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What the Color of Your Propane Flame Means

Date: September 9, 2021

Blue, Yellow, Orange…What Is Normal, and What’s Not?

propane flame color arizonaWhen you use your propane gas cooktop, you should always see a blue flame. That’s good, because it’s normal.

When the ratio of fuel to air is correct, there is enough oxygen for complete combustion of propane. Complete combustion results in a blue flame. This means that your propane is burning at its full heat, so you aren’t wasting any heat energy.

What a Yellow or Orange Flame Means

Orange or yellow propane gas flames give you a warning that your propane gas is not being completely burned. When these color flames occur on the burners of a propane cooktop, the cause is usually related to a burner being out of adjustment or blockages in the air inlet, such as from small, burnt food particles.

This results in decreased fuel efficiency. In complete combustion with a blue-colored flame, the temperature of a propane flame is 3,596° F. However, with a yellow or orange flame, the flame’s temperature decreases to 1,832° F. With only half the heat energy now at your disposal, you’ll probably notice difficulties caused by uneven temperature when cooking. For example, you likely won’t be able to achieve even browning or searing when cooking a meal.

This same inefficiency will result in higher energy bills if a yellow or orange flame is present in your home’s heating or water heating system. Who wants to wash clothes, cook, bathe, clean or heat your home using only half of propane’s power?

Even more importantly, yellow or orange flames can pose a safety risk. The incomplete combustion that causes these abnormal flames can lead to a carbon monoxide buildup in your home.

So, if you are seeing yellow or orange flames, or notice a build-up of soot or carbon around your burners, contact your propane service contractor as soon as possible and get the problem corrected.

More Safety Tips for Your Propane Gas Appliances

Propane is an extremely safe fuel, providing warmth and comfort in thousands of homes across Arizona. However, it’s always important that you pay attention to the operation of your gas appliances and make sure a proper maintenance schedule is always followed. You should always consult your owner’s manuals for what’s required. 

Having your appliances checked on a regular basis ensures safe and efficient operation. Besides making sure you get a professional evaluation of your appliances done, there are a number of safety tips you can follow on your own.

Here are just three, courtesy of the Propane Education and Research Council 

  1. Propane smells like rotten eggs or a skunk’s spray. Propane manufacturers add this smell to help alert customers to propane leaks. If you have someone living in your household with a diminished sense of smell (elderly relative, etc.), install a propane gas detector as an additional measure of security.

  3. If you need to move an appliance, contact your propane supplier or a trained professional to do this work. This is not a do-it-yourself task. You may inadvertently damage the gas connector. Older connectors can easily crack if twisted, which can lead to a gas leak. Plus, always remember that any time you disconnect and then re-connect an appliance, a leak-test must be performed to ensure that the fittings are secure. For the sake of safety, if you are renovating or otherwise need to move your gas appliances, please speak with your fuel supplier first. 
  4. Regularly check the outdoor vents of your appliances to make sure combustion gases flow unobstructed to the outdoors. Insects, birds, and small animals have been known to build nests in vent pipes. Use a broom (not a shovel) to remove any obstructions so you don’t cause any damage to the vents.

Please read more propane safety tips.

Your Propane Company Looks After You

Your professional Arizona propane company is strongly committed to training. This ensures that their employees know precisely how to deliver your fuel safely—and know what to do in case of a leak or other emergency. Many companies also have a well-trained force of certified propane technicians who have years of experience inspecting and servicing all types of propane appliances. 

If you have any questions or concerns about your propane appliances, please contact your local propane company and they will be glad to help.