Switching old New York gas stoves to induction may not be easy.
Next year, New York City begin blockage new buildings to bring in natural gas, as part of a push to get out of fossil fuels, and the governor wants to take that ban statewide. Meanwhile, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is considering whether to ban the sale of new gas stovesciting studies that show they release nitrogen dioxide, methane and other chemicals, which have been linked to asthma and cancer in children.
It made us think of the gas stoves we already have. The ones that accumulate grime in rental kitchens, where our windows – painted long ago closed – barely offer adequate ventilation.
Is it easy to replace these existing stoves? Could our owners be convinced to make the investment? And if we did, would our energy bills be higher?
We spoke with electrical engineers, contractors, ventilation experts and architects who are already helping New Yorkers make the switch.
How much would it cost to replace my gas stove and how long would it take?
Michael M. Russell, a contractor who put out the stoves and is currently working to shut off the gas to an entire seven-unit co-op, says the job involves knocking down walls to run new power lines and then fixing them. He says the whole thing takes about a week for his team and two electricians, although it depends on the building, as older walls tend to be trickier to tear down and repair. Russell’s firm, Maxim Design Build, charges around $7,500 for an apartment. Architect David Mabbott, which partners with a general contractor, charged about $15,000 to $20,000 to go induction on townhouse renovations. These prices are only for the build, not the device itself, which ranges from $1,100 to $4,400, according to a pricing study by carbon switch. (And this device will probably be a induction stove, not a electric stove, which you might associate with glowing coils. These are out of fashion and make little sense to busy New Yorkers. “Electric cooktops are terrible. It takes so long to do anything with them,” says Metin Ozkuzey, the president of Designer appliancesa showroom based in Montclair.)
Well, the federal government provides some aid. Thanks to last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, America plans to spend $4.5 billion to upgrade its electrical appliances. That money comes in the form of rebates, which are reserved for people who earn less than 150% of their area’s local median income — that would be $168,900 in my corner of Crown Heights, for example. If you qualify, you get a one-time rebate of $840 per stove, which covers about 75% of the lower priced models.
Only you can’t get that money yet, says Kevin Kane, chief economist at United Green Owners, which guides clients through the refund and tax assistance process. This spring, states are laying out their plans for administering these rebates, so a New Yorker who wants to get one can expect to wait about a year for the process to settle.
Meanwhile, there are tax credits of up to $8,600 for the cost of demolishing your apartment and upgrading your electrical service. These are accessible to everyone, regardless of their income.
Is my building even capable of this kind of upgrade?
The average 30-inch induction cooker uses about 11 kilowatts, about ten times what an average dishwasher needs, or, depending on your lavish lifestyle, “about what you would use at home for everything else. », according to the architect Russel.
So the first step to replacing your gas stove is determining if you have enough electricity going into your unit, says Mabbott, the architect. If your building already has electricity to spare, contractors will install a new line into your kitchen from the electrical room (usually in the basement of your building). In older buildings, that means the first apartments to make the switch are able to take that reserve electricity, and everyone after them might be out of luck, said Ozkuzey, the appliance expert, whose company regularly sells and delivers induction cookers to New Yorkers. . “Some of the older buildings don’t even have the ability to upgrade people. If 20 people live in the building, I upgrade two, and boom! You have finished. There is not enough power.
If your building doesn’t have electricity to spare, your contractor can contact Con Edison to bring more electricity into the building, a step that architect Mabbott says isn’t as hairy as it looks. it seems. “For the most part, they are responsive and the work can go relatively quickly. It’s not like it’s an endless process. Still, “there are definitely times when the project involves tearing up the street.”
Even with Con Edison on board, there may be a limit to how much electricity your building can safely handle. Sam DeLano, electrical engineer at ABS Engineering, who has spent eight years working on new multi-family buildings and townhouses in New York City, explains that once a building draws 1,000 kVA, code mandates an electrical room upgrade to prevent fires. . The room must be fitted out to withstand two hours of fire, to give more leeway to the electricians working there and to be built with two exit doors, which is not always possible. “A lot of the electrical rooms we see in existing buildings are filled to the brim, so adding a second door means removing wall space. In most cases, they don’t have that wall space to resell.”
Alright, let’s say I checked, and my apartment To electricity and wall space to spare.
All right. In this case, then you will have to worry about the location of your apartment located. DeLano says bringing in a new formation gets harder the higher you go. “You have to run the electricity from the basement to where your apartment is. It gets very complicated with older buildings: the space to run a path for this new conduit is very tricky. We we can do it, but it would be very difficult.
So let’s say everything is working fine and the stove is on. Will my electricity bill go up?
DeLano, the electrical engineer, was curious about this question, and in 2019 studied what residents of a new building of about 30 units would pay in utilities for electric versus gas appliances. He found that their electricity bill for cooking with electricity would be about five times more expensive than cooking with gas.
And can an induction do everything a gas stove can?
Generally, yes. In Detroit, chef Jon Kung has retrofitted a century-old home to make it fully electric. “I lit oil using only heat from an induction burner which I accidentally underestimated,” he said. “The myth that they don’t get hot enough for stir-frying is obviously false.”
Then there’s the problem of trying to cook when Con-Ed cuts service — throttling supply during a heat wave, for example — isn’t ideal. And this situation affects the upper floors more than the lower floors. “You lose a few percent on each floor,” explains the the architect Daniel Frisch, who specializes in renovating older apartments, and remembers the owner of a penthouse whose electricity was choked and who found it almost impossible to use his electric oven. “It took them 45 minutes to warm up.”
Well, what can I do in the meantime to make the air in my kitchen healthier?
As president of PHASE Associates, Gary Schwartz helps large corporations and government assess indoor air quality, control risks and correct ventilation. In his own kitchen, he and his wife prefer to use the back burners of the stove for the same reason that many home cooks avoid them: because those burners are further away. “They’re very close, inches apart, but from a breathing perspective there’s more of an air path to the rear than to the front burners – we’re talking six inches, ten inches. It could make the difference. »
Schwartz advises New Yorkers to notice what they do when they light a stove: Do you lean over when you light it, wanting to stare at the flame? Then you bring your airways closer together. Do you leave the gas on when pouring your cooked pasta into a colander? Unnecessary exposure. Schwartz says if he knows his eggs only need another minute, he’ll turn off the gas and let them sizzle on the hot pan. “Always think in your mind, Let’s stop this source of pollution immediately.”