Is This Really The End for Gas Stoves?

Recently, we have seen several news stories regarding the potential ban of gas stoves used for cooking. So why is an HVAC company writing about gas stoves? We’ll tell you in a moment! First, we wanted to try and cut through the excitement, confusion and misinformation to share a recap of the facts and only the facts: 

Fact #1: 

There are an estimated 40 million gas stoves in the kitchens of American families and no, “the Fed” is not coming for your gas stove. Yet dozens of cities — and some states — are already transitioning away from natural gas as part of efforts to reduce CO2, specifically in new construction homes. This will make it pointless to invest in a gas stove, despite what lawmakers are talking about. 

Fact #2: 

Gas stoves have been the subject of arguments due to some recent investigations that have implied that emissions from gas stoves may be hazardous to your health. Namely, leading to respiratory illness and asthma. 

Fact #3: 

The air found in our homes (and businesses) is much less than excellent. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed reports that indicate indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times — and on occasion more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels. 

Although gas stoves may contribute to poor indoor air quality, they are definitely not the only factor. Others could 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 fuel (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 emit harmful substances known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), another common indoor allergen, through what’s known as “outgassing.” 
  • Cleaning Compounds: Home cleaning products may produce VOCs or other chemicals. 
  • Nearby Soil: Radon gas and humidity may enter the home through the basement or crawl space from the soil around the home. 
  • Well-Insulated Homes: It may seem counter-intuitive, but homes that are well insulated are “more restrictive” and as a consequence won’t have as much infiltration from natural, outdoor air. 

Fact #4: 

There are well-known guidelines for residential ventilation and acceptable indoor air quality (IAQ) levels. These guidelines are more commonly known as the ASHRAE 60.2 standard. Local building codes have generally followed these standards to establish minimum ventilation requirements and other measures in an effort to minimize any harmful effects on your health, resolving both health and safety problems for the entire household. 

That being said, the final performance of your ventilation is not directly measured or audited. Even if it was, it’s highly dependent on the weather outdoors, the square footage of the home and other factors. The precise ventilation performance in your average American home may vary. 

Fact #5: 

It’s still entirely your preference. You don’t have to trash 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 poor indoor air quality. Proper and consistent ventilation is the real key to this debate. 

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

Which takes us 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 “Bobby Flay” chef in your home. Read on to learn more about the possible solutions for your home. 

Reviewing Whole-Home Residential Ventilation Options 

System Type  Advantages  Disadvantages 
Exhaust Fans  Simple and Inexpensive  Generally, manually controlled Not energy efficient Not the most effective for proper ventilation costs 
Outside Air Dampers  Fairly inexpensive Incorporated into the HVAC System Adjustable Automatic Ventilation  Not energy efficient May cause air pressurization inside the home May produce 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 challenging 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 these appliances and which system might be best for your home, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing at .