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Is a pilot light dangerous?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

DH and I got an old 70's stove from a Freecycler and we're trying to figure out whether or not to spend the money to install the monster in our kitchen (we're going to have to move cabinets). 


Mom says she wants to buy us a new stove b/c the older model almost surely runs with a pilot light and it isn't as safe for the little ones as a newer model. 


So is a pilot light on a stove dangerous?  Should we get rid of the thing and just let Mom buy us a new one? 

post #2 of 5

I remember thinking it was freaky when I moved into my first apartment with a gas parlor heater with a standing pilot light. Then we had the really old match light gas stove. Now that was a little dangerous.


I live in an area with tons of 100 years old 3 deckers and many have pilot light heaters and stoves. I have never heard of a problem. But as far as actual facts, I don't have any.

post #3 of 5

Heh, I didn't even know there WERE gas stoves without pilot lights - well, except the oldest ones, which you have to light yourself, with a match! (And, yes, my parents once had such a stove! 1920s model. It did take some getting used to, but then it was fine).


Is your mother saying she'd rather you have an electric burner instead?


I haven't heard a thing about the pilot light being dangerous. Now, sometimes gas can be dangerous, but it's not the pilot light per se (in fact the pilot light being the safety feature in a way).

post #4 of 5

New gas stoves have a spark, or electric start (not sure of the name). When you turn the knob you hear a clicking, that is the spark that lights the burner.


post #5 of 5

The danger with the pilot light is that if it goes out, it's going to be leaking some gas into the room. I grew up in houses with stoves (and furnaces!)  with pilot lights, and I can tell you that you can smell the unburned gas before it gets to any sort of dangerous level. Especially with such a "slow" leak as a pilot light is.


The negative of an electric igniter on a gas stove is that (depending on the model) the stove may become unusable during a power failure. Mine's a cheapie stove, and it does flow gas even when the igniter isn't hot enough (or sparking), but many of the more expensive ones no longer flow gas until the igniter is hot enough to light the gas.

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