Is This Really The End for Gas Stoves?

Recently, we have seen many news stories concerning the potential ban of gas stoves used for cooking. So why is a heating, air conditioning and plumbing company talking about gas stoves? More on that question later! First of all, we wanted to try and cut through the drama, confusion and inaccurate info to share a review of the facts and only the facts: 

Fact #1: 

There are close to 40 million gas stoves in the U.S. and no, “the Fed” is not coming for your gas stove. Yet dozens of cities — and some states — are already moving away from natural gas as part of a growing decarbonization, particularly in new construction properties. This will make it much less worthwhile to buy a gas stove, even if they haven’t been banned. 

Fact #2: 

Gas stoves have been the subject of controversy due to some recent investigations 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 ideal. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has studied this issue in-depth, sharing findings that indicate indoor levels of airborne pollutants may be two to five times — and sometimes more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels. 

Even though gas stoves may contribute to poor indoor air quality, they certainly are not the only culprit. 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 emit 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. 
  • Nearby Soil: Radon gas and humidity 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 “more restrictive” and as a consequence won’t have as much infiltration from natural, outdoor air. 

Fact #4: 

There are well-known standards for residential ventilation and suitable indoor air quality (IAQ) levels. These guidelines are more commonly known as the ASHRAE 60.2 standard. Local building codes have generally embraced these standards to establish minimum ventilation requirements and other measures in order to reduce 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 tested or audited. Even if it was, it’s highly dependent on the weather 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 pick between your gas stove and the potential for lower indoor air quality. Proper and consistent ventilation is the real key to this debate. 

First, each time 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 properly released out of your home. But honestly: 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 products that will dramatically improve your indoor air quality and home comfort while still enabling you to be the #1 chef in your home. Read on to find out more about the possible 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 most reliable for proper ventilation costs 
Outside Air Dampers  Fairly inexpensive Built into the HVAC System Adjustable Automatic Ventilation  Not energy efficient May result in air pressurization inside the home May produce excess moisture/humidity into the home May negatively 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 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 solution might be best for your home, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing at . 

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