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Green Building News

Report Calls Gas Stoves an Unregulated Health Threat

Children run a higher risk of developing asthma when a gas stove is in the house

Gas stoves mean higher levels of indoor air pollutants that threaten health, according to a new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute. Cooking with an electric range is much safer. Photo courtesy Gregoniemeyer / CC BY-NC / Flickr.

Junk the gas range and go electric for improved indoor air quality and better health, a new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) says.

Gas stoves are a major contributor to indoor air pollution, pushing levels of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide to levels that would be unlawful under standards that apply to outdoor air, according to the report. Homes with gas stoves have nitrogen dioxide levels that are as much as four times higher than homes with electric stoves, with chances of children developing asthma 24% to 42% higher.

The report, Gas Stoves: Health and Air Quality Impacts and Solutions,” was developed in collaboration with Physicians for Social Responsibility, Mothers Out Front, and the Sierra Club. It draws on a number of studies already on the record.

Although a “robust body of scientific research” shows that pollutants released by gas stoves can adversely affect health and worsen respiratory conditions, indoor air pollution is mostly unregulated, the report says. While establishing permitted pollution levels outdoors and in the workplace, the federal government has established no standards for small particulates and carbon dioxide inside the home.

Everyday use of a gas stove can elevate nitrogen dioxide concentrations to levels well above those set for outdoor air by U.S. and world health organizations. According to the report, for example, baking a cake or roasting meat in the oven pushes N02 concentrations to two or three times the 100 parts per billion limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for outdoor air. Even boiling water pushes levels of the pollutant to nearly double the EPA standard.

The potential for poor health is especially disturbing for children, the report says, because they have higher lung surface-to-body weight ratios and smaller bodies, and because their respiratory and immune systems are immature.

Health impacts may include increased risk of childhood asthma, learning deficits, wheezing, coughing, difficulty in breathing and greater risk of lung infections. Low-income households also may be at higher risk and show more cases of asthma than would be expected.

“Regulators have largely failed to act despite the fact that data accumulated for decades is publicly available,” the report said.

Gas use is widespread

About half of all U.S. homes use gas for heating, cooking, and other energy needs, with some 35% cooking primarily with gas. On average, people spend nearly 90% of their time indoors, where air quality is often worse than it is outdoors.

“The US EPA states that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five, and occasionally more than 100 times higher than outdoor air pollution levels,” RMI says. “While outdoor emissions of six criteria air pollutants have decreased by 74 percent since the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970, no federal regulations or guidelines have addressed indoor air pollution.”

Other findings and recommendations include:

  • Older, poorly maintained, and poorly vented stoves are linked with higher N02 emissions. Stove with pilot lights are another source of contaminants.
  • Even small increases in short-term exposure to N02 can increase the risk of asthma in children. A threshold for safe levels of the pollutant have not been established, and documented health effects occur at levels “well below” the EPA’s outdoor air standards.
  • Higher concentrations of people living in smaller housing units contribute to higher levels of N02, making the problem more acute in lower-income, multifamily buildings. In some cases, low-income families use gas ovens for heat because central heating systems are inefficient or broken.
  • Gas water heaters, furnaces, and clothes dryers must be vented to the outdoors, but no uniform venting requirements exist for gas stoves. Even in states where gas stoves must be vented, there are no comprehensive standards to make sure a ventilation fan is effective or is turned on automatically when pollution levels get too high.
  • Exhaust hoods that recirculate air rather than vent it outdoors do not uniformly remove pollutants, especially from burners at the front of the stove. Even with hoods that vent to the outdoors, performance varies widely. “For units that have been tested,” the report notes, “most fail to capture more than 75 percent of pollutants and those that do are often noisy.”

Electric cooking is the cleanest possible cooking option, the authors say, because they do not emit high levels of combustion pollutants and are inherently cleaner than gas appliances.

Replacing a gas stove with an electric stove decreased N02 concentrations by 51% in one study and helped to reduce the contaminant throughout the house, not just in the kitchen.

Citing standards adopted in Canada in 2015, the RMI study made a number of policy suggestions. They included an appeal to the Consumer Product Safety Commission to set science-based guidelines for nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide, and require manufacturers to certify that any new gas stove won’t expose people to harmful levels of the pollutants.

“It’s time to address the root cause of much of the home’s indoor air pollution: the gas stove,” the report says. “Moving from gas to electric stoves can help protect the most vulnerable populations, including children and the elderly.”


Scott Gibson is a contributing writer at Green Building Advisor and Fine Homebuilding magazine.

57 Comments

  1. Malcolm Taylor | | #1

    Scott,

    Thanks for this. Rather illogically I had alway assumed the risk was only from cooking on the stove-top, and that it could be mitigated with a sufficiently sized range-hood. But I never associated the problems with using the oven - and who runs their range-hood while baking a cake or making stew?

    1. rdanomly | | #2

      After working in the Weatherization field, testing cook stoves for CO (both ovens and the stove tops) you quickly see that the ovens are the bigger threat to IAQ from a CO standpoint. I've made it a point to use my exhaust fan when using the oven much more so than using the stove top.

      More often than not, the gas ovens produced much higher CO ppm than the gas stove top, and was often on for much longer periods of time making it more hazardous. I didn't give much thought about the other flue products from the gas burners. The threat of CO was enough to concern me into turning on the exhaust fan.

    2. John Clark | | #4

      Don't worry. The RMI will team up with PETA and release a study which proves that cooking meat "can" cause cancer and baking wheat "might" cause diabetes or some other nonsense which must be regulated out of existence.

      I wish these outfits would just skip right on over to eugenics and population control. I'll make sure their kids are in line for sterilization.

  2. John Clark | | #3

    I'm going to call BS. Their story is full if innuendo, peppered with "can do" "can cause" blah blah blah. Create a "health risk" in order to regulate a fuel source out of existence in order to fulfill an environment goal.

    Did RMI look at asthma rates across various levels of household income and then find out how many of those household had gas stoves? Unlikely.

    Correlation is not causation RMI. I suspect they know that but they've created a "study" which will get parroted over and over again.

    1. Joshua Van Tol | | #5

      John, there are studies that correlate higher levels of outdoor pollution of those same pollutants with adverse health effects. It's not too much to ask to assume that having high levels of those same pollutants indoors would be a bad thing. Your comment #4 is really over the top, not sure what you're doing there other than ranting.

      As an aside, I've measured CO2 levels in my own home while baking with a gas oven. While CO2 isn't really "dangerous" per-se, it was present in levels that were worrying to me during an average baking session. I would commonly see the house levels rise to 2500 ppm or more over the course of a 2 hour baking session (pre-heat + bake). 2500 ppm is more than enough to make people drowsy and has been shown to effectively reduce peoples ability to concentrate.

      I've since switched to all electric, and couldn't be happier.

      1. John Clark | | #10

        Duration of exposure is just as important. For how long are the levels sustained and where are the concentrations the highest? There is no doubt that gas appliances pollute more but proving causation is tricky.

        I'd argue that tending an outdoor BBQ or an outdoor fire pit is infinitely more detrimental to ones health due to the high PM2.5 emissions but nobody is trying to ban these activities....Yet.

        Also one has to be careful when comparing outdoor limits to indoor readings. Outdoor limits are for all intensive purposes mean sustained exposure unlike indoor readings.

        1. Joshua Van Tol | | #14

          I saw sustained high levels of CO2 for many hours after the baking was done.

  3. Nathan Scaglione | | #6

    “Like coronavirus, gas stove pollution..."

    Is this science or activism?

    1. User avater GBA Editor
      Martin Holladay | | #7

      Nathan,
      "Activism" has no negative connotations for me.

      The sentence you quote from is as follows: "“Like coronavirus, gas stove pollution may affect lower-income families disproportionately,” said Dr. Robert Gould, president of PSR-San Francisco Bay Area and associate adjunct professor at University of California San Francisco School of Medicine." What aspect of the sentence are you challenging?

      1. Nathan Scaglione | | #8

        If you are an activist that designs a computer simulation it is going to be designed in a way that fits your preconceived notion of what the truth is.

        1. User avater GBA Editor
          Martin Holladay | | #9

          Nathan,
          Dr. Robert Gould has a medical degree, and was therefore trained to respect the scientific method. You are suggesting that Dr. Gould allowed his innate activism to affect his professional work.

          First of all, let's make it clear that there is no evidence that Dr. Gould is an activist; you're the one who suggested that. But when a scientist is an activist, it's more likely that the data led the scientist to become an activist, rather than your suggestion -- namely, that a form of corrupt activism led to data falsification.

          1. Nathan Scaglione | | #11

            "But when a scientist is an activist, it's more likely that the data led the scientist to become an activist"

            More likely? That doesn't sound axiomatic.

          2. User avater GBA Editor
            Martin Holladay | | #13

            Nathan,
            I made an observation based on the behavior of physicians I know -- all of whom respect the scientific method. I never claimed to be stating an axiom. That said, I stand by my statement: a physician is more likely to be led by the data than to falsify the data.

          3. Tom May | | #32

            4 out of 5 dentist recommend colgate....all of which work for colgate....you gotta wonder what that 5th dentist knows....

  4. Eric Habegger | | #12

    You'd think from reading comments from people objecting to this article that there was some basic logic error in the results the scientists were reporting.. Why else would some people object so much? But maybe there is another reason that has to do with some individual's propensity to double down on a losing side. It is known that people often need to justify their sunk costs by continuing to proceed In the same direction even after evidence confirms a new direction was needed.

    The evidence against gas ranges, and especially gas ovens, for poor air quality isn't at all surprising. It's the simple chemistry of combustion of hydrocarbons in the confined volume of a home. What should be more surprising is that everyone hasn't already come to the proper conclusion that gas combustion indoors is just bad for people. What accounts for that is that knowledge isn't like a frictionless fluid. It is more like a fluid poured onto a variegated surface that has polished and rough parts. The fluid will flow over the smooth parts and will quickly be wetted. But other parts will be dry until they finally become completely submerged.

    What accounts for that lag in human awareness of conditions that need to be remedied? Two things: sunk costs and the resistance to changing the way things always have been done in the face of new information.

    1. John Clark | | #15

      "What should be more surprising is that everyone hasn't already come to the proper conclusion that gas combustion indoors is just bad for people"

      - What's is surprising is that your claim is entirely false.

      I have yet to find a report which proves a direct link between emissions from gas stoves/appliances and something such as asthma. "Could" "Might" "Can" is completely different than "Does". For example, MTBE does cause cancer. Asbestos DOES cause mesothelioma.

      Asbestos and MTBE were banned from the market because of what they do, not what they "could" do. But hey, if ones goal is to continue to ban NatGas then "might" meets the same burden as "does".

      1. Eric Habegger | | #16

        I think you are confused by what I said. The preponderance of the evidence is that the unvented burning of hydrocarbons in the enclosed volume of the home IS bad. Even the elevated CO2 that has been documented by another commenter IS bad. I have no reason to think that your quibbles on the accuracy make any logical change in that. The vast preponderance of the evidence on purely logical grounds is that unvented combustion products inside the home is bad for you. It is a well known tactic to try to take apart a single facet of an argument to prove the whole argument is wrong. That won't work here. It does not change the fact the indoor effects of open combustion can only be detrimental in the "aggregate". I'm sure the defenders of smoking cigarettes would recognize your piecemeal effort to dismantle the evidence against smoking. That argument only works on the gullible.

        1. John Clark | | #17

          Open wood burning fireplaces are bad for our health. Unvented fireplaces are bad for our health because of how long they operate. There's a direct link between smoking and cancer. Not so much with the intermittent use of a gas stove at least not yet.

          I earned a bachelors in Enviro Science from SPEA (IU Bloomington) which at the time was one of the more progressive schools. I'm well aware of the tactics used by the more aggressive environmentalist so don't try to lecture me. I know incrementalism when I see it.

          I can see it now. "Poor people with gas stoves have more health problems, ban these stoves!". What the study won't know or will conveniently omit is that the health problems arose because the poor are more likely to use gas stoves as a temporary heat source since it's cheaper to run vs the inefficient furnace. So instead of addressing the problem of an inefficient primary heat source activist want to ban gas stoves.

          1. rdanomly | | #22

            Ah, another Hoosier! I received my degree in Urban & Regional Planning from Ball State, just up the road a piece before working in Wx. I think a more practical take on the research would be to look at how poorly most spot ventilation functions in kitchens in existing homes (which is one of the recommendations stated in the article).

            We never had to resort to banning cook stoves when we came across one making dangerous levels of indoor pollutants. Good client education about using fans (that were vented to the outside) and opening a window was SOP. Along with cleaning burners, or, if the stove was beyond the help of cleaning, replacing with a new gas cook stove.

            It was important to get the IAQ part correct, because more often than not, good air sealing made those Wxed homes tighter than they were prior to being Wxed.

          2. Calum Wilde | | #25

            What would be so wrong with banning unvented combustion appliances in homes? It's inherently harmful to breathe combustion gases, that has been proven time and again. The fact that they are in a home changes nothing of that. It's not like that extreme measure would mean people can't cook. People have been cooking on electric stoves and in electric ovens for decades.

    2. Tom May | | #28

      rdanomly, your last sentence says it all. IAQ was never a problem when houses were allowed to breath. We used to open our windows for some fresh air, I still do. Now our houses have to wear a big mask to keep out the invisible bad air, and keep that stale in. I hope these tight house people never throw a party with more than ten people because that will offset the amount of co2 inside and the whole house will have to be implemented with fresh oxygen. I would love to see all these tight house people sleep with their heads under the blankets just to see how their house feels.

      1. Yupster | | #29

        IAQ was never a problem...as long as the wind was blowing "fresh" air through the dirty old cracks in my building that day. Hopefully it's not a cold wind. Or a humid wind. But phooey on comfort, that's for saps anyway! I still open my windows for fresh air on a nice spring day, but when it's -10°C (or -anything really) I'm really grateful I don't have to choose between fresh air and being warm and cozy.

      2. User avater GBA Editor
        Martin Holladay | | #30

        Tom,
        Ah, the good old days -- when indoor air was filled with floating asbestos fibers from the steam pipes in the basement, and lead dust from the paint on the double-hung window jambs. Those were the days!

        1. Tom May | | #31

          Yet we are still alive and perhaps stronger from our bodies developing resistance and building immunities to such things.
          I guess going outside with all that dirt blowing around is now a no-no. I'd rather have fresh air than being all warm and cozy, you can't have the latter without the former.

          1. Yupster | | #33

            Except for the people who are, you know, dead from it. But I doubt we will hear from them. I won't even get into how it's impossible to build immunity to lead and asbestos. When you are outside, fresh air doesn't have large doses of harmful particulate. If it does (hello Beijing!) it definitely is a no-no and requires masks even outdoors.

            As per fresh air and comfort, I'd rather have both, which I totally can have, 24/7, 365! I would encourage you to reconsider how you view fresh air, since most of use spend 90% of our time indoors. At least 8 hours if you are sleeping indoors. New ways of doing things aren't always right or good, but if you take a hard look at this particular issue, I think you'll see it makes good sense.

          2. Tom May | | #34

            As a plumber i've worked around asbestos boilers and insulated pipes and dealt with lead as well. Still healthy. Those who had asbestos issues were those who worked with it daily, mostly those who were involved with mixing and breathing the dust daily. Same goes for lead, smelting and processing and being exposed on a daily basis. A block of lead sitting in your living room won't kill you. There are other products today that impose the same health risk, from modern construction products, cement products, not to mention all the chemical products. Heck even to much water can kill you. Sorry for all those who spend their days indoors and will eventually suffer from anxiety, laziness, fatigue and a lack of fresh air and sunshine.

  5. Eric Habegger | | #18

    "I can see it now. "Poor people with gas stoves have more health problems, ban these stoves!". What the study won't know or will conveniently omit is that the health problems arose because the poor are more likely to use gas stoves as a temporary heat source since it's cheaper to run vs the inefficient furnace. So instead of addressing the problem with an inefficient primary heat source activist want to ban gas stoves."

    That seems a little paranoid to me. I was only thinking about the individuals at GBA. Many of them are here for information on building new homes. Others are here to remodel their homes. I think it is in their interest to use the best science currently available on their work going forward. That means eliminating things that create unvented combustion products. Are those the poor people doing the building the ones you are referring to? It seems to me you are ascribing negative qualities to the messenger to try to eliminate the force of the messenger's arguments.

    1. Tom May | | #37

      Well a lot of "modern" science isn't for the benefit of mankind.....especially when profits outweigh the benefits.......if you can't put a meter on it.......

  6. User avater
    Peter Engle | | #19

    The visceral responses to this blog are remarkable. This is still the Green Building Advisor, right? And IIRC, part of "green" building is trying to build homes with good IAQ?

    So it's easy to measure the products of combustion of natural gas ranges in a home. Lots of people have done so. I've done it myself many times, for CO and CO2. Every decent energy audit includes combustion gas testing, and most of them show ovens putting out too much CO. The levels of CO and CO2 after an oven has been run for an hour or two are much higher than the recommended exposure levels for either gas, from any authoritative source, unless the house is really big or really well ventilated. I haven't measured NOx as they discuss in this study, but knowing that NOx is always a byproduct of burning hydrocarbons in air, this is not surprising. It shouldn't be up for debate whether these are bad for you - the adverse effects of exposure to high levels of all of these gases is well documented in the literature. It also shouldn't be up for debate that the levels of these are lower in a house with an electric range than with a gas range, as there are no POC from the electric range.

    You don't have to show that 300ppb of NOx that came from a gas oven is bad for people. There are lots of studies that show 300ppb of NOx is bad for people, and there are studies that show houses with gas ovens can easily exceed 300ppb of NOx. It is an entirely reasonable application of both logic and science that allow this association. Breathing bad stuff is bad for you. More bad stuff is worse for you.

    When I started studying IAQ, I was surprised the first time I heard how much bad stuff can come off of gas ranges and ovens. That was about 20 years ago. This shouldn't be a surprise anymore. FWIW, I still like cooking with gas. I like cooking with smoke, too, but I do that outside. My wife has trained with world-class chefs and won't give up her gas range without a fight. But we're building a new, tight house soon and we're having that discussion. Nobody is trying to take away your freedom. But there's nothing wrong with pointing out, once again, that burning dinosaurs in the middle of your house might be a bad idea, and that you might want to think about that moving forward. Sheesh.

    1. John Clark | | #23

      As you are undoubtedly aware length of exposure matters. Just because an appliance which is used intermittently generates high levels of XYZ doesn't mean it cause all sorts of ailments.

      My issue with the article is that it attempts to create a link between emissions from gas stoves and asthma. Then use this alleged link to advance a policy goal of banning NatGas.

      It reminds me of a "study" that sugar producers paid to have done on the health effects of artificial sweeteners. I believe it was "Sweet n low" and for years it was labeled as causing cancer. The scuttlebutt was that humans would have to eat almost their body weight in the stuff for them to develop cancer. Nobody consumes that much product.

      1. Bryan Coplin | | #24

        "My issue with the article is that it attempts to create a link between emissions from gas stoves and asthma. Then use this alleged link to advance a policy goal of banning NatGas."

        Then just say that. It's possible to be skeptical of arguments or allege ulterior motives without vicious hyperbole about eugenics.

        1. John Clark | | #26

          These types deep down really do hate the poor and once you really drill down it's all about overpopulation with them.

        2. Tom May | | #38

          it's not hyperbole.....

  7. Norman Farwell | | #20

    I grew up in houses with gas stoves. The food was great and my mom wouldn't consider cooking on any other kind of stove.

    Years later I started doing energy audits and measuring CO and the readings were often alarming. And I realized how foolish we had been.

    We had somehow come to believe basic contradictory things--that "clean burning natural gas" (to quote the industry ad campaign that no doubt helped prolong our misunderstanding) was fine in the kitchen while at the same time nobody in their right mind would be in a garage with the door closed and the car engine running because everybody knows cars pollute and CO is not good for you.

    It's odd to me that there are so many people who are threatened and scared by the idea that we would use science to create public policy that protects our health.

    1. Malcolm Taylor | | #21

      Norman,

      Two of my friends are chefs who also teach cooking at a nearby college. They have a mix of gas and induction burners in their classrooms. All the students are familiar with cooking on induction ranges, and I'd bet as that generation moves into the industry their experience will move with them. Gas is done.

    2. Tom May | | #39

      Well there is good science and bad science......or mad science....those who don't know about or will believe the bad science will truly suffer.

    3. Jason Volstad | | #52

      yes because gas ranges are the same as internal combustion engines?

      1. Malcolm Taylor | | #55

        What they have in common is that they release harmful particulates. So yes in some ways that matter they are the same as internal combustion engines.

  8. John Clark | | #27

    @rdanomly

    Yes, I think that major was available at IU-Bloomington. It was a great experience and there were a lot of smart people at SPEA. The school has since been renovated and I haven't visited in years. Funny story is that one of the well tenured professors was furious that the school contained an abundance of redwood paneling. The was an interior courtyard and the paneling was everywhere. Another ironic thing was that the school was located right across the street from a coal burning heating plant so you had a bunch of students studying Public Policy and Enviro Science under a tall stack with coal ash in the air. I have no idea if the plant has been decommissioned. I would assume so..

  9. Roger Berry | | #35

    So IAQ is not a concern, Tom.

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD is the major component of chronic lower respiratory diseases, which is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.1 The burden of COPD has continued to rise over the last several decades, especially in select populations such as women and in rural areas. source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6361472/

    Surprisingly healthcare and food workers seem to be the new coal miners.

    The estimated overall COPD prevalence was 4.2% (95% CI, 4.0 to 4.3). The odds of COPD were highest among workers in health care support occupations (prevalence odds ratio, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.25 to 2.14) followed by food preparation and serving-related occupations (prevalence odds ratio, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.20 to 2.06). source:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4555867/

    The 5-year mortality rate for people with COPD typically ranges from 40% to 70%, depending on disease severity, while the 2-year mortality rate for people with severe COPD is about 50%. Survival rates for people with severe COPD are, in fact, worse than those for people with many common cancers. source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/551088_2

    Now mix in the COVID virus and guess why the stats are not favorable to certain groups of people.

    People use to burn their food in the center of a hut with a hole in the center of the roof. We moved on as we were able to. Hope none of your loved ones ever become a COPD patient, even if by their own obdurate behavior.

    1. Tom May | | #36

      Yes IAQ is a concern, that's why I said to open your windows and let some fresh air in to replace all that stagnant, stale air. Nice stats...where did you get them....the internet.gov?

  10. User avater
    Armando Cobo | | #40

    Am I the only one that misses Riversong? He would have done a number here... ;-))

  11. Roger Berry | | #41

    Armando,

    I think someone had a big tasty bowl of Purina Troll-chow this morning. They seem very active.

  12. thrifttrust | | #42

    I'm in a quandary. I've got solar. I've switched to electric hot water. When I finish upgrading my airtightness and insulation I'll switch to a mini-split. I'll get an electric oven, but I have a hard time ditching the gas hob. Even home performance gurus Grace and Corbett Lunsford, who would agree with everything in the article, are putting in a gas cooktop in their new home. To be sure it will have serious venting with make up air, and will be tested to the nth degree, but it is essential to their quality of life. There is something primal about cooking over an open flame.

    1. Doug McEvers | | #43

      On most every new kitchen we use a gas cooktop with a combination electric oven. The wide range of heating temperatures with gas is the appeal.

  13. User avater
    Armando Cobo | | #44

    Just to throw it out there... Induction cooktops or ranges are 90% efficient, compared to 70% for electric and 40% for gas. All that means, that you can control the temperature on an induction appliance much better and precise than electric or gas. Inductions can reach temperatures of 665°F vs. 425°F for gas. Radiant cooking is also much faster, taking as much as 60% less time to boil water on tests. You can dial down the temps on an induction appliance to 100°F vs. 126°F for gas. In case you wonder, an induction appliance is much easier to clean, and last but not least, several manufacturers have added Auto-Sizing Pan Detection, YES!
    Inductions do have their downside, since it uses electromagnetism, it takes only pots with magnetic bottoms of steel and iron. Price is another no-no for most inductions, and way too many folks suffer from PCS, or “professional” chef syndrome.

    1. Doug McEvers | | #45

      Electrical generation and transmission line losses have to be factored in when making comparisons (from a global impact perspective) same with gas heat vs electric. If you are powering the induction cooktop with your solar panels you are cooking green.

    2. Jason Volstad | | #51

      In practice, this is not true. Most induction cook tops come with ridiculous and non user friendly digital interfaces with 1-10 numbered heat range selection that is borderline comically useless. Plus add in all the failure prone electronics etc and its just silly to suggest induction over gas for precision.I can wait the extra 40 seconds for my water to boil to have a reliable, user friendly experience.

      1. Eric Habegger | | #53

        I'd be interested in knowing if you've had a bad experience with an induction cook top? This isn't a rhetorical question. Is there a particular model of induction cook top that shaped your perceptions? I think this would help readers here to narrow their searches for induction cook tops or induction ranges. Thanks.

  14. User avater
    Armando Cobo | | #46

    So what are the costs of gas? Depending on the well type, the costs of drilling, casing and extractions are not only measured on $$$$, but “from a global impact perspective” as well… and they are not low.
    Natural gas contains mostly methane, oil, water, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen, hydrates and hydrocarbons, like propane, ethane, and butane. Some processing is done at the well site, but mostly at a processing plant. All impurities are required to be removed before entering the pipeline or transportation.
    Since all of our houses are ZERHs, and all but a handful of them have electric and induction appliances, as well as electric fireplaces, we don’t worry about huge expensive exhaust fans and MUA, and water prone fireplace chases. Win, win, and win.

  15. Tom May | | #47

    We have a couple of trash to energy plants here in NE MA.... pretty nasty places...One should look into other types of generation plants and see what types of harm it does to our environment. Until we take free electricity from the air as Tesla proposed or we can generate our own on site, generating plants and transmission lines will exist and have an impact and has its downfalls too as Doug points out.. Out of sight...out of mind or we are just used to seeing it and pay it no attention.

  16. Roger Berry | | #48

    Armando, re #44 - agreed and all in with the induction having safely recovered from the fight with spouse over not having gas. My argument was technical due to moving up to 8000' and not wanting to go propane due to remote location. The heat output of gas stoves drops with higher elevations where the induction is not affected. One problem common to both formats is the lower boiling point of water, about 198 for us. Spaghetti takes longer, rice seems pretty normal, dried beans forever. Pressure cookers are a must above 9,000.

    The heat output as you note is highly controllable, gets hotter and the top is 2 minute cleanup. The unit with the "any pan any place" idea we (I) rejected once I found out the per coil energy output. A large skillet didn't cover enough little coils to match the output of dedicated size coils. The higher individual coil outputs scaled per burner proved a better path. The basic GE one we got at HD was $1800, but still way better than the German and Swedish ones that were north of $3500. The pans left behind were not special and a super sale at JCP set us up all new for $150. No regrets, and I figured out how to do popcorn without scratching the top.

    The only thing we miss is being able to do a proper wok meal. The pan's heat is directly related to the mass and area of the ferromagnetic portion, which puts a wok pan shape wrong way round. There are now induction wok tops that look like a big sinkhole appeared, but the ones I have found so far are commercial units and very pricey.

    Speaking of pricey and PC syndrome, I discovered during my investigation of gas at altitudes that no one, not chef, not repairman, not salesperson had a clue about the need to replace the orifices on gas cooking appliances. One HVAC person new that furnaces needed to be set for high elevations. Even the sales person at a kitchen design center in an unnamed (famous) high elevation town had no clue about what I was asking. Seems that the rich don't actually use the big red knob thingeys.

    And Tom, #47 a technical correction. Tesla was pushing the idea of sending electricity through the air, kinda like wireless charging for the world. He still was generating the power, which then charged the giant transmission ball on top of the tower he built on Long Island. However, we do now get electricity from the air via wind farms, so that's good. Also seems a lot safer than what Tesla had in mind. Cars barely existed in 1901 so no one found out that stepping out of a metal car onto wet ground might have proven most "illuminating". A science show demonstrated it can work, just that the scaling up past a certain point would not be practical.

    1. Tom May | | #49

      I believe his towers acted more like a static electricity absorber that sent that electricity to ground from which power could be conducted. Pretty much along the lines of a van de graph generator but without the motor or static belt. Some believe that the great pyramid worked in the same way with a gold conductor at it's peak and a water filled reservoir below, (an ionic pool). Yes he also worked on sending electricity wireless as you say and we have been doing it, and still do it today, but is barely recognized as such, eg, radio, tv, internet, charging etc.

  17. Jason Volstad | | #50

    In a properly vented home with adequate air exchange via HRV etc this is a non issue.

    1. Malcolm Taylor | | #54

      Jason,

      That may be true, but it would be useful to have something to back it up. Any research you can point to, or is it just an hunch?

  18. Roger Berry | | #56

    To Eric on #53,

    I have not had a bad experience with my induction yet. The selection process was based on the pot sizes desired, total power per coils size and pattern/placement of the coils. One very odd thing surfaced when looking at different brands, the distance from the counter edge to the first pot location varies a lot. A number of brands have extensive control space dedicated at the front edge, often all the way across the width. On 30" wide models this pushes back the coil locations several inches from the counter edge, unlike generic gas stoves with knobs on the front vertical face. It also placed some coil locations so far to the back of the cooktop a short person might have a hard time reaching or seeing in. A few models cluster controls in a small center zone, one I think ran them down one side.

    The key thing to consider is how you already use a stove top. Do you use big pots often? Melt a lot of chocolate? Fry in a pan? My wife won the right to decide as I can barely cook. It was important to her that fry pans worked at the front, veggies could steam at the back and big soup pots would fit close enough to the front that she wouldn't need a stool to monitor things. She surrendered a bit on the big pot location, but at least the fry pan size coil is only 4" from the counter edge. The ultimate winner in our case was a pretty generic GE Profile 36" wide unit which can tie two coils together for cast iron griddles for pancakes or a long fish poaching pan.

    I cannot recommend cast iron directly on any glass top. We have myriad fine scratches even using proper induction ready cookware. A work around I came up with so I could make pop corn (and still shake the pot safely) was buying a set of those teflon sheets they sell for cooking on grills. They slip around a bit but no scratching from the pot.

    Power density of the coils is important too. Some fancy brands have staged power levels contained in one set of concentric circles. Only catch is the full power is only available to a pot that can cover the whole coil. That is the flaw with the any size pan version which hides lots of little coils under the top. You don't really get the full power of each coil when activated unless the pot is covering it fully. Plus the individual coils are not that powerful. We went with single power coils in every location and it works fine.

    Hope this helps a bit with deciding.

    1. Eric Habegger | | #57

      Hi Roger,
      Actually, I already own a range with inductive 4 burner top, a Samsung. It certainly fulfills my needs but I've only had It for about 6 months. No maintenance problems so far or any usability problems either. I love it. It works great and I'm completely satisfied. My comment and question was meant to serve the needs of others here that are contemplating the purchase of an inductive range. I just thought Jason's opinion was quite open ended and evidence free and that asking about his personal history of use with one was relevant and a non-confrontational way of getting to the bottom of it.

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