How Proper Use and Maintenance of the Stove Can Help Prevent Kitchen Fire Damage
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights strategies to prevent the stove from becoming the source of kitchen fire damage.
SERVPRO of Media offers fire damage restoration services to help homeowners recover from a fire damage disaster. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the #1 cause of house fires in the US, and 172,900 home cooking fires are reported each year. Forty-nine percent of all reported home fires in the US are cooking-related. Ranges or cooktops were involved in sixty-one percent of reported home cooking fires. Cooking safety, especially around the stove, is a key factor in kitchen safety. Here are some stove safety, usage, and maintenance tips to deter fire damage in the kitchen.
Gas Stove Safety and Maintenance Tips
Most homeowners who currently have a gas stove inherited the appliance from the previous owner, and the stove came with the house when it was purchased. Most rental homes have the stove or cooktop that was installed by the previous owner, occupant, or the original builder. The stove is one of the essential appliances that comes with and stays with the home at the time of sale. Unless the homeowner brings their own stove, they need to know how to use, clean, and service the unit that came with the home or apartment.
Homeowners who are not accustomed to a gas stove’s open flame may be somewhat intimidated by the new cooking experience. The solution is to be familiar with how the gas stove works, how to safely enjoy its many benefits, and how to properly maintain this versatile appliance. Follow these stove safety, usage, and maintenance tips to avoid fire damage in the kitchen.
Tip #1: Inspect the gas line for damage and possible leaks.
When first moving into a home, inspect the gas lines for visible damage and leaks. Even very small leakages can create a hazard in a home. An effective method to determine if a line is leaking is to use a gas leak detector substance. After being applied to gas line connectors, the substance will produce bubbles if any gas is escaping in the areas where the substance was administered. Gently nudge or jiggle the gas line to see if a slight movement can allow gas to escape. If the line and connections do not produce bubbles, then the homeowner can begin cooking on the appliance.
Tip #2: Purchase and install several carbon monoxide detectors in adjacent rooms.
Gas leaks can arise without warning. A device to detect a leak is vital to home safety. A home with gas lines should have at least three or more carbon monoxide detectors. Position the devices low to the floor as instructed in the installation directions. Natural gas is heavy and sinks to the floor, filling a room from the bottom up. Do not place a detector in the kitchen because the normal operation of the stove will set off the alarm. The real danger is when residual gas builds up throughout the rest of the home.
Occasionally test the devices to ensure they are functioning correctly. If a detector activates, the homeowner should introduce fresh air into the home by opening doors and windows. Evacuate the structure and contact first responders or a gas line service technician.
Tip #3: Clean gas burners periodically or as needed.
Gas burners are simple and easy to clean. Electric burners are more difficult to clean and often do not receive the necessary attention to keep the elements clean and safe.
The process of cleaning a gas stove involves removing the grate, burner cap, and burner. Soak and scrub the pieces. Removal and replacement are relatively easy, and there is no danger of electrical shock.
If a burner is only partially lighting, clean out any grease or gunk with a few strokes from a wire brush or a brush with stiff nylon bristles. Disassembly is not required.
Tip #4: Monitor the burner flame.
The burner flame should not extend beyond the bottom of the pot or pan. Chefs like cooking on gas stoves because they have more control over the process. Flames that lick up the side of a pot can catch clothing on fire or cause serious burns to the cook’s hands or arms.
Tip #5: Always use the proper knob setting for an efficient and safe flow of gas through the burner.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for lighting the stove. If the flame is turned down too low, the light could be lost while gas continues to flow out of the gas line, creating a fire hazard. Always be sure to turn the burner completely off when finished cooking.
Tip #6: Exercise caution with burner knobs.
Burner knobs open and close the gas lines and may also create a spark that ignites the flame. Protect the knobs from being damaged by an impact from heavy pots and iron frying pans. Avoid leaning on the knobs. Burner knobs are sturdy but can be damaged.
Tip #7: Exercise extreme caution when moving a gas stove.
The gas line has very limited or no flexibility. Avoid disturbing the gas line when cleaning the stove.
The tips listed above are intended to promote gas stove safety and prevent fire damage. If fire damage does occur in Broomall, PA, turn to the fire damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Media. The office can be reached by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com or by calling (610) 566-5720.