When it smells like gas, find the source, it's gas - leaking oven


Staff member
We have had our 5th wheel trailer for about 18 months. The first time we used the oven, we smelled gas and I looked and sniffed high and low but couldn't find a source. Every time we used the oven, it smelled like gas in the trailer. Not awful, but a distinct the distinct odor of mercaptan. There was never any odor when using any of the burners on the cook-top. The propane alarm never went off.

In December 2022, a little more than a year after buying the trailer, we had a small fire under the burners. I was able to blow it out and assumed it was something that had been spilled, then caught fire. It happened again the next day when we used the oven, but this time there was a flashover that actually lifted the skillet on the cook-top. A sustained fire was visible just above the gas knob for the oven. The only way a flashover could happen is if there was a gas leak somewhere.

I let the oven cool off then held a lit match in the vent near the gas knob for the oven and turned it one. Immediately I had flame and a lot of it. When I turned the knob off, the flame died. I found the leak and either I had to fix it or call someone to fix it.

Removing the top of the oven is about a 30 minute job and requires some contortion when you can get clear access to the rear of the oven. I did get the top off and found the gas pipe going from the valve to the burner, which is about a 1/2" pipe, to be completely loose. The pipe has a flared end that tightens onto a compression fitting screwed into the control valve. The threads of the nut where not even started. The whole time we used the oven, the gas line was just resting on the fitting. No wonder we could smell gas. The oven left the factory with an unconnected gas line. Not ok.

The flame would come out of the vents just above the center knob. The loose fitting is about 2" behind the knob.

When you smell gas, there is gas; find it and fix it.

The oven is made by Insignia https://www.insigniaproducts.com

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Staff member
Thread starter
WOW! Glad nothing bad happened.
Can you imagine how I felt when I found the leak? All of my rationalization that it wasn't really a gas leak, came right back to me in a rush. I felt kinda like I had gotten away with something.

That sounds incredibly dangerous.
I am surprised the propane detector didn't go off. Do you remember this thread:

We could barely smell the propane when the detector in the Airstream went off.

I'm guessing that the ceiling fan in the 5th wheel kept the air stirred up enough that the propane detector didn't see a high enough concentration of propane to alarm.

In both cases the propane detector is directly below the stove. Propane is heavier than air and it settles when it leaks. The difference is the ceiling fan. My theory.