Iowa is among 25 states in the country that has passed legislation protecting the rights of consumers to choose their heating source. This legislation safeguards continued access for the installation and use of gas appliances, such as those used for space heating, water heating and cooking.
Why was this law necessary in the first place? Well, about 100 communities across the country have been changing their building codes in the past few years to ban gas hookups in new residential and commercial buildings.
Momentum for this movement gained more steam when New York recently became the first state in the country to ban fossil fuels in most new buildings—including natural gas and propane gas stoves and furnaces. Under this new measure, New York will require all-electric heating and cooking equipment in new buildings shorter than seven stories by 2026, and in taller buildings by 2029.
Government leaders in New York and elsewhere have decided to aggressively promote electricity as the only clean energy solution. They do this at the expense of traditional proven fuels like propane, natural gas and heating oil.
Unfortunately, they also ignore the environmental value of low-carbon propane, which your local propane supplier delivers right now, as well as the promise of renewable propane in the near future. Read about renewable propane gas.
Fighting against climate change by lowering emissions requires a sensible approach to energy policy— not one that tries to force homeowners and businesses who like propane to switch to electric heating. We should all be pleased that that our leaders in Iowa are keeping us on track to incorporate a balanced and clean energy plan for our state.
This year, the issue of gas stove bans reached a fever pitch when the focus shifted to harmful pollution inside the home. This was due to new studies that showed the potential for indoor air pollution hazards associated with the use of natural gas stoves. Unfortunately, rumors spread rapidly on social media that the U.S. government planned to confiscate all existing gas stoves from people’s homes. This is false.
Here is an important issue that we have not seen addressed in recent studies. Concerns have long been raised about methane leaks coming from natural gas, especially from deteriorating pipelines. Bringing to light indoor emissions leaking from stoves fueled by natural gas just added to those concerns. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and it’s the main component of natural gas.
But here’s something that has been overlooked. In its original form, propane is not a greenhouse gas and it’s considered a “green” fuel because of its low carbon content. Unlike natural gas, propane does not contain any methane gas! Therefore, it’s impossible for a propane gas stove to leak harmful methane gas into a home.
Looking beyond the issue of methane gas leaks, research that’s raised alarm bells over the potential risks involved in cooking isn’t new. All cooking—whether it happens on a gas, electric or wood stove—produces some particulate matter (PM). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines PM as microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can be inhaled and cause serious health problems.
As an example, think about the smoke that’s produced when you’re searing a steak in a frying pan on your cooktop. It’s not healthy to be breathing that in because of all the particulate matter it contains.
This is why indoor air quality experts always advise using your kitchen range hood to vent particulate matter to the outside whenever you are cooking. If you don’t have a range hood, open a nearby window or use a portable to get at least some ventilation into your kitchen.
Tucker Perkins, president and CEO of the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC), noted that a 2020 study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) found that electric ranges cause household fires at a rate 2.6 times greater than gas ranges; civilian injuries at a rate 4.8 times higher; and civilian deaths at a rate 3.4 times higher.
“Am I suggesting we ban electric stoves? Of course not,” said Perkins. “Many factors affect things like indoor air quality and fire safety, and policymakers must weigh all of them.”
Perkins emphasized that work must continue to eliminate the presence of harmful emissions in and near homes.
Doing this, along with proper installation, ventilation, and yearly checkups by qualified technicians constitutes a common-sense approach to addressing health and safety concerns around gas appliances, Perkins said.