Is This Really The End for Gas Stoves?

In the past few months, we have seen numerous news stories pertaining to the potential ban of gas stoves used for cooking. So why is an HVAC company talking about gas stoves? We’ll tell you in a moment! First of all, we wanted to try and cut through the excitement, confusion and inaccurate info to share a review of the facts and only the facts: 

Fact #1: 

There are an estimated 40 million gas stoves in the United States and no, “the government” is not coming for your gas stove. However, several cities — and some states — are already moving away from natural gas as part of a growing decarbonization, specifically in new construction homes. This will make it pointless to buy a gas stove, even if they haven’t been banned. 

Fact #2: 

Gas stoves have been the subject of debate due to several recent reports that have indicated that emissions from gas stoves may be hazardous to your health. Namely, it’s causing respiratory illness and asthma. 

Fact #3: 

The air found in our homes (and businesses) is much less than ideal. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed reports that indicate indoor levels of pollutants may 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 certainly are not the only culprit. Others could be: 

  • Occupants Within the Home: People and pets at home produce carbon dioxide (CO2), odors, tobacco smoke and pet dander (a common allergen). 
  • Other Combustion Appliances: Other 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 unhealthy substances known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), another common indoor allergen, through what’s known as “outgassing.” 
  • Cleaning Compounds: Household cleaning products may produce VOCs or other chemicals. 
  • The Soil: Radon gas and stormwater runoff may enter the home via the basement or crawl space from the soil surrounding the home. 
  • Well-Insulated Homes: While there are significant energy efficiency benefits, homes that are well insulated are “sealed tighter” and as a result won’t have as much infiltration from fresh, outdoor air. 

Fact #4: 

There are well-known 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 generally followed these standards to identify minimum ventilation requirements and other measures so that you can decrease adverse effects on your health, resolving both health and safety problems for everyone. 

That being said, the final performance of your ventilation is not directly assessed or audited. Even if it was, it’s highly reliant on climate conditions outdoors, the square footage of the home and other factors. The actual ventilation performance in a typical home fluctuates widely. 

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 lower indoor air quality. Proper and consistent ventilation is the real answer to this debate. 

First, whenever you prepare meals with a gas stove, you really 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 leads to our next point. There are better whole-home ventilation strategies that will significantly improve your indoor air quality and home comfort while still enabling you to be the master chef in your home. Read on to learn more about the potential solutions for your home. 

Comparison of Whole-Home Residential Ventilation Options 

System Type  Advantages  Disadvantages 
Exhaust Fans  Basic and Inexpensive  Generally, manually controlled Not energy efficient Not the ideal solution for proper ventilation costs 
Outside Air Dampers  Fairly inexpensive Integrated 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 Proper Ventilation throughout the home Adjustable Automatic Ventilation  Pricey May need distribution ducting Installation may be problematic 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 option might be best for your home, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing at . 

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