CHOICE membership

Gas appliances in the Home

Basically there is proof that burning gas in a house causes problems with air quality as per this US consumer organisation quoting official research

” In May, a literature review by the think tank RMI highlighted EPA research that found homes with gas stoves have anywhere between 50 and 400 percent higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide than homes without. Children are especially at risk, according to a study by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health commissioned by Sierra Club: Epidemiological research suggests that kids in homes with gas stoves are 42 percent more likely to have asthma than children in homes with electric stoves. Running a stove and oven for just 45 minutes can produce pollution levels that would be illegal outdoors.”

The article also reveals the dirty tricks the US gas industry uses to perpetuate it’s use.

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Well there is nothing new in this. You burn stuff, you get the chemical byproducts.
You could of course use a rangehood to extract the fumes to outside. In fact it would be a standard thing in a kitchen.

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I think that, having read the article, that most people are unaware of the increased incidence of asthma in households using gas as opposed to electric stoves.

" Children are especially at risk, according to a study by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health commissioned by Sierra Club: Epidemiological research suggests that kids in homes with gas stoves are 42 percent more likely to have asthma than children in homes with electric stoves. Running a stove and oven for just 45 minutes can produce pollution levels that would be illegal outdoors.

This data suggests strongly that unvented gas appliances are not a wise purchase particularly if you have children. Certainly for me it was a statistical revaltion worth making more public. Asthma is not a trivial illness.

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I can safely say that my lung issues have worsened considerably since moving into this house with only gas cooking (I have the option to have a gas heater, tried it for one season and hated it). I had been a heavy smoker for the first 7 years I was here, and expected improvement after I stopped… didnt get it. In the absence of extreme pollution, I think gas must be part of the problem. Wish I had thought it through when I had money. Now on a pension, cant afford to convert to electricity. Or rather the one quote I had to get it done was so huge I just gave up right away.

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This is another unintended consequence of the trend to ‘tighten up’ homes in the name of heating or cooling efficiencies.

My current circa 1998 home has leaky windows by modern standards, a few exhaust fans exiting into the ceiling cavity w/extractors, and a vented range hood over the gas cooktop. Remove some of those leaks and the difference it would make. Everything else ‘gas’ is external.

A dirty trick is in the eye of the beholder. Virtually every fossil based industry is self serving and spins or obfuscates for its own benefit. Most also are very generous to the right politicians and their parties. Yet compared to alternatives gas is not the worst solution for cooking or heating, place and situation and priorities dependent when end-to-end issues are considered.

It appears that battery backed solar will increasingly become the norm but it will not happen over night or without significant economic imposts in various ways.

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Firstly, it’s great that you’ve provided a link to the ‘Report’ referenced previously. All the content is most relevant to California, USA.

The Asthma Foundation of Australia has a more succinct and locally relevant assessment of the asthma risks due to gas cooking etc.

Notes:
I found the Asthma Foundation document far more appropriate than that by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. For those intrepid community members, note the latter will take some time to read.

I was expecting a standard format (traditional) scientific document. It’s different in presentation, incorporating content other than the direct scientific analysis. IE the report is directly advocating for a broad range of changes. In that form it is more a news article or marketing product. Perhaps it is a product of the funding model.

On a practical note we have a gas stove along side a wood burner. There is a modern digital CO monitor that reads down to 1 ppm immediately adjacent. The UCLA modelling determined NO2 from gas combustion was always several times less than CO. In practice we’ve never experienced high CO levels of the order of magnitude indicated in the UCLA modelling. I’m not questioning the scientific approach they took which asks ‘what if’. It’s however difficult to accept it is a valid assessment applicable to Australia.

P.S.
We always run the exhaust fan over the stove when cooking.

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Aside from those gases there is the question of fine particulates from burning which are particularly harmful.

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I’ve just decided (again) to break out the portable electric hotplates. Been having a lot of difficulty with lungs of late and have had to use ventolin much more frequently. I should just get my friendly plumber/gasfitter to get rid of the stove so I would never be tempted again. Fill the gap with a cupboard and get myself additional workspace.

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They included those in the tables produced for each modelled scenario. The report did not neglect PM2.5 or the relationship to potential health outcomes inside the home. The report focus for indoor health quality was on CO and NO2 levels at indicators. It was their choice to present in that way.

In respect of outdoor air quality the report commented on generalised impacts of reducing secondary nitrate NOx PM2.5 and primary PM2.5. How the outdoor air quality assumptions might relate to different scenarios in Australia is not in the scope. The report included mapping of suggested pollution outcomes on a county basis for all of California.

In that context it was also overtly promoting change for a zero carbon zero gas fuel future.

Significantly California has a more aggressive strategy to reducing air pollution, and tighter standards. Australia has been avoiding both for some time.

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If you are on reticulated gas it will also save compared to electricity. For just one our experience is the standing charges for supply can be as great as the charges for consumption.

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@SueW you might find the induction hobs from IKEA ® ™ a reasonable buy if interested in Induction, they can be ordered online and sent to you if one isn’t nearby.

or a cheapish replacement for your gas top

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I have considered induction, often (though not ikea because we dont have one here) but my power availability is less than it requires, and likewise for storage of a portable… hardly any storage space. I think I will just make do for now, but thanks all for suggestions :slight_smile:

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The portable one uses a standard plug and power point and doesn’t require the higher amperage ones. They do deliver so you can buy online. Space however will be the only constraint. If you aren’t going to use your gas though you could just put a board over it and have the hob sit on that.

Yes I know. The hob is quite large and my kitchen is quite small. I have done the usual checking of cupboard space and I do not have room to store the portable. The existing one is even smaller and it doesnt fit either. My kitchen is miniscule. Please believe that I have investigated all this last year and found that without a power upgrade (for a built in electric of some kind) and more space (ie a complete kitchen reno) I just can’t do as you suggest, much as I appreciate it. I have done the measurements, and looked at different options. NOT doable.

With regard to sitting the hob on the gas stove, thats what I do currently with the double hotplate I have. I also would not need to buy new pots. I can’t see being able to manage with a single hob, induction or not. If I did buy induction plates I would likely get the double westinghouse thats available in some places, its lower power (and thus only 10amps required) but that is not something that bothers me. I never cook at full blast anyway.

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It has been known for many years the risks of burning any fuels (gas, shellite, metho/alcohol, wood, fire beads etc) within a poorly ventilated space, including a well sealed or unvented home. Choice has also touched on the risks in the purchase guide for as heaters.

Manuals for appliances burning fuels also highlight the risks and the importance of the appliance being operated in a ventilated or open space.

The Mother.Jones article isn’t new information, but possibly reinforces and re-highlights known risks of using such appliances…particular since when consumers often don’t full read the user guides.

Is there any proof that any consumers have ever actually read the manuals?

But a stove is well and truly less than $1000.

Who mentioned $1000? I didn’t think I had…

Just on induction hobs in general I have a twin that measures 37cm * 60cm made by Quigg which is either an Aldi or Lidl brand in the EU. Cost around 60€ so around Aus$100. Amazingly I have found it much easier to use than the five “burner” AEG induction hob that required three-phase power. Simple is better :slight_smile:

https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/kitchen/cooktops/buying-guides/gas-cooktops is a great article but has absolutely nothing on air quality deterioration via gas burning. I think this should be addressed - others may disagree.

If I read that warning when I was younger with children I would certainly not bought a gas range cooker. My son is slightly asthmatic and I wonder now about the increased prevelance.

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Sorry, I was just trying to figure out costs. I guess that an electric stove also then needs its own circuit to the fuse box. Maybe a benchtop cooker, even an air fryer might save you having to use gas so much? Certainly worrying for you.