Is This Really The End for Gas Stoves?

Recently, we have seen a number of news stories concerning the potential ban of gas stoves used for cooking. So why is a heating, air conditioning and plumbing company writing about gas stoves? We’ll tell you in a moment! To begin with, we wanted to try and cut through the excitement, confusion and misinformation to present a review of the facts and only the facts: 

Fact #1: 

There are approximately 40 million gas stoves in the kitchens of American families and no, “the government” is not coming for your gas stove. But several cities — and some states — are already transitioning away from natural gas as part of efforts to reduce CO2, especially in new construction properties. This will make it much less worthwhile to purchase a gas stove, whether or not they are actually banned. 

Fact #2: 

Gas stoves have been the target of controversy due to some recent studies that have indicated that emissions from gas stoves may be dangerous to your health. Namely, it’s causing respiratory illness and asthma. 

Fact #3: 

The air inside our homes (and businesses) is much less than perfect. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has studied this issue in-depth, sharing findings that indicate indoor levels of airborne pollutants could be two to five times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels. 

While gas stoves may play a role in poor indoor air quality, they are definitely not the only factor. Others might be: 

  • Occupants Within the Home: People and pets at home produce carbon dioxide (CO2), odors, cigarette smoke and pet dander (a common allergen). 
  • Other Combustion Appliances: Other natural gas (or wood/oil burning) appliances such as space heaters, fireplaces, furnaces and water heaters. 
  • Building Materials and Furnishings: Paints, carpeting, fiberglass, particle board and fabrics may release harmful substances known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), another common indoor allergen, through what’s known as “outgassing.” 
  • Cleaning Compounds: Many popular cleaning products may produce VOCs or other chemicals. 
  • The Soil: Radon gas and moisture may enter the home via the basement or crawl space from the soil bordering the home. 
  • Well-Insulated Homes: It may seem counter-intuitive, but homes that are well insulated are “more restrictive” and as a result won’t have as much infiltration from fresh, outdoor air. 

Fact #4: 

There are formal guidelines for residential ventilation and suitable indoor air quality (IAQ) levels. These guidelines are known by industry experts as the ASHRAE 60.2 standard. Local building codes have largely embraced these standards to determine minimum ventilation requirements and other measures in order to decrease any negative effects on your health, resolving both health and safety problems for the entire household. 

That being said, the overall performance of your ventilation is not directly measured or audited. Even if it was, it’s highly reliant on the local environment outdoors, the square footage of the home and other factors. The actual ventilation performance in the average home is not easily determined. 

Fact #5: 

It’s still entirely your choice. You don’t have to say goodbye to your gas stove and replace it with electric, and you also don’t have to be forced to decide between your gas stove and the possibility for poorer indoor air quality. Proper and consistent ventilation is the real answer to this debate. 

First, each time you prepare meals with a gas stove, you should use the fan on your range hood so the combustion byproducts like smoke and CO gas are safety released out of your home. But let’s be honest: how often do any of us use the fan on the range hood? 

Which leads to our next point. There are much more effective whole-home ventilation strategies that will significantly improve your indoor air quality and home comfort while still enabling you to be the top chef in your home. Read on to find out more about the potential solutions for your home. 

Reviewing Whole-Home Residential Ventilation Options 

System Type  Advantages  Disadvantages 
Exhaust Fans  Easy and Inexpensive  Commonly, manually controlled Not energy efficient Not the most reliable for proper ventilation costs 
Outside Air Dampers  Fairly affordable Built into the HVAC System Adjustable Automatic Ventilation  Not energy efficient May lead to air pressurization inside the home May add excess moisture/humidity into the home May adversely impact comfort in cold and more humid climates 
Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV)  Energy Efficient Sufficient Ventilation throughout the home Adjustable Automatic Ventilation  Pricey May necessitate distribution ducting Installation may be difficult in retrofit applications 

So, why is a HVAC company talking about gas stoves? Well, the “V” in HVAC stands for “Ventilation” and “There’s an Expert for That”! To learn more about gas stoves and which solution might be best for your home, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing at . 

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