Separating Fact From Hyperbole
The internet, news agencies, politicians, and builders have all been talking about ‘Banning Gas Stoves’. We wanted to dive into this timely topic so our followers can cut through what is fact, and what is hyperbole.
Where It All Started
What brought this all to a national conversation recently was a statement by Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), commissioner Richard Trumka, Jr’s statement that the CPSC was looking into banning gas stoves in an interview with Bloomberg News. But that’s not where it started. A couple of years ago the California Energy Commission approved a building code update to support all electrical appliances and heating. The ban on gas appliances went into effect this year on January 1st. Now that is only effective in the state of California. The CPSC is looking into that rule to see if it could apply nationally. Outside of California however, there is no such rule. Several federal officials came out and stated they would not support such a rule.
That being said, you should know that nobody is coming for your gas stove, nor are ‘they’ planning to. Even in California, the new building codes apply to new construction only.
So, Why Are Folks Picking On Gas Stoves Anyway?
Glad you asked! We did some research to find out why and found there are some facts to consider. Emissions from gas burning stoves can be toxic. There are essentially two types of gases that pose a potential threat to our health. They are Nitrogen Dioxide, (NO2), and Carbon Monoxide, (CO). Both these gasses have been shown to contribute to asthma development. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), regulates the levels of gases such as this for outdoor exposure, but do not regulate indoor exposure. Another concern about gas stoves is that they can leak unburned gas into the home environment. So, there are reasons to be concerned about your indoor air quality with gas burning stoves. Having said that, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers made a statement that “a ban (on gas burning stoves), would fail to address the overall concern of indoor air quality while cooking, because all forms of cooking, regardless of heat source, generate air pollutants, especially at high temperatures.” The Association goes on to provide a direction of how we can best address this issue.
A good many of us have gas stoves of varying ages in our homes and enjoy cooking on them. And governing agencies are not coming to take them, what can we do to protect ourselves?
Well, There Are A Few Courses Of Action We Should All Take A Look At.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers suggests that in lieu of a ban, “a focus on increased use of ventilation is an effective solution to improve indoor air quality while cooking”. Ventilation of the cooking area is essential to maintaining a safe and pleasant indoor environment. There are several ways to accomplish proper venting. An overhead hood that vents to the outdoors is considered to be best. If your overhead hood simply filters the air and returns that filtered air to the indoors, you may want to think about improving on that by venting to the outdoors, or if not possible, making sure your charcoal filter is up to date. When venting directly to the outdoors is not possible, consider opening a nearby window and using a fan to vent the cooking area. Another possible solution is to trade out your gas burning stove for an electric stove. The recent Inflation Reduction Act includes a rebate of up to $840 when you replace equipment such as a gas burning stove with an electric stove. While the electric stoves do not introduce NO2 and CO into your home, the cooking still produce Carbon Dioxide (CO2), and fine particulates that should be vented as we mentioned above. So proper venting is still important.
If other states, or even the federal government should follow the trend towards all electric, new homes and businesses can expect to see some cost increases. One criticism of this trend is that lower income folks will be hardest hit, and home buying is hard enough in today’s market.
THE BOTTOM LINE
While we all may not agree on a course of action, the facts remain that gas burning stoves serve us better when proper ventilation is utilized.