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Dear Therman: Is Something Wrong with My Stove?

Dear Therman:

I do a lot of cooking at home with natural gas. I like it because it gives me more temperature control, it’s relatively cheap and, most importantly, makes magical blue flames come out of my burners. But recently, much to my dismay, these flames have turned yellow and orange. Should I be concerned?


Blue in the Gills

Dear Blue in the Gills:

Yes, concern is warranted! Natural gas flames are blue because the gas is mixed with air before reaching the flame, a process known as premixed combustion. This lets the gas burn clean into mostly carbon dioxide and water vapor.

If your flames are burning yellow and orange—like they would on the end of a candle—it’s likely due to one of several things that should be looked at soon.

Moisture in the air, usually caused by a humidifier, can cause blue flames to change color. But this is easily fixed by turning the humidifier off. And in this case, the color change doesn’t point to any dangers. But others do.

Contaminants in your burners or improper gas pressure or fuel-to-air mix ratio can also cause your blue flames to change color. This can lead to a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide gas, which is especially dangerous because it can’t be seen or smelled.

An old toothbrush works great for cleaning grease and other contaminants from burner portholes and igniters on a stove. If you take anything apart, be sure to place it all back into the proper position.

If you suspect something is wrong with the air or gas flow to your stove, don’t hesitate to call a professional gas technician or someone from your local utility company.

Stay safe,


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