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What's That Awful Smell That My Gas Cooker Gives Off? Is It Bad For Me?

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Julii Brainard Profile
Julii Brainard answered
That's usually the natural gas itself, a small amount tends to escape into the atmosphere before it ignites. If you smell more than a slight whiff of gas from your cooker (and only right when you turn the burner on), then you may have a leak. This is an extremely dangerous situation. You should phone your gas supplier immediately and describe the problem.

Natural gas appliances can potentially release a lot of indoor air pollutants. This is one reason such appliances (usually cookers, gas fires and boilers) must be well-ventilated and in the case of boilers, should be serviced at annually. Carbon monoxide is the most common unwanted gas that can come from these appliances; high doses can kill occupants of a poorly ventilated house. Carbon-monoxide detectors that last for 3 months can be purchased for as little as 5 in DIY, hardware and variety stores. Battery-operated CO alarms cost a lot more, but can be sold as combined smoke-CO detectors, raise the alarm quickly, and will last for many years (5 year guarantee typically). Methane and Nitrous Oxide, potent climate-change gases, may also leak out of natural gas appliances. Methane is the main component of natural gas, it is both poisonous and explosive, but rarely occurs in such concentrations as to present a considerable indoor danger. Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is more hazardous, because it irritates the lungs so may exacerbate asthma (some research suggests that exposure to high concentrations of N2O may even cause asthma).
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Natural gas itself is odourless. You cannot smell it. Your utility or gas supplier adds an "odorant" to the gas, in order to give it a foul smell to ensure that you can easily detect gas leaks. This is the "rotten egg" smell of gas. Commonly used odorants include Tetrahydrothiophene or Mercaptan.

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