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Jun 24, 2007 02:44 PM

Gas range safety

I'm buying new appliances and I'm considering a gas range because I love the idea of having more responsive heat. Now, I've never had or even used a gas range before. I'm a bit uneasy about using gas appliances, but I admit that I don't know much about them. My concern is with safety. See, the thing is my wife is quite forgetful and clumsy. On top of that, we have a large dog that's curious about everything. Am I right to be concerned? Or are there sufficient safety features that come standard with gas ranges? Any safety/maintenance tips that I should know about?

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  1. I own a gas stove, gas dryer, gas hot water heater, and gas furnace (and I would like to have a whole-house natural gas backup generator someday). I haven't blown myself up yet! Modern gas stoves have no pilot light; rather, they use an electronic igniter (just like modern propane barbecue grills). So you don't have to worry about an always-on flame, like in the old days. My favorite feature of the gas stove is that it still works, even when the electricity doesn't (you can light the burners manually should you need to do so). So when I was without power for a week after H Katrina, I still had hot meals every small thing, I tell you.

    1. Virtually all gas ranges are built with controls that are all but impossible for a pet or child to accidentally turn on -- in fact I have found it far easier to accidentally turn on electric stoves. I cannot imagine that even the clumsiest adult could ever knock into a stove and somehow turn it on, I myself, on the other hand, have accidentally turned on electric stoves with the new touch controls (in fairness, these stoves have lockout too, but lots of time people do not but these on...). Most gas stoves have knobs that take deliberate action to turn, further the knobs can be often removed/easily blocked to prevent kids/mentally incompetent from playing with them.

      On the forgetful thing I have met people who have relatives with dementia and though they worry about someone having an accident in kitchen there is very little real difference between gas & electric. The blue flame and hissing of a gas range is generally esier to notice than the silent glow of electric ranges. On a technical level the heat output of most electric ranges can exceed the that of most gas ranges, though there may be some differences in how easily a live flame can ignite droopy fabrics (which nobody should have near a stove...).

      1. Back in the old days when there were pilot lights that were always burning or you had to relight this might have been a concern (My Mother caught her hair and eyebrows on fire lighting an old Vulcan stove pilot when I was young); however, new gas stoves are very easy to use have automatic electric pilot lights. I agree it is easier now to burn yourself on an electric stove you may or may not know it on or may set something on then pick it back up and realize it was on or etc. Plus I like cooking on gas much better especially with a convention gas oven.

        1. Thanks everyone. It definitely sounds like they're safe enough. :)

          4 Replies
          1. re: spiffy_dude

            If you can avoid a gas range and instead get an induction cooktop, DO.

            1. Induction = magnetism, meaning less heat wasted, less energy used, and when you move the pot, the heat source also moves (making it safe for dogs' noses, kids' hands, etc) Also most induction cooktops have a safety sensor so they won't turn on if you put a spoon, etc on the burner-- only a pot. And they usually have an auto shutoff.
            2. Induction = electric, so you can have an electric oven instead of gas, = more even baking.
            3. Induction = FAR FAR more responsive heat than gas! It's a chef's dream!

            Go check out for more info. Sorry for my preaching :) I'm sold on induction!

            1. re: salsera

              I have baked in electric ovens and I have baked in gas ovens. I much prefer gas over electric as I seem to have much fewer problems with uneven baking. I also like that there is no heating coil taking up room on the floor of the oven - that is where i keep my baking stone for bread and pizza.

              1. re: flourgirl

                They make electric ovens with covered elements. And convection should take care of uneven baking, right? I just bought an electric oven so I hope I like it better than the cheap gas one I'm replacing.

                1. re: Romanmk

                  Yes! I definitely want convection when we replace our current oven/range. (Which I hope is sooner than later...)