Gas Stove Laws Affecting Appliance Coverage in California
If you are a resident of California, you have probably already heard about the recent controversy related to gas stoves. Proposed regulations could eventually make this common type of home appliance obsolete, and this is certainly likely for other gas appliances. Read on for the latest developments, as well as how it all may affect your appliance coverage in California.
Phasing Out Gas Appliances
While much has been reported lately about the potential dangers of gas stoves, legislation that bans or greatly limits their use has yet to be enacted. However, California has already put in motion a plan to phase out the use of water heaters and furnaces that are fueled by gas. In fact, a proposal to ban gas-fueled water heaters and space heaters by 2030 was officially granted approval in 2022 by the California Air Resources Board. The plan is meant to ensure cleaner air for all Californians. It will also help to reduce harmful emissions in communities with higher percentages of disadvantaged and low-income populations, who are otherwise subjected to more air pollution overall.
The Problem with Gas Stoves
Currently, there is much debate as to how much impact gas stoves have on the environment in general. Greater emphasis has been placed on health concerns for those exposed to indoor emissions from gas stove usage. Although gas stoves are beloved by many because they can streamline the cooking process, research has shown that they do lead to health issues. When natural gas burns at high temperatures, such as those used for cooking, another gas (nitrogen dioxide, or NO2) is produced as a result. Prolonged exposure to NO2 has been linked to higher mortality rates and chronic respiratory issues, as well as to asthma, specifically, in children. Other dangerous pollutants associated with gas stoves are formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, which further the risks to human health.
The Possibility of Regulatory Action
At this point, no official agency appears poised to ban gas stoves. However, the potential to limit their use does seem to be the intent of various U.S. government figures and entities, such as the Department of Energy. In February of 2023, the DOE proposed a new standard of efficiency for gas stoves, which would allow for a yearly limit of 1,204 kBtu. This would involve making significant modifications to existing models, which may not be practical and might not produce any substantial decrease in energy usage. Several members of Congress also composed a letter detailing their concerns regarding the health problems related to gas stove emissions. The letter was directed to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which views gas stoves as a hidden health hazard.
How Potential Regulations May Affect Your Household
While no legislation seems definite yet, it’s likely that gas stoves will soon be regulated more closely if not banned outright in the future. This means that California consumers may want to consider making the switch to electric stoves.
You may already be one of the consumers ready to swap your current gas stove for an electric range. If your home is a few decades old or has a small service panel, you might need to upgrade the panel or wiring. Since an electric range will likely depend on a 240-volt outlet, a variety of crucial electrical and structural modifications may be necessary. Before making any changes, you should consult an electrician to determine the safest plan of action.
The good news is that to help defray the expense of switching to an electric stove, some rebates could be available. Later in 2023, Californians with lower-to-middle incomes might receive rebates for upgrading to electric stoves, as well as rebates to help with the cost of rewiring and/or replacing electrical panels. Consumers can check for available rebates via a search tool on the Building Decarbonization Coalition website.
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