Coming home to the smell of rotten eggs is never fun, but you have a gas stove, there may be a bigger problem: you’ve left the gas on.
When this happens, it’s easy to panic. Your palms start to sweat, scenes from blockbuster-movie explosions flash through your brain and questions flood your mind. “What do I do first? Should I call the fire department? How do I safely turn the gas off?”
Stay calm! While leaving the gas running on your stovetop is dangerous, if handled properly, you can resolve the issue in just a few short minutes. Here’s how:
Safety note: If you smell gas, but didn’t leave the stove on, you may have a gas leak, which is very serious! First, get everyone out of your house immediately and report the leak to your local gas company. For more information about what to do if you have a natural gas leak, read this guide by Angie's List.
Even a small flame or spark can ignite the gas in your home. So, avoid anything that creates a flame. Don’t turn any lights or appliances on or off, either.
Usually, this is as simple as turning a nob on the stove. When you do this, be careful not to accidentally light a burner.
You need to let the house ventilate for a few hours to ensure all the gas is out. If the smell is faint, a few doors and windows near your kitchen should be fine. If it’s potent and has spread to rooms outside of the kitchen, open all of your exterior doors and windows.
If the natural gas smell is really strong, it’s best to get everyone out of the house for a while (including your pets!). The smell should dissipate within a few hours. If it doesn’t, contact your gas company and report the problem – there may be a more extensive leak. If anyone is suffering from nausea, headaches, dizziness or flu-like symptoms, call 911 immediately, as these are sign of carbon monoxide poisoning.
In general, it’s a good idea to have your gas stove inspected annually (especially if it’s an older appliance). For more information about gas safety in your home, read: Check the Gases in Your House.