I had been smelling raw gas in the heated air rising from the oven chimney ever since I hooked up the stove.
So a couple of days before Thanksgiving I got a gas leak detector (UEi Test Instruments CD100A Combustible Gas Leak Detector ) to help pinpoint gas leaks.
It’s really cool. It claims to detect gases from the following:
Acetone, Alcohol, Ammonia, Benzene, Butane, Ethylene Oxide, Gasoline, Halon, Hydrogen Sulfide, Industrial Solvents, Jet Fuel, Lacquer, Thinners, Methane, Naphtha Natural Gas, Propane, Toluene.
I first tested it by opening the fuel cap on my car. It worked! So I put it to work on my stove. It’s not a precise instrument, no where near as sophisticated as what PG&E technicians have. It provides relative comparisons of gas levels through the frequency of clicks; none to low means low levels of combustible gases. As the sniffer at the end of the hose gets closer to a leak, the click frequency increases. I like this model because the hose can be bent and shaped to fit into small spaces.
The detector confirmed there was a high concentration coming from the stove’s chimney. Under the hood the oven and broiler valve leaked a bit without being turned on. It detected high amounts of gas just above the oven and broiler pilot lights.
For the next three months while learning and adjusting gas-related things, I used the detector constantly. It did a lot to help me learn about where gas could potentially leak, raised my confidence and lowered my fears of the dangers of working with gas.
After a short time it became very apparent that a gas detector is a VITAL device to have in a home if there are gas appliances. They work far far better than a nose. When it comes to finding out if gas going where it shouldn’t and avoiding explosions, they’re great.
And when DIYing a gas stove restoration, gas detectors are essential to the job. Many gas stove owners don’t want to or are afraid to get familiar enough with their stoves. So if you take on a previously owned vintage gas stove chances are pretty good it hasn’t been maintained well enough and should be checked carefully. Gaskets, valves, seals, vents,
Sadly, the unit’s power and setting dial broke only after three months – not a good outcome for such a pricey item. But the manufacturer stood by their warranty. They repaired the unit at no cost to me. It’s back home, working again. But I don’t use it as much, since I’ve addressed the major problems. It feels very comforting, however, to have one in the house.