Hacker News Re-Imagined

How bad is my gas stove?

  • 368 points
  • 8 days ago

  • @hbgb
  • Created a post

How bad is my gas stove?


@jopsen 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Cleaning alone is the best motivator for induction.

I mean who doesn't spill when cooking?

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@wlecometo 4 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Am i the only one confused by this part ?

> I looked at the energy usage data from our Nest thermostat and discovered that those levels corresponded almost exactly with the times that our gas furnace was on.

Another way of seeing this could be that nest is turning on the heat between 2am and 7am, and it looks like the author was not aware of this. so yeah the gas stove is bad but not as much as the heating system, and the fact that a "smart thermostat" turns it on at night when it should be less useful.

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@itsjustmath 6 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Is a gas powered heater a source of nitrogen dioxide?

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@ajhurliman 6 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Any recommendations on how to measure NO2? Everything I’m finding on Amazon does VOC, dust, CO2, etc. but not NO2.

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@BXLE_1-1-BitIs1 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Newer building codes require a separate air supply for gas stoves as well as venting outside.

With a high efficiency furnace the combustion air comes from outside and is directly vented outside.

That leaves water heaters which are vented either up the chimney (mostly these days with a liner) or a forced air vent.

A mid or low efficiency furnace vented to a chimney without a liner could well result in combustion products leaking through the chimney into the house.

Heat exchanger leaks could also be a factor, but usually the duct space is higher pressure than the vent which has the chimney draft. Leakage can still happen before the draft develops after ignition.

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@JasonFruit 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Well, that was a nice read. Now I'm going to go cook lunch on the woodstove. To me, not everything is about safety and health; some things are about what my family likes. We like to work together cutting wood and stacking it for the winter. We like the feel of wood heat. My kids are proud that they can cook on an appliance most people never even attempt. We like the feeling of a tie to the past, that we're doing tasks our great-great grandparents would recognize.

I think we as a society are over-prioritizing personal safety. I cringe whenever a business sends me a notification saying, "Your safety is our #1 priority!" and proceeds to explain why I won't be allowed to do yet another thing I am accustomed to do. My safety isn't my #1 priority, and I certainly don't want the companies I do business with to decide how safe I have to be. I'd rather live the way I want to live, and I'm not really bothered if my happiness cuts ten years off my life; I'd prefer seventy years of living to eighty years of not dying.

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@asdfasgasdgasdg 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

We made a gas line extension for an outdoor grill during a recent remodel and are being forced to fix preexisting code violations as a result. I'm not entirely sad about this, because even though it is expensive, it will also require us to add a fresh air intake to our boiler room. Im going to take the opportunity to make the fire door more airtight as well.

My hope is that the net effect of this will be to essentially eliminate air exchange between the boiler and the rest of the house. (Note that our heat system's air exchangers are not in the same room as the boiler.) I kinda want to see what the indoor air quality is looking like before and after.

Personally, I don't intend to exchange out my gas stove for a while since as this article points out the vast majority of gas burned in the house is for heating, not cooking.

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@mrblampo 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

My wife and I decided to switch to induction after the NYT article on this topic a few months ago.

Not only did we have a gas stove that was probably spiking NO2 levels when we actually used it; we also seemed to have a gas leak. It was not a big one, just a faint smell, but it was hard to pin down. A plumber concluded the connection between the range and the pipe wasn't the problem. No specific part of the range smelled stronger than the rest of it. For all we knew, it might be a hole in a pipe. So we wanted to make gas stop flowing through our unit (a condo within a three-family home, very normal here in Cambridge, Massachusetts) altogether.

We contacted an appliance company about switching to induction. To prepare, they told us, we would first need to upgrade the range power outlet to 40 amps, and cap off the gas pipe behind the range.

The electrical work cost $1800. It could have been much more; we were lucky our circuit breaker was positioned such that they only needed to make two openings in our walls. (They suggested we put little hatch doors in those spots to make future work easier.)

We asked our plumber to not only cap off the gas pipe behind the range, but also put in a valve in the basement, such that gas flow could be shut off to our unit, but also easily turned back on if a future owner wants to reverse what we did. We did this rather than turn off our gas altogether, because we have a gas water heater and still needed gas available there. The plumbing work cost about $300 I think.

To make cooking stay as close as possible to being how great and fast it is with gas, we chose a range with an induction stove: The LG LSE4616ST, which cost $3000.

We were lucky to be able to afford this change for our health. Of course, it would have cost a lot less if we hadn't cared about induction, but still multiple thousands of dollars.

We should be subsidizing conversions like this.

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@thurn 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

What kind of air quality monitor is being used here? I've been looking for a good one to purchase for myself, would be good to get one with N02 capability.

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@drobert 6 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

I'm curious if using an extractor hood makes a difference. If it's sized correctly the extractor should replace the air 8-10 times per hour so that should eliminate I guess most pollutants in the kitchen.

Another way to look at the this is checking the health outcomes of chefs, given they spend much more time next to the stove we should see increased respiratory problems.

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@justinlloyd 6 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

I've cooked (professionally) on both coil and induction, both low-end (sub $2,000) and high-end ($12,000+, e.g. Wolf, Fisher & Paykel, Gaggenau and that obscure European brand that's now all the rage) ranges. With fancy pans and cheap dollar store shit.

Give me gas, every time. Especially when stir frying or flambe-ing or working on the hibachi grill or teppan grill or grilling.

An electric oven is "okay" except for the heat/cool cycle which frankly is just annoying when baking bread.

I got to use an electric salamander once, and that was a huge disappointment. Nothing matches gas for flexibility and control and unassisted convection heat transfer. When I turn the pan on the side to get more heat there for braising, I get more there, right _there_, not over there, not over here, not all around, right there.

The other thing with a gas range, when I'm pulling a 500F pan out of the oven and dropping it on the range, or dragging 30lb of hot liquid in a stock pot across the top, I'm not worried about damaging anything except my back. I don't need $5,000+ of hardware in my kitchen being taken out of commission because someone was slightly careless.

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@koksik202 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Thank you now I can explain spikes on my air quality monitor

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@ZeroGravitas 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

I'm surprised this person was surprised.

Do the American home building standards not take account of this?

Fairly certain it's already law for a while in other places, e.g. if you have a gas stove or central heating then you need greater ventilation and maybe carbon monoxide alarms and so forth.

New houses in some places aren't allowed to have gas connections at all, which is partly greenhouse gas related, but the health benefits and cost savings are part of the discussion. No new home today should be built around the assumption that gas is a sensible fuel source.

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@toddmorey 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Does anyone know good indoor air quality monitors where the data can be graphed over time as the author has done?

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@drudoo 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Loving gas stoves seems like such an American mentality. Currently living in Denmark and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have induction. All new kitchens will come with induction stoves. Gas is a thing of the nineties…

I had a gas stove in the US but honestly I don’t see a big difference between gas and induction.

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@analyte123 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

It’s telling all these studies he’s citing are from the 70s - scientists and regulators found out the hazards, and then they mandated vents via the building code since approximately the year 2000. This should basically be the end of the story. The message could be “unvented gas stoves are bad, consider this when buying or renting and remember to always use your vent if you have it”.

If the real goal is to ban gas stoves because of climate change it needs to be said upfront. From this perspective the problem isn’t the 0.12% direct emissions but that people like it enough to generate demand for residential gas service at all.

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@Spooky23 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

The website is “carbon switch”, so the solution to this problem is obviously going to be induction stoves, although that isn’t the problem.

An easier solution to the actual problem is to open a couple of windows slightly.

The obsession with sealed living spaces to yield marginal savings in HVAC has pretty obvious downsides and measurable, marginal savings.

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@tigerBL00D 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

I wonder, would a gas dryer suffer from the same issues, or is it somehow better due to forced venting?

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@Jedd 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

My problem <sic> with both is in trying to achieve very low simmer-like temperatures.

With gas the challenge is to ensure the flame hasn't gone out.

With induction the challenge appears to be partial cycling (microwave-style) or simply just reducing power down to bare minimum.

For some things, say an authentic bolognese sauce or a chakchouka, I desperately want a tiny amount of heat, but neither modern gas cookers, or most induction cookers, will give me that. Xiaomi (yes, that Xiaomi) have a 0-99 induction cooker that nearly got me there, but even then I had to utilise a diffusion plate.

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@loeg 6 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

I'm sympathetic to the argument, but the data presented is anecdotal, or pure hearsay. Also a bit weird that he's talking about measuring his stove, which he knows produces less emissions than furnaces or water heaters, but ends up measuring his furnace. This is not a compelling argument against gas stoves.

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@hoffspot 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Can anyone recommend an NO2 detector? What was used wasn’t mentioned in the article that I could see.

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@cpsns 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

It's telling how many people posting live in areas with cheap electricity. Running a propane stove is still cheaper for me, they deliver propane every few months.

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@halpert 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

So the gas stove wasn’t causing elevated NO2 levels, but rather the furnace was? I’m confused as to what the conclusion is. Gas stoves ok, but furnaces not?

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@jsharpe 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

I'm curious what improvement, if any, is seen from using the fan on the range hood while using the gas stove/oven. Since I heard about this issue, I've been using it every time I use the stove or oven, and it does make a different to the subjective gas smell around the house, but I don't know if it impacts actual NO2 levels.

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@dijonman2 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Electric cooking is awful, gas is superior except for boiling water. Induction will boil water much faster.

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@diiaann 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

I can sympathize with the desire to have gas but what I can't accept is people who want massive BTU stoves with inadequate ventilation or worse none. Honestly, I'm surprised that a lot of building codes are so lax.

My preferred setup would be 4 induction burners with one or two gas burners. I understand if you have a house without gas, it does't feel worthwhile to just have one or two burners. Induction would be the daily drivers, i.e. boiling water. The gas would for occasions where I want tighter heat control or want to use a pot/pan that doesn't work with induction.

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@myrandomcomment 6 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Stuff like this is why I love this site.

In our last remodel we put in a damn expensive Wolf range and a tankless water heater, both propane fueled. Both work great. That being said, all the press on NO2 have made us always turn on the vent when cooking, something we did not do before.

My previous dealing with induction was crap. Yes I understand the pan makeup part. That was years ago. The technology has progressed since then and next kit will be induction and electrical powered water heater, driven by a solar backed power wall type system.

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@meristem 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Question for the folks who switched to induction, from someone in the initial process of thinking about it: 1. what is the plan for when there is no power (I live in an area currently prone to seasonal brownouts/blackouts) and 2. what did you do re: oven?

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@sputr 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Current level of NO2 in our city, as measured by the official sources is 48 um/m3, with the official safe level of 200.

Why is my gas stove a problem?

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@lettergram 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

I’d like to see a comparison with a wood burning stove (what the majority of the world likely still uses).

I’m installing a wood burning and an electric stove in my current house.

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@oxymoran 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

“ the climate community would risk backlash and not be as effective at convincing people to get rid of their furnaces and water heaters”

Is this a thing, wanting to convince people to get rid of furnaces and hot water heaters? Are we replacing them with anything? Seems like an extremely tough sell, especially for people living places that are cold. Take the poor little boy who just died because his “family” forced him to take an ice cold shower in the middle of winter as punishment. This seems like the hairbrained idea of people who don’t experience seasons.

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@defen 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Can anyone recommend a good air quality monitor for home use?

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@matthewaveryusa 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Well now I’m curious. I just got a new high efficiency furnace and gas range, all venting outside. Whats the cheapest air sensor I can get to monitor no2 levels? I have spare rpis and arduinos if that can drive cost down (and fun up.)

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@peterohler 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Electric stoves are fine until the power goes out. With power issue in California it's nice to be able to cook a meal on the stove instead of resorting to a tiny camp stove.

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@crmd 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

If anyone is worried about combustion byproducts in their living space, I highly recommend looking into upgrading your furnace and hot water heater to direct vent models. Both appliances have sealed combustion chambers, and there are two pipes coming down from the roof that supply air in, and two pipes that vent exhaust gasses out.

I did this because I live in a converted industrial loft, so my furnace and hot water heater are essentially in the same space as my bed, and having open flames in the same space seemed risky.

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@globular-toast 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

What types of gas is this relevant to? Natural gas?

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@fasteddie31003 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Regardless of gas or induction, whenever you fry, have the oven on, or burn something, air quality drops dramatically. I have a pretty robust air quality meter and see PM2.5 go as high as 400 when I fry food. The most microwave vents only recirculate air. You really have to cut a hole in the wall to properly vent cooking fumes. I think this is a bigger issue of gas vs induction for indoor air quality.

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@mint2 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Hope he put a sensor outside his home as a control to rule out outside sources. Air pollution pools at night and the early morning 6-7 am is the worst time to go running anywhere remotely near freeways.

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@ipunchghosts 6 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

What meter did they use? I want to try this at my apt.

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@samwillis 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

To anyone considering switching to an induction hob and hearing anecdotal stories of how some people don’t think they are “as hot” or “slower” than gas. I guarantee these are all related to the pans being used. It is of upmost importance that you get a really good set of pans “designed” for induction.

We have found “tri-ply” stainless steel pans work really well, better than on gas. Cast iron is also brilliant, I inherited loads of them. We have aluminium none stick frying pans with solid stainless steel bases, they work well.

Aluminium pans without a solid steel base are absolutely crap on induction - even the ones that say they work. Avoid them.

If you have any pans with a slightly curved base they won’t work. And you will have to get a Wok with a flat bottom designed specifically for induction.

Make sure you read reviews before you purchase any new pans, and if you are changing your hob to an induction one be prepared for replacing your pans - budget to spend more on them than the hob even.

We are absolutely converted to induction, love it and will never go back. Planning to one day get rid of the gas boiler too.

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@lr4444lr 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

What I want to know is, what data is there on food service workers? Because their exposure is well above the average person's, and reduces a lot of other potential other noise in the data when compare to their counterpart subpopulations of the same SES and geographic region.

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@fma 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

"The more likely norm is unused range hoods, furnace flues that spill chemicals into the air we breathe, and ultimately higher rates of illness..."

The range hood on average American houses are weak, because they are the cheapest. Till I got a range hood built by an Asian manufacturer(Fotile) did I know what I was missing out. Range hoods are measured by the amount of air it can move, CFM.

Futile starts out at 850...while regular ones (GE, for example) are 300, 400. And it's not even a price thing...there are range hoods near the price of Fotile which still only do 400 CFM!

I turn on the fan before turning on the gas stove, and leave it on for a bit after cooking.

The reasons I call out Chinese range hoods is because stir frying is a huge part of cooking and you gotta have something powerful enough to pull out everything.

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@taf2 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

It'd be interesting if the hardware used to measure this was described... maybe something along the lines of https://learn.adafruit.com/pmsa003i/arduino... it would make the data collected and reported in the article much more easily replicated and for fun we could do this at home too...

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@nemo44x 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Cooking food indoors creates many combustible particles. From oil approaching smoke points to the act of browning food - the Maillard reaction is precisely that.

So of course this guy sees more things on the days he cooks and not on the day he gets takeout. On the take out day run a burger and measure. You won’t see much. Not compared to cooking in general. Get some induction plates and cook and note the results.

“Studies” show kids that grow up in cities acquire asthma at higher rates and also that dwellings in cities are more likely to have gas appliances.

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@doitLP 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

In case anyone is wondering what air quality monitor they should buy the author seems to be using the uHoo 9-in-1 monitor, which is what I have myself. They’re pricey but I’ve been happy with mine for 2 years.

uHoo Smart Air Quality Sensor – 9 in 1 Indoor Air Monitor with Temperature and Humidity Gauge, CO2, Dust (PM2.5), VOC, NO2, Allergen Meter -to Breathe Easy and Boost Health with App https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076PV9X99/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_...

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@aemreunal 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

I enjoy cooking a lot and I cooked on gas stoves, electric ones (the ones that have those red hot spiral things under a glass) and top-of-the-line induction ones. In my opinion (and probably many restaurants' opinions from what I can see through their reactions on bans for gas appliances in new buildings), a gas stove is just unmatched in how much easier and better it makes cooking.

I totally get the desire to switch to electric appliances for many reasons, but I am yet to meet an electric stove of any kind that I remotely enjoyed cooking on. Is this everyone's experience? Did I just not meet the right induction stove yet? Is there some sort of new technology on the horizon that will make electric stoves infinitely better?

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@poulsbohemian 6 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

For the induction fans here: How do you use things like woks or tagines? Feels like there are types of cooking that become difficult or not possible, or am I really missing something.

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@mikewarot 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

A truck hit a pole near our house and we lost power overnight. It was running 2 burners with water on our gas stove all night long that kept our house from freezing, as it was 15 degrees F outside and 49 degrees inside. (Old house, no real insulation)

I was glad to have it as a backup plan.

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@lumb63 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

It is really disappointing to me to see a comments section most glorifying induction stovetops because of how much “healthier” they are. They win on energy efficiency, but I think the argument over health is less clear cut.

Consider that induction stoves emit EMFs roughly 16 times the “safe” limit for non-ionizing radiation [1]. And when you’re cooking, the parts of the body that are most likely to be exposed to the highest EMFs are your reproductive systems and the heads of children, which the study cited above notes can be damaged by EMFs 8x weaker than those from an induction stove.

Investigate and consider all the health risks of your decisions. It may be very well possible that one form of pollution (air) is no worse than another type (electromagnetic).

Sources: [1]: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22674188/

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@ospzfmbbzr 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

I have induction but I do prefer gas for cooking with a good gas stove. Induction is great for boiling water FAST. I see people saying gas is faster but it's not even close with a decent induction stove.

That said I wouldn't stand with my balls next to the front burner on an induction stove due the EMF. I stand a few inches back.

The recommendation is to primarily use the back burners and occasional front burner use as required.

I've tested this with an EMF meter and it's pretty bad right up against my stove.

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@logifail 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Can anyone recommend (ideally inexpensive) devices/kits to measure CO2 and NO2 levels in a residential home?

Ideally capable of sending data to be stored & processed locally (Home Assistant or similar).

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@mc32 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Gas in general may cause incidental gas pollution —but I see a problem by the author. The author mentions high pollution results when cooking —which for the author does using a gas range. However the author doesn’t discuss results from alternate ranges. I have an induction stove and every time I cook the indoor air pollution also spikes (lots of frying). It’s likely less than that caused by gas stoves but never the less creates pollutants in the air.

I have no doubt that gas causes more pollution but they are remiss for not mentioning the cooking process itself causes pollution.

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@timzaman 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

When i bought my house last year, first thing i did is upgrade to 400A electric and removed all gas. Welcome to 2022

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@ericbarrett 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

NO2 is also produced by diesel and gasoline combustion and is a significant pollutant in most cities; its value changes during the day (Windy.com has this info if you are curious). I don't see that the author is controlling for the outside value. Some of the variance could be regional air quality (e.g. the low values around Christmas).

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@macinjosh 6 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Cooking with a flame is _natural_, visual, and instinctive.

Cooking with induction is like cooking in a video game in comparison. No thanks.

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@spacephysics 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

I feel we’re nitpicking far too much for climate change in the case of at hone stoves and cooking. The pretense of climate change, and the implication of “well if you have a gas stove, you’re contributing” is going to cause more harm socially and psychologically than to the environment. At some point we have to realize that some climate effect is OK, and to live our lives. Let’s go after the big ticket items, like sea vessels or large scale fishing operations. Those are far worse than any modern car emissions.

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@antattack 6 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

It's quite possible that the author's increased nightly NO2 pollution is from their neighbors, not just from their appliances alone.

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@clusterfish 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Apparently unpopular opinion: despite growing up with gas stoves and cooking every day I do not find them any better at it than decent electric ones (not talking about induction). Granted, my kitchen is not Michelin rated, but I have no idea what fancy temperature control people are constantly raving over with gas. Electric has a bit of thernal inertia, yes. If you cooked more than a few times on your own, you know what it's like, and it's not a problem. This gas hype is very puzzling.

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@nipponese 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Where is the part where he explains the specific measurement tool to capture air quality data?

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@hashimotonomora 7 days

Replying to @hbgb 🎙

Please start plots at y = 0.

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