There has been lots of recent news about how natural gas ovens are impacting the climate. Studies have shown natural gas ovens can passively leak methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. While this may be alarming that a common household appliance can contribute to climate change, many homeowners are unaware of the impact on indoor air quality. Today’s blog we will discuss air quality issues that may arise from a gas oven.
Nitrous Oxides also known as NOX are common air quality pollutants that are usually components of smog. NOX is released during reactions with nitrogen and oxygen during combustion of hydrocarbon based fuels. Since natural gas usually contains methane and other gasses such as nitrogen, the reaction of the stove flame can create NOX. A study has shown gas stoves can increase indoor NOX levels 25–39%.
During complete combustion of natural gas, carbon dioxide is created but during incomplete combustion, Carbon monoxide is created. The previously referenced study shows that the levels of carbon monoxide can increase 21-30% with the use of gas stoves. If a burner isn’t properly operating and creating an incomplete combustion, carbon monoxide will be a byproduct. Additionally, poor ventilation in the area and/or lack of an exhaust system for the stove can cause carbon monoxide to linger in the space and build up in concentration.
Particulate matter can simply describe solid or liquid particles suspended in the air. The EPA also refers to particulate matter as particle pollution. The particulate matter or PM sizes that the EPA measures is PM2.5 & PM10. PM2.5 refers to particulate matter smaller at or smaller 2.5 micron, while PM10 is for objects 10 microns or smaller. During cooking and combustion, particles are generated. While doing field observations, we have noticed increases in PM2.5 directly after cooking. These can be captured using an exhaust hood or running a HEPA air purifier.
There is a common saying that goes “the solution to pollution is dilution” and that is no different when dealing with indoor air quality issues. If mechanical ventilation is present, such as an exhaust hood over the stove, this can reduce contaminants such as particulate matter generated during cooking activities. Also, proper maintenance of the gas operated appliances should prevent issues like carbon monoxide from faulty stove burners. If you have concerns with indoor air quality please reach out to an indoor air quality consultant such as Indoor Science.