Sunday, January 15, 2023

The science of gas stoves from Verge Science, PBS Digital's Reactions, and the Los Angeles Times

For today's Sunday entertainment feature, I'm going off on a tangent inspired by Meyers and Colbert take closer looks at the Republican House majority, where the subject line of Stephen Colbert's monologue asked "Will Gas Stoves Be Banned?" and the response in the video description was "Stephen is not interested in switching to an electric stove." That piqued my curiosity about this hot topic, pun intended, so I turned to Verge Science asking Is it time to say goodbye to the gas stove?

The debate over which stove to use is moving beyond our kitchens, and into our energy grid. More and more research is showing that natural gas is not the harmless energy source it was once thought to be. As some cities are taking action in the race to reduce emissions, the natural gas industry is fighting back. The last big battleground? Our stovetops.
In addition to examining methane emissions, Verge Science talks a lot about the other greenhouse effects of methane and of burning it for heat, which still produces carbon dioxide, just less than other fossil fuels. It also predicted the current controversy over gas stoves and ranges in April 1, 2021 almost two years ago. That's no joke!

Verge Science gave short shrift to gas stoves and ranges as sources of indoor air pollution and the health problems it causes, but PBS Digital's Reactions made that the main subject of Your Gas Stove is Polluting Your Home.

Most people absolutely love their gas stoves and prefer them to electric. But these gas ranges are polluting our homes.
Yikes! I have written once that I'm an asthmatic, but I never thought much about why I developed the condition until now. Since I grew up in a house that used gas for heating and cooking, I suspect that may have had something to do with it. It's always a good day when I learn something, even when it's as bad as this.

I mention indoor air pollution in passing in my environmental science classes, but these videos have given more more material. If nothing else, I can suggest gas vs. induction stoves as a topic for my students' presentations. Students might take me up on it, as it's a hot topic (running joke, I know).

I close with the Los Angeles Times asking Would you get rid of your gas stove and go electric?

More than 50 California cities have restricted or banned natural gas hookups in homes and businesses to combat climate change. Some researchers have also linked gas stoves to a higher risk of asthma. L.A. Times reporter Evan Halper digs into how electric cooking alternatives such as induction stoves can benefit the environment and our health. But are cooks willing to give up cooking with fire?
Before watching these videos, I would have said no, except that my wife and I currently have an electric oven and stove top, so I wouldn't have to. However, we've been thinking of replacing it with a gas stove. Now, I'm thinking seriously about an induction stove top when we redo our kitchen. That might be a selling point in the future. It's also better for the environment, our health, and the health of whoever owns our house next, and there almost certainly will be someone else who owns this house after us.

Stay tuned for this year's version of diversity among Golden Globes winners for MLK Day, the real entertainment update.

1 comment:

  1. Besides the indoor air quality issues you should really consider the environmental aspect (i.e. energy used) of an induction stove top vs gas, they really are the king. A gas stove delivers around a measly 38-40% of the energy expended to the cookware and its contents as its an indirect heat source. Being an indirect heat source the rest is actually shed into your interior environment heating the air around you. In the summer most people are then also paying to retemper the heated air and remove the extra moisture created by the combustion with their A/C. This is never factored into the efficiency ratings and I wish it was as it is a legitimate factor. Conventional electric cooktops are not much better than gas as they are also an indirect heat source albeit you don't get the by products of combustion. Induction on the other hand delivers on average close to 90% of the energy used to the cookware. This is due to the fact that its a direct heat source. The electromagnet element in the cooktop excite the molecules of the cookware itself making them heat up and in turn it heats whatever is in or on it..

    Proponents of gas always say the like the adjustability of the heat on a gas stove; The win there goes to induction as its far more accurate to control and when you turn it off you can almost touch the burner surface shortly after.

    Gas stove users say it heats cookware and cooks the fastest; Wrong, induction wins again. On average induction can boil two quarts of water in 5 minutes or less. Gas comes in at a not close second place with an average of 8 minutes.

    Real complaints against induction are
    1) A buzzing sound. There may be a small buzzing noise associated with the magnetic field when in use.For some people this can be almost nauseating. Mine does not bother me whatsoever.

    2) Pricey. Although the prices are coming down for induction cooktops, they are still more expensive than ceramic or gas cooktops.

    3) Inflexibility of cookware. You will probably need to invest in a set of new cookware, as induction cooktops cannot use aluminium, glass, pyrex or copper. The cookware has to have a ferrous bottom. This hurt when we switched over as we had a favorite set of copper bottom pans that could not longer be use.

    People should do their homework instead of jumping on any one band wagon and pick what you think is best for them..........however ......that said, coming from an old gas only guy.......I'm sticking with my induction!