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How to Prevent Gas Ranges From Being Accidentally Turned On

As a home handyman I've installed all three of these gas range safety devices for my customers, as well as gas leak detectors.

A natural gas detector won't solve the problem of leaving a gas stove on, but it can help avoid disaster.

A natural gas detector won't solve the problem of leaving a gas stove on, but it can help avoid disaster.

How Do I Prevent My Gas Range From Being Accidentally Turned On?

Have you ever accidentally turned a gas stove burner on, or do you know of someone who may be susceptible to this dangerous situation?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 172,900 home fires were started by cooking activities during the period from 2014–2018. Many of these same fires were due to gas burners being left on with either natural gas or propane stoves.

An unattended, lit burner can be as dangerous as an unlit one, as each pose their own type of fire danger. Whether from counter surfing pets, adults cleaning the kitchen and bumping into them, or most commonly, by curious children, gas range knobs are turned on by accident all too often.

Luckily there are some ways to prevent disasters that can occur from gas stove burners being inadvertently set to the on position. Products such as RangeSafe knobs—which we use on our own gas stove—along with plastic gas stove knob covers and locking devices can help prevent knobs from accidentally being set to the on position.

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RangeSafe Knobs

Many newer gas ranges come equipped with "push and turn" style control knobs, which require an additional action, (the act of pushing the knob inward), before turning to activate any of the burners and the igniter. For those stoves made before push and turn knobs became the standard, there are aftermarket knobs which can help avoid the act of humans or pets accidentally turning a gas stove burner on.

RangeSafe gas stove safety knobs have been featured in Good Housekeeping's "Genius Parenting Solutions" and will fit a variety of manufacturers stoves, including GE, Kenmore, Whirlpool and Maytag. (Be sure to check RangeSafe's website for compatibility with your own brand of range before purchasing a set).

Replacement of your old range knobs is very easy and normally involves simply pulling the knobs off and pressing the the new RangeSafe replacement onto the valve stem.

How They Work

The only main difference between your original gas stove manufacturer's knobs and RangeSafe safety knobs is that you'll have to press inward before turning the knob clockwise to turn on - much like a child-safe prescription bottle. Also, the replacement knobs won't have the exact same high-medium-low setting indicators as your old knobs, however stick-on decals are available if you still need this feature.

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Gas Range Knob Locks

Another good solution for preventing children and pets from accidentally turning on gas range burners is to use range knob locks.

Range knob locks work by preventing the knob from being turned, especially by children. Knob locks may not be compatible with all types of gas stoves or ranges, so check that your model is listed before ordering a set. Aukfa child safety locks, as seen in the photo above, are one good solution to keep stove knobs from being turned on by accident.

Important Note: For this type of safety device to work, there must be a space between the range knob and the body of the range. Not all ranges have this space.

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Gas Range Knob Covers

The third option to help keep gas burners from being inadvertently turned on is to use a set of low-tech plastic range knob covers. These are simple transparent plastic covers that can be used on not only gas, but electric ranges as well.

How They Work

Gas range knob covers are normally made of clear, transparent plastic. You can see the range knob inside, but you can't turn it until you pop open the plastic cover. If a child were to try to touch these, the knob cover would simply spin around without doing anything to the knob beneath.

While these inexpensive covers cost as little as $10 for a set and are one good solution in homes with children, we prefer RangeSafe knobs in our own home because they're much easier to keep clean, along with looking more modern.

Please Note: For this type of safety device to work on your range, there must be a space between the knob and the body of the range. Certain range models, such as KitchenAid, don't have the space necessary for these to work.

Final Thoughts on Gas Range Safety

All of the devices mentioned above, RangeSafe knobs, range knob locks and plastic knob covers, can help prevent a gas range from being accidentally turned on. One thing they won't do however, is help you remember to shut off a lit burner or tell you if gas is being released. When cooking, helpful devices such as the timer on your phone, or even an old fashioned wind-up timer can help keep absent mined cooks aware of lit burners.

In cases where a burner has been turned on by accident and is unlit and releasing gas, there are natural gas detectors, such as the one shown above. Gas detectors will sound an alarm if either propane or natural gas is being released.

Keep in mind that when placing a gas detector near your stove that natural gas is lighter than air, while propane is heavier than air. For propane stoves, an outlet closer to the floor may work better than one on the counter, while an outlet higher up may work better for natural gas stoves.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Nolen Hart

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