Have you ever been playing The Sims and watched your Sims freak out over a flaming stove? Perhaps you’ve seen one too many movies where the stove has blown up the house. Whatever the reason, you’re wondering: Can gas stoves explode?
Here we’ll take a look at this question and examine the possible reasons a gas stove could explode. Then we’ll also take a look at why this is highly unlikely thanks to modern safety features. Also, we’ll go over the gas stove safety tips to ensure a gas stove explosion isn’t in your future.
How dangerous are gas stoves?
In general, gas stoves are quite safe. Homes with gas stoves are more common than their electric counterparts, and chefs worldwide prefer cooking with gas for its fast and even heating abilities. Natural gas by itself only accounts for approximately 17 deaths a year in the United States. However, the World Health Organization says that 4 million people worldwide die earlier than they should each year because of indoor air pollution caused by indoor cooking. Gas stoves produce nitrogen dioxide which can be harmful in high concentrations. Gas stove pollution is in fact a major public health concern, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute. And explosions due to natural gas line disruptions are not entirely uncommon, injuring dozens of people per year in the U.S. alone.
Like anything else, a gas stove can be dangerous if proper safety precautions aren’t taken. Leaving a gas stove on overnight or not maintaining it properly are two ways that a gas stove can become dangerous. Below we’ll discuss all the factors that could cause a gas stove to explode.
What could cause a gas stove to explode?
The main reason a gas stove would explode is if it’s not maintained properly. A gas range kept in working order and used properly is completely safe! What would cause an actual explosion is the accumulation of gas in the air. This could occur if there’s a gas leak somewhere within the stove, or if a burner isn’t firing properly.
But just because explosions of modern gas stoves are rare doesn’t mean it’s entirely impossible. When a stove fails to light for an extended period of time, there’s a possibility that the room will fill with gas. If left unnoticed, this could potentially cause an explosion. Keep in mind, smelling gas over the stove when it’s being used is completely normal, but smelling gas the moment you walk into the house is not.
Smelling gas throughout the house is highly dangerous. If gas is allowed to accumulate in the air and then something happens to create a spark, it can cause a sizable explosion. If the air is filled with gas, something as tiny as flipping a light switch can create enough of a spark to explode. An explosion could cause your oven door to shatter, even if it’s made of tempered glass. We don’t recommend you touch anything metal inside the house either, including the telephone. If this ever happens to you, evacuate the house immediately and call 911 only when you are away from the house.
Why your gas stove is unlikely to explode
However, the explosion of modern gas appliances is quite rare these days, thanks to these modern safety features:
- Flame Failure: Stops gas from going to the burner if the flame goes out
- Auto Reignition: Re-lights burners to prevent gas accumulation
- Timers: Shuts off gas if the burner doesn’t light in seconds
Without gas accumulation, there can be no explosion.
How to avoid gas stove explosions
Sometimes we leave the stove on by accident or turn the knobs on just walking by. When this happens the oven fills with gas, and then the room. After which all it really takes is the slightest spark to trigger a very violent explosion. Even with the modern stoves, safety features can malfunction, so while rare, gas stove explosions do happen.
If you ever hear a hissing sound in your house or if you ever smell gas when there is no reason that you should, keep in mind that there are things you can do that might prevent an explosion from happening. Memorize the following safety precautions in case you suspect gas is accumulating in your home:
- Keep all light switches off; if you need light, use a flashlight.
- Open all doors and windows.
- Check the stove to make sure that all burners are off.
- Know where your gas meter is and check it.
- Evacuate the house.
- Call 911.
If you own a gas stove then you must take these safety precautions seriously. If a gas leak goes unnoticed and the proper measures aren’t taken, there could be a horrible explosion that could injure or even kill your loved ones due to something like turning on a light, using the microwave or even opening the fridge. Any time you touch anything metal inside your house during a leak, an explosion is possible. Anytime you use any device that produces the slightest spark, it raises the chances of an explosion. The best thing you can do is make yourself aware. Know the signs and remember what you need to do in order to prevent such a thing from occurring. If you’re going to own a gas stove then you are taking on that responsibility of keeping your family safe from an explosion.
How to properly maintain your gas stove
As we discussed above, the best way to prevent accidents is to properly care for your gas stove. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here’s how to do this:
Keep it clean!
To ensure your burners fire properly and gas can flow freely, make sure you clean your gas range regularly. Cleaning a gas range isn’t difficult, but it does take some extra care due to all the small parts and crevices. You’ll want to remove all the burner covers and removable parts, then wash it thoroughly with soapy water to remove all food debris and burned-on liquids. For a more thorough explanation, check out our article on how to clean a gas range.
You’ll also want to make sure your gas oven is in good shape. Use its self cleaning mode regularly to ensure it’s not overly dirty, which can be dangerous. If the oven door shatters even a tiny bit, get it replaced promptly, because a cracked door can allow gas into your home.
Make sure the flames are blue
The flame on a gas range should always be blue. A blue flame is an indicator that your gas range has the proper flow of both gas and oxygen. If the flames on your gas range are yellow or orange, this indicates incomplete combustion. Your gas range needs to be serviced if you see yellow or orange flames, and you should discontinue use until it can be evaluated by a pro. Incomplete combustion could indicate that carbon monoxide is being released into your home which can be very dangerous. (And unlike gas, you cannot smell carbon monoxide or detect it in any way, so make sure to install a carbon monoxide detector.)
Check for gas leaks
To ensure your gas stove is working as it should be, you should regularly check it for gas leaks. Indicators that you may have a gas leak include orange or yellow flames, a hissing sound, soot marks on your stove, or a pilot light that won’t stay lit. An easy way to check for gas leaks is the bubble test. Simply spray your stove fittings and gas lines with warm soapy water. If you see bubbles, this indicates there’s a leak and you should call a professional for help.
What if my oven explodes?
If despite following all these safety precautions, your oven or gas stove explodes, leave the premises call 911 immediately. If your oven door shatters, glass shards can fly in all directions, presenting a major safety hazard in addition to risk of fire.
While modern gas stoves are in general very safe, it’s important to be up to speed on all necessary safety precautions. Know what gas smells like, and understand that if you ever smell gas in your home, you should be very careful not to do anything that could create a spark. If you have even the smallest suspicion that gas is filling your home, leave immediately and call for help. It could be a matter of life and death. By following these safety tips, you can ensure good indoor air quality that’s safe for your family.
Learn more about gas stoves
Now that you understand the potential implications of a gas stove explosion and how to prevent it, read up on more gas stove information. Find out how to install a gas range, why gas ranges require venting in the form of range hoods, how gas ranges produce carbon monoxide, if gas ranges need a dedicated circuit and why gas ranges aren’t Energy Star rated. If your gas range is having issues, check out our guide to why gas ranges stop working.
In the market for a new stove?
Now that you’re up to speed on gas stove safety and information, are you ready to buy? If so, check out our picks for the best gas ranges on the market right now. And if you’re not yet convinced that a gas range is for you, read our comparison of gas ranges versus electric ranges. We also have recommendations for the best electric ranges, the best pellet stoves, and the best wood-burning stoves to heat your home.