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What causes the yellow flame in gas heaters?

Updated March 23, 2017

Keeping a gas heater in proper working order is important to maintain safety as well as to assure energy efficient operation. If yellow flames are observed in a gas heater or other gas appliance, it indicates a problem.

Yellow Flame Cause

When a gas heater has a yellow flame, it is a sign that the gas is not properly burning. Dirt or dust in the burner is the most common cause of the yellow flame, although contaminants in the gas and improperly adjusted burners can also cause the flame to burn yellow. The heater should be cleaned and serviced according to manufacturer directions to correct this problem.

Safety Issues

When the natural gas used in the heater is not properly burnt, the heater may produce an excess of fumes. These fumes can be hazardous to persons near the heater. Problems that cause the gas to burn yellow will likely worsen, creating additional fumes from the heater.

Energy Issues

The yellow flame in a gas heater is a sign of improper burning, which causes the heater to be less efficient. Heaters with a yellow flame create less heat and use more gas than a properly operating heater.

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About the Author

Jay Motes is a writer who sold his first article in 1998. Motes has written for numerous print and online publications including "The Dollar Stretcher" and "WV Sportsman." He holds a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in history and political science form Fairmont State College in Fairmont, W.V.