Just like this guy's, the color of my stove's flames were affected by the humidifier as well.
Why does this happen? Is it a good thing or a bad thing ?
The explanation I furnish below will stand or fall on the outcome of an experiment I and others here have suggested which is also outlined in my response. I promise to edit or delete my answer per the recommendations of the moderators here if that experiment shows it to be wrong.
Humidifiers that operate on the "cold" principle- mixing tiny droplets of water thrown from the blades of a fan with a blast of air- produce a mist of water vapor-enriched air mixed with the partially-dried remains of water droplets that are enriched in salts by evaporative attrition.
Those salt-enriched specks, when drawn into a hot gas flame, then emit light at frequencies corresponding to the line spectra of the salt constituents. In the case of sodium chloride (the most common salt in tap water), the sodium produces a yellow-orange glow when it hits the flame.
This phenomenon forms the basis of a chemical analysis technique called flame spectroscopy, in which a platinum wire is dipped into a solution containing an unknown mixture of salts, and then stuck into a hot flame. The colors emitted as the salts in the solution are heated are then used to identify the chemical constituents of those salts.
(Since sodium is ubiquitous, and this test is so sensitive to it, the platinum wire must be dipped in hydrochloric acid, heated to redness, quenched in the acid again and reheated several times to rid it of sodium before running the test on the sample.)
This mechanism can be ruled in our out by observing the flame through a grating that separates out the primary sodium line and I invite anyone here who has a gas range (which I do not) and a grating (which I also do not, sorry) to perform the experiment and report back to us here.
Since any dust in the kitchen would likely have salt in it, if the humidifier fan is blowing dust into the flame it would make the flame yellow as well. This can be tested by running the humidifier without water in it.
OK, this question appears to have generated some controversy. On the one hand is the answer by niels nielsen (currently accepted), which implies that the orange color is from sodium. On the other hand is the answer by StessenJ, which implies that the orange is normal black body radiation from the soot. Plus there are lots of commentators arguing about rightness or wrongness of the sodium answer.
The only good way to settle the matter is an experiment. I did it, with some modifications. First, instead of gas stove I used a jet lighter (ZL-3 ZENGAZ). Second, instead of humidifier I used a simple barber water spray. The third necessary component is a diffraction grating, a cheap one I had bought on AliExpress. I inserted it into colorless safety goggles to avoid necessity for a third hand.
When I lit the lighter I saw a set of images in the first diffraction order: violet, blue, green, yellow and some blurred dim red. So far consistent with the spectrum of blue flame given on Wikipedia. Then I sprayed water in the air, simultaneously moving the lighter trying to find the place where the flame will change color. As the flame got orange jets instead of initial blue, I noticed orange image of the flame appear between red and yellow images in the diffraction grating.
Below is a photo I could take with the grating attached to a photo camera's lens, having mounted the camera on a tripod and holding the lighter and spray in both hands while 10s exposure was in progress (sorry for bad quality). Notice the yellow/orange (colors are not calibrated) tall spike at the RHS: that is the part only present in the orange flame. (The jet indeed became visibly taller when it changed its color to orange.)
From this follows that the orange color indeed comes from sodium, otherwise the orange flame's image would be much wider and spread into multiple colors like the flame from a candle or a non-jet lighter.
The readers are welcome to replicate this experiment.
OK, I've managed to measure some spectra using my Amadeus spectrometer with custom driver. I used 15 s integration time with the flame about 3-5 cm from the SMA905 connector on the spectrometer body.
Below the two spectra are superimposed, with the blue curve corresponding to the blue flame, and the orange one corresponds to the flame with some orange. I've filtered the data with 5-point moving average before plotting. The spectrometer has lower sensitivity near UV and IR, so disregard the noise there.
(Click the image for a larger version.)
What's worth noting is that not only the sodium 590 nm line is present in the orange flame, but also two potassium lines – 766 nm and 770 nm.
Just tried the same with a humidifier instead of the spray. The result with filtered tap water is the same: orange flame with sodium peak. With distilled water, although the experiment with the spray still resulted in orange flame (basically the same as with tap water), with the humidifier I got no orange at all.
Anyway, in no one case was I able to make the lighter emit continuous spectrum. Whenever I got orange flame, it always appeared to be sodium D doublet, not continuous spectrum.
The accepted answer is not correct.
I have a gas stove in the basement which I have to do periodic maintenance on. This requires you to remove a bunch of fake logs, which are made out of some very lightweight material, I think something similar to rockwool but more solid. After maintenance I turn it on to be sure it's still working, and noticed that if the "logs" are not in, the flame is pure blue. This piqued my interest, so I replaced the logs and noticed that the flame turns orange after a short period, which corresponds visibly to the "logs" beginning to glow red. For instance, here is the stove shortly after starting (as quickly as I could run from the thermostat to the stove) and then again about two minutes later:
Not a huge difference, but you can see it. The flame along the front has no "log" over it so it remains blue. There used to be some rockwool insulation here but I removed it thinking it was left over from the installation.
It is not entirely clear how the "logs" do this, but it is clear this is purely due to the temperature of the flame. For further proof, I took these two photos of our cooktop:
As you can see, simply inserting something cold into the flame causes it to turn orange. Now a huge effect here either, but that's because I was one-handing the photo and the knife isn't properly positioned. The humidifier does this by inserting a mist of water over the entire area.
Little bit of every thing here. But I would certainly not ignore CO. Remember gas comes out under pressure, and if any passes through the heat of the flame before being completely oxidized, you get CO. Presence of sodium could contribute, I would test with distilled water first. But water droplets would cool the flame faster by drawing heat to evaporate. Get a CO meter, and open the windows!
The humidifier increases the percentage of water vapour in the air, which decreases the percentage of oxygen. The deficit of oxygen makes the burning of the gas less efficient, with the orange flame that also indicates a higher amount of CO in the exhaust gas.
Make sure to increase ventilation when you see orange tips on the flames.
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