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Breath Easier This Winter.

Updated: Jan 30

What to do to improve local air quality.

Wildfires have taught us a lot about air quality. Turns out the air quality in our homes and neighborhoods isn’t that great, especially during the winter. 

Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Smoke from word-burning stoves and fireplaces is the biggest contributor to winter air pollution. Wood smoke particles (PM 2.5) are so tiny that they seep into our houses – even through closed doors and windows. Wood smoke contains probable or known carcinogens: benzene, formaldehyde, acrolein, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Gas-powered fireplaces also emit PM 2.5, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and formaldehyde.

Impact of burning fossil fuels

Impacts of burning fossil fuels. The carcinogens are shown above, and the impacts are shown below.

What You Can Do

  • Reduce how often you burn wood in your home. Use processed wood such as a Duraflame log, which burns 80% cleaner than regular firewood. 

  • If you have a gas fireplace, use it less.

  • Install an electric fireplace insert or an electric log set for a cleaner, healthier home.

Word burning stove

 This 5200 BTU standalone Duraflame Electric Fireplace can provide supplemental heating for a room up to 1000 square feet or primary heat for a smaller room. 

Gas Kitchen Stoves

We’ve recently learned that gas stoves – previously believed to be safe and clean – emit dangerous gases inside the kitchen. A UCLA study showed that 90% of homes will have unhealthy levels of nitrogen oxide pollution after just one hour of cooking with gas. A Stanford-led analysis found that a single gas cooktop burner on high or a gas oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit can raise indoor benzene levels above those in secondhand tobacco smoke. Another Stanford study showed that children in homes with gas stoves have a 42% greater risk of having asthma.

What To Do If You Cook with Gas

  • Confirm that the exhaust fan for your gas stove works and vents outside.

  • Run the fan on high when you cook.

  • Use your gas stove less frequently: Buy an inexpensive, free-standing electric induction burner, and use an electric tea kettle, toaster oven, multi-pot, instant pot, and/or slow cooker.

  • Install an electric induction stove. Induction is safer, healthier, more efficient, and preferred for control, safety, and health by both amateur and professional cooks.

Gas Water Heaters and Furnaces

Gas appliances in California homes and buildings emit about four times more pollution than our electric power plants and nearly two-thirds the emissions from light-duty vehicles statewide. Fortunately, there are now highly efficient electric appliances available, as well as city, state and Federal rebates to make them even more affordable. To get started, get 3 bids for the purchase and installation of a new electric appliance (water heater, space heater, stove) in your home.  Get two bigs from the list of qualified contractors collected by BayRen  and one from home electrification resource 

Water heaters

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