Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

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retiredjg
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Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by retiredjg » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:17 pm

:D I finally ended up in a house with a gas range - it's propane, not natural gas.

The cooktop is fine although it seems a little slow to heat. But the oven makes me ill, especially while getting up to the desired temp. My solution so far has been to use the oven only when I can have the house open. However, this week, even with door and windows open and hood vent on (vented to outside), I didn't feel good (wheezy, headache) the whole couple of hours the oven was on.

I've decided this is no way to live and that I'm probably just going to replace the range.

Where I need some help is this. I can't decide whether to go back to electric or buy another gas range. I'd prefer gas but I don't know if there is something wrong with this oven or if I'm just overly sensitive to the combustion products of propane.

I'd appreciate thoughts from people who have had similar problems or who might have some insight.

I know someone out there is thinking carbon monoxide - I don't think that is it. No drowsiness or cherry red lips. I can't rule that out however.

I'm also sure that someone will suggest one of the new dual fuel ranges, but they start at almost $2k from what I've been able to find so far - not going there although I might be interested in one that is cheaper.

Update: Repair guy says that the gas safety valve is not completely shutting off. Parts are $185 and labor is probably $100, so repair is near $300. New ones on sale (ends today) are about $800. Repair guy thinks the range is about 10 years old.

Opinions on whether to repair or replace?
Last edited by retiredjg on Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:20 pm

Do you have a CO detector? If not - I'd get one and see if it is emitting CO. In any case - doesn't sound normal - sounds like something is wrong with the appliance.

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Raymond
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by Raymond » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:24 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:Do you have a CO detector? If not - I'd get one and see if it is emitting CO. In any case - doesn't sound normal - sounds like something is wrong with the appliance.
+1

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - CDC

A quote from that link:

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"

TAB
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by TAB » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:29 pm

Are you sure you have the right burner for propane gas and not natural gas. We had a problem when the burner was designed for natural gas -- and we used propane gas, it led to a build up of CO. We actually used it for several years before the CO built up one day to the point of triggering the CO detector. That was when the repairman noticed the wrong burner type in our broiler. It was an easy, inexpensive fix to replace the one part.

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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by nordlead » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:30 pm

Sounds like either one of two things.

There is a propane leak, and for whatever reason you aren't identifying it as propane (The energy supplier should be able to check for leaks).

or

There is poor ventilation and you are breathing a lot of carbon monoxide and/or uncombusted propane.

Breathing propane also causes the same symptoms you describe.

I wouldn't use the stove until you can figure out what the problem is. Even replacing it with a new gas oven may not solve the problem if the problem is outside of the oven.

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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by cjking » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:32 pm

In the UK the vast majority of houses have piped natural gas. My understanding is that most people configuring a kitchen here these days choose an electric oven and a gas hob.

When I googled this a few years ago, I got the impression that gas ovens are just not as good for cooking/baking as electric ovens. (Can't remember the details, I don't really cook or bake.)

On the other hand I'm told cooks think gas is better than electric for a hob.

Also when I googled for products, it was very hard to find gas ovens, compared to electric ovens.

(Have just googled a mainstream store here, and the standalone (as opposed to built-in) appliances that combine an oven and a hob do indeed seem to feature gas hobs combined with electric ovens. At least that was my impression from clicking on a few at random.)
Last edited by cjking on Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:35 pm

> Do you have a CO detector?

+1E12

Either this is imaginary or you have incomplete combustion. A CO detector will settle it. Don't run the oven without a CO detector until you verify it is safe.

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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:38 pm

Poor combustion (as in it's not burning completely) - if you've ever used a propane gas grill, propane gives off an odor not as strong as natural gas that has an odorant additive to it, but enough to make one dizzy if you smell it enough. I would seriously have someone inspect that stove before you attempt to use it again. It sounds to me like you have a leak.
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Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:38 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:> Do you have a CO detector?

+1E12

Either this is imaginary or you have incomplete combustion. A CO detector will settle it. Don't run the oven without a CO detector until you verify it is safe.
^^^ Our posts crossed paths, but ding-ding, we have a winner with the "poor combustion" theory.
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6miths
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by 6miths » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:42 pm

Definitely agree that something is amiss. Having lived in dwellings with both NG and propane cooktops and ovens with a large family we have never had anyone have an issue with either type of fuel. Concur with cjking's observation that there is a tendency to have 'dual fuel' appliances or separate cooktop and oven with NG/propane for the cooktop and electricity for the oven.

Check the CO levels asap.
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whatusername?
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by whatusername? » Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:00 pm

My oven is natural gas but doesn't fully combust so I get the same issue. In my case the range hood takes care of most of the problem when the oven is on, but I keep a CO detector in the kitchen (and another in the hallway near the gas water heater and gas furnace).

I've been told that it may be an issue that could be fixed by a good plumber - loose connection or something. It's on my to do list but the CO detectors are a cheap way to ensure I don't off myself before getting around to it.

Riverstwo
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by Riverstwo » Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:13 pm

I would go with dual fuel electric oven and gas cooktop. I don't know how any decent chef can cook on electric burners.

retiredjg
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by retiredjg » Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:21 pm

Ok. I'm getting the picture that something is probably amiss. This is my first gas oven and I was wondering if it is just me. I can be sensitive to other kinds of combustion (car exhaust, fireplace, etc.) and I wondered if that might extend to propane too.

It had occurred to me that the burner might be for natural gas, not propane. The range was here when I bought the house. I don't know any history on the appliances. I suppose a repair person should be able to figure that out. Seems like a logical first step.

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whaleknives
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by whaleknives » Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:34 pm

Ovens designed and listed (tested by the American Gas Association, U.L., or others) for unvented use are, as you'd expect, not required to be vented (National Fuel Gas Code NFPA 54, Section 12.3.2).

Did you notice any new smells when using the oven? CO would be odorless, but this manufacturer's manual seems to suggest some initial burning off of oil or other coatings:
  • Burning” or “oily” odor emitting from the vent: This is normal in a new oven and will disappear in time. To speed the process, set a self-clean cycle for a minimum of 3 hours. See the Cleaning the Oven section. This is temporary.

    Strong odor: An odor from the oven insulation is normal for the first few times the oven is used. This is temporary and will go away after several uses or a self-clean cycle.
Not reassuring when you're suffering respiratory symptoms. Personally, my wife can't stay in the house with the oven cleaning cycle on. I'd recommend switching to electric. You'll never be able to successfully vent a device that wasn't designed to be vented, and you might be disappointed by even a large vented range hood.
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by NightFall » Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:46 pm

I won't add any more to the pile in terms of CO. I know from experience that most ranges need special burners for propane but the default is typically natural gas.

Having had a propane, natural gas and electric ranges, I won't ever go back to electric. Instant on/off/control plus a pretty obvious indicator a burner is on. Electric oven? Yeah, that's fine.

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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:53 pm

whatusername? wrote:My oven is natural gas but doesn't fully combust so I get the same issue. In my case the range hood takes care of most of the problem when the oven is on, but I keep a CO detector in the kitchen (and another in the hallway near the gas water heater and gas furnace).

I've been told that it may be an issue that could be fixed by a good plumber - loose connection or something. It's on my to do list but the CO detectors are a cheap way to ensure I don't off myself before getting around to it.
Let me underscore the wording, poignant use of it - "cheap way". What is more valuable, your life or using a cheap CO detector? I'm not a plumber, but the quickest way to succumb is to breathe in CO, if that "cheap CO detector were to fail for some reason, whatever it is, with you already knowing you have an issue" cheap is going to become very expensive, indeed. Don't fool around with CO.
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Skiffy
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by Skiffy » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:07 pm

Plumbers are also pipe fitters, so for the price of a service call you could find out if you have a leak and get it fixed!

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whatusername?
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by whatusername? » Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:42 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
whatusername? wrote:My oven is natural gas but doesn't fully combust so I get the same issue. In my case the range hood takes care of most of the problem when the oven is on, but I keep a CO detector in the kitchen (and another in the hallway near the gas water heater and gas furnace).

I've been told that it may be an issue that could be fixed by a good plumber - loose connection or something. It's on my to do list but the CO detectors are a cheap way to ensure I don't off myself before getting around to it.
Let me underscore the wording, poignant use of it - "cheap way". What is more valuable, your life or using a cheap CO detector? I'm not a plumber, but the quickest way to succumb is to breathe in CO, if that "cheap CO detector were to fail for some reason, whatever it is, with you already knowing you have an issue" cheap is going to become very expensive, indeed. Don't fool around with CO.
To be clear, there is no leaking gas when the appliance isn't in use and it's not as severe as it sounds like OP's issue is - it's just incomplete combustion at the burner in the oven. Further, the CO detector wasn't the cheap part; it's just cheaper than moving out until I can get the plumber out.

At the end of the day, though, I live in an old house that has had all manner of things done to it over the past 80 years, and literally the first three things I bought for the new place were batteries for the smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and two new fire extinguishers. Between those and the voltage tester, I'm doing my best not to let the house take me down. :D

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David Jay
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by David Jay » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:55 am

TAB wrote:Are you sure you have the right burner for propane gas and not natural gas. We had a problem when the burner was designed for natural gas -- and we used propane gas, it led to a build up of CO. We actually used it for several years before the CO built up one day to the point of triggering the CO detector. That was when the repairman noticed the wrong burner type in our broiler. It was an easy, inexpensive fix to replace the one part.
+1
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Re: Propane Oven Makes Me Sick

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:31 am

retiredjg wrote:Ok. I'm getting the picture that something is probably amiss. This is my first gas oven and I was wondering if it is just me. I can be sensitive to other kinds of combustion (car exhaust, fireplace, etc.) and I wondered if that might extend to propane too.

It had occurred to me that the burner might be for natural gas, not propane. The range was here when I bought the house. I don't know any history on the appliances. I suppose a repair person should be able to figure that out. Seems like a logical first step.
DO NOT use this appliance until you have it checked. Carbon Monoxide is lethal in very small amounts- a very common form of poisoning (your haemoglobin prefers it to oxygen and so it displaces the oxygen circulation in your blood). Sometimes confused because whilst CO2 (carbon dioxide) is poisonous, it's only in relatively high concentrations.

Natural gas only comes through pipes, so if there is not a NG utility, there's no reason to have an NG burner. Since you say propane, i assume the house is not connected to natural gas? ie all your gas is bottled.

retiredjg
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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by retiredjg » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:11 pm

Update: Repair guy says that the gas safety valve is not completely shutting off. Parts are $185 and labor is probably $100, so repair is near $300. New ones on sale (ends today) are about $800. Repair guy thinks the range is about 10 years old.

Opinions on whether to repair or replace?

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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by MathWizard » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:28 pm

retiredjg wrote:Update: Repair guy says that the gas safety valve is not completely shutting off. Parts are $185 and labor is probably $100, so repair is near $300. New ones on sale (ends today) are about $700. Repair guy thinks the range is about 10 years old.

Opinions on whether to repair or replace?
Replace.

At 10 years old, the $300 probably exceeds the value of the appliance.
What will go wrong next?

From http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article ... -4,00.html
and http://www.atdhomeinspection.com/advice ... duct-life/
you can expect a gas range to last about 15-19 years.

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BL
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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by BL » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:31 pm

No expert here, but no way would I spend $300 on a 10-yr old stove when I could get a new one for another $500. We don't use gas, but I doubt I would do it for almost any appliance for those costs.

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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by bayview » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:23 pm

We're getting ready to get a gas oven, finally! but if it turns out that even with a new range, you're sensitive to gas odors, you might also check out induction ranges. They're electric, but they are MUCH faster to heat than gas; they remain cool to the touch; their cooking areas are flexible. They're pricy, though, and your cookware must have at least a layer of ferromagnetic material to work. (When you see people wandering around the cookware area at Bed Bath and Beyond with magnets, they're making sure that their purchases will work.)

I don't ever want to have a regular electric cooktop again, whether smoothtop or those awful coils, but if I couldn't tolerate gas, we'd go induction.

Otherwise, my vote is for a new gas dual-fuel range.
Last edited by bayview on Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by cricket49 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:25 pm

I would replace it since you got 10 good years out of it.

Based on your post it seems you want to go back with propane which might be your best route. I replaced my oven a few years ago with a dual fuel - natural gas on top and electric oven. I was surprised the electric oven cooks so much better than my old gas oven. When we move in a few years, I will have to go with a propane cook top since natural gas is not available in the area.
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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by Miriam2 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:21 am

Replace - without question - don't mess with gas or propane.
There may be other problems with a 10-year old range. The repairman may not have found everything wrong. The $300 repair may be only the beginning.
For $500 more you have a nice new range.
Plus, the forum needs our retiredjg - can't lose you to gas :wink:

retiredjg
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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by retiredjg » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:45 am

Miriam2, you made me laugh!

I've decided to replace. Going to risk getting gas again even though I still don't know if I'm just super sensitive or not. I like gas better and guess I'll risk it. Could be a mistake, but I won't know till I try it.

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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:55 am

retiredjg wrote:Miriam2, you made me laugh!

I've decided to replace. Going to risk getting gas again even though I still don't know if I'm just super sensitive or not. I like gas better and guess I'll risk it. Could be a mistake, but I won't know till I try it.
With any gas appliances in the house you should definitely still invest in a couple of CO detectors if you haven't done so already (only talking $10-$40 depending upon which one you guy). It could save your life.

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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by Kenkat » Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:08 am

I know you have already decided to replace, but I was faced with a similar decision (same part) a couple of years ago on a 14 year old Jenn-Aire range and went the repair route. One, because the current gas ranges looked cheap to us (we have white and most of the focus is on stainless steel) and two, there's not that much else that can go wrong at this point - very few moving parts in a gas range.

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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by Kenkat » Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:11 am

I know you have already decided to replace, but I was faced with a similar decision (same part) a couple of years ago on a 14 year old Jenn-Aire range and went the repair route. One, because the current gas ranges looked cheap to us (we have white and most of the focus is on stainless steel) and two, there's not that much else that can go wrong at this point - very few moving parts in a gas range.

p.s. The dual-fuel approach sounds like a great idea if available.

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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by retiredjg » Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:50 am

I really would love the duel fuel option and it seems to fit my needs best. But they are out of my price range and I'd also have to have 220 wired into the kitchen which adds on more.

Wishful thinking smilie would be handy about now.

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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by retiredjg » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:02 am

DaftInvestor wrote:With any gas appliances in the house you should definitely still invest in a couple of CO detectors if you haven't done so already (only talking $10-$40 depending upon which one you guy). It could save your life.
I have not done this so far since I have nothing that would be burning overnight. Everything else is electric. But I suppose you are right and appreciate the reminder.

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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by pshonore » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:28 am

CO detectors are a good addition to a house burning any type of fuel (NG, propane, fuel oil, kerosene and even wood) be it in a stove, furnace water heater, etc.

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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:31 pm

retiredjg wrote:I really would love the duel fuel option and it seems to fit my needs best. But they are out of my price range and I'd also have to have 220 wired into the kitchen which adds on more.

Wishful thinking smilie would be handy about now.
I have a dual-fuel (came with the house) - personally I prefer a natural gas only stove, electric is a pain to bake with (lots of trial and error). :(
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whatusername?
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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by whatusername? » Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:10 pm

retiredjg wrote:Update: Repair guy says that the gas safety valve is not completely shutting off. Parts are $185 and labor is probably $100, so repair is near $300. New ones on sale (ends today) are about $800. Repair guy thinks the range is about 10 years old.

Opinions on whether to repair or replace?
If the new one gets the same BTUs and has a good reliability report from CR, buy it and don't look back.

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Re: Updated - Propane Oven Makes Me Sick - Repair or Buy New?

Post by retiredjg » Wed Jul 15, 2015 3:31 pm

Well, it's now pretty much a done deal. Missed the sale at Lowes, but Best Buy's sale lasted through today.

Appreciate the comments. :happy

I decided if I end up having to buy a table top convection oven, it will hold a chicken and that's the biggest thing I cook. That will still be cheaper than the dual fuel, even before running the 220 line in there to accommodate the dual fuel.

So many things in life are just like investing - put in your money and take your chances.

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