Is it 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 a heating, air conditioning and plumbing company talking about gas stoves? More on that question later. First, we wanted to try and cut through the drama, confusion and misinformation, and provide a summary of the facts, just the facts:

Fact #1: There are approximately 40 million gas stoves in the US and no, “the Man” is not coming for your gas stove. But dozens of cities—and some states— in a growing decarbonization effort are already moving away from natural gas particularly in new construction homes. This will make it useless to buy a gas stove, even if they haven’t been banned.

Fact #2: Gas stoves have been the target of controversy due to several recent studies that have indicated emissions from gas stoves may be hazardous to your health, more specifically leading to respiratory illness and asthma

Fact #3: The air inside our homes (and businesses) is much less than ideal. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) references studies 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 contribute to poor indoor air quality, they certainly are not the only culprit:

  • Occupants within the home: people and pets within the home produce carbon dioxide (CO2), odors, cigarette smoke and pet dander (an allergen).
  • Other Combustion Appliances: Other gas (or woodburning or oil) appliances such as space heaters, fireplaces, furnaces and water heaters
  • Building Materials and Furnishings: paints, carpeting, fiberglass, particle board and fabrics may emit volatile organic compounds (VOC's) by '"outgassing"
  • Cleaning Compounds: Household cleaning products may emit or VOC’s or other chemicals.
  • Surrounding Soil: Radon gas and moisture may enter the home through 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 “tighter” and as a result don’t have as much natural fresh air infiltration.

Fact #4: There are recognized standards for residential ventilation and acceptable indoor air quality (IAQ), which is more commonly known as the ASHRAE 60.2 standard. Local building codes have largely adopted these standards to specify minimum ventilation requirements and other measures in order to minimize adverse health effects for occupants within the home. But the resulting ventilation performance is not directly measured or audited, and, even if it was, it’s highly dependent on climate conditions outdoors, the size of the home, and other factors, so the actual ventilation performance in a typical home is uncertain.

Fact #5: It’s still your choice. You don’t have to rip out your gas stove and replace it with electric, and you also don’t have to choose between your gas stove and the resulting potential for bad indoor air quality. Proper ventilation is the key to this debate.

First, whenever you cook with a gas stove you should use the fan on your range hood so the products of combustion are safety discharged to the outdoors. But let’s be honest here, 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 solutions that will ultimately improve your indoor air quality and home comfort while still allowing 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
    Easy and Inexpensive
  • Typically, manually controlled
  • Not energy efficient
  • Not the most effective for proper ventilation rates
Outside Air Dampers
  • Relatively 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 negatively impact comfort in cold and more humid climates
Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV)
  • Energy Efficient
  • Balanced Ventilation throughout the home
  • Adjustable Automatic Ventilation
  • More expensive
  • May require 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 options and which solution might be best for your home contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning at 866-397-3787.