Gas stoves are incredibly useful appliances, but just like any other piece of kitchen equipment, they need maintenance. Regular cleaning is a must. If you notice a change in the color of your burner’s flame, it may be time to investigate.
Failure to maintain your burner can cause gas poisoning and even death. In this article, I will explain how to fix an orange or yellow flame on a gas burner. Keep reading to find out the solution.
Gas flames turn yellow or orange due to a higher than usual concentration of carbon monoxide and a lack of oxygen. The easiest way to fix this is to clean your burner and ensure it’s installed properly. If cleaning doesn’t work, check to make sure that you have the correct burner installed.
What Causes the Flame to Turn Yellow or Orange?
If you turn on your burner expecting a blue flame and find a yellow or orange one, fear not. While it’s definitely not ideal, there is an easy fix – thorough cleaning (which you should be doing regularly anyway). This is because the absolute most common reason for a change in flame color is simply a dirty burner.
One of two things will be the cause of a change in flame color:
- A burner with buildup from cooking (grease, food, soot) will clog the holes that allow fuel to escape. When some of the holes are blocked, they prevent fuel from making it to your burner. This, in turn, causes more oxygen to make it into the fire and less gas, changing the color. Often, that means that you’ll have an excess of carbon monoxide coming from your burner, but we’ll get to that momentarily.
- The other possible cause is that you may have the wrong burner installed, though that’s much less common. While you can use the improper burner, it will (again) mess with the fuel-to-oxygen ratio. You may recognize this as a “stuttering” or inconsistent flame.
How Do I Fix This?
Let’s start with the more common and easily fixable problem – a dirty stove. Now, I’m going to say this once, and only once:
Regularly clean your kitchen and kitchen equipment.
There’s a reason that professional chefs and cooks spend a large portion of each shift cleaning. Not only is a dirty kitchen not food safe, but it can actively impede the cooking process. So how do you clean a stovetop and burner? Follow these steps:
Solution #1 – Clean the Burner
- Begin by assembling the following materials:
- Two soft microfiber cloths (Our pick – Microfiber Cleaning Cloth 12 pack)
- Vinegar (cheap white vinegar, not the expensive stuff)
- Baking soda
- A hair or paperclip to deal with blockages in the holes of your burner
- Optional but recommended – Barkeeper’s Friend. This is a cleaner that’s commonly used in commercial kitchens. It works wonders on difficult cleaning projects (and as a tip, it works great in places other than the kitchen).
- Photograph how everything is set up, take apart your burner and then start. Taking a picture will ensure you put it all back in the right place.
- Wet the first cloth with hot (not warm) water and give a good first cursory scrub of the burner(s) in question. This will lift off any easy messes and loosen everything else.
- Wring out this cloth, and then soak it in vinegar. Give the burner another scrub, applying a paste of baking soda on difficult spots. Now let this vinegar and baking soda solution sit for a few minutes – it’ll loosen just about any form of grease that’s left.
- Repeat as needed. Once you’ve got the exterior of the burner clean, move to the fuel holes. Take your clip and poke/scrape everything out, using vinegar and baking soda to soften it if needed.
- Thoroughly wipe the burner with your dry, soft cloth to remove any stains. Put everything back in its place and ensure it’s all snugly fitted (this is where the photo comes into play).
- Now test your burner.
This should have solved the problem. If not, you’ll need to move down the list.
Solution #2 – Check the Burner Plates
Find out the type of gas and stovetop that you have, and double-check with the manufacturer of your burner that it is indeed the type you need. The last homeowner may have simply installed the wrong type (and even if you installed it, we’ll just say the last guy did it wrong).
Now if you’re sure that you have the right type of burner, listen to the burner while it starts. Does it keep clicking after starting it, or not stay lit? That’s a sign that there is something larger at play. At this point you should call a technician to help diagnose the problem.
If you start to see signs that a part is busted, or gas is leaking, pay attention. Neither is good, though the latter could actually be dangerous. If you smell gas in your home, open the windows, get everyone out and call your utility servicer. They’ll need to take a look to make sure everything is safe and working properly.
Hopefully this has helped you to find out why your burner flame is turning orange or yellow. As long as you have the correct burner installed, and clean it regularly, you should be fine. Cleaning can take up to half an hour, but it will save you stress and money in the long run. Good luck to you and happy cooking!
Commonly Asked Questions
Can Burners Leak?
Yes. Just like anything else with gas, your burner can leak. As mentioned above, be sure to air out your home, turn off all sources of gas, and get you and your loved ones (furry friends included) out of the home. You really don’t want to mess with gas poisoning.
Should I Be Worried About Carbon Monoxide (CO)?
Firstly – yes, you should. Second, if you don’t already have one, go buy a carbon monoxide detector for your home. They will save your life if you have a leak, and they cost $15-30.
Generally, a stovetop burner won’t produce carbon monoxide. That is, if you’ve properly cleaned it. If you’ve neglected the cleaning of your kitchen, you risk oxygen mixing with the gas and forming CO. A common sign of this is a yellow flame.
Is an Orange Flame Dangerous?
Yes and no. If it’s a yellow flame from a fire, I wouldn’t be concerned if you’re outdoors. If it’s a yellow or orange flame on your burner, again, that’s a sign of CO.
Carbon monoxide displaces the oxygen in your blood and takes it away from your organs. Without oxygen, your brain, heart, lungs, and most other organs will shut down.
Remember how I said to buy a CO detector if you don’t have one? This is why. Add in the fact that CO is tasteless and odorless, and you risk CO poisoning without even knowing it.
If you are cooking with an orange or yellow flame and you suddenly feel lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseous, you need to leave. Once you are safely outdoors, call a doctor right away.
Could Anything Else Cause an Orange Flame?
Yes – high humidity caused by your environment or a humidifier. Moisture in the air could cause a change in color for the flame of your burner. If you have already tested your burner and cleaned it, try turning off the humidifier.
If that solves the problem, great! Otherwise, you need to call a professional to inspect your burner. There is no reason to mess around with carbon monoxide poisoning.