When my kitchen bunker is really on the chilly side, just making coffee and oatmeal on the stove can raise the temperature several degrees. And the other night, when I made a pizza (with a pizza stone) in the oven, the kitchen went up a delightful 10F. Considering these experiences, and the fact that burning natural gas (as my kitchen stove does) is ultimately a much more efficient source of heat than electricity, it’s tempting to maximize the use of the stove/oven in the kitchen and minimize the use of the space heater.

We all know that unvented gas cookstoves produce tiny amounts of carbon monoxide, which theoretically could cause toxicity. On the other hand, who gives a second thought to keeping the oven on for an few hours to roast a turkey, or keeping a stove burner on for hours while simmering a stew? This is never suggested to be dangerous. So how much oven/stove use is safe?

This is not easy to find out. Google searches on the topic produce only repeated warnings that “gas cookstoves should NEVER be used for heating”, because this will for sure kill you. But nowhere is it suggested that, say, baking six consecutive batches of bread could be even remotely dangerous– though if I did that in my kitchen, I’d be way overheated. I suppose the “do not use for heating” warning probable assumes that one would be trying to get the whole house up to tropical temps, and so running the stove full-bore 24/7. Obviously that’s a bad idea. But I can’t find much information on the location of the boundary between “perfectly safe” and “deadly” durations of stove use.

I suppose I could get a CO detector and find out empirically. But for the moment, I’m going assume that baking a pizza is no more dangerous than it ever was– even if it happens to warm up the kitchen nicely.


2 Responses to “CO”

  1. brushfiremedia Says:

    The stove knows when it’s being used for cooking and when its being used for heating, Turbo. When you are cooking, the stove knows not to produce CO. Therefor you can cook 24/7. It’s only when you are using the stove for heating only that there is a danger.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Don at runs his natural gas water heater on just the pilot light. By obstructing the flue, he keeps the hot air in there long enough to warm the water.If the pilot light in the stove isn’t dangerous, this certainly shouldn’t be. I did it and it works great! I can get two showers a day, using a 1.5 GPM restrictor and a military shower switch.

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