Brush Up On Gas Oven Safety

My first time using my new oven in my new apartment has not exactly been a great memory I’d like to hang on to. We have moved to a really old apartment in the Los Angeles area and our oven is a SUPER old gas oven. I have always heard how much chefs and other really great cooks love a gas oven and stove because of the temperature control and faster cooking and that’s really about all I knew about it. To be honest, I wasn’t too thrilled because with my lack of knowledge about them, it just seems that because there is this real flame, there is much more risk for fire. I might be completely off the mark about that.

Anyway, the first time we used it, my husband was simply reheating a burrito and somehow, after doing absolutely nothing wrong, there was a pretty big fire and the fire department came and everything. After a few days of contemplating how in the heck this happened, I was unloading the dishwasher the other day and went to put a cookie sheet in the drawer under the oven (since in the past, this has always just been a little storage drawer where I put cookie sheets and 9x13 Pyrex dishes) and I saw exactly how the fire started. This was not just a storage drawer, this was actually the broiler for this old oven and I had put a plastic cutting board under there and it completely melted and was the cause of the fire.

We are very lucky that nothing was damaged and that none of us were harmed since us and our two kids were all home at the time. Since this incident, it was really got me thinking about touching up on some kitchen safety tips, gas oven and non-gas oven related tips. Even if you have had your oven for years, I still think these are good reminders for things you might not realize you are or are not doing.

1. Fire extinguisher

First and foremost, you absolutely MUST have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. When we moved in we noticed our renter did not have a fire extinguisher in there already for us so it was literally on my shopping list that we were going to go out and buy later that afternoon. We were really dumb to have tried heating something up in this gas oven we had never used without having a fire extinguisher in the house. I should have followed the slight fear I was feeling in my gut and waited until I had one.

2. Use the right cleaning products.

There are some chemicals that are explosive that you cannot use in a gas oven or it could start a fire, so make sure that any cleaning products you are using are safe for cleaning the appliance you are cleaning.

3. Placing the Oven

Never store flammable or combustible materials near the gas oven. This includes mops, brooms, clothing, newspapers, magazines, books, paints, solvents, gasoline, rags, paper, chemicals, towels, calendars, curtains, and cleaning products.

4. Get an annual inspection

Always have your gas company or someone who really knows their stuff do an annual inspection on your oven and make sure everything is working properly. I am planning to schedule this soon before I use my oven again so I know that everything is ok. The gas company actually does this for free in my area so yours might as well.

5. Lighting the Oven

If your gas oven requires you to light it with a match, first light the match, and turn on the gas. If the oven does not stay lit then turn off the burner and wait until the gas disperses before you attempt to light the oven again.

6. Gas Oven Maintenance

Always clean grease, oil, and other spills off the burners to prevent accidental fires. Make sure that your gas oven has a safety valve that you can use to turn off the oven if you ever need to. Make sure there is proper ventilation.

7. Fire Safety

In the event of a fire you should not use water to put the flames out. The best thing to use to put a fire out is a fire extinguisher. If you do not have one, you should get one and place it near the oven. If a fire occurs when you do not have an extinguisher, attempt to smother the flames with a lid if it is in a pot or pan, or dump baking soda over the flames to smother them.

8. Carbon Monoxide

Whenever you own gas appliances there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If there is a strange odor whenever you use your gas oven, or if you or anyone in your household experience unexplained headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting or confusion, you should take immediate action. Turn off the gas oven. Everyone in the house should leave immediately and call 911. Do not use the oven again until it has been inspected by a professional. To prevent this risk from happening you should purchase a carbon monoxide detector and have it replaced every five years.


    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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