This includes anywhere in the house, such as the fireplace and all candles. You may also want to turn on the fan over your range hood.
- Evacuate the house. If the smell is very strong, you could be facing a major leak. This is especially true if there are no burners on. You don’t want to take any chances with the health and safety of your family. Don’t forget about pets as well.
- Open the windows. This will air out the house from the gas smell.
- Avoid anything that could cause a spark, such as turning on appliances, light switches or even the car in an attached garage.
- Turn off the gas. If you know how to do this using the shut off valve, it’s a crucial step in potentially saving your home. Take the time to learn where and how to perform this step. Sometimes, you may be unable to find the valve or meter on your own or you might be in a rental or commercial property. In that case, contact your landlord or gas supplier to show you.
- Trust your instincts. Don’t ignore the problem or treat it lightly. Watch out for physical symptoms as well, such as feeling nauseous when you are inside but not outside.
- Contact an experienced appliance repair company. Having your gas stove inspected by a professional will help prevent a disaster and give you peace of mind.
Proactive steps to take when you have a gas stove
Invest in a carbon monoxide detector
Make sure you have working fire extinguishers and check them periodically
Keep the phone number for the gas company handy
Move all paper, wood and other flammable items away from the stove
Do not keep paints and solvents inside your home
Avoid using your stove or oven to generate heat for your house
Work out a plan for you and your family to get to safety in the event of a leak or evacuation
Test the appliance regularly. You can purchase test solutions and leak detectors in most home improvement stores.
Don’t try to fix it yourself. Natural gas can be extremely dangerous. Therefore, if you are not a trained professional, don’t attempt it. Leave it to the experts.