Blue Flame vs Yellow Gas Flame
Blue gas stove flames are good.
Red/Yellow gas flames... not so much...
Gas flames are normally blue but sometimes they burn red or yellow.
Natural Gas Blue Flame and LPG Gas (Propane) Blue Flame Colour - What Temperature is it?
A natural gas (methane gas) blue flame colour and an LPG (propane) gas blue flame colur burn in a different colour from other materials, like wood. For natural gas (methane gas) blue flame colour (Methane), the temperature is about 1,960°C.
With complete combustion, an LPG (Propane) gas blue flame colour burns at a temperature of around 1,980°C, which is 20°C higher than a natural gas blue flame colour.
You get a blue gas flame with a hydrocarbon gas when you have enough oxygen for complete combustion.
When you do have sufficient oxygen, the gas flame appears blue because complete combustion creates enough energy to excite and ionize the gas molecules in the flame.
Not having a natural gas (methane gas) blue flame or an LPG (propane) blue flame color, and having a yellow/red flame colour instead, could be indicative of an appliance problem.
Blue Flame vs Yellow Gas Flame Colour - LPG & Natural Gas Flame Colour
LPG - propane - and natural gas (methane gas) flame colour are both blue. A blue gas stove flame colour and temperature indicates complete combustion, meaning you aren't wasting gas and money.
Red or yellow natural gas or propane gas flame color may be the sign of incomplete combustion, wasted gas and a serious safety hazard.
With hydrocarbon flames, such as gas, the amount of oxygen supplied with the gas determines the rate of gas combustion, flame colour and temperature.
In all but exceptional cases, like decorative propane gas fireplace flames, you always want a blue gas flame colour from a gas appliance burner.
Flame Colour (Color) Temperature Chart
On the following gas flame colour temperature chart, a blue LPG - Propane gas flame color burns at a temperature of around 1,980°C. A natural gas (methane gas) blue flame colour burns at about 1,960°C.
A yellow natural gas or LPG - propane gas flame color is indicative of incomplete combustion and carbon monoxide emissions. Yellow gas flames only burn at around 1,000°C.
|Natural Gas (Methane Gas)||Blue||1,960°C|
|LPG or Natural Gas||Yellow||1,000 °C|
Temperatures are approximate.
Blue flame temperatures assume
Gas Fireplace Flame Colour
Gas fireplace flame colour is the exception to the rule. Gas fireplaces are typically designed to burn with an orange or yellow flame colour, not blue, for a more natural look.
Wood logs do not burn with a blue gas flame colour, so a gas fireplace is engineered to operate safely with an orange flame colour.
This means gas fireplaces break the rule of having a blue flame. They are also flued so there are no indoor emissions issues, should they produce some CO from the orange flames.
Gas Stove Temperature
Gas stove temperature is not the same as the gas flame temperature, which has a maximum of almost 2,000°C. The actual gas stove temperature range is typically from about 90°C to no more than 300°C.
And Why is it Important?
It does make a difference.
To understand all of this, we need to look at the background behind flames and combustion.
The amount of oxygen supplied with the gas is the most important factor in determining the colour of the flame.
Blue Flame = Complete Combustion
If you ever took a high school chemistry class and had a chance to use a Bunsen burner, you know how adjusting the air (oxygen) supply affects the colour and temperature of the flame.
When you adjusted the Bunsen burner to increase the air supply you got more complete combustion, less soot, a higher temperature and a blue gas flame colour.
With complete combustion, an LPG (Propane) flame burns at a temperature of around 1,980°C.
For Natural Gas (Methane), the temperature is about 1,960°C.
Gas + Oxygen = Water + Carbon Dioxide + Heat
Red/Yellow Flame = Incomplete Combustion
Again, remembering back to high school, if you starved the Bunsen burner of air, the combustion process was incomplete and the gas flame colour burned sooty red or yellow and at a cooler temperature.
The yellow gas flame colour is due to incandescence of very fine soot particles that are produced in the flame.
This type of flame only burns at around 1,000 °C.
Depending on the lighting, you may have actually seen the soot rising from the flame.
What you didn't see was that incomplete combustion was also producing dangerous carbon monoxide.
When comparing different gases, you will discover that they required different amounts of air for complete combustion.
To burn properly LPG (Propane) requires an air-to-gas volume ratio of about 24:1.
For Butane, it is about 31:1.
Natural gas (Methane) requires an air-to-gas volume ratio of about 10:1.
Incomplete combustion also results in hazardous carbon monoxide:
Gas + Oxygen = Water + Carbon Dioxide + Carbon Monoxide + Heat
Why is a Blue Gas Flame Safer?
A key warning sign that you require gas appliance servicing is a yellow or red flame or a gas flame colour with a yellow burning tip.
Other indicators include the accumulation of yellow/brown soot around the appliance, pilot lights that frequently blow out or an acrid smell and eye irritation.
The exceptions to this are gas fireplaces and gas log fires that are designed to have a yellow gas flame colour.
The above are all indications of incomplete combustion.
The result is that you could be wasting gas and/or generating dangerous carbon monoxide.
The latter is a serious safety problem, if it occurs with an indoor appliance.
If you observe any of these warning signs, you should schedule a service as soon as possible.
The burner should be cleaned and checked for proper operation.
Burners blocked with dirt can result in improper combustion, leading to soot build up inside the appliance.
What Colour Should the Flame be in a Gas Oven?
As with other gas appliances, the flame of a gas oven should burn with a blue gas flame colour.
The same applies to the flame color of propane or natural gas cooktops.
Why is There a Blue Flame in Burning LPG Gas and a Yellow Flame on Burning Wood?
The LPG (propane) gas flame colour appears blue because complete combustion creates enough energy to excite and ionize the gas molecules in the flame.
The burning wood has a yellow flame colour due to incandescence of very fine soot particles that are produced in the flame.
Depending on the lighting, you may have actually seen the soot rising from the flame.
Combustion and Carbon Monoxide (CO)
All gas appliances, domestic and industrial, produce water vapour, Carbon Dioxide and heat, and usually very small amounts of Carbon Monoxide.
If installed and maintained correctly, the operation of the gas appliance provides quick and efficient heating, cooking, hot water and more, and the products of combustion do not create any hazardous situations.
If an appliance is not correctly installed and maintained or has been modified, the products of combustion might change, and become hazardous to the people around the appliance.
Something as simple as a ventilation change (getting fresh air to the appliance to sustain complete combustion) may cause a gas appliance to malfunction, and create a hazardous situation for the people around.
Sometimes it is obvious when a gas appliance malfunctions.
Sooty smoke, red or yellow flames or poor performance are indicators, but sometimes no indicators are obvious.
If Carbon Monoxide (CO) is produced and escapes the appliance into the surrounding air, it will not be obvious (no smell and no taste) but will be very dangerous.
It is essential that gas appliances are correctly installed and serviced every two years, to maintain good combustion and safe, efficient operation.
How Does a Blue Gas Flame Colour Save You Money?
A blue gas flame colour connotes complete combustion.
This indicates that the gas is being burned efficiently without any unburned and wasted gas.
With complete combustion you get the maximum heat output from your gas and use less gas to generate heat with whatever appliance you are using.
You also minimise or eliminate the creation of carbon monoxide.
So, now you know why a gas flame burns blue and why it’s a problem if it doesn’t.
Keep an eye on your gas appliances and have them serviced, as needed, to keep them operating properly and safely.
Also follow the manufacturers' recommendations for periodic routine servicing.
Your family will be safer and you’ll save money, too.
Comments, questions or feedback?
The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.