Why Does My Oven Smell Like Gas? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

Be it gas or electric; the oven is every kitchen’s mainstay appliance. Whether making London Broil, cooking a casserole, or simply baking bread, our ovens provide the foundations upon which we prepare our family’s food. Gas ovens are still considered superior, but every now and then you might smell an unnerving odor and wonder why your oven smells like gas.

It is common for your oven to smell like gas if you are breaking in a new appliance. Or, you could be smelling the odorant added to natural gas or have unwanted items burning inside the oven. It could also be a faulty gas igniter or a gas leak. If you smell gas coming from your oven, turn it off until you can determine the cause.

It’s hard to argue against the speed with which a gas oven reaches the desired temperature. And the consistency with which a gas stove produces heat is far superior to its electric sibling. However, if you smell gas, it’s best to know the possible reasons in case there’s a safety risk involved.

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My Oven Smells Like Gas, But I Thought Gas Has No Odor?

You’re correct; natural gas is, in fact, an odorless substance. Your utility company, however, adds a chemical called mercaptan, which gives gas its not-so-fresh smell. It’s often compared to sulfur and rotten eggs.

If you smell that familiar scent, you may need to call the gas company and have a professional check your oven. Your appliance may have a hazardous leak.

But first, there are a few circumstances that may cause your oven to generate a scent like gas. And both you and your oven could benefit from making sure those circumstances aren’t causing your problem.

Could My Oven Smell Like Gas Because It’s New?

It’s like a new car smell, but much less attractive! Yes, some ovens exhibit a distinct smell when you first use them. Typically an oily scent is created when your new oven’s insulation is first exposed to high heat.

Oven Smells Like Gas Because Of Unwanted Items

However, there could also be things inside the oven that shouldn’t be there. The temptation to start cooking with a spanking new oven is, rightly, huge. But before putting your new appliance through its paces, there are a few things you must do. It’s essential to make sure you remove all packing materials, styrofoam, and twisty ties.

These items won’t just catch fire in your oven, which is a hazard unto itself. They also contain various chemicals that are likely to generate a gas-like smell when you heat your oven.

For this reason, it’s vital to double-check all compartments inside your oven. That smell you are encountering might just be a packing component you forgot to remove.

Sometimes, kids can apply the concept of the “Easy Bake Oven”…to your oven. So if you have small children, it’s also worth checking your oven for toys. Many a melting toy, bowl, and remote control have caused a bad smell to emanate from the range.

Oven Smells Like Gas Because Of Failing Igniter

The gas igniter is typically located under a cover at the bottom of the oven. The cover protects the igniter from spilled food and liquids. However, some things can still end up landing on the igniter, causing it to fail over time.

When the igniter starts to weaken, it won’t provide the right amount of current to the gas valve. The igniter opens very slowly, allowing gas to escape during the first few seconds before it actually ignites.

If you’re dealing with a faulty igniter, you’ll need to replace it. You can call a professional appliance repair service to do the job, and it will cost about $310. If you want to attempt the repair yourself, the part by itself costs between $40 and $80.

Replacing A Gas Oven Igniter

Here’s an overview of how to replace your gas oven’s igniter.

Step On: Prepare The Oven

Disconnect the oven’s power source and shut off the gas supply. Remove all the oven racks and accessories from the inside of the oven.

Step Two: Locate And Remove The Old Igniter

Remove the screws from the oven’s base plate and place the screws and base plate to the side. Locate the igniter and snap a picture with your phone. You need to reinstall the new igniter in the same exact position.

Remove the igniter mounts, pull up the igniter, and locate two wires. You need to remove these. If there are wire nuts securing the igniter in place, remove these too.

Step Three: Install The New Gas Oven Igniter And Ready Your Oven

The oven igniter is extremely fragile, so exercise caution when handling it and place it in the same position as the old igniter. Mount the igniter and connect the wires. If you purchase new wire nuts, make sure to buy metal. Plastic wire nuts will melt inside the oven.

After installing the igniter, replace all the racks and accessories, reconnect the power and the gas, and test the oven.

Your oven should ignite within the first 15 to 30 seconds, and there should be no more gas smell. If the oven won’t light, you can check to make sure the gas ports are clean.

If you still have problems, you might need to call in a pro. If you still smell gas, you might have a leak (more on this below). Either way, discontinue using your oven until you’ve resolved the issue.

You Immediately Smell Gas When You Turn On Your Oven

Turning your oven on is the one time it’s actually normal to smell a little gas. When you initially turn on your oven, a small amount of gas escapes before the pilot light ignites it. In this case, it should only take a few minutes and the scent should quickly dissipate.

Should you continue to smell gas after a few minutes, that’s the sign of a bigger problem.

There Could Be A Leak If Your Oven Smells Like Gas After A Few Minutes

So if it’s been a few minutes, and you still smell gas, it’s likely your oven has a leak.

Before we go any further, it’s important to note a few things about gas leaks.

You and your family could be inhaling a poisonous substance. Symptoms from overexposure to gas include headache, dizziness, nausea, irritation in your eyes and throat, and breathing problems. Should you encounter these or similar symptoms, exit your home immediately and call 9-1-1, your gas provider, and a repair person.

It’s important to only call after exiting your home because your phone’s electrical current could ignite the leaking gas.

Oven Smells Like Gas While Using The Oven

If you smell gas but do not feel the above symptoms, turn your oven off immediately. Then, if possible, turn off the gas at its source. You’ll usually find a valve outside your house, in your basement, or in a utility space.

To further protect yourself and others in your household from the harmful effects of gas, ventilate your home as much as possible. Open all windows and doors to prevent continued gas buildup and illness.

Once you’ve performed these steps, quickly exit your home. Then notify the professionals to check for leaks and loose valves in your system.

We here at upgradedhome.com encourage learning about and upgrading all facets of your property. But, when it comes to gas leaks or electrical hazards, we recommend that you put in a call for professional help. Handling a gas leak can be a dangerous business, so never discount a professional’s experience.

Your Oven Smells Like Gas Even When You’re Not Using It

If your oven smells like gas when it’s turned off, it definitely has a leak. At this point, perform the above steps, and leave your home as soon as possible. Once safely outside, immediately contact emergency services, your utility provider, and a repair person.

Once you discover a gas leak, make sure to make all necessary repairs. Only then should you restart your oven.

And until it’s safe, you can always turn to your second-most-important cooking appliance: your microwave

Seven Other Signs Of An Oven-Related Gas Leak

Some gas leaks are slow and, therefore, do not feature a noticeable smell. Because it’s necessary to keep an eye out for gas leakage, you may want to note the following signs:

Sign #1: A Yellow Or Orange Flame

When cooking on your stove, you may see a yellow or orange flame. Whereas blue flame indicates an intense and appropriate gas flame, yellow and orange flames are signs of a slow leak.

Sign #2: A Hissing Sound

In the event of a gas leak, you may or may not hear a hissing sound that accompanies the leak. Either way, treat the situation as though you definitely have a leak.

Sign #3: Your Plants Don’t Look Well

Gas lines outside your home can leak just like those inside your house. A dead patch of plants in your yard could indicate a leaking underground gas line. Even though your gas line is underground, you may also hear a hissing sound.

Just like outside vegetation can die from gas exposure, so, too, can indoor plants. If plants in your kitchen die unexpectedly, it may be due to a leak.

Sign #4: Your Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit

If your pilot light does not stay lit, that may be a sign of a gas leak.

Sign #5: Try a Water Test

Here’s a practice that will not only tell you if you have a leak, it will also help you locate the leak. Mix a 50/50 solution of warm water and soap in a spray bottle.

Then spray the mixture along your gas lines. If bubbles form, you will have discovered and located your leak in a single exercise.

Sign #6: Your Gas Bill is Pricey

This last one is a practical measure. Check your gas bill, and compare it to previous months. If it is higher than expected, you may have discovered evidence of a leak.

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Related Questions

What if I smell rotten eggs, but I don’t have a gas leak?

If you smell rotten eggs and don’t have a gas leak, it’s possibly a sign of electrical issues. Plastic pieces burning inside your electrical outlets can smell like gas. This odor also indicates a potential danger and may require professional assistance.

How do I avoid “new oven smell”?

First, use a rag with soap and water to wipe down the inside of your new oven, including the racks. Turn on the fan in your ventilation hood and any other fans that are available. And open any windows, too.Once you’ve cleaned the oven and ventilated the space, run the oven at a temperature between 400 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue to run the oven at this heat for thirty minutes to a full hour.If necessary, repeat the process one or two more times. Once the oily smell is gone, turn the oven off and let it return to room temperature. After giving the interior a final wipe down with soap and water, the oven will be ready to cook food- free of odors.

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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