What could make a gas range reek of gasoline?
February 24, 2015 5:18 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: Two times in the past six months, my oven/stove and a spot near my refrigerator (several feet away) have smelled *very strongly* of some petrochemical, like benzene or kerosene or gasoline or something sweet and fuelly like that (i.e., not natural gas, not propane). There is a similar, faint, lingering odor in the oven. What could be causing this? Some kind of propellant in the gas lines? Illicit neighbor activity? If it helps, I'm on the 4th floor of a 6-floor building in NYC.
posted by unknowncommand to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Is someone cooking meth in their kitchen above or below you and you can smell the fumes coming up through the vents? Because that's my first guess.

My second guess is that the super comes in and soaks a rag in gas or kerosene and wipes off your appliances to keep them clean and shiny.

Guess which one I'm going with.

If the smell is really strong, call the fire department to come in and suss out the situation.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:23 PM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]

Look at your gas company's website; mine included instructions on how to contact a service person to come out at no cost if you smell gas in your apartment. I'm not saying they'll fix it (you're saying it doesn't smell like natural gas), but it's free and it might be something they're familiar with.
posted by Juliet Banana at 5:25 PM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Call the fire department non emergency number and they'll send someone out to check it out. I've done this twice (well, one was nonemergency, the other was my roommate thinking there was a gas leak and two trucks came barelling up our street and four ffs ran into our apartment in full emergency mode) and everyone has always been friendly and helpful and glad to be doing something preventative.

Even if it's minor, even if it's nothing, your fire department will help you out.
posted by phunniemee at 5:31 PM on February 24, 2015 [5 favorites]

Call con ed (or national grid if they service you - the link has both numbers). They will come out and check.

I did this a couple of days after I moved into a new apartment in Manhattan. The smell was by the burners/oven and didn't really smell like what I expected the natural gas additive to smell like. They came to the apartment, ruled out a gas leak, and said that it had something to do with the fresh paint getting into the pilot light and told me not to worry. If it's not a gas leak they may be able to tell you what is that you're smelling.

It also didn't cost anything.
posted by NormieP at 5:45 PM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

I had this happen to me, and called the gas company. They came out and waved their wands, and it was a burner in my gas stove, which they fixed (for a $35 fee).
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:27 PM on February 24, 2015

Have they painted indoors? I've noticed that after I've painted a wall in my apartment, the stove hangs onto the smell like crazy; it's gross and annoying. It only sort of smells like paint when it happens; the scent has a different quality to it that's hard to describe, but yeah, it's sort of sweet-ish. Just a guess.
posted by heyho at 7:32 PM on February 24, 2015

If there has been painting, especially any "oil" paints, or use of solvents such as mineral spirits that could be the cause. I have experienced a nasty smell being generated by what I assume is the combustion or altering of odorless fumes in the flames of a natural gas stove. For a specific example I had just finished remodeling a house and had just put in a brand new stove. Generally a brand new stove will smell funny the first couple uses so I usually run them to burn them in so to speak. After a week of smelling something awful and despairing that I had purchased some kind of lemon of a stink stove, a vague vistigial memory about this kind of situation drifted up and I looked around for paint thinner and found in a closed cabinet a closed plastic yogurt container with mineral spirits in it. I removed it from the premises and with it went the problem.
posted by Pembquist at 7:36 PM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Totally it's a dead mouse. Not sure how to explain it but the little buggers smell a lot like a chemically gasoline smell when they due somewhere invisible. So I'm saying dead mouse behind stove or fridge or perhaps under floor.
posted by chasles at 4:33 AM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

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