Are you wondering why there isn’t a legal requirement to vent a gas range? This article will break down the reasons a gas range is not required to have a vent. We’ll also discuss the dangers of a gas range stove and how you can mitigate any harmful practices.
A gas range stove usually needs to be vented if it’s a commercial stove, meaning it’s within some type of restaurant or food service. However, residential gas ranges are not usually required by law to be vented, but just because it may not be legally required doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vent the stove.
Below, we’ll break down what all this means and give you some tips to stay safe. When it comes to safety, it’s worth it to do everything you can to keep yourself, your family, and even your pets as safe as possible.
Should You Use a Vent for a Gas Range?
The law doesn’t usually require that a gas range be vented; however, this can vary from state to state, and it’s best to check your local building codes. Gas ranges produce a byproduct of combustion, known as carbon monoxide or CO (not to be mistaken with carbon dioxide, which is what you exhale).
If gas ranges can produce harmful substances, why aren’t they required to be vented? The answer to that isn’t simple. Ultimately, those types of decisions come down to law and local ordinances. The general answer is that gas ranges aren’t required to be vented because many units only produce a very small amount of CO.
However, a very small amount of CO is still something to keep in mind. Carbon monoxide isn’t something to mess with, and in the next section, we’ll talk more about the odorless gas and talk about how you can stay safe.
The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide from Gas Ranges
If a gas stove is left on accidentally, it can cause a build-up of carbon monoxide in the kitchen and even the entire house. There are a few reasons this is really bad. Sadly, people are harmed every year by carbon monoxide, and there are a couple of reasons it’s so dangerous.
First, carbon monoxide is dangerous because you can’t see or smell it. But natural gas has a smell placed in it to notify people of its presence. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of combustion, or something burning. So it’s not possible for anyone to place a smell within this substance. Meaning it’s almost impossible to know that you’re being exposed to it.
Second, carbon monoxide has a greater affinity for your blood than oxygen. When you breathe, you’re taking in oxygen. The oxygen attaches to hemoglobin in your blood, where it is then delivered to your entire body. However, carbon monoxide cuts in and binds to the hemoglobin, making it hard for oxygen to bind, thus suffocating the victim from the inside out.
So, it’s very important to stay vigilant against carbon monoxide. At the end of this article, we’ll talk about a few tips to keep yourself safe.
So, if CO is so dangerous, why aren’t all gas ranges required to be vented?
Modern vs. Old Gas Ranges and Venting Needs
The likely reason that the law doesn’t require gas ranges to be vented is that they don’t usually produce enough CO to cause long-term problems. However, the consensus is still out on the number of pollutants created by these stoves, so it’s a good idea to vent your stove anyway.
Modern stoves burn gas much more efficiently than old gas ranges. If you have an old gas range, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have plenty of ventilation while you’re using it. If you don’t have any way to vent it, at least try to open a window or something while you’re using the stove.
Should you vent your gas range? Yes, you should absolutely vent your gas range, even though it’s not always technically required. There’s no reason to play around with your air quality. Let’s talk about a couple of things to know about venting your gas range.
Venting a Gas Range: Several Types of Vents
When you think about venting your gas range, you’ll run into several options. In the next sections, we’ll talk about the two main ways you can vent a range stove, and which is the best option.
The two ways you vent a gas range are with ductless or ducted vents. Let’s look at each of these in more depth.
Ducted Vent for Gas Range
A ducted vent will rest about your stovetop, and it will carry the fumes and the grease directly from the inside of the home to the outside. These usually work well, pulling the grease, smoke, and CO from your kitchen. The event will move it to the outdoors, allowing it to safely dissipate.
If you’re placing a new vent, you should definitely consider going with a ducted gas range. The vent will last longer, work better, and really improve the air quality of your kitchen. You don’t want all those fumes and byproducts leaching into the rest of your home!
Ductless Vent for Gas Ranges
Ductless vents for a gas range are essentially an air purifier for your kitchen. They work by recirculating the air instead of piping it outside. These types of vents can help catch grease and some particles, but they won’t be effective for CO, and they won’t improve your air quality all that much. There are a few reasons why.
First, since these vents don’t really vent anything, they just recirculate; they don’t actually deal with the pollutants in your home. In fact, if you’ve ever started to smoke out your kitchen and then reached for the vent, only to find that it didn’t help reduce the smoke at all. In that case, you were probably dealing with a ductless vent.
Second, just like a home air purifier, these have filters, and most people don’t change them as often as they should. Most of the time, these need to be changed once every year. Some recommend that you change them more often depending on how much cooking you do. If you’re not changing these filters, then your ductless filter is probably not doing anything other than making a loud noise.
Let’s talk about some ways you can stay safe if you have a gas range.
Staying Safe with a Non-Vented Gas Range
If you’re worried about your gas range, know that there are steps you can take to stay safe. For the best air quality, make plans to vent your gas range with a true ducted system. However, in the meantime, here are a few things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe.
Staying safe with a ventless gas range:
- CO Alarm
- Don’t leave the stove unattended
- Get some ventilation
- Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
Let’s look at them closer.
Install a CO Alarm
If your home doesn’t have a CO alarm, go and get one. These are not expensive, and they could save your life. However, if you’re home does have a CO alarm, consider buying another and placing it near your kitchen.
A CO alarm can detect the presence of carbon monoxide, alerting you of any danger. You don’t want to install it right next to the stove. It’s better to place it in the dining area or the hall nearby. However, don’t take our word for it; refer to your local laws and building codes.
Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when installing CO and smoke alarms.
Don’t Leave the Gas Stove Unattended
Make it a habit to never leave a gas stove unattended. If you need to leave the kitchen for some reason, have someone come and watch the stove, or turn off the burner while you’re gone.
Even if this seems silly sometimes, this habit will ensure that you never accidentally leave the stove burner running, potentially causing a dangerous build-up of harmful emissions.
Ventilation for a gas range
If you don’t yet have a ducted vent for your gas range, then you should at least open up a nearby window while you’re using the stove. The open window will allow fresh air to circulate into your kitchen, and it will also release the build-up of harmful gases.
Know the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Sometimes, the symptoms of CO poisoning are the only way you’ll know there’s a build-up of this deadly gas in your home.
Here’s a list of carbon monoxide symptoms:
- Feeling unwell
- Multiple people feeling unwell suddenly
Alright, let’s go over our final take.
Last Take: Why You Should Vent Your Gas Range (Even if it isn’t Required
Even if your gas range isn’t required to be vented, you should still take steps to vent it with a ducted system. This will improve the air quality in your kitchen while keeping you safer.
If you have a commercial gas range, then you will probably be required to vent your gas range. Always beware of the dangers of carbon monoxide. You can’t smell it, see it, or taste it, so make sure you’re CO alarms are functioning properly.