If your heat has gone out, you might be wondering if it’s safe to use a gas oven to heat up the house. In this guide, we’ll talk about the ramifications of using your oven to heat your home.
It is not safe to use a gas oven to heat up your house. Gas ovens were not designed to be used as a heat source. When people use gas ovens as a heat source, they risk carbon monoxide build-up in their home, as well as causing fires, and risking burns.
Let’s discuss this in more detail. We’ll talk about the dangers of using a gas oven to heat your house and how you can stay safe.
Can You Use a Gas Oven to Heat a House?
People have tried to use gas ovens to heat their homes, but this often presents dangers that they don’t expect. Why do people want to use a gas stove to heat their homes? Usually, after someone loses power, they will notice that their gas oven is still working. This leads them to attempt to use the oven to heat their house.
However, they often don’t realize the unintended consequences. It is certainly important to stay warm, but the key is to prepare in advance to stay safe – you don’t want to rely on something that isn’t proven.
Reasons to avoid using a gas oven to heat a house:
- Carbon monoxide
- Danger of burns
- Danger of Fires
In the next sections, we’ll look at these a little closer.
The Danger of Carbon Monoxide with Gas Ovens
The first danger of using your gas oven to heat you’re home: carbon monoxide, or CO. CO is a deadly byproduct of incomplete combustion. This happens when something is burning, but it’s not burning with enough oxygen present.
If you leave a gas oven on for an extended period, the risk is that CO could build up in the house, resulting in serious injury, or worse. One of the most dangerous things about CO is that it’s undetectable – you can’t see it, and you can’t smell it. People who are exposed will begin to feel headaches, dizziness, nausea, and may begin to feel short of breath.
But why would CO build up when using the gas oven to heat the house, but it wouldn’t build up when using the stove regularly? Let’s talk about it.
Reasons gas ovens could emit CO:
- There will often be a power outage
- Some people will leave them overnight
- Your house will be tight
Let’s look at these things a little closer.
Gas Ovens and Power Outages
First, if you’re reaching for the gas stove to provide heat, then something has happened to your main heating system. In this case, it’s also likely that something happened to your power, and that all vents and oven fans are no longer working.
What does all this add up to? Lack of fresh air, and an opportunity for CO to build up. If your power is out, consider having a safe back-up heater. Also, if you have an approved and safe wood stove, then heating your house with wood heat is also an option.
Some People Leave Gas Ovens on Overnight
The next issue is that, even on normal days, gas ovens will emit some carbon monoxide. As it happens, if there’s only a little bit of CO emitted, then this can be vented outside through cracks in the doors and through established vents.
However, if the oven is left on for long periods of time, and there is no adequate ventilation, then it’s more likely that a deadly concentration of CO will build up.
Your House will be Well Sealed if It’s Cold
If it’s cold outside, you’ve likely taken steps to preserve heat. While this means your home won’t get as cold, it also means that you’re less likely to filter out any CO that might be building up.
As we said earlier, some appliances will emit a small amount of CO. This amount is usually so small that it won’t even be detected by a CO alarm. However, when the house is completely sealed, this small amount of CO can suddenly turn into a dangerous amount.
This is why it’s so important to ensure that you have a working CO alarm in your home. Check the batteries and make sure you’re all set. If the CO begins to build up to a dangerous level, then the alarm should let you know.
Now, let’s explore a few more reasons why it’s not advised to use a gas oven to heat a house.
Cost of Using Gas Oven To Heat a House
Using a gas oven to heat a home is inefficient, and if you were to make this a habit, you will likely see your energy bill rise.
The fact is that an oven was built for a job: cooking and baking food. When you try to push the oven to do something it wasn’t designed to do, you will end up using way more energy than you might have otherwise.
Ovens are not designed to heat your home and doing so could lead to huge increases in your energy bill.
Aside from the cost, there are many other dangers that come from using an oven to heat your house. Let’s talk about them.
Burns from Using Ovens to Heat a House
If you’re trying to heat your house with a gas oven, then it’s likely that you’re leaving the oven open and hoping that the heat will radiate throughout your home. However, there’s a big problem here – the open oven.
Unlike a fireplace or a heat vent – where the heat is controlled – leaving your oven open can present a serious burn risk.
If you have any small children or pets in the home, they may wander into the kitchen and accidentally contact with or fall upon the open stove. Further, it can be very easy for someone to accidentally touch a part of the open oven and burn themselves.
Simply put, ovens should not be left open and unattended. There’s a reason that you close the door when you use an oven – that’s the only way to control the heat.
Fires from Using Gas Oven to Heat Up House
Not only could you accidentally burn yourself, but leaving an oven open to try to heat your home presents a fire hazard. All it takes is for a wrapper or packaging to fall near the oven. Suddenly, you have a fire hazard, and you could risk starting a house fire.
House fires often become more prevalent in the colder months, as many people use risky methods to heat their homes. Here’s the thing: You must be very careful when trying to heat your home.
The danger of a fire is one of the reasons that people go through so many steps to ensure that heating systems, fireplaces, and wood stoves are built safely. You don’t mess around with heat!
Now, let’s talk really quick about how to stay safe and warm.
How to Stay Warm When the Power Goes Out (Without Using a Gas Oven)
If the power goes out, how do you stay warm? It might be tempting to use your gas oven, but as we’ve seen, it’s best to avoid this.
With that said, let’s talk about a few ways to stay warm if the power goes out.
How to stay warm without using the gas oven:
- Prepare. If you know you’re in danger of power outages from time to time, ensure that you have some safe alternative method to stay warm. Space heaters, when used correctly, can work. Also, think about installing a safe and effective woodstove or fireplace. Even a small one can keep you warm.
- Eat and drink warm foods. Keep drinking warms drinks and eating warm foods. While you don’t want to use a gas oven to heat your home, you can use it to heat up water or food. Just ensure you shut off the oven when you’re done, and don’t leave the oven unattended.
- Keep emergency supplies. Always have some emergency blankets and sleeping bags. You can buy a few of those small hot packs. Paired with a sleeping bag, these can help you stay warm if your heat goes out.
- Know the signs of CO. CO is odorless. The symptoms can vary, but there may be a headache, dizziness, nausea, and disorientation. If you notice that multiple people in the house are having the same symptoms, get outside and get fresh air. Call 911 if you suspect CO buildup or CO poisoning.
Now, let’s go over our final thoughts.
Final Thoughts on Using a Gas Oven to Heat a House
If you’re thinking about using a gas oven to heat your house, here’s what I would say: avoid this. The dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning are not worth it. Not only that but gas ovens were not designed to heat a house, so you’ll end up wasting energy.
Also, leaving a gas oven open to heat your home can lead to burns and fire hazards. Your best bet is to try to stay prepared and have a safe secondary heat source. If you’re in an emergency, call for help if it’s getting too cold – stay close to others, use a lot of blankets, and drink warm liquids.