I'm paranoid about my gas range.
February 24, 2012 2:29 AM   Subscribe

How safe to use is a gas range that got a little bit waterlogged previously?

I'm renting an apartment which came with a gas countertop range. I'm not sure how old it is, but it's the kind that you still need to start up with a match.

I've used it before, but I stopped cooking for a while because I was always out. The stove is too close to the sink so there was one time a little bit too much water got on the range (on the knobs) and the "sparkplugs" (what's the technical term for this -- can't seem to find it on Google) of all four stoves kept sparking all of a sudden -- and it freaked me out, so I unplugged the range.

It's been at least a couple of months since I plugged the stove back in, but I'd like to start cooking again and make sure that nothing is going to explode in my face when I turn it on / start it up. For what it's worth it's happened before with no complications, but I'd just like to be really sure.

Is this really a safety hazard or is it normal?

Any assurances / word of warnings well help me figure out what to do. Buying a new portable range might solve things but it's a bit impractical for me.
posted by drea to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Between the sparking and the fact that the thing sounds like it's an antique, it sounds like the safest thing to do would be getting it checked over by a professional appliance repairman BEFORE you re-plug it. (Heck, how old is that plug? Even that might be better off re-wired!)
posted by easily confused at 3:04 AM on February 24, 2012

Speak to your landlord to see if he has any experience of the gas range sparking before, and see if he will shell out for the cost of a pro to come and look it over.
posted by Ziggy500 at 3:07 AM on February 24, 2012

It hasn't been a problem in my experience although obviously you don't want to be using these things waterlogged a lot.

When my gas hobs get waterlogged - i.e. when I take them apart and clean them and don't dry them that much - they don't work as well until they have evaporated enough of the water to let the gas flow freely. That's the key - you need to be sure that the gas is getting lit.

My old Coleman camping stove used to have layers of metal in it so you could take it apart and degrease it and there would have been water there for a while until it heated up.

The "sparkplugs" are piezo electric ignition typically.

I am not an electrician, nor a gas engineer.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:10 AM on February 24, 2012

it's the kind that you still need to start up with a match

the "sparkplugs" (what's the technical term for this -- can't seem to find it on Google) of all four stoves kept sparking all of a sudden

These two things do not go together. The sparking things (igniters) are meant to light the flame when you turn on a burner. You shouldn't need a match. If the igniters are sparking and you still need matches, the burners need cleaning.

It's normal for all for igniters to be on the same circuit and to spark simultaneously when only one burner is turned on. The switches are right under the burner knobs. Most likely you got water around the knobs and shorted out one of the switches. Most likely, it has long-since dried out and is fine. Nothing is going to blow up.
posted by jon1270 at 3:13 AM on February 24, 2012

Like jon1270 says if the range sparks you shouldn't need matches.

The range will be safe even after it's bath (we used to clean ranges by spraying them down with soap and then rinsing them off with a pressure washer). Even if you have to use matches. However I'd complain to your landlord that the range isn't working properly if you need to use matches as this shouldn't be necessary on a unit equipped with igniters.
posted by Mitheral at 5:32 AM on February 24, 2012

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