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I have a natural gas range. The cooktop part seems to operate normally, with the flames blue. But recently, the oven has been emitting a smell that smells like those forced air portable propane heaters. Best way I can describe it. I know what unburned natural gas/mercaptan smells like, and it is not that. When I look in there, it seems the flame from the burner is orange instead of blue, but I'm not sure if that's how it's always been or if that is normal.

I recently had to replace the igniter in this oven. This started after that replacement, but not right away. Could it be that the new igniter is not letting the gas valve open fully? Or is there something else I should look at?

The oven is a Hotpoint Model RGBS100DMWW.

UPDATE: I have noticed this smell now when the cooktop burners are on without the oven - at first I thought it was just the oven. The flames there are definitively normal, all blue and the normal length they always are. But I can smell the propane heater / kerosene like smell from those burners. Is it possible there is something contaminating the natural gas supply?

UPDATE 2: Turns out my oven flame was not orange. What I could see through the oven part was the orange glow of the igniter. The flames are perfectly blue, as I found a way to see them better through the bottom drawer. I think the answer regarding oil-based paints was correct here, whenever there was still a whiff of the varnish in the air, the oven would produce this smell. Now it has cleared out, and the oven smells normal again.

  • Have you done any painting recently or used any oil based solvents? – Platinum Goose Mar 13 at 14:05
  • Indeed, we have been applying varnish to some new wood trim in a different part of the house. – PhilippNagel Mar 13 at 14:09
  • That could be the cause of the smell. I primed indoors with oil base paint a week ago and I'm still getting the kerosene like smell. So now you just need to resolve the orange flame. – Platinum Goose Mar 13 at 15:09
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Yes, you have a problem! An orange flame, as opposed to a blue one, indicates too much fuel and not enough air (i.e. a RICH combustion condition) that is very dangerous. Excess CO is produced in this case and can be deadly.

Get a qualified service tech to correct this immediately and don't use the oven until it's fixed!

With respect to your igniter question. I think it's unlikely that the igniter itself is at fault but perhaps the gas valve was disturbed during the servicing of the igniter.

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  • Thanks! I found the install manual for the oven and it states that the flame color should be checked with the main oven door closed, looking only through the broiler door. I had checked with the main door open before. I will double-check this. They also show the adjustment procedure for the air valve, which I will take a look at. This doesn't answer my question though as to whether the new igniter could have caused an issue with the gas valve, or the weak igniter masked an issue before? Or is this not likely related to the gas valve at all? – PhilippNagel Mar 12 at 15:04
  • @PhilippNagel I updated my answer – jwh20 Mar 12 at 15:14
  • Thank you! I actually now noticed that the smell is also emitted from the cooktop burners, and their flames are normal blue, nothing unusual about them other than that smell. What could affect both the top and oven burners? They have separate valves and air mixers I believe. – PhilippNagel Mar 13 at 13:53
  • The supply to the unit. – jwh20 Mar 13 at 14:03
  • I've accepted your answer, since you would have been correct if my initial observations were correct. – PhilippNagel Mar 16 at 14:18

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