8 Gas Stove Safety and Maintenance Tips

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Most people who currently have a gas stove did not choose to buy that stove. The stove came with the house. Over 80% of rental homes include whatever stove was installed by the last owner-resident or the original builders. Homes on the market sold as move-in-ready include all the essential appliances, including the stove, so even homeowners cook on the stove that comes with the house.

Maybe you didn’t plan for a gas stove, but you have one now. This could be the best thing that ever happened to your cooking experience, if you like the open flame and are handy with a wire brush. The key is to understand your gas stove; how to use it safely and how to keep it well-maintained.   

1) Check the Gas Line for Gas Leaks

Start by checking the gas line when you first move in or take an interest. Tiny leaks or occasional leaks can be dangerous in a home. The best quick way to check is a gas leak detector substance. This is a thin goo that you spread over a gas line connector. If the goo bubbles, gas is leaking. Give the gas line a nudge to make sure that small movements of the stove or bumps in the kitchen won’t cause a leak.

If your gas line is secure, it’s safe to turn on and use your stove. 

2) Install a Few Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Gas leaks are dangerous, and they sometimes happen without warning. For any home with live gas lines, install 3+ carbon monoxide detectors. Set them low to the ground because –unlike smoke– natural gas falls and fills a room upward.

Do not install in the kitchen, you will get an alarm every time you use your stove normally, which is normal. The real problem is when the CO leaves the kitchen and builds up throughout the home.

Test the detectors to confirm they are working. If you hear a distinct alarm – usually 4 loud beeps each alert – there is monoxide detected. Test the unit to confirm. Open doors and windows, call emergency services, and get your family out of the house. 

3) Gas Burners are Easier to Clean than Electric

One neat fact about gas stoves is that they are far easier to clean than electric burners. The reason is the source of heat. For electric burners, the burner is also a heating element. For stoves, the burners are merely conduits for gas that lights on fire at the outlets around the ring.

To clean a gas burner, remove the grate, the flip off the burner cap. Reach in and pull the burner piece free. It is a simple chunk of heavily grooved circular metal. All three of these pieces – the grate, burner cap, and burner – can be easily soaked, scrubbed, and returned without worrying about electrical components. 

4) Quick-Clean the Burners with a Tanis Brush

You also don’t have to disassemble your burner completely to clean it for efficiency. If a burner is not lighting all the way around, it may have become lightly clogged with grease or food spills. Clear those metal channels quickly with a few swipes of a wire brush. The recommended type of brush for gas burner is a long, rectangular brush with metal or very stiff nylon bristles. These bristles are designed to clean metal components like burners. 

5) Flame Should Not Protrude From Under the Pan

Cooking on a gas stove is a little different from electric as well. Some chefs get a feel for the flame more accurately than any notches on the stove switch.  Cooking on low heat, you might not even see the flame unless you peer under the pan. Cooking on high, there’s a rule of thumb for maximum flame: Never turn the flame so that it licks around the edges of the pan. This creates a fire hazard that could catch your sleeves on fire or singe you while in the kitchen.

If you need to turn the flame up higher, pick a smaller burner or a wider pan. 

6) Never Use the Lowest Setting – Always Close the Knob Completely

When you turn on a gas burner, you turn the gas up and wait for it to light, then turn it down to the level where you plan to cook. There’s a reason for this: you need enough gas to light. But if you turn the gas too far down, it will lose the light but the gas line may still be open. So when you turn the burner off, it’s vital to turn it all the way off, past the click until it won’t turn anymore.

However, this rule also applies for low settings. If you turn down the stove and mean to set it on “low” but the fire goes out, the gas is still open. This can slowly (or quickly) fill your kitchen with explosive, non-breathable gas. Never use the lowest setting, always make sure gas set to low is still lit. 

7) Don’t Lean on the Burner Knobs

The burner knobs of a gas stove are also different. They don’t just switch the burner on and off, they open the gas line and either strike a spark or access the pilot light. That’s partly why gas burners often require a push and turn, with a special waiting for the gas to light.  So what happens when you lean on the knobs? There’s a potential for accidentally opening the gas line without lighting the burner. This, too, can create a dangerous gas leak.

So make it a house rule: Do not lean on the burners and be careful leaning anywhere near the stove. 

8) Don’t Move the Stove When Cleaning

Finally, be careful about moving the stove. Whether you’re performing repairs or rearranging the kitchen, the gas line only has so much flex. The gas line is a bigger tether than the power cord and more risky than water lines. Do not nudge your stove casually or pull it away from the wall without being aware of the location and distance of the gas line. Some gas lines are hard-connected, with only hard pipes instead of hoses so there is no flex at all.

—Contact us today for more appliance maintenance and repair insights or to hire a local appliance repair service.

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