We wish not to die in a fire thank you very much...
August 8, 2007 1:08 PM   Subscribe

Possible Gas Leak: Should there be any sort of continuous extremely weak gas smell coming from an old gas stove?

I have an old gas stove (doesn't have electrical starters, has 2 pilot lights for the burners and one for the stove).

I also have a new roommate who when she moved in noticed a gas smell. We checked the pilot light and it had gone out. However even when re-lit my roommate still smells gas. I can't smell the gas and neither can my other roommate, so I am guessing it's a very faint gas smell.

Our super checked the stove and didn't find anything wrong with it and he couldn't smell gas either. He says he can check the integrity of the gas line if we want.

Could the smell be coming from the pilot light?

Could my new roommate be more sensitive to this smell than the rest of us?
posted by toftflin to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
Pilot light is likely. Are they all lit?
posted by SpecialK at 1:11 PM on August 8, 2007

Have the super get the gas line checked and check the pilot again as well. They sometimes blow out. Yes, your roommate could be be more sensitive to the scent. This is potentially very dangerous if there is a leak. Dont wait.
posted by elendil71 at 1:17 PM on August 8, 2007

I had the same problem with an old gas stove, too. Sometimes I barely smelled the gas, sometimes I didn't at all. It never caused any problems for me (i.e., huge explosion). You might want to check the pilot light for the oven, which is underneath the appliance, in the broiler (your super probably already did, though).
posted by puritycontrol at 1:26 PM on August 8, 2007

One thing you can do to check for leaks is use some soapy water at joints and intersections in the gas pipe. The water will start bubbling at any sort of leak. In the meantime, crack a window and put away the bong.
posted by Mach5 at 1:38 PM on August 8, 2007

You can always call the utility company to come check for leaks, they should do this free of charge, but ask them first.
posted by iamabot at 1:55 PM on August 8, 2007

It's common to get an occasional whiff of the gas when you have a stove with a pilot light, even if the light isn't out. Those of us who are used to pilot light stoves get used to it. Drives the newbies nuts, though.
posted by desuetude at 2:00 PM on August 8, 2007

The utility will do it for you. They have a little wand they can wave over pipes and joints that will sniff out leaks. Or, at least they do in Chicago. Note that if they find anything they will likely shut off your gas and lock it until it's fixed. So, if you depend on gas (like for hot showers) be prepared for that.
posted by rbs at 2:18 PM on August 8, 2007

While you're waiting around for the super or the gas company: Behind your stove, there's probably a shutoff for the gas. Shut it off, without telling the new roommate, then see if she can still smell gas at the pilot.
posted by box at 2:23 PM on August 8, 2007 [2 favorites]

If you can smell gas, there is a leak. Call the gas company or just turn off the emergency cutoff valve. Don't breathe the stuff!
posted by mattbucher at 3:03 PM on August 8, 2007

Best answer: Seconding box and expanding on mattbucher, I'd say if you can smell gas other that when you're lighting a burner, you have a leak. I just had a small leak in the regulator valve repaired in my gas stove. I was the only one in my household who could smell it (aside from the occasional guest who chalked it up to the pilot light) and I was pooh-poohed for having a strong imagination or mistaking it for the gas on ignition. Anyway, after two years (!) I called in a repairperson and they confirmed a leak. He said it wasn't a combustible leak, but nonetheless recommended turning off the gas to the stove until he could replace the part. (So far I have resisted the temptation to say "I told you so".)
posted by cocoagirl at 4:49 PM on August 8, 2007

Best answer: If you have a very old gas stove, it is possible that the gas control valves are leaking. Old stoves had a tapered cone valve that is lubricated with grease. The grease prevents leakage around the valve and takes the place of more modern o-rings. The grease can age and harden so that it no longer seals. Try putting some soapy water around the control valve stem. If that is the problem you can disassemble the valve, clean them up and re-grease them.
posted by JackFlash at 6:59 PM on August 8, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses.

Just to confirm, the pilot lights are lit.

We're gonna escalate this to the next step and call in the gas company.
posted by toftflin at 9:56 PM on August 8, 2007

« Older Does the Fit fit?   |   Chews for two moos? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.