Photo credit: Bosch

Foodies and professional chefs alike, up until recently, swore by their gas stoves. They raved about how quickly gas stoves heat up and how delicious food cooked on a gas stove tastes.

But the negatives of natural gas appliances outweigh the positives. Indoor emissions from gas stoves—especially poorly-ventilated ones—include toxic pollutants such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and methane. And over three-fourths of gas stove methane emissions measured in this study occurred when the stoves were turned off, mainly due to small post-meter leaks.

This conglomeration of noxious fumes, even when gas stoves are turned off,  leads to a well-documented increase in childhood asthma. Exposure to nitrogen dioxide, one of the most harmful byproducts of gas stove combustion, also contributes to poorly controlled asthma in children. If you or your household members have asthma or react to scented products and other volatile organic compounds, your gas stove may be contributing to your health problems.

Gas stoves also cause problems for the planet. Residential and commercial buildings are responsible for about 13% of greenhouse gases, mainly from using gas appliances. Although gas stoves are only responsible for 0.1% of US greenhouse gas emissions, getting a gas hookup for your stove is a gateway drug to the main residential uses of fossil gas: heating air and water. 

As indoor and outdoor pollution hazards due to natural gas become more widely known, dozens of cities have banned natural gas hookups in new buildings.

The best alternative to a gas stove has been an electric one. But conventional electric stoves take forever to heat up, cost more to use than gas, and don’t transmit heat well.

Enter the induction stove.

Induction stoves are electromagnetic stoves that quietly debuted in the mid-2000s. They were slow to catch on, but their popularity is rising, for good reason! They don’t cook by combustion, so they don’t produce toxic gases. Hands down, this is the most important reason to choose induction stoves. You’ll clean up the air inside your home, as well as prevent long-term staining of your ceiling and upper cabinets. 

Energy-efficient induction stoves heat up fast—in fact, they’re faster than gas stoves. They also cook food more quickly than gas stoves and provide precise digital heat control. Finally, they’re easier to clean, with a smooth glass surface instead of the nooks and crannies of gas stoves. 

Getting rid of your gas stove—along with installing heat and air pumps and electric water heaters—can go a long way toward decarbonizing and electrifying your home. Induction stoves are more energy-efficient than gas stoves. And they are powered by electricity, which can come from solar or wind power, depending on what’s available in your area. 

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) includes juicy tax credits and rebates for energy-efficient heat pumps, electric vehicles, and induction stove purchases. The IRA set aside funding for states to offer rebates on new electric appliance purchases, including induction cooktops and ranges. Depending on your state’s policy, your final cost for an induction stove may be only a few hundred dollars.

Induction stoves are also safer than gas stoves. Aside from the risk of a gas leak, induction stoves don’t produce open flames that can burn toddlers or accident-prone adults. And since induction cooktops heat pots and pans directly instead of heating the air around them, you won’t burn yourself by touching a burner or cooktop. 

As a bonus, induction stoves don’t heat up the kitchen nearly as much as gas ones, a great benefit to keep your A/C costs down in increasingly hot summers. Drawn by these benefits, chefs are increasingly jumping on the induction-stove bandwagon.

Considerations for Switching from Gas to Induction

Hopefully, you’re ready to take the plunge to buy an induction stove. To make your transition smoother, here are a few things you should think through:

Make sure your old gas stove will be responsibly recycled. When you buy your induction stove at Home Depot, they’ll usually recycle it for a small additional fee (typically $25). Other big-box stores like Lowe’s will recycle gas stoves, but Home Depot’s service is the most straightforward.  
Consider the type of induction appliance you want. Although you can find induction cooktops with smaller price tags than slide-in models, the cooktops often require a complete kitchen renovation.  (Also, make sure you’re buying an induction and not simply an electric range!)
 Be prepared for one-time costs in switching to induction. These expenses include paying servicepeople to cap off your old gas connection (no more random gas leaks!) and do some rewiring. But since induction stoves don’t need venting, you don’t have to shell out extra to upgrade your venting system.
You may need new cookware since aluminum, copper, and Pyrex don’t work on induction cooktops. Check out our guide to healthy, eco-friendly options. The pan also needs to cover most of the burner, or else the burner will automatically switch off. If you have a small magnetic pan (check it with a refrigerator magnet), you can get it to work on an induction burner by using this YouTube hack.
Exercise caution around induction stoves if you have a pacemaker. Turned-on induction stoves emit electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which people with pacemakers are advised to keep away from. The current consensus is that patients with pacemakers can use induction stoves, but they should keep at least 24 cm (60 inches) away from turned-on burners. 

In summary, gas stoves have historically been popular because they heat up quickly and cook tasty food fast. But there’s a price to pay for gas cooking, especially in terms of indoor air quality. Induction stoves are an all-around better choice for cooking. Now that the government may cover a hefty portion of your purchase price, induction stoves are an even better investment in your health and home. 

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