Is This Really The End for Gas Stoves?

In the past few months, we have seen many news stories regarding the potential ban of gas stoves used for cooking. So why is a heating and cooling company talking about gas stoves? Hold that thought! First of all, we wanted to try and cut through the hype, confusion and misinformation to provide a summary of the facts and only the facts: 

Fact #1: 

There are an estimated 40 million gas stoves in the U.S. and no, “the government” is not coming for your gas stove. However, many cities — and some states — are already moving away from natural gas as part of efforts to reduce emissions, specifically in new construction properties. This will make it pointless to invest in a gas stove, whether or not they are actually banned. 

Fact #2: 

Gas stoves have been the subject of controversy due to some recent reports that have indicated that emissions from gas stoves may be dangerous to your health. Namely, worsening 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) references studies that indicate indoor levels of pollutants can be two to five times — and on occasion more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels. 

Although gas stoves may play a role in poor indoor air quality, they obviously aren’t the only cause. Others might be: 

  • Occupants Within the Home: People and pets at home produce carbon dioxide (CO2), odors, vape 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. 
  • Construction Materials and Furnishings: Paints, carpeting, fiberglass, particle board and fabrics may produce 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 moisture may enter the home via the basement or crawl space from the soil around the home. 
  • Well-Insulated Homes: Naturally there are energy savings benefits, but homes that are well insulated are “more restrictive” and as a result won’t have as much infiltration from natural, outdoor air. 

Fact #4: 

There are common practices for residential ventilation and acceptable indoor air quality (IAQ) levels. These guidelines are known by industry experts as the ASHRAE 60.2 standard. Local building codes have largely adopted 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 you and your family. 

That being said, the overall performance of your ventilation is not directly assessed or audited. Even if it was, it’s highly dependent on the local environment outdoors, the size of the home and other factors. The true ventilation performance in a typical home is not easily determined. 

Fact #5: 

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

First, whenever you prepare a meal with a gas stove, you ought to use the fan on your range hood so the combustion byproducts like smoke and CO gas are safety discharged out of your home. But to be candid: how often do any of us use the fan on the range hood? 

Which takes us to our next point. There are more suitable 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. 

Reviewing Whole-Home Residential Ventilation Options 

System Type  Advantages  Disadvantages 
Exhaust Fans  Easy and Inexpensive  Typically, manually controlled Not energy efficient Not the ideal solution for proper ventilation costs 
Outside Air Dampers  Reasonably inexpensive Integrated into the HVAC System Adjustable Automatic Ventilation  Not energy efficient May cause air pressurization inside the home May introduce excess moisture/humidity into the home May adversely impact comfort in cold and more humid climates 
Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV)  Energy Efficient Balanced Ventilation throughout the home Adjustable Automatic Ventilation  Pricey May need distribution ducting Installation may be difficult in retrofit applications 

So, why is a HVAC company thinking 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 option might be best for your home, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing at .