Gas Leak Emergency

scotlakeJune 6, 2014

The following post is in-regards to a major Appliance Design failure.

I came home yesterday and walked in to the overwhelming smell of Natural Gas ( Mercaptan ). My wife was home and had not smelled the Natural Gas due to a lack of a smelling sensors.

I got her out of the house and into fresh air and then went back in to open all of the windows. I then put all of our fans in doorways to suck the Natural Gas out of our home.

This was very scary and had the potential for killing my wife. Apparently she was cleaning the stove-top and had inadvertently turned a knob and it turned past the electronic ignition clicking and just continued to pour Natural Gas into our home for 2 hours.

Our Stove / Oven is about 3 years old and is a GE and the stove-top igniters work fine as does the oven.

Shouldn't there be a safety device that would prevent that from happening?

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Lucky. Using something as simple as the light switches, phone or even a garage door opener in the presence of gas vapor can cause gas to ignite and a major explosion.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 11:45AM
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Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? I would think that is particularly important in your situation.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 12:12PM
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Would a carbon monoxide (CO) detector make a difference? Typically CO detectors are for detecting incomplete combustion. In your case, there was no combustion present (thankfully).

You need a natural gas detector for this situation. In my house, I have a combo natural gas and CO detector. (It doesn't work well, because it always goes off when I cook with booze.)

My old gas stove had the standard "turn knob to certain position for ignition". I was surprised to see on the Bluestar that there is no such feature. Somehow there is a detector that turns on the igniter when there is gas and when there is no flame. I don't know how it works, but that design would have lit the gas. You would not have had the gas build-up. Instead you would have had a hotter home, wasted some gas and possibly gotten burnt from not noticing the open flame.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 12:52PM
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Yes, some ranges have automatic re-ignition which would light the burner when the flame goes out - but this is not a mandatory feature on gas ranges and has the drawback that if the ignitor gets wet from say a boil-over, the thing clicks incessantly.

For most people the smell of natural gas (which is a required additive by the way) is sufficient. In your case you definitely need a natural gas detector.

This post was edited by weissman on Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 14:15

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 1:26PM
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Thanks all for feedback. I have already purchased 5 plastic covers for the knobs; the kind for kids, of which they can open better than us. We do not have kids home any more and the Grandchildren never visit due to their age.

I am going to purchase a Natural Gas Detector for the house. Already have a Carbon Monoxide detector for combustion gas. With this scare I am going to by an LP Detector and a CO Detector for the RV .

Again ...... thanks all. It was a huge wake-up call.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 2:10PM
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Wake up call - and perhaps an indication a trip to a neurologist is in order for your wife.

I am glad to learn no one was injured.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:05AM
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Wow - pretty scary - my dad lost his sense of smell for years, so I understand. After gas put in a line in our house many years ago- I said, I smelled gas but no one else could smell it.
I called and there was a very small leak - so if you think you smell it - get it checked.
Guess, I need one more detector in the house...
Fire, Radon, CO, Heat, Oh my.
Glad everyone is fine.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 9:19AM
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