Why Does A Propane Flame Burn Blue?

Written on: July 26, 2021

Learn the Science Behind Propane Safety!

why are flames blue texasWhen you have propane in your home, you’re benefitting in a multitude of ways.

Propane provides outstanding energy efficiency for home heating and water heating. It also is great for cooking, whole-house backup generators, clothes drying, fireplaces, space heating, and outdoor living appliances such as BBQ grills, pool and spa heaters, firepits, outdoor fireplaces, patio and deck heaters, and more!

But, it’s important to know the basics of propane safety so you can ensure your appliances are operating both correctly—and safely.

Why Propane Flames Should Always Be Blue

Propane gas is colorless before it ignites. When the gas burns, it produces a different hue than other materials that burn such as wood or oil.

When the proper ratio of air to fuel is created, there is enough oxygen for complete combustion. The gas molecules in the flame are ionized and a blue color will emerge from these flames.

Simply put, full and complete combustion will create the blue flame you’re used to seeing—and at that point, your propane is burning at its full heat, so you aren’t wasting a single drop of propane gas!

Orange or Yellow Propane Flames Could Be Problematic

Orange or yellow flames on your propane burner means that the gas is not being adequately burned. When these color flames occur on a propane range, it is often due to spilled food and other debris blocking the burner.

This inadequate burning can lead to wasted fuel, which can ultimately drive up your energy costs. In complete combustion with a blue flame, the temperature of a propane flame is 3,596˚ Fahrenheit. With a yellow or orange flame, the flame’s temperature is only 1,832˚ Fahrenheit. Cooking with only half the heat caused by an oven’s heating element will alter your dishes, for example. There may be uneven temperature in your pan. You likely won’t get that nice browning or searing. Quick cooking foods like a stir-fry may not come out as well. Orange or yellow flames can cause your home’s heating and water heating system to operate inefficiently, which ultimately leads to high energy bills.

A flame that is yellow or orange can be additionally dangerous when working with supplemental propane appliances as well, as it means that there is not enough oxygen for complete combustion. This situation could lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide, which can potentially cause health problems if not quickly addressed.

If a propane appliance has yellow or orange flames, contact Pico right away. Our service technicians can figure out what is wrong and figure out what steps need to be taken to remedy them.

At Pico, propane safety is always a top priority. Get in touch with us if you have any questions about the safe use of propane—or questions about your propane-powered home heating system or appliances!