Did you know…a gas stove can produce more nitrogen dioxide than the Environmental Protection Agency says is safe for outside air? I had no idea!
Nitrogen dioxide is a toxic gas that can be produced by your gas stove, but since it usually smells bad at low levels, you can usually avoid it. However, it is corrosive and irritating to the lungs, linings of the eyes, nose, throat, and the entire respiratory system. Low levels of nitrogen dioxide also anesthetize the nose, which could lead to more exposure.
How can you minimize exposure to Nitrogen Dioxide?
There are four important things you can do to reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide present in your home because of a gas stove:
Turn on the fan–Many people do not use the fan over their stoves because they feel it is too loud, but it is an important tool for keeping your indoor air clean and healthy. In a recent study, the fan that was the most effective was also the loudest, and quieter fans used a lot of energy, but if clean indoor air is your priority, use the fan!
Use the back burners–Nitrogen dioxide levels were significantly reduced by using the fan and cooking on the back burners of the stove. The study showed that use of the fan while cooking with the front burners reduced the air pollution by 25%, but use of the back burners with the fan reduced it by 50%. That is a significant difference.
Make sure your vent leads to the outside–Some vents pump the air over your stove right back into the house and that hurts more than it helps.
Clean your ducts–Over years of cooking in any home, the duct from the vent over the stove to the outside gets dirty, greasy and generally less efficient. As it gets dirtier, the ventilation system has to work harder to vent the air, adding to energy costs. Organic material that has collected in the ducts can also breed mold and bacteria that you don’t want in your home’s ventilation system.
Homes today are well sealed to save on the energy it takes to heat and cool them, but these benefits are undermined by the fact that the pollution we produce indoors cannot reach the outside and fresh air has a hard time getting in. A clean kitchen vent and duct system, used properly, can help you get some of those pollutants outside where they can disperse safely.
Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!