Why Your Oven Smells Like Gas When Preheating | SOLVED

The scent of gas when you turn your oven on can be alarming, especially if you’ve only ever used an electric oven previously. So is there cause to be concerned about?

Like many appliances, if something seems wrong, you should stop whatever you’re doing and try to diagnose the problem. There is often a simple explanation for why your oven smells like gas when preheating, but it can also indicate a serious problem that needs investigating. 

If you are smelling an extreme amount of gas or hear a hissing sound, turn your oven off and immediately get everyone out of the house. Once everyone is safe, keep reading to learn what to do next. 

Is It Normal To Smell Gas When Oven Is Preheating?

In short, it is normal to smell some gas when the oven is preheating. The sulfur smell that we associate as accompanying gas is part of the manufacturing process. Natural gas is nearly undetectable, so odorants are added so you can detect if there is too much natural gas in the air. 

That’s why once upon a time, miners took canaries with them into coal mines; because the scent of gas was not an early warning for them.

Although a little bit of gas smell when the gas is turned on is normal, a strong scent of rotten eggs is likely a forewarning of a much larger problem. If the smell of sulfur is strong, stop what you’re doing and turn everything off! There is a high chance you have a gas leak somewhere, which is dangerous for many reasons.

Why Your Oven Smells Like Gas When Preheating

There are many reasons your oven might smell like gas during preheating. Some of them are more dangerous than others, but if you smell gas, it is important to understand why. Even if a problem is not dangerous, there might still need to be addressed and fixed for the health and longevity of your oven.

How much gas smell is normal for your oven depends on how many odorants were added to the natural gas used to fuel it. You will get a feel for this over time, and that will help you decide whether this is normal or something you need to address.

Here are some common reasons why your oven smells like gas when preheating and what to do about them.

Odorant After Opening Gas Knob

This is the most common and ordinary cause of your oven smelling like gas. If the oven is lighting appropriately and with no trouble, there’s a good chance you don’t have a further problem, and it’s just your gas company adding odorant to the gas lines.

When that happens, the scent of gas will be more pungent than otherwise. In this case, it is a minor problem that will pass. Gas companies do this to keep you safe so that you are alerted whenever there is an actual problem with leaking gas.

Try igniting the gas to be sure it’s working correctly and if you are concerned, make sure you have opened a lot of windows in your home to ventilate.

Gas Igniter Faulty or Failing

A faulty igniter is one of the most common problems that cause a gas smell during preheating. There is a process to check and see if your gas igniter is failing, and it involves turning your oven off and disconnecting it so that you can check on them.

Turn off the gas to the oven, disconnect it from its power source and empty it of everything inside, including the metal racks. You should have access to the igniters by removing the heat shield screwed into the bottom of the oven.

Remove the igniter–you may have to remove the burner with it to do this–and make sure it’s clean. If it is dirty, you may need a qualified repair person to clean it as it can be challenging to clean without causing damage.

To test the gas igniter to see if it works, it will need to be hooked up to a multimeter. It might be worth calling in a professional to be sure, as this is not a common household item.

Packaging Materials Burning

Sometimes, packaging materials get left in a freshly installed oven. For instance, the racks may still be wrapped in plastic for shipping, or packing materials might have fallen to the bottom of the oven. Needless to say, this is a fire hazard.

If your oven is new, turn it off, make sure it’s cool, and then thoroughly check the inside for any packing materials you might have missed because those burning might be giving off a gaseous smell of their own.

Dirty Oven

Many of us don’t clean our ovens regularly. Food debris can block the vents and cause a gassy smell. It’s also possible for burning food debris to generate its own odors and release different gasses. This is why it isn’t recommended to use an oven’s self-cleaning feature; burning food debris can release dangerous gasses into your home.

The problem with burning food debris is that the gasses released directly from them don’t always smell like anything. The natural gas that powers your oven has had an odorant added, but the carbon monoxide released from burning food does not.

It is essential to clean your oven with some regularity to prevent burning food from releasing gas into your home. Even if that isn’t the cause of a sulphuric smell, it’s a good idea to clean your oven regularly.

Blocked Oven Vents

Most of the time, if a dirty oven has caused your gas smells, this is what you’re going to end up finding is the actual cause. If a vent is blocked, the places the oven’s gasses would usually flow aren’t allowing them to pass, and that build-up will also cause a build-up of the odorant the gas company put in the gas.

This may feel like an inconvenience, but knowing if you have gas building up in your oven is essential. Fortunately, a blocked vent is usually very easy to fix because the thing blocking it is generally simple to remove. More often than not it’s a piece of food or cookware.

Gas Leak

This is one of the dangerous ones. If the odorant smell is strong and consistent, the odds are high that you’re dealing with a gas leak, and if left unchecked, that can cause a myriad of health problems, not to mention explosions in extreme cases.

If you hear a hissing sound, you likely have a gas leak. Turn the oven off and make sure the flames are extinguished. Open windows to ventilate your kitchen. Turn off electronic objects and evacuate people and animals.

Contact the gas company about a potential leak once you are out of the house and safe. It is essential to get out quickly in the event of a gas leak, even one that is only suspected.

Gas Connections Leak

Slightly less dramatic than a full-blown gas leak, the connections to your oven can leak. Typically, turning the oven off will stop the smell and the gas from spreading.

Gas connections need to be tight, and when the connectors are too loose or weakened, it can cause the gas to escape. Gas connection leaks can range from moderate to severe.

At that point, it is better to call a professional to help deal with the issue than to try and fix it yourself. The consequences of messing up when it comes to a gas connection leak aren’t worth saving a little money with a DIY fix-it plan.

What To Do If You Smell Gas

If you smell gas while preheating your oven, the first thing you do is turn it off. A gas leak and fire are not a good mix. Once the oven is off, you can troubleshoot to see the problem. If the gas smell that started while preheating your oven doesn’t stop because you turned the oven off, that’s a good sign to get out of the house.

But if it does, your next move is to check over your oven for the possible causes listed above and eliminate them one at a time. There’s a good chance it might be nothing at all, but if it is something serious, it’s good to know right away.

When To Call a Professional

Any time you suspect a gas leak, you should call a professional. Even a connection leak requires a professional set of hands. If the problem is the igniter, you will probably need a professional to diagnose and repair that.

If the problem is something small like a blocked vent or simply needing to clean your oven, it’s alright to handle that on your own. Still, anything to do with the igniter or the pieces of the oven that bring the gas to the appliance will require a more expert set of hands than your average person has to offer.

FAQ’s Gas Oven Smells Like Gas

Here are some frequently asked questions about why an oven may smell like gas. 

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Having renovated two homes and completed countless repairs, it was time to share this experience with the world. From repairing kitchen appliances to remodeling entire homes, my 30 years of experience will hopefully help you on your journey to a beautiful and functional home