Do you own a gas range oven? If so, it might seem obvious that there are special procedures you should be following to make sure that you operate it efficiently and safely. A gas stove is a great addition to your kitchen. These appliances are great for cooking all sorts of meals, and have numerous benefits over electric stoves. However, for this article we are going to focus on one particular aspect of this stove, and that is the proper ventilation procedures.
In this article, we are going to go over all the reasons that gas range stoves need proper ventilation. This includes safety reasons, as well as hygienic and functional issues. Without a properly vented gas appliance, you might start to notice several changes in the indoor air quality of your home.
Below, we will dive deeper into these issues, as well as the best way to vent your gas range.
Why do gas ranges require venting?
There are several reasons that a gas range oven requires a proper vent. This is not only for the air quality in your home, but for safety and health reasons as well. There are also big issues that can present themselves with messes within your kitchen. We will examine these issues in this section.
Odor and cleanliness
Whether you are using an electric or gas ranges, many of us do not realize just how important it is to vent. Most of us basically switch on the vent when something is burning. We think of the venting as an unnecessary factor.
However, when we place food in a pan or pot, particles of water, smoke, grease, and food are sent into the air. These particles tend to land everywhere. Over time you will begin to notice grime on furniture, fabrics, and floors. Accumulated grime can damage the finishes and surfaces of your home.
Adding to this, the grime from all the dispersed particles exude an odor over time. If you do not vent when using a gas range, you will be left with a beautiful home that has a smelly space. This is particularly true of the open concept floorplans that are so popular these days. If you have an open floorplan or loft-style dwelling, any cooking odors have a tendency to spread throughout the entire home.
There is also the health aspect of it. Venting is very important because anytime you cook or sear something in a pan, ultra-fine particles are introduced in the air. These are not just your ordinary particles; they mesh together with other chemicals in the air (sometimes produced from the air fresheners, air conditioning unit, and other chemicals in the air) and produce a heavy induced chemical that is not safe to breathe in.
The bottom line is that you simply are not supposed to be exposed to many of the chemicals and particles that are given off by your gas range. It is not healthy to be operating one of these stoves without a proper vent which prevents these chemicals from absorbing into your indoor air.
Most gas flames produce nitrogen dioxide. In complete combustion, we just get water and carbon dioxide, but a lot of times we get the incomplete combustion, and the byproducts. Elevated concentrations of nitrogen dioxide cause respiratory problems, including elevated irritation and asthma. This is a great concern especially if you have kids.
Gas ranges do not necessarily require venting as much as electric ranges because they burn relatively clean. However, keep in mind that ventilation is used to remove heat, smoke, steam, and grease – plus the byproducts of burning gas.
Dedicated circuits are electrical circuits that only supply one appliance at a time. So whatever appliance is connected to it is isolated from any other appliance.
If you are in the habit of cooking with high heat, frying, cooking meats, bacon, etc., these products create smoke that steam up your windows and leave grease on your cabinets, and the odors can survive for days. Venting is the sure way to prevent any of this from happening.
It is just the nature of cooking that substances and particles are released into the air. These are not things you want sticking around in your house, regardless of whether they are hazardous or not. Proper ventilation is the easiest way to proactively address the problem so you won’t have an issue in the future.
So, what is the best way to vent?
The most effective way to vent a stove is to do so outside. Look for a range hood that can sufficiently exhaust outside the home. If your home does not have in-built ventilation, install one 24 to 30 inches above the stovetop.
Ensure it spans the width of the stove and has a depth up to at least half of the front burners. Do not complicate the process by purchasing huge decorative mantel hoods. Most of the fans in these big mantel hoods are way too high to be effective. Range hoods are rated by how many cubic feet of air they remove per minute, so ensure they match your stove’s energy output.
One important factor that most of us forget to do is change the filter. Remember to change the filter at least every 3 months if you cook often. Filters can be purchased at appliance stores and cost as little as $40 each.
The most important factor is that the unit is installed in proportion to your home and to the manufacturer’s specifications. Units will need to be installed differently in different homes. You will need to know how to install it correctly in your home so that it is sealed properly and fits tightly. It is likely a task for which you will need to contact a professional tradesman, as they will know the exact method of installation.
Whatever model you choose, make sure to turn it on as soon as you start cooking when using gas ranges. And of course, remember to clean the grease filter regularly.
U.S. Requirements for Gas Range Venting
Perhaps surprisingly, in the United States it’s not required to vent residential gas ranges to the outside. But if you do any significant amount of cooking in your home, you’ll definitely want to ensure your gas range is vented outside for all the reasons we’ve discussed. Nonetheless, if you’re installing a new range hood for your gas range you’ll want to make sure you’ve got any required construction permits or inspections. For this reason, make sure you get your range hood installed by a professional.
What Are The Different Types Of Range Hoods?
When deciding how exactly you’ll vent your gas range, there are many options available. What type of range hood you choose will depend on a few factors. These include your decor style, your budget, and how much venting you actually need for your gas range. Are you doing a lot of cooking and frying on your stove, or are you more of a microwave meal type of person?
Wall Mount Range Hoods
Wall mount range hoods are the most common style of stove hoods that you see in modern homes today. True to their name, they’re mounted to the wall above your gas range. Wall mount range hoods come in various styles, with the most common being the tapered hood or the pyramid chimney style.
Island Range Hoods
If your gas range is located within your kitchen island, you’ll need an island range hood. Island range hoods are mounted to the ceiling above the island and as such, serve as a focal centerpiece for your kitchen. Because of their positioning, island range hoods need to be more powerful (with a higher CFM, or cubic foot per minute) in order to properly filter and remove smelly or smoky air from the kitchen.
Range Hood Inserts
If you’re looking for a more custom look, a range hood insert may be the way to go. Range hood inserts are designed to be inserted, or hidden within custom cabinetry or a custom hood. This gives you the utmost control over exactly how your kitchen looks. Range hood inserts are also helpful if you have existing cabinetry that you want to convert into a range hood. By using a range hood insert you can suit any style of decor, from sleek and modern to rustic country or ornate Old World.
Microwave Range Hoods
The most affordable option for gas range venting, microwave range hoods are often seen in apartments as well as budget-friendly homes. If you have a kitchen where the microwave is located directly above the gas range, then you likely have a microwave range hood. These range hoods are ductless, meaning they don’t actually vent outside. Instead, they take the air in from the gas range, filter it and then circulate it back out into your home. For this reason, microwave range hoods aren’t the most effective and may not be sufficient if you do a lot of frying, searing meat, etc.
Under Cabinet Range Hoods
Under cabinet range hoods are similar to wall mount hoods, except instead of going straight up to the ceiling they have cabinetry above them. If you have a microwave range hood and want to upgrade your kitchen, removing the microwave and swapping in an under cabinet range hood is the way to go.
How many CFM do you need?
Range hoods vary widely in how much air they can remove per minute, and this is measured by CFM (cubic foot per minute). How many CFM you need will depend on the energy output of your gas range (the BTUs) and what type of cooking you do.
For gas stoves, the range hood should be capable of removing 100 CFM for every 10,000 BTUs. So if your gas stove has an energy rating of 40,000 BTUs, buy a range hood rated at least 400 CFM. If you frequently fry, sear meats or cook with a wok, look for a stronger CFM rating. (Note that gas ranges are not Energy Star rated, but the CFM rating will tell you a lot.)
How much does venting a gas range cost?
If your gas range isn’t already equipped with a proper range hood, installing one can seem daunting. But actually, it’s not as expensive as you might think. Expect to pay around $150 to 200 for a basic range hood plus the cost of installation, which you definitely want to hire a professional for. Installation will include creating outdoor ventilation to ensure all that smoke, gas and odor has somewhere to go. Including installation you’ll likely spend about $500 for a basic model. If you want a higher-end look, even the fancier range hoods at home improvement stores typically cost $500 or less before installation.
Additional safety precautions with gas ranges
We always caution children to be careful when using the stove, but as adults it’s easy to forget about taking precautions. However, whenever you’re using a gas range, keep in mind combustion is occurring and carbon monoxide is being produced. For more on this, see our article on safety tips for gas ranges.
The dangers of carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is produced by the burning of natural gas. It’s known as the “silent killer” because if concentration of carbon monoxide is too high in an enclosed space, it can have deadly results. Venting your gas range is the best protection against carbon monoxide build-up in your home, however there are also other measures you can take.
Open the windows
When you’re using your gas range for an extended period of time, such as a long-simmering soup or braise, open the windows. This will circulate fresh air to help remove carbon monoxide from your home.
Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
All homes should be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. Similar to a smoke detector, these devices will alert you if carbon monoxide levels inside your home reach a dangerous level.
So there you have it. For serious cooks, a gas range is always preferable to an electric stove, but gas ranges come along with some special considerations. A gas range stove does require ventilation, but there are many simple steps that you can take to prevent any hazard to yourself or your home. The main concerns range around cleanliness and odor, health, and safety. However, with a proper ventilation system, you will not need to worry about these issues.
The most important step in this process is to make sure that your ventilation system is installed correctly. It should be fit to the exact specifications of your home and to your gas range stove. It is crucial to install it correctly at the start of the process, so you won’t have to worry about any issues down the line. Next, you should know how to properly use the ventilation system, and when to turn it on and off.
As you can see, as long as you deal with this issue at the start, you really won’t have to worry about much. You can instead put your focus where it belongs, on perfecting your culinary skills with your gas range oven.
Learn more about gas ranges
Now that you’re up to speed on venting requirements for gas ranges, are you ready to shop for a new gas range? If so check out our Top 10 Gas Range Reviews as well as our guide to how to install a gas range. As you’re shopping for a new gas range you may be wondering, are gas ranges hard to clean? Thankfully we have a handy guide to how to clean your gas range top.
However, if you’ve decided a gas range isn’t for you, we also have plenty of info to share. Check out the answer to “Can a gas range be converted to liquid petroleum?”, or our buying guide to the best electric stovetops. And if you’d prefer to take your gas cooking outdoors, check out our best gas grill reviews. Happy cooking!