A gas range is an essential kitchen fixture for any serious home cook. Considered by many to be superior to electric ranges, the gas heats up quickly and costs less to operate. But a gas range also comes along with certain safety considerations. Here we’ll examine the potential dangers of gas ranges by exploring the question: Do gas ranges produce carbon monoxide?
In this article, we’ll discuss the potential risks posed by your gas stove. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is highly poisonous in high concentrations. So of course, it’s understandable that homeowners would be worried about exposure to carbon monoxide in their own home. While certain gas appliances including ranges do produce carbon monoxide, the risk can be minimized if you’re well-informed.
We will explain these risks by explaining how these kitchen ranges can potentially expose you to this toxic gas. We will then explain the proper safety measures which can make this a perfectly safe, effective kitchen tool.
Other gases produced alongside carbon monoxide include nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide. Some of the characteristics of Carbon monoxide include:
- Highly poisonous in low concentrations
- It is clear that caution is necessary, so let’s first explain how a gas range produces carbon monoxide:
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How a Gas Range works
Different gases have different burning characteristics. Here’s the formula for producing carbon monoxide:
Natural Gas+ Less Oxygen+ Spark= Carbon Monoxide +Water+ 50% Heat
A kitchen oven is known for its production of CO, although in mild concentrations. A kitchen range should only produce up to and not exceeding 80 PPM of carbon monoxide in an air-free space. However, this limit is usually exceeded in most kitchens due to the continued cooking activities. Kitchen ovens are specifically designed for irregular operations.
In addition, if the kitchen is poorly ventilated, carbon monoxide levels tend to rise very fast exceeding the acceptable carbon monoxide limits. Another reason for the increased levels of carbon monoxide in kitchens is the blockage of the airflow to the gas burners. You can easily notice this by checking the flame’s color. Red or orange flames are a good indication of poor gas combustion.
It is vital that for gases used in cooking, for example, propane, to closely monitor or conduct regular inspections of the gas regulator. Skipping these regular inspections results in high chances of increased levels of carbon monoxide production and the risk of fire explosions in the kitchen. Continued operations in kitchens that have a gas range that produces high levels of CO may result in serious respiratory complications or fatalities.
Safety Measures for Gas Ranges
As you can see from the above, yes, gas ranges do produce carbon monoxide. However, this does not mean that they are an automatically dangerous presence to have in your home. With proper use, caution, and proper installation, they can be safe and quite an effective kitchen tool. In this section, we will run you through the relevant safety considerations you need to know about if you run a gas range.
Consult a pro for testing
Firstly, always contact a weatherization technician to perform a series of combustion tests in your residence. This is to determine the levels of carbon monoxide produced in the home and fix the problem. The first step in solving a problem is to identify it, and if your gas range is releasing an inordinate amount of carbon monoxide into your home, you need to know.
Follow the Owner’s manual for your range
Remember to always use the kitchen range operating instructions at all times. Ensure the air vents are not blocked and keep the unit clean at all times. In addition, the vent holes at the oven’s bottom should not be covered with foil. It is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the instructions and precautions of your specific gas range. You should read through these before you install the unit in your home.
Ensure your range is properly vented
It is also very important to install an exhaust hood that is able to vent to the outdoors. This hood should be tightly sealed and installed properly. It helps in exhausting the cooking odors, moisture and grease that comes with cooking. If you fail to take this precaution, you’ll be creating indoor air pollution that could lead to serious health complications.
Never use your range for heating
Next, never use the range to heat your home. Using the range to heat the home without proper ventilation leads to increased levels of CO, making breathing difficult for its occupants.
Get your range serviced as needed
Take the range for regular servicing when the following takes place:
- Presence of red or orange burner flames
- Improper lighting of the burner flames
- Production of soot from the burner flames
- Increased CO concentrations especially when the oven is in use
It is also important to have a range hood in the kitchen when the oven is properly tuned.
Further, this risk is not exclusive to gas ranges. It can extend to other gas appliances such as gas heaters, a furnace, space heaters and camp stoves. Take care when installing any of these appliances.
Buy a Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Carbon monoxide detectors are the tool you hope you never have to use. However, you should never own a home without one. Carbon monoxide alarms will alert you if you are in danger of unsafe exposure to CO. They monitor both low exposure over long periods and high exposure over short periods.
You should install it near your bedroom so it can wake you up in case of an emergency. Know that carbon monoxide alarms are not the same as smoke detectors. Make sure you have both in your home.
If your carbon monoxide alarm does sound, vacate the premises and call for help. Take these alarms seriously, as carbon monoxide is often very difficult to detect on your own.
Now that we’ve answered the question “Do gas ranges produce carbon monoxide?”, you can see that there is a risk. However, this risk is considered minimal if you exercise proper caution. Make sure your range is properly installed and maintained. Also, ensure you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector in your home.
Overall, you don’t need to worry if you’ve followed the appropriate safety precautions. Gas ranges are a great tool in any kitchen, especially if you’re passionate about cooking.
Ready to shop for a gas range?
If you’re ready to buy a new gas range for your kitchen, check out our top 10 picks for the best gas ranges. (If you’re going electric, we’ve got picks for the best electric stoves, too.)
Learn more about gas ranges
Before buying a new range, make sure you do your research. Find out if gas ranges require venting and if gas ranges are Energy Star rated. To ensure your family’s safety, read up on additional safety tips for gas ranges. Once you’re ready to install your new range, read our guide to installing a gas range. Also, make sure you understand the right way to clean a gas range. If you want to take your cooking outside, check out our picks for the best gas grills.