Finding solutions for gas stoves that ‘bump on’ too easily

Some homeowners say the knobs on their gas stoves are so sensitive that even just lightly tapping the knob inadvertently could turn on the gas.

TEWKSBURY, Mass. — For Paul Zicko of Tewksbury, it happens all the time.

“You could look at it funny, it turns on,” he said.

Zicko is talking about his gas stove. He and his wife, Patty, just bought a Frigidaire gas stove in the fall. He said his stovetop knobs are so sensitive, he accidentally turns them on often. Sometimes there’s a flame, other times just the gas turns on.

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“There were times when it happened, I would go into my living room watch TV and the gas is on, and I don't even know it. And that's scary,” said Zicko

“I'm all the way down in my bedroom and I could smell something, I come out to the kitchen and I noticed that was on,” added his wife Patty.

Patty said she called and wrote the Attorney General’s Office and Frigidaire several times. She says the company told her other people had reached out with the same problem, but they weren’t doing anything about it.

That’s when the Zickos reached out to Boston 25 News, and they weren’t alone. Viewers also reached out on social media to say they were experiencing the same concerns with their gas stoves after watching this report in December about complaints over LG gas stoves.

(Boston25News.com Staff/Boston25News.Com Staff)

At that time, LG gave the Consumer Product Safety Commission basically the same response to every complaint: “LG manufactures this gas range to meet or exceed all relevant standards,” and, "LG takes very seriously the concerns of our customers and uses such feedback on an on-going basis to evaluate and improve our products.”

This problem with stovetop knobs isn’t exclusive to LG or Frigidaire, it happens with many manufacturers. Frigidaire’s parent company, Electrolux, says its range meets industry standards. On its website, Samsung actually addresses concerns with knobs accidentally turning on. Samsung also says it meets international standards and recommends a third-party product.

Trevor Lawson, created one of those products – called RangeSafe – because he wasn’t satisfied with the manufacturers’ responses.

“In this particular instance, this case, industry standards are not good enough. It needs to be higher,” said Lawson. “We’re trying to bring public awareness to the problem right now. Like we say, it happens to every single range that’s manufactured.”

Lawson was living on the North Shore when he came up with a solution.

“We came up with the RangeSafe knob, which you can’t turn unless you pinch the sides, then push in, then make the turn,” he said.

His company’s replacement knobs retail for about $25 each and fit most stoves.

The Zickos opted for child-proof knob covers they found online. But Patty says she’s still so nervous, that she leaves her windows open now.

“A little bit every night and I leave my bedroom window open to have that airflow and some of those nights were pretty cold!” she said. “I’m not only scared for my own family, I’m scared for people, the kids and everyone else out there. Something has to be done. Nobody should lose their life over something that can be fixed.”