December 18, 2012

Gas Stove vs. Smoke Detector

Written by  Russell Bowen

I recently purchased a gas stove for my family. I told folks I was buying it for my wife, but that's not really true. She was content with the electric stove that came with the house. I was really the one who wanted the gas stove. I grew up cooking with gas, and I think it is easier to use.

One thing we've noticed with the new stove is that the smoke detector goes off much more frequently. Almost every day, the detector alarms when we are cooking, and one of us will quickly step onto a chair or stool to remove the alarm until we are done cooking. We eat our meal in peace, and then replace the detector on the ceiling. It's not a good practice, but it is easier to eat without the annoyingly loud beeps.

I believe the cause of the alarms is that our cooking oil is being heated faster causing it to smoke more quickly. We typically use coconut oil on a cast iron griddle for most of our meals. The oil has a relatively low melting point, and it will burn more quickly than other oils. Oils heated to high temperatures will form polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and particulate matter (PM).

While there may be some health effects associated with the PAH and PM from cooking with oil, I am more concerned about the potentially increase in fire risk. What happens if we forget to put the fire alarm back? I believe the risk is very low, but it is still a problem worth solving.

One thing we are starting to do, is to be sure we turn on the exhaust vent over the stove whenever we cook. We are also paying close attention to our cooking temperature. Hopefully, these measures will decrease the false alarms. Another solution is to find a less sensitive smoke detector, or we could move the current detector further from the stove.

I am sure we will eventually find a good solution. The benefit of an early fire warning system greatly outweighs the cost of a working system.

Read 4571 times Updated on December 18, 2012