When building a kitchen there are traditionally two options for stoves: gas and electric. However, over the past three years, there has been a growing debate over whether a gas stove should even exist as an option. Just recently, the state of New York took a hard stance on gas hookups in the home, while other states, such as Vermont, have had longstanding policies against natural gas in the home.
However, when designing healthier homes, there are plenty of reasons as to why builders should be selecting electric over gas in the long run.
Gas’s Impact on Air Quality
When burning natural gas, much like when burning anything, pollutants are created. Nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde all escape into our kitchen’s atmosphere when we use a natural gas burner. These chemicals can pose considerable health risk for home occupants, with children being particularly affected.
One study done in 1992 found children living in a home with a gas stove have a 20% increased risk of developing a respiratory illness. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, gas stoves increase a person’s risk for asthma and exacerbate COPD and cardiovascular disease.
We’re not going to turn a blind eye to the fume hood, however. Using an appropriately installed hood can help significantly cut down on the pollutants that get released while cooking both from the food and from the stove. However, that’s only if the fume hood is able to properly vent outside.
A Greater Sense of Safety and Cleanliness
For families, electric stoves are often the de facto best choice for a kitchen appliance due to their safety aspects. One primary reason is the lack of an open flame. Whenever there’s an open flame, there is considerable risk of something catching fire like cloth, hair or even cooking oil, and while electric stoves don’t completely eliminate this risk, they are still considered far safer.
Many modern electric stoves come with sensors that allow them to alert homeowners which burners have been in use and are still dangerous to the touch. This can prevent misplaced objects being burnt or catching fire, and even help deter injuries associated with touching the hot element.
There’s also the element of cleanliness that comes into play with many modern electric stoves, as hygiene has become a core concern for many homeowners in the wake of the pandemic. This, however, doesn’t pertain to models with exposed induction coils as those still leave wells that allow food matter to accumulate in over time. Instead, we’re talking about the flat surfaced glass or ceramic cooktops.
When cooled, these smooth, seamless cooking surfaces are easy to clean up with just the wipe of a damp rag or dish soap. Even with a more stubborn mess, like caked-on materials will still only take a little abrasion from something like baking soda to clean.
The Environmental Connection
The environmental factor has been a huge sticking point for many in the debate on gas stoves. On average, greenhouse gas emissions generated by natural gas appliances in commercial and residential settings accounts for 13% of all heat trapping emissions. But it’s not just centered around the stove itself. While a gas stove is the entry point into the home, it is connected to a much broader reaching network that has its own list of issues.
From extraction to finally making its way into the home, the process of transporting natural gas leaks methane from start to finish. While methane does not stay in the atmosphere for nearly as long as carbon dioxide, it is a far more potent greenhouse gas, capable of warming the atmosphere 80 times more than carbon dioxide.
As homeowners become ever more concerned with the role their homes play in climate change, as well as creating a healthier home space, it is likely that the gas stove will become a sticking point for many.