The gas stove is a common home appliance used for heating, cooking and frying food. When you turn on a gas stove, gas is released and ignited by a pilot light. You then adjust the size of the flames on the stove using small knobs that control the release of gas. While gas stoves are convenient and easy to use, like any heat-generating appliance, your kitchen's gas stove presents a number of dangers if you're not careful.
One of the most obvious dangers of a gas stove is the fire hazard it presents. A gas stove cooks using an actual flame, so it's easy for something to accidentally brush against it and set ablaze. Fire-Extinguisher 101 recommends keeping your gas stove clean in-between uses, wearing shorter sleeves or wearing them rolled-up while you cook, and keeping flammable objects like "pot holders, dish towels and curtains, at least three feet away from the stove." Never leave an open flame unattended or use your kitchen stove to heat your home.
Carbon Monoxide and Other Toxic Gases
Gas stoves generate carbon monoxide and other toxic chemicals while you cook, presenting a great risk to your family and home if you don't keep your kitchen well-ventilated. Carbon monoxide is an odourless gas that, according to Consumer Affairs, "causes confusion and lethargy, followed by a loss of consciousness and death." WebMD goes on to write, "Gas stoves may give off more harmful fumes than electric stoves when cooking meat," citing a study where "Higher levels of PAHs, considered possible cancer-causing substances, were detected when the frying was done on a gas stove." Invest in a carbon monoxide detector for your kitchen and make sure to open the windows of your home while you cook. If you have a fan installed above your stove, turn it on to aid in ventilation.
Along with the increased carbon monoxide risk, a gas leak is a serious threat to your home if left untended. If you walk into your kitchen and smell gas, the Office of the Tenant Advocate suggests you " do not attempt to light the appliance. Turn off all the controls and open doors and windows. Call a gas service person." Making sure your gas stove is turned off properly after each use is important. Even if a flame isn't present, the gas could still be on and leaking into your home. Get your gas stove checked annually by a professional; inspect for gas leaks or other hazards caused by normal wear and tear.
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- Office of the Tenant Advocate: The Dangers of Using Your Stove for Home Heating
- Consumer Affairs: Invisible, Odorless Danger Lurks Within
- WebMD: Gas Stoves Give Off More Harmful Fumes Than Electric Stoves When Frying Meat
- Fire Extinguisher 101: Fire Hazards (Fire Prevention Tips)
- NC DHHS: N.C. Division of Public Health Warns of the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide During Cold Weather and Power Outages