I was cooking a few hours ago on my natural gas stove and accidentally didn't turn it off right, gas was coming out but there was no flame burning. I noticed the smell and turned it off, and opened all the windows with fans pointing out.

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Is it harmful to breathe in my apartment? Could turning on the stove again cause an explosion?


Next time around: Open all the windows, doors if you can, don't turn on/off fans or lights but turn off the gas right away. If you absolutely can't get it to turn off at the device, turn it off outside. This is a last resort, the gas company has to come out to turn it back on, but if you can't make the gas stop from inside your house you don't have much of a choice.

Depending on the what was leaking and how long it leaked, you'll want to let the house air out before trying to light anything again. My big wall heater says to wait at least half an hour with a window open before relighting an extinguished pilot light. A bigger stove probably needs longer. If you can't figure out what was leaking, don't try to turn it back on.

A common problem is for a pilot light -- a small flame kept constantly burning so it can light the bigger flames -- to go out, allowing a small but constant stream of gas to escape. Learn where the pilots on all your stuff is, and find the instructions on how to put them out / relight them. In my house the heater's pilot almost always goes out when vacuuming around it, no matter how hard I try not to get too close, so I've become very familiar with the procedure. It's not very complicated for most things, although it can be really scary the first few times. For the unfamiliar, it's the household equivalent of cutting a red/green wire.

And finally, as crazy as this sounds... find the manual for the stove and check if it has instructions for dealing with gas leaks. Most manuals have really detailed and accessible instructions for this, since it's one of a handful of actually seriously dangerous things the average homeowner encounters in their lives. It may contain useful information such as how to light and turn off the pilot, common places to check for leaks, and methods to identify them such as looking for bubbles in water droplets or checking for cold points with your fingers (totally random examples from other sorts of gas leaks).

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Actually finally, if you're in completely over your head, if your roommate has left all 4 burners on full blast under a flaming improvised deep fryer full of matches and he's stolen the emergency gas shut-off key... call 911. Situations like dangerous gas leaks and fire hazards are kinda their thing.