One of the advantages of using a gas range instead of an electric range is that the stovetop and oven burners will reach a cooking temperature immediately upon being ignited. No need to wait around for surface elements or oven elements to heat up which is what happens when cooking with an electric range. However, one disadvantage of using a gas range is the potential for gas leaks and that can be dangerous.
Have you noticed that your gas range has a persistent gas odor that permeates the kitchen even when the appliance is not in use? Then you should immediately shut off the gas supply to the range and contact a qualified technician to investigate. But since Repair Clinic believes a little knowledge can offer both peace of mind and the ability to fix a problem yourself, we’ve got some important troubleshooting tips to help you diagnose why your range has that noticeable gas smell.
Some gas odor is normal when a gas range is in use
Rest assured, there is always some gas odor when using a gas range. You will normally smell a small amount of gas just when a stovetop surface burner or oven burner lights, but this smell should soon go away. Why does this happen? Let’s review how a gas stovetop and gas oven work.
How a gas stovetop works
Each surface burner knob on the stovetop controls a burner valve. When the knob is turned to the “LITE” position, the valve opens, allowing gas to flow from the manifold. As the gas travels through the burner tube, it is directed into a fitting called the venturi where it combines with air to create the proper mixture necessary for combustion.
At the same time, a spark switch closes, allowing 120 volts of alternating current to travel to a spark module which produces high-voltage pulses to each electrode protruding through a hole in its respective burner base. The high-voltage pulses cause a spark to occur between the electrode and the grounded burner cap. The gas and air mixture at the burner head is ignited by the spark, producing a flame that can be controlled by the burner knob. By rotating the burner knob clockwise, the flame can grow higher which will cause it to spread wider over the bottom of the cookware, resulting in greater heat. Rotating the knob counterclockwise will reduce the size of the flame, allowing the sauce, oil, or meat to simmer.
How a gas oven works
When you select the bake or broil function on a gas oven, the control sends 120 volts of alternating current to the bake or broil igniter or spark electrode. The igniter is wired to a gas safety valve (AKA pressure regulator as the safety valve is sometimes referred to), and as the component gets hot, it draws an increased current, or amps, through the valve. A bimetal arm inside the valve reacts to the heat generated by the amps which causes the arm to flex and open, releasing gas into the oven’s bake or broil burner tube. The igniter or spark electrode then ignites the gas into a flame to heat the oven. An igniter will remain on to keep the safety valve open until the oven reaches the designated temperature. A thermostat sensing bulb, or an oven sensor, monitors the temperature and when the selected temperature is reached, the control will shut off the voltage to the igniter. The bimetal arm inside the safety valve will then close, shutting off the gas supply to the burner. This cycle is repeated throughout the baking or broiling process to maintain the proper temperature.
Make sure the burner is getting enough air
If the ratio of gas to air is correct, the color of the burner flame should be blue with an occasional yellow tip. If the flame is primarily yellow or orange then the stovetop or oven burner is not getting enough air for complete combustion of the gas. You can often adjust an air shutter located on the burner tube or behind the burner valve to allow more air in to correct this problem.
What can cause a persistent gas odor?
If a persistent gas odor is hanging around the kitchen after a burner lights, here are the two most likely causes:
- Faulty igniter or spark electrode – If the gas being supplied through the surface burner tube or oven burner tube is not ignited within an optimum timeframe, the gas odor will be more noticeable since it is taking longer for the gas valve to shut off. What is the optimum timeframe for the gas to be ignited? A stovetop surface burner should light within three or four seconds and an oven burner should light within 90 seconds. If it takes longer than that for a burner to light then the igniter or spark electrode is probably faulty and should be replaced.
- Damaged gas valve assembly or gas tube – The gas safety valve assembly (or pressure regulator), or one of the tubes connected to the assembly, could also be damaged and leaking gas. How can you determine this? You can apply a non-corrosive leak-detection solution, or dish soap mixed with water, to the places where the gas tubes connect to the valve assembly (the most likely place for a leak to form). The solution will bubble if a leak is present. If you discover a leak near a connection point, apply new thread sealant to the gas tube fitting and try tightening the fitting if it appears loose. Avoid overtightening a fitting as that can damage the tube. If this does not solve the leaking problem, you will need to have a new gas tube or valve assembly installed.
DIY or hire a professional technician?
As we mentioned earlier if that gas smell persists even when the range is not in use, you should immediately shut off the gas supply to the appliance and then contact a professional technician to investigate the problem and handle the repair. There are, however, many fixes an experienced do-it-yourselfer can handle as well and Repair Clinic is here to assist you. As your repair partner, Repair Clinic is a great resource to find model-specific instructions on how to troubleshoot gas range problems and replace worn-out or broken parts. To get started, visit the Repair Clinic website’s “Videos & Articles” section to find relevant step-by-step videos, guides, schematics, and diagrams, including a video showing how to replace a pressure regulator on a Frigidaire Gas Range (Model FFGF3052TSA).
Repair Clinic stocks genuine OEM gas range parts
The success of your repair is dependent on using a genuine OEM gas range part and Repair Clinic makes sure you can find the exact part you need. Enter the full model number of your gas range, stovetop, or oven into the website’s search bar to find a complete list of parts compatible with your model, genuine OEM replacement parts that work with gas and electric ranges from such top industry names as GE, Bosch, KitchenAid, Electrolux, LG, Kenmore, Samsung, Magic Chef, and Hotpoint. You can find the right part, fix the problem, and finish the job for less money using Repair Clinic.