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4 Tips for Air Pollution Control in the Kitchen

Posted on August 08, 2013
by Wendy Stackhouse
Gas stove fire
Image by Nicolas de Camaret via Flickr Creative Commons

If you’re like me, you’re trying to cook at home more than you eat out. Not only does cooking at home save money, it also puts us more in control of the ingredients we are using and the healthfulness of our food. Not to mention the size of the portions!

In the summer, my family grills outdoors a lot–less mess, quick main dishes, smoky flavors are all attractions. And the air pollutants that come with cooking stay outside where they can dissipate easily.

What? You didn’t know that cooking is one of the causes of air pollution? And what is air pollution in the kitchen made of, anyway?

In fact, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory here in California have found that there are dangerous levels of both carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide in many California kitchens. In a recent study, “60 percent of homes in the state that cook at least once a week with a gas stove can reach pollutant levels that would be illegal if found outdoors.” 12 million California residents–many of them children–are being exposed to air pollution levels which are not acceptable outdoors, right in their own homes.

And I don’t know about you, but I use my gas stove more than once a week, even in the summer.

How can you reduce the air pollution in your kitchen?

Always turn on the exhaust fan over the stovetop. It’s not there just to get rid of smoke if you burn something, it’s there to get the carbon monoxide and other pollutants out of the house as quickly as possible.

Use the back burners. Your range hood fan is more effective closer to the wall.

Clean the oven. It’s a dirty job, but the stuff that drips onto the bottom of the oven is the same stuff that makes pollutants when it burns later.

Keep your exhaust hood, fan and ducts clean. Your ventilation system is essential to getting those pollutants out of the house and out of your lungs. Not only that, when the exhaust hood gets dirty and greasy, it’s more likely to cause a fire. You can’t help stuff getting up in there, but you can clean it out on a regular schedule.

AirTek offers kitchen exhaust hood, duct, and ventilation system cleaning services for homes and businesses. Contact AirTek if you need to clean out your kitchen and make sure your cooking isn’t causing more trouble than it’s worth.

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