gas stove left on

Gas Stove Left On? Here’s What You Need To Do

Last Updated on May 3, 2022 by Share My Kitchen

This incident can happen to anyone: leaving a gas burner on with or without flame. However, what do you do if you realize you have made one of these errors?

What To Do If You Left Your Gas Stove On?

What should you do if the gas stove is left on, but it is not lit? Turn off the stove immediately if you smell gas, regardless of whether you notice a small flame on your stove. The gas smells similar to rotten eggs. Moreover, do not turn on any lights or create a flame. Then, all household members (including pets) should evacuate and call 911 immediately.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Gas leaks cannot always be detected by smell, especially for elderly people whose senses of smell might be impaired.

Therefore, it is recommended that older adults use a UL and CSA-approved combustible gas/carbon monoxide detector.

This is a great tip for seniors who want to age at home. It is also better for them to have a smoke detector. Honestly, it’s a good idea for everyone to have them.

Gas Stove Safety Tips

Here are some safety tips and recommendations to help you stay as safe as you can when using a gas stove in your home:

  • You need to have your gas appliances checked every year. There are some plumbing companies who can do this job. by some plumbing companies.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector, such as the ones mentioned above.
  • When using the gas stove, make sure to use the exhaust vent.
  • Use only pots and pans that are large enough to cover the entire stove burner. You should not allow flames to reach the sides of any pot or pan.
  • Do not ever use cookware with flammable handles or other materials to avoid fire hazard.
  • Oven mitts and any other objects should be kept away from the gas stove.
  • Don’t cook with dangling jewelry, loose sleeves, scarves, or anything that could easily catch on fire.
  • Never leave your gas stove unattended when cooking.  
  • It is important to properly install a smoke alarm in close proximity.
  • It is recommended to use safety knobs on your gas stove to keep seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s and/or small children safe.
  • Wipe the stove’s top after the stove burners have cooled as small food particles could catch fire.
  • Soak the grates and stove burners with warm soapy water to clean them at least once a week. Then, use a toothpick to clean the burner’s holes.
  • NEVER pour water on a gas stove fire. If it happens to be a small fire in a pot, put a lid on it and turn off the burner. However, use a flame extinguisher, a fire suppression blanket, a wet towel, or a lot of salt or baking soda to put out a larger fire.
  • If you smell a gas, but have not turned your stove on, get out of the house immediately. Then, use your phone to call your local gas company, and report the incident once you are outside.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the safety instructions that came with your natural gas appliance. You can also either contact the manufacturer to obtain the manual in printed form, or search the internet for it.

Is It Dangerous To Leave A Gas Stove On?

Yes, a gas stove left on can lead to grave situations. Gas stoves can catch fire if they are left unattended. This is the most common reason why kitchen fires start.

These tips will help you if you realize you forgot to turn your gas stove on when you get home:

  • Never turn on any electrical device (i.e. lights, etc.)
  • Turn off any gas appliance (i.e. gas fireplace)
  • You should not turn the light on or off.
  • You should not open or close windows
  • It is also best not to turn the car on in your garage or driveway.
  • Gather your family members and pets, if you have any, immediately, and get out of the house.
  • Call 911, and when emergency responders arrive, they will inspect your home and gas line.

Can Leaving The Gas Stove On Lead to Death?

Leaving a gas stove on may lead to death: 

  • Carbon monoxide may be the cause of suffocation.
  • If the stove top flame is lit and something falls on it (i.e. an oven mitt), then a fire can catch, and you could die.
  • Gas leaks can happen (regardless of whether the stove is turned on or off). Therefore, a carbon monoxide detector is your best tool to prevent them.

Many cooks will keep a gas stove lit while they simmer a pot of tomato sauce or stew for hours, while checking it periodically. As long as the room has good ventilation, it should be okay.

Your CO detector will sound an alarm if there is any problem with the level of carbon monoxide in your home.

However, you should NEVER leave your gas stove on unattended. This includes not leaving it on overnight, or if you’re away from your home.

What Is the Longest Time You Can Leave a Gas Stove On?

You should aim to make sure your gas stove is not left on when you aren’t cooking. There is no safe number of hours.

The emitted carbon monoxide can cause illness or death. The other danger is the risk of fire if you leave a pot of food on the stove.

Unattended pots can eventually boil over or burn, and that could lead to a fire.

Bottom line: PLEASE do not leave your gas stove on unattended.

Do Gas Stoves Turn Off Automatically?

There are some gas ranges that have an automatic shutoff device. This cuts off propane supply to the appliance. It is a good idea to consult the manual for the model you are using, or to contact the manufacturer.

You can buy an automatic shutoff device separately for your gas stove to protect your family.

How Long Does It Take for Natural Gas to Dissipate?

There are two types natural gas, and each one dissipates in a different way:

  • Propane gas dissipates in approximately 2 hours
  • Natural gas dissipates in approximately 1 hour

It takes about an hour or two for the gas to evaporate. Therefore, safety recommendations include not turning on any electric devices or lighting a fire (i.e. light a candle or light a cigarette) if you suspect a gas leak in your house. You should also leave the house until the first responders clear it from a gas leak.

How Long Does the House Need to Air Out If the Gas Stove Was Left On?

The smell of gas can last anywhere from a few moments to several hours before it goes away. It all depends on how much gas was emitted, and how long it lasted.

You might think that opening the windows would be a good idea if you left your gas stove on, and there is the smell of gas fumes. But, you’re wrong!

Keep the windows closed! Natural gas can ignite if it reaches 5-15% of the space’s air. Open windows can add oxygen to your kitchen, making it more dangerous than it is already.

As already advised, simply gather your family and pets, and leave the house immediately. Then, call 911. They are familiar with fire hazards and gas leaks.

Can Leaving A Gas Stove On Cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Yes. Leaving the gas stove on can result in carbon monoxide poisoning. Every gas stove emits carbon monoxide. Therefore, it is recommended that you always turn the exhaust vent on when you have a gas stove on.

Can A Pilot Light Cause Carbon Monoxide?

You might be asking, “Can a pilot lamp cause carbon monoxide?” It is not unlikely.

Pilot lights are like an ignition system for your furnace or water heater. These appliances will not ignite if the pilot light isn’t working properly or is out of order.

You may notice that your gas stovetop’s flames are yellowish or orange, rather than blue or bluish green. This could be an indication that it is producing carbon Monoxide.

The pilot light of a stove can cause the gas to be released into the atmosphere if it doesn’t properly distribute carbon monoxide. This could happen if a vent pipe becomes blocked, restricted, or if there isn’t enough air for the gas to react with.

You should immediately leave your home if you smell gas. Then, call 911 or your local gas company.

Signs Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to nausea, dizziness, headaches, or general malaise, like a flu.

You should also be aware of your pets as they might experience symptoms similar to yours. Therefore, look out for signs, such as vomiting, uncoordinated movements, drowsiness and irritable behavior in your pets.

You should immediately leave your home if you suspect that you may have carbon monoxide poisoning. Then, call 911.

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