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Should you switch from a gas to an electric stove? Here’s what you should know.

Concerns have been raised by federal regulators about the air pollutants emitted by gas stoves. But what does this mean for the millions of people who own one?

The chair of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Wednesday that the agency has no plans to ban gas stoves, despite a regulator saying it was an option being considered.

The commission is investigating emissions from gas stoves, according to CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric.

However, some cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York, have prohibited the use of gas appliances in new construction. To combat climate change, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed a ban on natural gas heating and appliances in the state.

According to experts, there are several reasons for consumers to consider switching to electric appliances, as gas stoves emit air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and methane leaks may pose health risks.

“Switching from gas stoves to a more efficient electrical appliance is good for indoor air quality,” said Jon Levy, chair of Boston University’s Department of Environmental Health. “It’s also good for climate change, and some of the newer technologies make cooking even better.”

Which is better, a gas or an electric stove?

The primary distinction between gas and electric stoves is how they are powered, according to Kimberly Palmer, personal finance expert at NerdWallet.

“Gas ranges are connected to a natural gas line or propane hookup,” Palmer explained via email. “Electric ranges require a special outlet.”

Electric stoves, in many cases, outperform gas stoves, according to Paul Hope, senior home editor at Consumer Reports. In Consumer Report tests, induction stoves and cooktops, which use electromagnetic pulses to heat cookware, typically outperform their competitors.

“A full 90% of the induction ranges in our rating actually get our top score for speed of heating, which is basically how quickly a stove can boil water,” Hope said.

Consumers who prefer gas will still have good options, according to Hope. He claims that gas stoves have more visual indicators than electric stoves because the flame provides constant feedback.

However, switching to electric has advantages, according to Hope.

“The good news is that switching from gas to electric is generally far easier than switching from electric to gas,” Hope said. “If you want to instal a gas range and have never had one before, new gas lines must be installed.”

When purchasing a new electric appliance, such as a stove or cooktop, consumers may be eligible for a rebate. The Inflation Reduction Act includes rebates of up to $840 on electric appliances.

Is it less expensive to buy a gas or electric stove?

Hope claims that the prices of standard electric and gas stoves are comparable. Induction models typically command a slight premium from customers.

Consumers should keep start-up costs in mind when deciding whether to buy a gas or electric stove. The most expensive part will most likely be installing new hardware, such as a gas line or special outlet, if necessary, which means consumers can save money by using the existing energy source, according to Palmer.

“In terms of ongoing costs, they can vary by location but tend to be somewhat similar, with gas costing slightly less than electricity,” Palmer said.

Do gas stoves cause breathing problems? Is it possible for gas to cause asthma?

When used, gas stoves emit nitrogen dioxide. According to Levy, studies have shown that the compound is a respiratory irritant that can trigger asthma attacks.

“When you put the pieces together, it’s pretty clear that having and using a gas stove in your home is a risk factor for increased asthma attacks,” Levy said. “There’s compelling evidence that it’s also a risk factor for developing asthma if you don’t already have it.”

A December 2022 study discovered that the use of gas stoves was responsible for 12% of childhood asthma cases in the United States.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, short-term exposure to high levels of nitrogen dioxide can aggravate respiratory diseases and result in hospitalisations and emergency room visits.

Should people who use a gas stove be concerned?

People who own a gas stove can take steps to reduce the risks of indoor pollution. According to Levy, how much a gas stove contributes to air pollution depends in part on the ventilation in the home.

“There are certainly plenty of people who can’t replace (their stove) because they’re renters, or because it’s not economically viable or practical,” Levy said. “The first thing you should do is ensure that the ventilation is optimised.”

According to Levy, home cooks can improve ventilation by using a range hood that vents outdoors while cooking and opening windows in the kitchen.

People who live in smaller homes or rent will be more affected by using a gas stove, according to Levy.

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