Natural gas safety world > Using gas safely

How natural gas burns

When natural gas burns, energy is released in the form of heat. Three things are required to make this process happen properly in your home appliances: heat from a pilot light, the right amount of fuel and the right amount of air.

Pilot Light Safety

In some newer appliances, the pilot light is an electrical spark that happens only when you turn on the appliance. Or, the pilot light may be a small flame that burns continuously, using a tiny amount of natural gas as its fuel.

By the way, if you smell a slight odor of natural gas, it may mean that a pilot light has gone out, and you should tell an adult.

What Color Is Your Flame?

Ranges and other appliances are carefully adjusted to provide the correct gas-to-air mixture. A normal flame (steady, blue, and cone-shaped) means the gas-to-air mixture is perfect.

While flecks of orange are okay, if the flame is yellow, large, and flickering, the appliance may need a safety adjustment. Ask an adult to have it checked by a qualified repairperson. The exception is decorative gas appliances such as fire logs, which are designed to have a yellow flame.

Pilot light. A small flame or spark used to ignite gas at a burner. Most newer appliances have electric pilots; older appliances have a small permanent flame.
Fuel. A substance that can be used to produce heat.

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