Gas stove leaks methane even when turned off, study finds

Gas stoves leak significant amounts of methane while they’re burning and even when they’re turned off, according to a new report, adding to the debate over the impact of appliances that use gas. Gas use on human health and climate change.

One small study – based on measurements from stovetops, ovens and broilers in 53 homes in California – estimated that stoves emit between 0.8 and 1.3% of the natural gas they consume under unburnt form of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Over the course of a typical year, three-quarters of these emissions occur when appliances are turned off, the study found, which could indicate leaking fittings and connections to the gas line.

The study estimates that over a 20-year period, emissions from stoves across the United States could have the same planet-warming effect as half a million gas-powered cars.

“People are very engaged,” said Eric D. Lebel, a senior scientist at the nonprofit research institute PSE Healthy Energy and lead author of the study published Thursday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. bundle with their kitchen. “There’s something human about cooking on a gas stove, over an open fire.”

But a growing body of evidence, he said, suggests that stoves are “harmful to health and the climate at the same time.”

More and more American cities, mostly in blue states like California and Massachusetts, move house from cooking and heating with gas. New York City last month Prohibited gas hook in all new buildings. But at least 20 mostly red states have banned cities from restricting gas use, often with the support of natural gas companies and utility companies that see electrification as a threat to the planet. with their profits.

There were more than 40 million gas stoves in American households in 2015, the last year for which detailed data from government surveys are available. In general, houses and constructions are responsible estimated 13 percent US greenhouse gas emissions.

Methane is a major component of natural gas, and if it weren’t burned as it was released, it could warm the Earth 80 times more than the same amount of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Methane also contributes to ground-level ozone pollution, which can cause breathing problems and other health problems.

Methane leaks from oil and gas installation has attracted increasing attention in recent years, and efforts are underway to plug in thousands of dormant oil and gas wells that spew methane across the country. Rob Jackson, an earth scientist at Stanford University who carried out the new study said:

Dr. Lebel, Dr. Jackson and two co-authors have used plastic sheets to seal kitchens in private homes, Airbnb rentals, and properties for sale or rent. They found that, on average, burning one burner on a gas stove releases the same amount of methane as burning it for 10 minutes. They found that gas furnaces emit methane at a higher rate than stovetop burners, because furnaces periodically ignite and extinguish their main burners to maintain set temperatures.

The researchers also measured emissions over a five- to 10-minute period when the stove was off, although they did not attempt to pinpoint the exact source of the leak.

“It is almost an inevitable by-product of the natural gas supply chain,” said Dr. Jackson. “Every joint, every joint, has the potential to leak, especially over time when the stoves are left there for years.”

Dr Lebel said none of the leaks the researchers measured had concentrations that could lead to an explosion.

The researchers found that when it comes to methane emissions, older stoves don’t perform differently than newer ones. The more expensive models are no better than the cheaper ones either.

However, they admit that they want to conduct the test in more homes owned by people who can’t afford to replace or maintain older equipment. This will help their results better capture the disproportionate effects of emissions on low-income families, they say.

The level of methane in the atmosphere has skyrocketed in recent years, and scientists say that levels of methane in the atmosphere have skyrocketed in recent years, said Kathryn McKain, a researcher in the Earth Systems Research Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. don’t understand why.

More methane seems to end up in the air than is consumed on the ground. Household appliances are only one piece of the puzzle, says Dr. McKain. Gas stove leaks methane even when turned off, study finds

Fry Electronics Team

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