I smell gas
June 21, 2007 7:40 PM   Subscribe

We just moved in to a new apartment with a gas stove/range. When we run the oven, even though the pilot light is lit and it heats up, there is a strong gas smell. We freaked out and turned it off but is this dangerous? Is it possible that it just smells of gas right away but it would dissipate in a few minutes? I would call the landlord right away but we already called with a laundry list of problems today so I'd like to avoid a follow up if at all possible.
posted by jules1651 to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Mine does this as well...for a few minutes there is a gas smell and then there are clicking sounds, and then--whoosh--it lights.
posted by troybob at 7:45 PM on June 21, 2007

Best answer: Call the gas company and tell them you smell gas. They'll send someone over right away to let you know if it's OK.
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 8:00 PM on June 21, 2007

My oven does that too. my GF moved into a house with her first gas stove, and when I lit it the first time, she freaked out from the gas smell and ticking sounds ... while I thought it was perfectly normal.
posted by SpecialK at 8:03 PM on June 21, 2007

Be sure to check the pilot lights for the stove-tops. Most stove/oven's have two-pilot lights on top -- each "serving" two surface burners. If either one is out, you'll smell gas.

As others have mentioned regarding the stove, when you turn it on there is often a slight delay before the ignitor (pilot) lights the 'oven burner' and 'flame spreader'. Thus you will likely smell gas for a short period -- before the gas has been ignited and 'burned off' by the stove elements.

If the smell persists, by all means call the gas company as Etaoin Shrdlu suggests.
posted by ericb at 8:20 PM on June 21, 2007

Figure out what it has to light the oven. Old gas stoves had a pilot light always on. Newer ones like mine have a glow bar that glows red hot and ignites the gas. If it clicks, there's a sparker that ignites gas. I get a brief gas smell before the glow bar is hot enough.
posted by theora55 at 8:21 PM on June 21, 2007

Make sure all the pilot lights are actually lit. When I moved out of my last apartment, I turned off the gas valve to the stove for safety, and my idiot landlord called me up wanting to know why the "oven doesn't work!"

I had to walk him through lighting 1 oven + 2 stovetop pilot lights.
posted by Liosliath at 8:45 PM on June 21, 2007

I'll second calling the gas company. They'll send someone out who will even light the pilot for you if neccesary.
posted by YoungAmerican at 9:16 PM on June 21, 2007

Have you looked at the pilot light? Sometimes you'll get a build up of white powder or residue around the pilot light. When you turn the stove on, this residue burns, and you get the funky smell.
posted by lunalaguna at 11:08 PM on June 21, 2007

Best answer: I will echo the others who say to call the gas company if you are unsure of it. If you've never cooked with gas, it can take a little while to become comfortable with how gas stove tops/ovens work.

That being said, the most dangerous situation is when the oven/stove is OFF and you smell gas. You say the pilot light is on, so I doubt that you are in any real danger. Any excess gas is going to be burned off by the light. I would run the oven for 20 minutes and see if the smell of gas is still there at all.
posted by achmorrison at 11:47 AM on June 22, 2007

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