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Why Does My Oven Smell Like Gas?

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Gas ovens are loved by home cooks and professional chefs alike due to their ability to distribute heat evenly. If used correctly and regularly maintained, gas ovens are generally safe to use and pose minimal risk to you and your family.

It’s not unusual to smell gas when initially turning on your oven, as the burner in a gas oven is ignited by a small flame. However, if the smell persists for longer than a few minutes, it could indicate a gas leak and require immediate attention.

This article will discuss in detail reasons why a gas oven could smell, what to do in case of a gas leak, and how to properly maintain your oven.

Why a Gas Oven Would Smell Like Gas

A gas oven can emit many smells, the most worrying of which is the smell of unburnt natural gas. As the name indicates, this kitchen appliance uses gas as an energy source to cook and bake food. Although using gas has many benefits, knowing how to recognize a leak is important for anyone using the oven, whether they are a culinary professional or not.

How Gas Ovens Work

An efficient, convenient, and economical energy source, natural gas has many residential and commercial uses. Gas ovens are gaining in popularity due to their ability to cook food consistently and bake evenly. 

If you want to learn more about the pros and cons of owning a gas oven, check out this helpful video from Appliance Factory & Mattress Kingdom:

To ignite the gas and heat the oven, there are three methods that an oven may employ: pilot ignition, direct spark, and electronic ignition. A gas regulator coordinates the gas pressure in the oven and cycles it on and off to maintain the thermostat’s temperature. 

The sensitivity and accuracy of each oven’s thermostat vary, which impacts the oven’s temperature and the rate at which it heats. If this is something you may be worried about, I recommend purchasing a Rubbermaid Thermometer from Amazon.com so that you can measure your oven’s temperature as accurately as possible.

Potential Sources of Odor

There are many things that may cause an oven to smell, and most eventually go away on their own. Possible unpleasant smells could be due to:

  • Using a new oven for the first time (a “chemical” smell)
  • Charred, burnt, or spoiled food
  • Grease spilled on the bottom of the oven
  • Unburnt gas, which can smell like rotting eggs or sulfur
  • A liner or foil on the oven bottom
  • Paint or stain fumes elsewhere in the home reacting with the gas

Most odors can be avoided by regularly cleaning your oven and following the manufacturer’s instructions to maintain it. However, if you smell unburnt gas, it may indicate that there’s a gas leak, and it’s important to take immediate action.

What to Do in Case of a Gas Leak

Although naturally odorless, companies added a unique smell to natural gas to be noticed by the homeowner and managed accordingly. This smell has been described as being comparable to garbage, moldy food, vomit, or, most commonly, rotten eggs.

If you’re interested in what natural gas smells like, take a look at this informative video from Enbridge Gas:

Indications of a Gas Leak

There are three major signs of a gas leak occurring in your home:

  • The scent of unburned natural gas 
  • Noticing broken or mangled parts of the housing or wiring connected to your gas oven
  • Hearing a hissing or whistling noise coming from near the appliance

It’s important to know how to identify these signs and deal with a suspected gas leak calmly, safely, and quickly.

Important Steps When Dealing With a Gas Leak

If you believe that your gas oven leaks, it’s important to do the following:

  1. Ensure that the oven is turned off. Check that the surface burners are also off and that the oven door is closed.
  2. Be sure not to touch electrical switches. Don’t turn on any motors, devices, switches, and avoid using lighters and matches.
  3. Open any windows if possible, and leave the house. Ensure every household member has evacuated and is located at a safe distance away from the source of gas.
  4. Call the gas supplier and follow their instructions. Use a cellular phone at a safe distance from outside your home, or use a neighbor’s phone. If you’re unable to reach the gas supplier, call the local fire department.

By following these steps and listening to your gas provider, any potential disasters resulting from a gas leak could be avoided. 

How to Properly Use and Maintain a Gas Oven

Besides the manual included with your gas oven purchase, there are many other resources available to learn about how to care for and clean your appliance. In addition to how-to blogs and online forums, companies such as Whirlpool and GE offer support through live chats and support videos on their website.

Gas Oven Maintenance

Properly cleaning your oven is an excellent way to avoid smells due to burnt or spoiled food. If you need to clean your oven, I recommend using this Easy-Off Oven Cleaner from Amazon.com. This cleaner is great for everyday cleaning and does so effectively without harsh fumes. I also recommend installing MyHomyline Oven Liners from Amazon.com to protect your oven from messes and reduce the amount of cleaning required.

If you’re interested in cleaning your oven without chemical products, watch this quick tutorial from SCANA Energy:

Gas Oven Safety Tips

Like all kitchen appliances, ensure that your gas oven is installed properly with the proper wiring and piping. Check to make sure nothing is in the oven ahead of preheating, and there’s no scent or indication of unburnt gas. Before you start to cook, confirm that no loose clothing, hair, or jewelry can get in the way and non-slip shoes are being worn. 

If you have children, I recommend installing safety devices, such as this EUDEMON Oven Door Lock from Amazon.com. Safety devices such as oven locks can be used in addition to the built-in safety mechanisms that ovens are designed with. 

Some important things to remember to cook with your gas oven safely include:

  • Always watch whatever you’re cooking or baking; never leave it unattended.
  • Keep your oven and stove top clean of any leftover food or grease.
  • Whenever you’re finished with the oven, close the door. 
  • Don’t store any pots, pans, or cookware in your oven when it’s not in use.
  • Use oven mitts to remove anything from the oven to avoid burns.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and check that it’s near the oven if needed.

Final Thoughts

Although gas ovens are generally safe to use, the smell of unburnt gas can indicate that there’s a serious problem with your oven. If a leak is detected, it’s important to leave your home immediately and follow the instructions provided by your gas supplier. 

To prevent any issues with your oven, maintain and clean your oven as recommended by the manufacturer. Following steps to keep yourself and your family safe in the kitchen is important, not just when using a gas oven.