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Most of us don’t think twice about the overall hues the gas stove bestows once its clicked on and heating our pots. But what if I told you that it is extremely important to pay attention to the colours of your gas? You may have noticed that the flames are a brilliant blue, with a tinge of yellow/orange. But what if there’s more orange than blue, or no blue at all but just orange? And what does the orange flame mean? We’ll explain the causes, the consequences and the ways to fix it, in this article.
Table of Contents
- What are the Causes of an Orange Flame?
- What is Carbon Monoxide?
- Is an Orange Gas Flame Dangerous?
- What Colour Should the Flame be?
- What About a Blue Flame with Orange Tips?
- Carbon Monoxide Exposure
- Why is my Gas Stove Flame Orange?
- What is Incomplete Combustion?
- Causes of Improper Combustion
- Can I Cook on an Orange Gas Flame?
- How to Control the Level of Carbon Monoxide?
- The Orange Flame
What are the Causes of an Orange Flame?
When the flame on a gas stove burns orange, it is an indication that carbon monoxide is being produced by clear combustion. This can cause problems related to food, utensils, and more importantly – your health. Some of the main reasons for an orange flame include:
- Humidity in the air
- Stove getting clogged due to excessive soot build up
- Not enough oxygen
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless gas, that is formed by the incomplete combustion of fuels. Once you’re exposed to carbon monoxide gas, they replace the oxygen in our bodies leading to poisoning. Since this poisonous gas cannot be detected through a visual appearance or smell, it is completely undetectable. Carbon monoxide is produced whenever a material burns, and these can include:
- Gas, stoves and ovens
- Water heaters
- Furnaces or boilers
- Fireplaces, both gas
Is an Orange Gas Flame Dangerous?
If you notice that the flame on your gas stovetop has been igniting orange lately then you’re probably wondering how dangerous it actually is. Normally the cause of this orange-hued flame is a result of improper oxygen, with a very high concentration of carbon monoxide in the environment. Within minutes the poisonous gas can influence our bodies, from nausea to disorientation, this invisible, colourless gas is not to be meddled with.
What Colour Should the Flame be?
The normal colour of the flame of a gas stove should be blue. The blue flame, is pretty much a clear indication of the gas stove being safe to use, without any dangers of poisonous gasses having being released into the atmosphere. The flames of a perfectly safe and normal gas stove are blue, with yellow tips and a slightly lighter blue colour in the centre. The light blue colour is usually triangular, and it is an indication if the gas stove operating properly, releasing the appropriate amount of carbon monoxide.
What About a Blue Flame with Orange Tips?
A healthy, properly burning flame on any gas appliance should be blue in colour. If the gas flames appears to have little pops of orange colour, it indicates an improper ratio of oxygen for combustion. More often than not, this improper combustion is temporary and might have been a cause of dust particles or a dirty stove that requires cleaning.
If the flame continues to burn orange or yellow, then this could be a cause for concern that would acquire professional help. Incomplete combustion can cause too much carbon monoxide to be released into the air, which would require immediate attention.
Carbon Monoxide Exposure
Too much carbon monoxide produced from a yellow or orange coloured flame could result in carbon monoxide poisoning. The initial symptoms of too much exposure to the lethal gas mimic the flu and can vary depending on how much has been released into the air, and entered your body.
Why is my Gas Stove Flame Orange?
Whenever you find that the colour of the flame has changed from blue to orange, you should fix it as soon as possible. You’ll find that this problem is quite common, and there are some factors that cause the very obvious orange hues to the flames on the gas stove. These include:
- Humidity Level
- Clean Stove
- Air Fuel Ratio
- Dismantle and Reassemble
Humidifiers are necessary but can change the flame colour from blue to orange. If your humidifier is operating near any stove, turn it off and test whether that makes a difference to the flame.
Ensure that the gas-stove is clean and free from any visible dust or fragments of waste. Always give the stove top a thorough clean so that there is no clogging in the igniter or the holes. Make sure all the portholes and burners are void of debris. Cooking grease or any spill overs might block the openings, affecting the colour of the flame. Also, remember to place them exactly as they were, as this can influence the colour of the flames as well.
Air Fuel Ratio
Another reason for the flame on your gas stove to flicker orange is the ratio of fuel to air. Poor airflow inside the kitchen can limit the amount of air accessible to the stove, leading to incomplete combustion and the danger of suffocation due to competition for oxygen between the stove and the inhabitants of the house. You could tackle this by opening doors and windows to allow fresh air to enter the premises.
Dismantle and Reassemble
In some cases this method has proven to be a success, so it is worth a try. Start by removing the stove’s top grate and lifting the top to access the burner piping. The air shutters are usually located behind the gas valves, with a plate or tube covering the burners air vent. Use a screw driver to loosen the shutter. Turn on the flame and gingerly regulate the air shutters until it provides you with a full blue flame. Finally, tighten the screws, switch off the stove, and replace the stovetop and grates.
What is Incomplete Combustion?
The improper combination of fuel and oxygen usually results in incomplete combustion, which produces carbon, carbon monoxide, and water instead of carbon dioxide and water during proper combustion.
Incomplete methane combustion can also produce a mixture of other partially oxidised products such as formaldehyde, methanol, and formic acid. If your gas stove is producing a hissing blue flame, proper combustion is taking place meaning that the levels of carbon monoxide are normal. Whereas orange flames are the product of an increased level of poisonous carbon monoxide gas.
Causes of Improper Combustion
There are many causes of improper combustion that produces the orange flame on your gas stove. These may include:
- Clogged Burner Orifices
- Increased Humidity
- Wrong Orifices
- Food Spillage
Clogged Burner Orifices
You should remember that incomplete combustion produces soot that sticks to the burner orifices and any other surfaces. Continued combustion of soot cakes the gas stove burner orifices which prevent proper air flow. The bright orange hues emanates from burning soot. Furthermore, the soot blocks some of the gas, creating air pockets and cooler orange flames. On a level, a small percentage of natural gas burns to produce the hot flame while wasting the remainder.
An increased level of humidity can alter the gas stove’s flame from blue to yellow, especially if the stoves shares its space with the humidifier.
Carbon fuels utilised in gas stoves have a different combination of air and fuel ratio for complete combustion to take place. For instance, natural gas will require a distinct level of air compared to liquid propane.
Food and drink may spill over the pot you’re cooking in, and onto the burner when left unattended. Burning food particles can produce a radiant orange or yellow flame on your gas stove burner. Always make sure you clear your gas stove tops thoroughly.
Can I Cook on an Orange Gas Flame?
Cooking on an orange gas flame is not advised, as this is a result of improper combustion. But if you happen to find yourself cooking on its orange-hued flames, you’ll find that it takes longer to heat your pan, as the temperature is much lower compared to the temperature at a blue flame. That being said it is completely unsafe to use your stove when there is an orange flame, always find the root of the problem, and have it fixed before resuming your cooking.
How to Control the Level of Carbon Monoxide?
The simplest way to do this, is by having special sensors installed in your kitchen, these sensors will measure the amount of gas present in the room, and indicated whether the levels have elevated higher than normal.
The Orange Flame
Sometimes the orange flame isn’t always a cause of excessive carbon monoxide being released into the atmosphere. However it is best to check your symptoms, as well as the overall condition of the gas stove top before the initial panic settles in.
How do You Fix an Orange Flame on a Gas Stove?
If your gas stove produces flames that have an orange tinge, whether partial or entirely, this means that the kitchen appliance needs proper cleaning. You should double check that all the burners on the stove are clean and placed correctly. Make sure the burners are placed at their proper openings. Check whether there is a clog in the opening. Make sure your humidifier is switched off.
Can I Use my Stove if the Flame is Orange?
An orange flame means an increased level of poisonous gas, which is not safe for you to hang around, especially when cooking.
What Does Orange Flame Mean on a Gas Stove?
Incomplete combustion produces soot which emits an orange flame when you light the gas stove.