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Why everyone is confused about gas and electric cooktops

Matt Hoots GA, United States 4 Ratings 13 Discussions 7 Group posts

Posted by: Matt Hoots // SawHorse Design + Build

Twenty years ago, I promoted gas appliances to my clients as the best option.  Gas was and is much better at heating the pot than electric options.  As a green builder, I ensured that the cooktops were well-ventilated and we had "make-up" so any toxins from the gas combustion would not be an issue.

The issue now is that most kitchens are NOT ventilated properly, so the combustion from the gas and the microparticles from cooking are realized into the air, causing asthma and other breathing conditions.  Gas is bad. However, that is only half the issue.  Electric with no ventilation is also an issue, so banning gas will not completely solve the indoor air quality problem.

Times have changed, and technology has changed as well.  There is a lesser-known 3rd option that is being mistaken for traditional electric, hence the confusion in the marketplace.  They are not wrong when commentators and politicians say that gas is better at cooking than electric.  It is better.  However, we are not talking about gas versus electric; it is gas versus induction.

The current tax credit is for induction because it uses far less energy than gas and electric (infrared) cooktops.  And it heats water in 1/4 the time than electric does and 1/2 the time it takes for gas to perform the same task.  So with these amazing facts, why is everyone still holding on to their gas stove for dear life?

It's mainly because induction and electric look the same from a distance; however, the technology is completely different.  One boils water in 3 min, and the other takes 12 min.  Our collective experience with the electric burners has put the industry back decades and may take years to correct, even with solid evidence.  You can see the gas flame, and since electric takes time to heat up, gas looks like it is doing better.

Here is a very long format take on why we are confused, a real test to show who the winner is, and an alternate take from the man who wrote the book on home performance.



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