Gas stoves are one of the most popular types of cooking appliances. They provide a quick and easy way to cook food, but they can also be more dangerous than electric stoves if misused. For this reason, gas stove safety is a crucial topic for anyone who uses natural gas appliances. It’s especially essential for senior citizens who are more likely to suffer injuries if there is a gas leak or a fire.
Gas stove safety is of the utmost importance for everyone who cooks on these useful appliances. Senior citizens must take extra care to stay safe from potential dangers. Some safety tips include installing additional devices, such as stove shut-off devices, a fire extinguisher, stove alarms, and a carbon monoxide / smoke detector.
Senior citizens can find it challenging to detect gas leaks or put out a fire that may result from cooking on this type of stove. But this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t use these appliances. With the right approach, gas stoves can be safe for the elderly.
This blog post shares some tips that will help you and your loved one avoid disaster and make your time in the kitchen safer.
What Are The Dangers Of Using A Gas Stove?
As we said in the intro, gas stoves are among the most popular cooking appliances in most homes, and it’s not hard to see why. These appliances provide a level of convenience and flexibility that is unmatched by most other cooking methods.
I cook on one in my own home and love it!
However, gas stoves also come with some inherent dangers. One of the biggest dangers posed by these appliances are the potential fire hazards.
A gas stove top cooks using a gas flame. This open flame can easily ignite any combustible materials that come in contact with it, resulting in dangerous kitchen fires.
Flammable materials are items such as loose clothing (sleeves that hang loosely, a blouse that billows out, etc), long hair, food debris, dish towels, oven mitts – really anything that can burn.
Another danger associated with gas stoves is gas leaks. If the stove is left on for a long time or there is a leak in the gas line, this can result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
Effects of inhaling gas from a stove include:
- Persistent headaches
- Nausea and flu-like symptoms
- Irritation of the eyes and throat
- Blistering of the skin
- Difficulty breathing
Can A Gas Stove Explode?
Explosions from modern gas stoves are rare but not impossible.
The primary reason gas stoves explode is because of a gas leak. If the stove has been turned off, but there is still a gas leak present, this can be extremely dangerous. A spark from, for example, turning on a light switch could easily ignite the gas and cause an explosion.
For this reason, it’s crucial to ensure that your stove is turned off and that there are no gas leaks present before leaving the house or going to sleep.
If you smell gas (a rotten egg odor) coming from your stove, it may mean that there’s a natural gas leak somewhere in your house. Avoid touching anything that may spark a fire. Instead, evacuate the home. Call 911 as soon as you are a safe distance away from the house.
Why Explosions are Rare with Modern Gas Stoves
As we’ve mentioned, gas stove explosions are rare with modern gas stoves. However, they can still happen if the proper precautions aren’t taken.
One of the reasons why gas stove explosions are less common today is because of the way newer stoves are designed. They have several safety features in place.
Today’s gas cookers should come with a flame failure protection device that shuts off gas flow to the burners if the flame goes out. This prevents gas from being released into your home if there is no flame, but it also prevents any gas buildup in case of a leak or other mishap with your stove.
Most modern models also feature an auto-ignition feature. This means that the burners will automatically light when you turn on the stove, thereby preventing gas accumulation.
Modern stoves also have timers that shut off the gas if the burner doesn’t go on in seconds. As a result, thanks to these features, there’s no gas accumulation, and hence, minimal risk of explosions.
That said, older stoves can be problematic, especially if the knobs are on the front of the stove. Just leaning against them can cause a knob to barely turn on – but it can be enough to cause gas to start leaking into the home.
In addition, some seniors with dementia might try to use a gas stove without understanding the dangers, so we highly recommend gas stove safety knobs.
Is It Safe To Use A Gas Stove Without A Vent?
The majority of gas ranges in the US don’t require venting to the outside. However, it’s advisable to vent any gas range you’re using to the exterior of your home. You see, professional-grade range hoods produce harmful PM 2.5 particles.
These particles are so tiny they can sit in your lungs for years without being removed. This is especially harmful to the elderly, as their immune systems are weaker than those of younger people.
Gas stoves also produce nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde. Heavy exposure to these chemicals can be fatal. Carbon monoxide is the most dangerous because it’s odorless and colorless.
Therefore, while you can use some stoves without a vent, it’s best to stay on the safe side and install a range hood. Not only will this keep you safe from harmful particles and chemicals, but it will also increase the value of your home.
How Do I Make Sure My Gas Stove Is Safe?
If used properly, a gas stove will prove to be a reliable and convenient appliance. The following tips will help to maximize your safety:
- Never leave your stove unattended while cooking.
- Make sure all burners are turned off when you’re done using them.
- Use soapy water to wipe spilled and splattered food debris off the stove top after the hot burners have cooled. Do this on a daily basis.
- Make sure to clean food particles off any unused back burners
- Never use water to put out a fat or grease fire.
- Ensure adequate ventilation in your kitchen.
- Turn pot handles to the side of the stove burners (away from the edge of the stove). Don’t let them face towards the front of the stove where they can be snagged by the cook and knocked over.
- Never allow small children to cook without adult supervision.
- Keep children and pets outside of the kitchen.
- Ensure the exhaust fan above the stove doesn’t have grease or fat buildup.
- Check to be sure smoke alarms are working correctly.
- Ensure the flame doesn’t go out while you’re cooking.
- Keep all flammable materials away from any source of heat.
- Invest in safety devices like shut-off devices, fire extinguishers, a carbon monoxide detector, stove alarms, and a smoke alarm to ensure the safety of your home.
Gas appliances are used in many homes. With the proper precautions, they can also be safe. By following these simple tips, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe from potential gas stove-related accidents.
In the case of senior citizens, it’s also crucial to ensure they have the necessary tools to stay safe. For example, shut-off devices and alarms can be life-saving in an emergency, so make sure your loved ones have them installed in their home.