If your kitchen contains a natural gas stove or hob, you will know that, when working correctly, the flame emitted from the stove will burn blue. Therefore, we can understand that if the stove begins to have an orange flame you may be looking for answers and solutions.
Well, you're in luck, as in this article we will explain the potential causes of the orange flame and outline a number of methods you can use to fix your stove and stop it from emitting an orange flame. It is vital that if you do have an orange flame on a gas stove you take action. This is because, orange flames mean that there is incomplete combustion occurring in your stove, and the fuel is not being entirely used up. This leads to higher levels of carbon monoxide being released from the stove, this can be dangerous and harmful.
Why is my gas stove flame orange?
As outlined above, an orange flame means that there is incomplete combustion and the balance of fuel and oxygen balance being used is off, with a greater proportion of oxygen being used than fuel. This creates an orange flame because the colour of the flame being produced is linked to how hot the flame is. A flame at the normal temperature of a gas stove will be blue. The orange flame on the gas stove means that the flame is not as hot, and this is because not enough fuel is being used.
The major issue with an orange flame on your gas stove is not that the flame isn't hot enough for you to cook your food. The main issue is the products of the reaction occurring on your stove. On a working stove, a hydrocarbon (normally methane) will react with oxygen and the products of the reaction will be carbon dioxide and water (in the form of water vapour). However, when there is incomplete combustion the products of the reaction will instead be: carbon, carbon monoxide and water.
You can read a comprehensive article on the risks of carbon monoxide here. However, a short overview is that it binds with the haemoglobin in your blood cells, reducing their ability to carry oxygen. Therefore, your organs and muscles will not receive enough oxygen to function properly. One of the most dangerous properties of carbon monoxide is how easily it can go undetected. It is both odourless and colourless and therefore unnoticeable until you start to get symptoms. That is why it is vital that if you see an orange flame on your gas stove you turn it off immediately and address the issue!
Don't worry if that sounds a little complicated! All you need to know is that an orange flame on a gas stove = bad and a blue flame = good.
Potential causes of an orange flame
Now that you understand the science behind why an orange flame is present and why it is such an issue you may now be asking, what is causing the orange flame on my gas stove? Well, look no further as below we will outline the reasons why your flame is orange.
An increase in humidity
A lot of people aren't aware of this but an increase in the humidity of your kitchen can actually cause the flame to burn orange. So, if you have a humidifier in the room then turning it off may fix the issue. If not then it may be worth using a dehumidifier, as this may make your flame blue again!
Burner orifices becoming blocked
Another product of complete combustion is soot. Along with its own set of health issues soot causes another issue as it coats the orifices where the gas is released from. This creates pockets of flame where the gas is not used up and incomplete combustion occurs. This also wastes gas, increasing your energy bills.
Spilt food and liquid
We've all been there, you look away for one second and suddenly food or liquid is spilling out from your pot or pan onto the stove. Well, this could be a reason for your orange flame as the food or liquid being burnt on the gas stove can create an orange flame.
An issue with the stove
As already explained, the key to avoiding incomplete combustion is to make sure that the balance between fuel and oxygen is just right. Therefore, if you have recently purchased a new gas stove and it is producing an orange flame it could be an issue with production rather than anything you have done.
One air shutter out of place can be an issue and could be the reason for your orange flame. In addition to this, the issue could be that the burner you have purchased is not compatible with your gas stove, creating an imbalance between the fuel and oxygen, leading to an orange flame being produced.
How to fix an orange flame
As long as you noticed the orange flame early on and didn't leave it on for too long after then you will still be ok to attempt to fix your natural gas stove. To help you with this we have outlined some solutions to your issue below.
The first solution is one that has already been mentioned in this article. As stated, an overly humid kitchen is one potential cause of an orange flame on your gas stove. Although we understand the attraction of humidifiers, you may find that the solution to your orange flame lies in removing your humidifier from the kitchen.
If it is still too humid in the room then it may be worth investing in a dehumidifier to run in the kitchen. You can find an overview of the best dehumidifiers on the market here. They can be quite expensive so it may be worth trying some of the solutions outlined below before purchasing one.
Cleaning the burners
As we already explained, one of the reasons your gas stove may be producing an orange flame is because of soot, food or liquid on the burners. The soot clogs the orifices leading to insufficient supplies of fuel or air and the food can be burnt, creating an orange flame.
Therefore, giving the burners a thorough clean, ensuring that any soot, food or liquid is cleared (especially from the orifices) is fairly likely to fix the issue and return your flame to blue rather than orange.
If you have done a thorough clean there is a chance that you may have tampered slightly with the burner so after cleaning be sure that everything has been replaced properly and securely. Not replacing part properly could create an orange flame and the last thing you want to do is create another issue when fixing the original one!
Oxygen is one of the reactants in combustion and therefore it is vital that there is a sufficient supply of it. Lack of air supply could create an orange flame as well as meaning you are competing with the flame for oxygen, reducing your own airflow.
Therefore, it is possible to get rid of the orange flame from your gas stove by opening windows and doors and ensuring that your kitchen has proper ventilation. The poor airflow could also be addressed by adjusting the air shutter on the burner so that air is not being blocked from entering the stove.
Disassemble and reassemble
This is similar to the turn it off and back on again method, it may well not change anything but it's worth a try.
It may be that there is one small part of your stove that is out of place or missing. Taking apart the stove (making sure you don't lose anything) and putting it back together again could do the trick in just fixing a small issue or identifying a missing piece. You may think it sounds silly or pointless, but if all else has failed it is worth a try!
I am sure that you now understand that an orange flame on your gas stove is not a good thing and is an issue that needs to be addressed promptly and effectively. Hopefully, after running through our list of solutions you have managed to fix your stove and return the flame to its correct blue colour. If you have not been able to fix it then it is important you get a professional to fix the issue, you should not use your stove in the meantime.
It is also important to note that if you do feel you may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning you call the emergency service immediately and make sure everyone leaves the room/building and waits outside until you know it is safe.
Is a yellow flame safe?
No! A yellow flame means the same as an orange flame. The balance between oxygen and fuel is off, incomplete combustion is occurring and carbon monoxide is being produced. Turn the stove off immediately and use the solutions outlined in our article to fix the issue.