A gas stove or range is such a common appliance that it is very easy to forget that it can present a fire hazard in the home. But a great many house fires are caused by heating appliances fueled by natural or propane gas, so with any gas appliance, it is important to know where to shut off the gas if you suspect a gas leak. Shutting off the gas is also necessary any time a stove, oven or other gas appliance needs to be serviced or replaced.
- Warning: If the gas smell in your home is very strong, it is best to leave the house immediately and call your utility to come and check out the problem. Understanding the danger of gas leaks, the utility companies will make this emergency inspection quickly and for free, and will have special sensing equipment to pinpoint the cause of the problem. The danger of explosion is very real in a house where the gas smell has filled several rooms, and you should leave immediately. If the odor of gas is faint, though, you can shut off the gas yourself before calling the utility company.
How to Shut Off the Gas to Your Stove
Should there be any reason you need to shut off the gas to your stove follow these steps to make sure you do it safely:
- Make sure all the burner controls are in the off position. In a surprising number of cases, a slightly opened burner valve is what is allowing gas to seep into your kitchen. If this isn't the problem, move to the next step.
- Pull the stove slowly out away from the wall to gain access to the gas valve. As you move the stove, keep an eye on the flexible gas pipe or tubing. It's very likely that connections on this pipe are where the gas leak is occurring, and you don't want to increase the problem by pulling out the stove too quickly.
- Locate the gas valve handle and turn it a ¼ turn until it stops. When it is turned off, the handle will be perpendicular to the path of the pipe. Usually, this is a ball valve with a lever handle.
- Turn on one of the stove burners to verify that the gas is turned off. Open windows and doors to dissipate the gas smell from your kitchen.
- Call your gas company to come and find and correct the source of the problem. While it is possible to inspect the flexible gas line and tighten the connections or replace the gas line yourself, the potential dangers here are great, and it's best to have the gas company do this inspection. In many communities, homeowners are discouraged or forbidden from working on gas lines themselves due to the inherent danger.
If you still smell gas after you shut off the gas to the stove, you should shut off the gas at the main gas meter and call the gas company.
Stove Safety Tips
- Keep the stove top clean because the buildup of grease can create a fire hazard.
- Do not use your stove to heat your home. It is not designed for that purpose and you not only risk starting a fire, but also create a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Did You Know?
Natural gas has no odor. The rotten egg smell we associate with natural gas is actually the result of a chemical additive placed in the gas by the utility company as a safety measure, so that people will be alerted to a leak.
So when you smell "gas," it means you should act--and quickly.