By Samantha Maldonado, THE CITY
This article was originally published on by THE CITY. Sign up here to get the latest stories from THE CITY delivered to you each morning.
A simmering debate over gas stoves boiled over recently.
A federal agency suggested last week that the use of gas appliances should be cut off, and the response got superheated across the country. But in New York, the idea isn’t new.
Two years ago, the City Council moved to prohibit installation of gas stoves in new buildings. Earlier this week, the governor proposed more regulations as part of efforts to fight climate change.
Here’s what you need to know about the issue — and how to ditch your gas stove, if you choose:
What’s so bad about gas stoves, anyway?
Gas stoves can pollute a home’s indoor air by releasing high levels of nitrogen dioxide, plus particulate matter and carbon monoxide. Even when turned off, gas stoves have been found to leak methane, a potent greenhouse gas that warms the planet.
Exposure to such pollutants can lead to negative respiratory and cardiovascular health outcomes. One 2013 study estimated that kids who grow up in homes with gas stoves are 42% more likely to experience symptoms of asthma than kids in homes with electric stoves.
In New York, 18.8% of childhood asthma cases might be prevented if households didn’t have gas stoves, according to a study published in December.
Given these health impacts, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is interested in reducing “indoor air quality hazards,” including those that come from gas stoves, according to a statement from the commission chair. The CPSC does not currently regulate gas stoves, and there is certainly no ban in the works.
What’s the latest on gas stove bans in New York? And can I keep my existing one?
In a few years, new buildings in New York City won’t be allowed to feature gas stoves in kitchens, or any other appliances powered by fossil fuel.
The City Council in 2021 passed a bill that effectively bans gas in new buildings, starting in 2024 for those under seven stories and in 2027 for anything taller. It’s an effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions, which exacerbate climate change.
But there’s nothing in the law that would rip gas stoves out of the kitchens where they’re already installed.
At the state level, Gov. Kathy Hochul recently backed a similar ban on fossil fuels in new construction, as outlined in the annual State of the State address on Tuesday. Beginning in 2025 for smaller buildings and 2028 for larger ones, it is an effort to zero out greenhouse gas emissions in that sector, Hochul said.
The governor also wants to prohibit the sale of heating equipment that burns fossil fuels — by 2030 for smaller buildings and 2035 for larger buildings. But that proposal does not apply to gas stoves, according to Hochul spokesperson Katy Zielinski. That means restaurants that pride themselves on flame broiling don’t need to immediately worry, according to reporting by Eater NY.
I have a gas stove now, but I’d like to try something else. What can I do?
If you own your home or apartment, you can replace your gas stove with an electric one or an induction stove, which uses a magnetic current to produce heat.
Seth Frader-Thompson, president of the tech company EnergyHub, converted his entire Fort Greene townhouse to electric, from the stove to the home’s heating. He and his wife cook a lot, Frader-Thompson said, so he worried he wouldn’t like the experience of using an induction stove, but now he’s sold.
“Your ventilation needs for your range hoods are much lower. The amount of heat that you feel as you’re cooking is much less. The cleanup is much easier,” he said. “In the end, it really feels like there was no downside whatsoever to switch.”
Frader-Thompson recommended going to appliance showrooms to get a feel for induction stoves in person. Some salespeople will let you boil a pot of water to test it out.
There is a learning curve when it comes to cooking food. Everything heats up a lot faster compared to gas, for example.
NYCHA tenant Shavon Marino last year received an induction stove in her Bronx apartment as part of an experiment to test indoor air quality, as THE CITY previously reported. She had to get used to cooking with it, but now she’s a pro.
“Since the stove has been in my life, I’ve been so much happier coming home. I can cook better,” said Marino, who made Thanksgiving dinner for eight people. “It’s so easy. I love it. I never want to go back to a gas stove.”
How do I actually swap a range out?
If you have not worked with electricity and gas before, definitely call a professional to remove your stove and install a new one. Check to see what options the appliance store has for delivery and disposal of your old stove.
Be aware that you may need to upgrade your home’s electrical system to be able to handle a new electric range. This may be more complicated in a multifamily building, and the effort may require getting the support of your neighbors or co-op board.
You can start by making sure you have a 220/240-volt outlet that can support an electric stove. An electrician can do this easily. You may have to hire an electrician to increase the capacity from the U.S. standard 110/120-volt outlet. You also may want to call your gas utility company to shut off gas service after the stove is installed — though Frader-Thompson, who used a contractor, didn’t do this.
“Just in case we hated the induction stove, we ran a gas line behind the stove,” he said. But he doesn’t think his family will ever use it.
But I’m a renter. What are my options?
Though a renter can’t necessarily just haul out the gas stove from their unit without permission from the landlord, tenants can always request an electric replacement if a gas stove dies.
And renters can buy an electric or induction plug-in cooktop to use instead of relying on a gas stove — though you may have to keep an eye on your electricity use.
Take Shay O’Reilly, an organizer for the environmental nonprofit Sierra Club who lives in Flatbush, Brooklyn with his husband and daughter. His pre-war apartment has a gas stove, but he hasn’t used it for months. This past summer, he bought a two-burner induction range and a toaster oven that fits a 9” by 13” pan. He turned off the valve connected to the gas stove and set a counter slab over the burners.
“The one annoying thing about our setup is that we can’t have on the electric kettle and the toaster oven at the same time. It’ll short the circuit,” O’Reilly said.
But he has no other complaints. Making the switch, which cost about $200, hasn’t stopped him from baking whole roast chicken, birthday cake, peach pie, and batches of muffins and brownies, he said.
He noticed the kitchen doesn’t get as hot when he’s cooking, and feels better about his toddler getting involved in food prep.
“Not having the fire there makes it a lot safer to have her help us out,” he said.
Andres Salomon, a stay-at-home parent and former computer programmer, swapped out his gas stove for an induction stove when his family bought a home in Forest Hills about two years ago. He suggested purchasing a smaller induction burner, like O’Reilly’s, to get a feel for the difference if you’re not sure you want to dump your gas stove.
“You can just try it out and you won’t have to change the wiring or anything. Just put it on your countertop and plug it in,” Saloman said. “It’s kind of like a hot plate. You can test out your pots and pans to make sure they work.”
With standard electric stoves, just about any cookware will do. But induction stoves require certain materials: cast iron, enamel or ceramic-coated. You can test if your cookware would work for an induction stove by seeing if a magnet sticks; if it does, the cookware will work. To avoid buying new pots and pans, you also can purchase a converter disc, which goes on the bottom of your cookware.
How much will this cost me?
The cheapest induction stoves can cost around $1,000. One survey of 90 people found the average price to be about $2,200.
A new electric or induction stove could become much cheaper with the $433 billion federal Inflation Reduction Act, passed last year. The legislation includes $4.5 billion for states to give rebates when buying electric appliances, so you could qualify for up to $840 on a new stove. More tax credits are available for upgrading a breaker box or electrical wiring. This calculator can give you a sense of what you may qualify for.
The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority said it will distribute those funds once the federal Department of Energy allocates them.
Jeffrey Weber, a property manager at Weber Realty Management, which has a portfolio of 40 buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn, told THE CITY it’s often cheaper and faster to upgrade the electrical system than to upgrade gas lines when they fail the required inspections. Because of that, he’s been encouraging the multifamily complexes he works with to get off gas.
Weber said he tells condo and co-op boards that “the regulations concerning gas are getting stricter and stricter, and the upkeep for the gas lines will be prohibitively expensive, so it’s best to bite the bullet now.”
THE CITY is an independent, nonprofit news outlet dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York.
Happy to switch. I have a high-end Viking gas range. Hochul can send me a check for the full price of the equivalent induction stove.
As well as the check to subsidize your electric bill. It will skyrocket.
This is a city regulation. What in the world does Gov. Hochul have to do with it?
Don’t worry, no one’s requiring that you stop poisoning yourself.
Good in-depth article. Thanks, West Side Rag! I think I’ll keep my gas stove for now, but I am intrigued about induction cooking.
The hue and cry about this is overblown. It’s not mandatory for existing buildings, which somehow has gotten lost in all the media attention. (Plus, the oil and gas industry has its lobbyists in high gear on this)
I know several people whose gas stoves were out of commission for more than a year because of gas line issues in their pre-war buildings. Between the repairs of the gas lines, and the city and ConEd inspections/work, it was an expensive headache for the coops. In retrospect, rewiring and switching to electric would’ve been cheaper. And not every unit would need to buy induction. Lots of people rarely cook, and honestly, a modern electric stove, even if it’s not induction, isn’t terrible. Plenty of people use them quite happily.
I love watching the right-wing freak out show over this.
Gas stoves are my preferred appliance. I don’t really like cooking on an electric range. But if I have to switch, I will.
I will adapt. And I will be perfectly fine.
But the Fox News and WSJ loonies are acting like their lives will lose value over this.
Not against efforts to reduce pollution and all that, but am I the only one that is feeling a bit like government is overstepping it’s bounds? The regulations and restrictions are never ending. As a life-long Democrat, I have to disagree with the intrusive agenda put forth by many of the party’s elected officials. Back off a little bit.
What I keep seeing is city and state governments trying to head people to situations where they are the ones in charge of billing – money going back into the coffers of the city/state….which allows them to control any price increases…
“The regulations and restrictions are never ending”
It is the nature of capitalism to need regulation to avoid its eating us alive.
The environment cannot be replaced!!!!!
I’m not arguing that caring for environment isn’t necessary. It just seems like a light bulb goes off and a new restriction is in place, without an actual plan. California is mandating electric vehicles in the not too distant future. The infrastructure there is nowhere near ready for that amount of draw on the grid.
These restrictions are more about pandering to the progressive base than they are about “saving the earth”. The very same politicians will still fly on their fossil fueled private jets and eat their $1000 meals cooked on a gas stove at Per Se. China and India will continue to belch their pollutants into the Earth’s atmosphere, so every effort we make here in the U.S. will barely move the needle.
This doesn’t sound like a severe regulation – it doesn’t require anyone to make a change in his/her current setup. And if the government doesn’t issue regulations that can lessen the impact of climate change, who will? The regulations may be never-ending, but that’s not really a problem – based on the current pace of how society is dealing with these issues, the odds are that having a livable environment will end before the regulations.
It doesn’t require people to make a change in their current setup…the moment their existing gas lines leak. Then the latest building codes and ConEd liability-avoidance measures make it so difficult to replace cooking gas lines that you have to upgrade your whole electrical system.
That’s what happened to me. And I love my induction stove! But I’m fully aware that I was coerced into to getting it.
The studies quoted are just very few of many related to the issues of gas stoves. Other studies (not sponsored by oil and gas conglomerates) did not come to the same conclusion regarding asthma and poisoning.
I read quite a few of these studies and honestly think that the requirement of replacing gas stoves is more political than practical and good for our health and environment.
I did similar research when I heard about the dangers of gas stoves. I have children and I cook. I prefer cooking on gas stove because even the best electric stove can’t compare in quality, certain food won’t come out the same. I’m not mentioning the electricity consumption, it will be a lot, I dealt with it in my other place.
Mt priority is of course the health of my children. So far after the in-depth research using multiple sources I can’t come to a conclusion that gas stoves are harmful to our health.
We can’t just jump on the first research that is highlighted for our attention. Do your own due diligence and research.
If we all switch , what will happen in summer months – you know, those heat waves, when electricity gets rationed, we have rolling black outs, and people don’t have air conditioning? Will we all go hungry?
> “Your ventilation needs for your range hoods are much lower. The amount of heat that you feel as you’re cooking is much less
This is just utter nonsense. Physics is physics, and water doesn’t boil at a lower temperature because you’re using a fuel that gives you the feels.
People, use your brains.
Physics tells us that the flames that escape the cooking pot around the outside will heat the pot from the outside as well as the grate, the handle and the rest of the room. We can quibble over the magnitude of this effect but t’s not nonsense.
This is NOT a scientific response – the boiling point of water is correct but the fuel used to boil the water is not the same temp – dream on and continue to make statements about things that don’t even make sense.
No heat loss thru the air. Not unlike EVs being more efficient per kJ because of heat loss from combustion. Not to mention in that case braking also recharges the battery, which isn’t possible with internal combustion engines.
Well, first of all, the idea that switching to electric will lessen greenhouse gas emissions is bull. Electricity is made largely from fossil fuels. Second, as others have mentioned, the.cooking is inferior. Finally, it is way more expensive to run electric appliances than it is to run gas appliances l don’t know who started this propaganda campaign against gas or why, but it certainly wasn’t to help consumers or the environment.
It might be worth your while to do some research about several claims you are making here – some actual research – not the propaganda spread by the fossil fuel industry and those they support.. And there are several top-rated chefs talking about how much better magnetic cooking is than gas…perhaps some real research on that front would be time well spent too…
The cooking is better. Love my new induction stove. Simmers perfectly. Boils water in half the time gas does. I sent the gas stove to the scrap yard. And no guest will ever turned my induction stove to low instead of off and fill my house with gas because it went out.
I have heard that induction cooking is great, though I’ve never used it. I do know that about half of my cookware will not work on induction ranges. So the high cost of an induction range as well as the high cost of replacing half of my cookware makes induction a non-starter for me at this time.
Do any of the commenters have contacts in the DOB, plumbing division? I have a particular problem with them suddenly requiring not just the Model# of a new gas range (being installed in a renovation) but the Serial # when applying for a plumbing permit. How can they expect homeowners to purchase appliances before a project starts. Thought it had something to do with them wanting to reduce faulty gas work to prevent explosions…then started thinking it’s the anti gas lobby…this JUST a happened! Anyone have any insight?
Since 2016 the DoB has been instructed to make it difficult for you. This is a consequence of Local Laws 151 through 159 passed in 2016. No one really noticed at the time because the laws were branded as common-sense safety measures. In reality, they make it impossible to maintain gas lines in existing buildings without extensive and (often) infeasible plumbing work. They bury you in paperwork until you just go electric.
So if the grid in NYC or the country goes out, how does one plan on lighting an electric stove? If you have gas, you can strike a match to light it and you don’t NEED electricity. When I lived on Staten Island, due to the outages and storms that NYC had, I was able to light my gas stove with a match at the time. Not the same with electric.
Most moderrn gas stoves require electricity for safety features, but if your stove is old enough, you can still use it. I just bought an induction and love it, but I have a 70 year old Magic Chef in the basement as backup. The gas is currently turned off at the wall though, so no chance of leaks.
Sure the stoves are easy to price. What does the electrician charge to run a new 220 volt circuit? $250? $500? $1000? I was shocked at how much it cost in small town NY but I love my new induction stove.
I wish my rental building would switch to electric. I know it will shoot up my con ed bill and maybe make cooking harder but it will be worth it — I’m very scared of one of my neighbors leaving on the gas and blowing me up! I was up at 3:30 AM last week because not one but two neighbors (in an 8 unit building!) left their gas stoves partially on overnight and we had to have firefighters in and turn off the heat for the day. In the meantime, I’m using my air fryer more often than my oven.
If there is a power outage, just go to your neighbor’s apt with a gas stove. I don’t think we need to worry about starving in NYC.. On the other hand, i’ve seen buildings that have shut off the gas for a year or more while con ed checks for gas leaks. In my building, my neighbors and I decided if there’s a gas leak, they’ll come to my apt for dinner, and if there’s a power outage i’ll go their apt for dinner. For the record, i currently have gas, and am going to switch to induction which i’ve only heard great things about and observed in person. The high end induction stoves look amazing.
Can anyone who has gone electric tell us what the difference was to their monthly utility bill. Obviously gas drops to $0, but what was the corresponding increase to the electric portion of the bill? Thanks
I wonder how much influence the electric appliance lobby, and ConEd has in this? And enough of Gov. Hoho’s input. As with so many money driven movements like this: “The envelope please”.
This is nonsense considering even if the science they are touting is correct (hint: it’s probably not) the electric grid is not equipped to handle the additional load and mostly supplied by even more environmentally damaging methods. This is all without mentioning the increased demand will hike energy costs even higher and impact lower and middle class population disproportionately.
Aren’t there even bigger fossil fuel issues?
Wouldn’t heating oil be even worse?
We have neighbors that installed solar yet they still have oil heating. The amount of solar production they have it would have better to invest in a solar farm.
I haven’t heard anything about eliminating oil heating
Delusional Demonrat with another delusional green idea.