Gas stoves allow for precise heat control while cooking. In some areas of the country, gas appliances are more economical to operate. Take precautions to operate a gas stove safely. Improper operation could lead to fires, burns or carbon monoxide poisoning.
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Any gas appliance can be a source of carbon monoxide, a dangerous gas that deprives the body of oxygen, resulting in serious injury or death. Don't use a gas stove as a source of heat, as this increases the likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure the stove is vented to the outside and the vent it not blocked. Install a carbon monoxide detector in homes where gas appliances, including gas stoves, are being used.
The flame beneath a pot on the stove shouldn't extend past the sides of the pot. Use the right size pot for the burner and adjust the flame so that it doesn't flare up around the pot. Don't allow food to boil over. This could put out the flame, while still leaving the gas on, which increases the potential for a fire or explosion. Food that boils over could also block holes in the gas burner and lead to uneven cooking or difficulty lighting the burner. Don't line the stove burners with foil, as this could inhibit air flow to the burners.
Don't leave flammable materials such as dish towels near the stove. Don't set boxes, plastic dishes or items other than cooking pots on top of stove burners. Make sure you turn burners completely off after use. Don't allow pots to boil dry on the stove.
If your stove won't light, first check that the holes around the burner aren't blocked with food or other debris. You can clean these with a piece of wire or a toothpick, though be careful not to break the toothpick off in the hole. On some stoves, the burner cover must be lined up correctly in order for the stove to light, so check this also. If the electronic igniter clicks, but doesn't work, try lighting the stove with a match. This will help burn off debris blocking the igniter.
If you smell gas, first make sure all the burners are turned completely off. If they are and you still smell gas, get out of the house and go to another location and call the gas company.
Even if you don't smell gas, if you suffer from persistent headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness or flu-like symptoms -- especially if you feel better away from home -- you may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Leave the house and contact the gas company to inspect the stove.