Do Gas Ranges Require Venting

Domestic gas ranges are much like cars; they burn fuel to create a usable fire. It’s not surprising then that they give off a few emissions while we use them for cooking.

The big question is, do gas ranges require venting?

Generally, there are no requirements to install venting systems in residential areas in the US. There are a few exceptions though, so it’s advisable to check with the local authorities if any amenities are needed.

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In this article, we’ll answer that question fully. Starting with where the codes stand on this matter? and what exactly are these emissions? We move on to the inevitable talk about safety, and the best venting systems to keep your indoor air clean and healthy. 

Regulations, Requirements, and Recommendations

Generally, there are no requirements to install venting systems in residential areas in the US. There are a few exceptions though, so it’s advisable to check with the local authorities if any amenities are needed.

For example, California stipulates the availability of a venting system that provides at least 100 CFM. This is equivalent to having more than 5 air exchanges per hour. Residential areas, as well as remodeled homes, should comply with these codes.

In Colorado, there are no requirements that stipulate installing a venting system. However, there’s a mandatory check of any plastic vent ducts.

Commercial facilities, catering services, and restaurants are a different story. They use much larger cooking ranges than the ones at our homes, and they often have stringent venting regulations for cooking areas.

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What Comes Out of Gas Ranges

In addition to the delicious aromas and hearty cooking smells, unfortunately, some bad emissions disperse into the air. These emissions aren’t healthy and should be minimized to keep the air indoors clean and fresh.

Here are some of these unwanted emissions:

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Carbon monoxide
  • PM 2.5 particles
  • Nitrogen oxide
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Sulfur oxide
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Formaldehyde

Additionally, the heavy odors of some foods and the grease that might fly about after frying aren’t too welcome around the house. Even the neighbors might complain if the smells are too strong.

Is This Exhaust Harmful

Most of the emitted gases are harmful to humans and to the environment. The lungs aren’t designed to deal with these types of substances. They’ll find difficulty dealing with the high concentrations that could pile up in a confined space.

Most of these gases and particles are especially cumbersome for allergic or asthmatic people. However, we pay special attention to carbon monoxide.

The accumulation of this odorless stealthy gas from 15-30 ppm causes headaches, chest tightness, and possibly nausea. From 30-100 ppm it could be severely disorienting, cause breathing issues, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Above that, lengthy exposure could be fatal.

How to Minimize Emissions and Keep Your House Safe

Gas is a serious matter. To the point that even a small propane tank that fuels a grill should be handled with care. A gas range, of any size, should have three safety concerns checked:

1. Gas Leaks

There are various points where gas could leak from an appliance. Both in the internal structures of the gas range and in the connections from the mains all the way to the inlet valve.

All these parts, valves, connections, and hoses need to be checked routinely. They normally have varying life expectancies and should be replaced accordingly.

A gas leak detector is essential to alert the homeowners in case such an incident occurs. These simple devices can prevent a huge amount of accidents.

2. Possibility of Fires

Combustible gases and fires are a sensitive combination. All kinds of burners, grills, fire pits and even gas-heated insect repellants pose a risk of causing fires. The first thing that’s needed is knowledge of what to do in case of fire.

Installing smoke and fire detectors is important and mandated by strict regulations in most places. Having a small-sized fire extinguisher around is also essential.

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3. Harmful Gas Buildup

Using a gas range normally involves the emission of some gases and other particles into the air. An exhaust cocktail of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and PM 2.5 particles can build up over time.

Inhaling these substances is harmful to humans, and could potentially cause a host of troubling respiratory issues. Carbon monoxide is especially serious, as its accumulation could be life-threatening. To avoid that, a carbon monoxide detector can be installed.

The best way to eliminate or minimize harmful gas buildup is by installing a ventilation system. Effective suction of all these gases to the outside keeps the air indoors fresh and healthy. Additionally, it reduces the cooking odors that tend to stick around for days on end.

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How Much Venting is Needed for Gas Ranges

A range hood is often needed to clean up the emissions that come off using a gas range. Opening a door or a window would certainly help in reducing harmful gases, but it’s not a guarantee that all of the emissions will go outside.

The right type and size of the venting system depend on a few factors:

  • The size of the gas range
  • The topology of the kitchen
  • The size of the kitchen
  • Available sources of natural ventilation

Exhaust fans are a good option for small gas ranges where there are also a few windows around.

A better option is always installing a range hood. The ones that filter and recirculate the air aren’t that good. We recommend the ones that suck up the produced fumes and transfer them outside.

Typically, a 600 CFM range hood is sufficient to keep the kitchen air clean. With larger kitchens, bigger gas ranges, or rooms with limited natural ventilation, it would be better to increase the capacity to 900 or even 1200 CFM hoods.

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A small gas range, used for cooking a little dinner for two, is capable of giving off a sizable amount of exhaust. We don’t keep tabs or measure these emissions at our houses, so we may not be fully aware of how much exhaust we breathe in day after day.

While installing a venting system isn’t mandatory for residential areas in most States, having an efficient venting hood is highly recommended.

There are several systems that work nicely in minimizing harmful emissions. From a simple exhaust fan to elaborate exhaust hoods complemented with air make-up systems. The important thing is to have a well-ventilated cooking area that’s safe.

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