Suppose you have become distracted and left the gas stove on without the flame going, which is somewhat better than leaving it on with the flame going; however leaving a gas stove on when you are not using it to cook is never a good thing.
In this article, we will cover all of the possibilities that come with leaving a gas stove on without the flame going and what you can do about it.
What Happens If I Leave Gas Stove On Without Flame
The Gas Will Rise and Fill The Area
It is important to note that gas stoves run off of one of many different gasses including propane, syngas, butane, natural gas, liquified petroleum, or another flammable gas.
One thing all of these gasses have in common is that they are combustible, which means that they can be ignited into a flame by a small spark near the oxidizing gas, this is also known as combustion.
So, when you leave a gas stove on without the flame going, the stove is simply releasing the gas into the area around it.
This is so long as the stove has gas to release, if the stove’s gas tank is completely empty when you leave the stove on, it will not do anything.
Now, if there is gas in the holding tank for the stove, the gas will consistently be released from the stove’s burners. Since gas is always lighter than air, the escaping gas will rise and in a home setting, it will begin to fill the room if it has nowhere else to escape.
If you have the stove vent fan on, the vent will pull most of the gas out of the home; however, if you do not have the stove vent going, the gas will continue to rise and fill the area.
Perhaps you have a window beside the stove that is open, in this case, a small portion of the gas will escape out of the window, and even more so if the window has no screen cover.
It is never a good idea to leave a gas stove on, flame or no flame. At this point, you must be wondering, “Are gas stove fumes harmful?”
The answer is yes, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which is also never a good thing. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide.
This can lead to serious tissue damage, or in severe carbon monoxide poisoning cases, even death. The leading causes of carbon monoxide poisoning are gas stoves, fireplaces, and running engines.
In such a scenario, you will need to keep an eye out for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Tightness in Chest / Shortness of Breath
If you experience any of these symptoms when you noticed that you left the gas stove on without the flame going, you will need to: Turn off the gas stove, open all windows and doors, leave the building, and seek immediate medical attention.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious health risk that should never be taken lightly. Carbon levels in a home: 50 ppm and below is a low threshold, and most healthy adults do not show symptoms.
Remember, that if you leave your gas stove on without the flame going, it will only take roughly 15 minutes for the carbon monoxide levels in the room or house to reach dangerous levels.
So, if you left the gas stove on without a flame and you smell gas but do not yet feel any carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, you should open all of the windows and doors to your home/building.
If you do not smell any gas, you should still open all of the windows and doors to be safe and turn off the stove immediately.
2. Leaking Combustible Gas
As previously mentioned, gas stoves use combustible gasses to ignite and fuel the fire/heat they provide for cooking. The gas will rise from the burner(s) you left on without a flame and will begin to fill the room, which means that it can possibly only take a small spark for it to ignite.
So, if you have any open flames going when you notice that you left the stove on, you should put them out immediately.
Since these open flames offer the opportunity for the gas to catch fire, which can also result in a combustion reaction. This means that a small candle could be the catalyst for a much larger fiery explosion.
Now, you may assume that the combustion is because of the fire and you would be partly correct, but it is actually the mixture of the gas mixing with oxygen and the flame that causes the combustion reaction.
You can take some measures to avoid this from occurring and they will be provided below.
How to Fix – Get a Carbon Monoxide Detector / Put Out Any Flames
Some would say that no home is complete without a CO detector (Carbon Monoxide Detector), and for a good reason since it can alert you to when it detects high carbon monoxide levels in your home.
This also applies to when you leave your gas stove on without the flame going, which could also not only save you on wasteful gas expenses but could also save your life.
Luckily, you can pick up a Carbon Monoxide Detector (view on Amazon), which is a small price to pay for an alarm that lets you know when carbon monoxide is present in your household.
If you have any open flames in your house when you have realized that you left the gas stove on without a flame, you should extinguish them immediately. Open flames include but are not limited to candles, fireplaces, and lighters.
To avoid having any open flames in your house, you could opt to use a Candle Warmer which only needs to be plugged in and turned on.
You can find a Candle Warmer (view on Amazon) and if you are a Prime member, you can enjoy free shipping on your candle warmer order.
Also consider using a flameless, electric fireplace, which can not only provide you with warmth without an open flame but will also still give you that visual comfort only a fireplace can.
You can find one of these ingenious Electric Fireplaces (view on Amazon), which is not only a smart way to warm your home but you will also not have to worry about combustion from the fireplace in the event that you accidentally leave the stove on.
There is never a situation when you should leave your gas stove on if you are not cooking on the stove and certainly not without the flame going.
See, the flame is actually what makes the gas safer in a sense since the gas is burned up and cannot rise and gather in the room or house.
This is also how the gas stove is meant to function, and with newer stoves, they no longer rely on an actual igniter rather the stove uses an electric starter.
Most newer stoves use an electric starter rather than the older and more unsafe igniter; however, this does not mean that everyone has a new gas stove.
With this in mind, if you have an older gas stove that has an igniter, you should take extra precautions so that you are safe as possible when cooking with an older gas stove.
The older models are also more susceptible to leaking gas and if you live in the US and believe that you may have a gas leak, you should leave the area and call the Gas Emergency number at 0800-111-999.
It is all too easy to get distracted especially when you are trying to do a lot of things at once; however, you must always remember to turn off your stove when you are not using it.
No good can come from a stove that is left on unless it is for cooking, it is being monitored, and is on purpose.
Not to mention carbon monoxide poisoning is no joke, too many people have passed because they were not aware there were dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in their homes. Do yourself a solid and grab a CO detector.