Thread Number: 79945  /  Tag: Ranges, Stoves, Ovens
Berkeley First US City to Ban Natural Gas in New Buildings
[Down to Last]'s exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 1038616   7/18/2019 at 09:37 (1,297 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

From the SF Chronicle:

© Andrii Biletskyi / TNS Natural gas piping for stoves or water heaters will be forbidden in new buildings in Berkeley, Calif., beginning in 2020. (Andrii Biletskyi/Dreamstime/TNS)

Berkeley became the first city nationwide to ban the use of natural gas in new low-rise residential buildings in a unanimous vote Tuesday by the City Council.


The ordinance, introduced by Councilwoman Kate Harrison, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020, and phases out the use of natural gas by requiring all new single-family homes, town homes and small apartment buildings to have electric infrastructure. After its passage, Harrison thanked the community and her colleagues “for making Berkeley the first city in California and the United States to prohibit natural gas infrastructure in new buildings.”

The city will include commercial buildings and larger residential structures as the state moves to develop regulations for those, officials said.

The ordinance allocates $273,341 per year for a two-year staff position in the Building and Safety Division within the city’s Department of Planning and Development. The employee will be responsible for implementing the ban.

“I’m proud to vote on groundbreaking legislation to prohibit natural gas in new buildings,” Mayor Jesse Arreguín said on Twitter. “We are committed to the #ParisAgreement and must take immediate action in order to reach our climate action goals. It’s not radical, it’s necessary.”

The ordinance applies to buildings that have been reviewed by the California Energy Commission and determined to meet state requirements and regulations if they are electric only, said Ben Gould, the chairman of Berkeley’s Community Environmental Advisory Commission.

Gould said he spoke as a private citizen and not as a representative of the commission.

Those buildings are low-rise residential buildings, which include single-family homes, town homes and small apartment buildings. Therefore, Berkeley’s ordinance only applies to those buildings, but as the state approves more building types, the city will follow, Gould said.

The way the ordinance is written, the city’s regulations will update as the state commission approves more building models without having to return to the City Council for a vote.

“We need to find ways to move forward innovative groundbreaking climate policy,” he said. “This policy is really important and critical. It helps address one of the largest sources of emissions in Berkeley.”

In 2009, the city adopted a Climate Action Plan that aimed to reduce emissions by 33% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The plan also commits the city to using 100% renewable electricity by 2035.

In June 2018, the council declared a climate emergency and called for a review of Berkeley’s greenhouse emission reduction strategies. The city determined in a report last year that gas-related emissions have increased due to an 18% population growth since 2000. The report also concluded that the burning of natural gas within city buildings accounted for 27% of Berkeley’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.

As the city’s population soars, the need for more housing has also increased. From 2014 to 2017, the Planning Department approved building permits for 525 residential units and 925 built units were approved for occupancy. More housing is expected, particularly with the Adeline Corridor Plan, which calls for the construction of 1,400 units along Adeline Street and a portion of South Shattuck Avenue.

Electric-only buildings prevent the installation of natural gas pipes and instead install heat pumps and induction cooking, Gould said.

“Think about a refrigerator and how it makes inside your refrigerator cold and blows hot air out of somewhere else,” Gould said. “A heat pump works like that, but in reverse. It takes outside air and emits cold air outside and provides hot air inside. They can also be flipped in reverse and work as an air conditioner.”

Induction cooking transfers heat directly to any magnetic cookware, including cast-iron and steel, without using radiation.

“It transfers heat right to the pot,” Gould said. “It boils water faster than anything else that exists. It’s very even, very quick to respond.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, Harrison’s staff demonstrated the use of an induction cooktop by making chocolate fondue. The staff placed a piece of paper between the stove and the pot to show its safety features. The pot turned hot, but the paper didn’t burn, Gould said.

The ordinance restricts developers applying for land-use permits from building anything that includes gas infrastructure, including gas piping to heat water, space and food.

Accessory dwelling units — built-in basements or attics of existing homes — are exempt from the ordinance. A public interest exemption may also be allowed if the council or the Zoning Adjustments Board determines that the use of natural gas is necessary.

Sarah Ravani is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email:" target="_blank" data-id="203" data-aaiy="{"> Twitter:" target="_blank" data-id="204" data-aaiy="{">@SarRavani


CLICK HERE TO GO TO Tomturbomatic's LINK

Post# 1038618 , Reply# 1   7/18/2019 at 09:50 (1,297 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Yes Tom,

I also saw that on Google news this morning. Likely to do with recent earthquakes.

Post# 1038621 , Reply# 2   7/18/2019 at 10:04 (1,297 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
We have lived in an all electric townhouse for 25 years. At first I thought that it was going to be much more expensive. But over the years weíve learned to adjust to conserve electricity, and its really not anymore expensive than having gas for water and home heating. And it certainly is cleaner and safer.

With the danger of earthquakes, and now it seems almost year round wildfire danger its the most responsible and safe way to go. Gas lines can explode and catch on fire, compounding an already terrible fire or earthquake. So,Iím all for this new legislation, it will keep us all safer. The town we live in already has many entire apartment and condo developments that were built in the 70ís and 80ís which are all electric, probably because it was much cheaper to build that way. So, many of us are already used to all electric living.

And I wouldnít have a gas stove it you gave it to me, Iíve always preferred electricity for cooking.


Post# 1038629 , Reply# 3   7/18/2019 at 12:41 (1,297 days old) by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

dermacie's profile picture
The subdivision that I live in (built in the 1960s) had several builders that used all electric in some of their homes, (not mine all gas). I notice that many of them have put in gas furnaces because of the cost. I always wanted to have an electric stove but haven't put one in.

Post# 1038631 , Reply# 4   7/18/2019 at 13:10 (1,297 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor, Maine)        

wayupnorth's profile picture
Natural gas is only installed here in an area that has a certain amount of homeowners on that street in the city that sign up for it. Those of us that live in the outlying areas have no choice than to use propane. Since natural gas is relatively new to this state, all the infrastructure is new.

Post# 1038634 , Reply# 5   7/18/2019 at 13:29 (1,297 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

rp2813's profile picture

I thought gas was clean burning and better for the environment.  I know it's cheaper to use than electricity, although the gap has been steadily closing over the years.  And doesn't generating electricity through traditional means cause more harm?  They don't call it "natural" gas for nothing.


I'm not getting it, unless Berkeley is going to provide incentives for solar (with Berkeley's weather, that would be sketchily reliable at best), or already has a utility service arrangement that only includes renewable types of electricity generation.  Of course, this wouldn't be the first time that I've failed to see the logic in a decision made by the Berkeley City Council. 

Post# 1038637 , Reply# 6   7/18/2019 at 14:16 (1,297 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
I believe that safety is the incentive for this new law, doing away with natural gas service in new builds.

PG&E has a long history of negligence in the maintenance of their infrastructure. Remember the terrible gas line explosion in Burlingame a few years ago? The ancient gas line that ruptured and exploded wiped out an entire neighborhood. I think that this is what Berkeley is trying to prevent. I know that Iím really glad that we donít have gas service in our complex. With three buildings of connected townhouses, totally 20 units, and over 41 trees on our property, if a gas line ruptured during an earthquake, or there was a leak in conjunction with a wildfire, that would be all she wrote for our homes.

So, yes, natural gas is less expensive, but rebuilding after a gas line related fire/explosion would cost a hell of a lot more than any saving realized from gas used for domestic heating.


Post# 1038639 , Reply# 7   7/18/2019 at 14:48 (1,297 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

chetlaham's profile picture
This is what feel good knee jerk reactions look like.

Require a leak detection system or a seismic cutoff valve. You can't tell me someone can't invent one when mandated by code.

Post# 1038641 , Reply# 8   7/18/2019 at 15:18 (1,297 days old) by jerrod6 (Southeastern Pennsylvania)        

My city primarily uses natural gas. I don't quite understand the thinking in Berkley. In my part of the state, Pa., natural gas, and nuclear energy are used to generate electricity. You end up using more natural gas to create electricity than if you could just use the gas directly to heat your home. So I don't get it.

Post# 1038644 , Reply# 9   7/18/2019 at 15:57 (1,297 days old) by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

jamiel's profile picture
There's some rationality behind this...Berkeley is a benign climate, without harsh seasons so heat pump isn't a ridiculous HVAC solution; also heat pump water heating is reasonable (it's not like tap cold is 38 degrees for part of the year). Centralized emissions are far easier to manage than multiple point-sources of combustion. Seismic is another reason to consider...I'm not so scornful as others here.

Post# 1038645 , Reply# 10   7/18/2019 at 15:58 (1,297 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
All good discussion points;

and why further thinking explains them,
Thusly, yes, gas is cleaner, and better for the environment. So, the power companies PG&E, etc. can use gas to fire jet engines to run generators, and electricity from clean gas goes to homes. England now does this with Rolls Royce jet engines. They have replaced many coal power plants there, including the one on the Pink Floyd "animals" LP record album cover. Problem solved, wherein as a seizmic and leak detector cut off would also work, unless the power fails.
Legislation to limit the power companies rate hikes once the jet engines are paid for could also be passed.

Post# 1038647 , Reply# 11   7/18/2019 at 16:10 (1,297 days old) by 48bencix (Sacramento CA)        
Looking to the Future

I believe that Berkeley is preparing for a future of all solar, hydro and wind power which will be electric only. The state is moving towards all renewable power which will be all electric. No emissions at all.

The state energy code currently requires gas or propane for heating and water heating because it is more efficient. I guess this will change with the renewable power being emphasized.

In my opinion it is also good to get rid of the gas to homes because many of the pipelines are so old and will be very expensive to replace.

Post# 1038651 , Reply# 12   7/18/2019 at 16:55 (1,297 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

rp2813's profile picture

I get the whole idea of looking toward the future, but the overwhelmingly vast majority of existing homes in Berkeley have natural gas connections, and some don't even have 240v electric service.   In San Francisco, gas lines are still in active use for light fixtures in Victorian homes, be it a code violation or not.  I've been in a few of them.  Gas delivery pipelines are going to be necessary for many, many more years, if not for lighting, certainly for heating systems, stoves and hot water heaters in countless homes.


Unless they intend to force the elimination of gas in existing homes that are being nearly completely remodeled or rebuilt, I don't see this as accomplishing much.  In towns and cities where growth is still occurring -- as opposed to mostly built-out Berkeley -- I can see where this would make sense.  In Berkeley's case, it strikes me as more of a statement than an attempt to significantly change the climate situation.


I know that PG&E provides lower electricity rates to homes where gas isn't an option.  Maybe this will make the Berkeley ruling easier on those who rent or buy the new homes that will be impacted.

Post# 1038654 , Reply# 13   7/18/2019 at 17:13 (1,297 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        
From a grumpy old man...

twintubdexter's profile picture

If I had an all-electric home I'd need to rent it out and move into the garage. I wish I had an all-gas home even if it meant the television's had pilot lights. I had a flat in San Francisco that had gas lines in the ceiling for lighting. Where's Dinah when us poor folks need her?

CLICK HERE TO GO TO twintubdexter's LINK

Post# 1038663 , Reply# 14   7/18/2019 at 18:18 (1,297 days old) by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

supersuds's profile picture
Great commercial, Joe. Although the poster must have heard ďArgosĒ for ĒArkla!Ē

Post# 1038694 , Reply# 15   7/19/2019 at 07:13 (1,297 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

askolover's profile picture

I love my 'almost' all gas water, heat, cooking, grilling, drying, backup emergency heat, and used to also heat the pool along with solar.  Wish I had some New Orleans gas lamps outside.  As much as I hate propane, if we move out of town and into the county away from people I'd have to get propane.

Post# 1038696 , Reply# 16   7/19/2019 at 07:52 (1,297 days old) by Blackstone (Springfield, Massachusetts)        

blackstone's profile picture
So, does the ordinance only apply to new construction, or will the city require all-electric as part of house renovations (above a certain dollar amount)?

Yeah, I'll convert to all-electric--except for the thousands of dollars required to increase the service from the street, rewire the house, and the messy work of tearing apart walls and ceilings. But I would have saved $100 on the gas dryer that I just bought.

Thanks, but I'll live with the gas appliances.

Post# 1038698 , Reply# 17   7/19/2019 at 08:06 (1,297 days old) by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

dermacie's profile picture
I even have a gas lamp that lights the driveway. It's funny how it goes from one extreme to the other.

Post# 1038708 , Reply# 18   7/19/2019 at 12:47 (1,296 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        
OK, This is More Like Berkeley:

rp2813's profile picture

The term "pregnant woman" is out.  She is now a "pregnant person."  As if "Rabbit Test" was a true story.


Post# 1038709 , Reply# 19   7/19/2019 at 12:51 (1,296 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
Yes indeed Ralph, when I saw this report my first thought was that this was taking Political Correctness just too far, and Iím all for Political Correctness, but this is a bridge too far for even me.

For crying out loud, now ďManholeĒ is off limits for the name of a Manhole Cover for underground utilities? Seems like some people need to get a grip and get their minds out of the gutter.

Just my two cents worth.


Post# 1038772 , Reply# 20   7/19/2019 at 20:55 (1,296 days old) by lotsosudz (Sacramento, CA)        

lotsosudz's profile picture
We have long since pass the stage of political correctness, we have become anally correct society. We have taken things to the ridiculous extreme of things. In order to change all these redundancies, it's now costing us millions to rename all this shit. Plus being chastised for using the wrong name in the inner circles. I Say "Bullshit".
Just Say'in.
Why don't they fix our crumbling infrastructures, with the money spent on crap like this.

Post# 1038776 , Reply# 21   7/19/2019 at 21:37 (1,296 days old) by Iej (.... )        

We've an impending ban on fossil fuel heating systems here in Ireland, but there's a longer phase in period.

Oil fired systems become illegal in new build from 2022 and natural gas & lpg from 2025

New build regs are nearly 'passive home' levels of insulation and heat recovery, so relatively small heat pumps should more than suffice.

Post# 1038838 , Reply# 22   7/20/2019 at 12:45 (1,295 days old) by Blackstone (Springfield, Massachusetts)        
Berkeley Commemorates the Moon Landing

blackstone's profile picture
"That's one small step for a person
One giant leap for personkind"

Post# 1038923 , Reply# 23   7/21/2019 at 08:46 (1,295 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

It may be possible to ban natural gas in states with milder climates, but unless we're going to burn wood we NEED natural gas here in Michigan. I know someone who had electric heat (heat pump with backup electric) and had $800-$1000 monthly electric bills in the winter, and couldn't keep the house warm. They ended up moving because they couldn't afford it. I could live with electric hot water and dryer, and I prefer electric cooking, but gas is a necessity here.

Post# 1038928 , Reply# 24   7/21/2019 at 10:32 (1,294 days old) by IowaBear (Cedar Rapids, IA)        

iowabear's profile picture

Back in the 60s and 70s there were smaller electric companies in Iowa that incentivized all-electric houses by offering a separate meter and a super-low kWh rate for heating.


As the companies merged the "super-low" heating rates were not maintained and they were stuck paying hundreds more than NG or propane.  Most converted but once in while you still hear of someone stuck paying $600 or more for a month of electric heat.

Post# 1038949 , Reply# 25   7/21/2019 at 14:18 (1,294 days old) by Kate1 (PNW)        

One of the apartments I rented in my younger days was all electric. We had a mild winter that year and I kept the thermostat low but my bill was hundreds of dollars each month all winter long. Itís still the only time in my life Iíve ever cried over an electric bill. If I had had any children in the home in those days, I donít know how I would have managed. A policy like this in colder climates would lead to many people making some very hard choices.

Post# 1038954 , Reply# 26   7/21/2019 at 14:52 (1,294 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
Our townhouse is 1260 sq. ft., all electric with hydronic electric baseboard heaters and a 40 gal electric water heater. Because we are all electric we receive a slightly higher baseline KWH allowance, due to needing electricity for heating. Our highest bill this past winter was for Jan. and was $282.00,but the heat was also going almost round the clock too. Natural gas has also become very expensive here too, and from what Iíve heard from people that have similar sized homes as ours, but with gas heat their bills were at least as high, or higher than ours.


This post was last edited 07/21/2019 at 16:14
Post# 1038957 , Reply# 27   7/21/2019 at 15:02 (1,294 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        
I have very little to brag about...

twintubdexter's profile picture

...but I just got my monthly bill for gas...water heating, clothes drying, surface cooking and outdoor BBQ...$14.59. I love gas cool

Post# 1038972 , Reply# 28   7/21/2019 at 15:44 (1,294 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Our summer gas bills are

low. No heating use, and water heater takes less time to heat as the water temp from the ground is warmer.

Post# 1038973 , Reply# 29   7/21/2019 at 15:45 (1,294 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
I was told once that

forced air heat heats the air in the home, and electric baseboard, steam, or radiant heat heats the objects in the room.

Post# 1038977 , Reply# 30   7/21/2019 at 16:49 (1,294 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
Electric baseboard heat is convection heat. The heat rises to the ceiling and rolls over the ceiling then down the other side of the room in a circular movement. It is clean, dust free and quiet, very good for allergy sufferers. I really like the way our electric heaters work.

And since they are hydronic, they continue to radiate heat even after the the thermostat cycles off, from the heat that is retained in the copper tube that contains the heating element and ethylene glycol, which retains the heat.

Newer energy efficient baseboard heaters use a ceramic tube that holds the heating element, for radiant heat retention. The old fashioned electric baseboard heater just had heating elements. These are what we had in the home my family lived in during my teen years, and these heaters really suck up the electricity.

Even in the early 60ís we used to have $300 to $400 a mo.PG&E bills. But there were also 10 people living in the home for part of that time and we also had two electric pumps for the well, one to pump the water from the well into a holding tank and another to pump the water from the pressure tank, up the hill to the house.


Post# 1039001 , Reply# 31   7/21/2019 at 21:05 (1,294 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Restance Electric Heating

combo52's profile picture

Hi Eddie.  No heating system makes dust, By far the best heating systems for people with allergies are forced systems with very good filters.


ALL resistance electric costs the same amount to operate, in fact the older baseboard heaters with just heating elements with Finns are actually the most responsive and least expensive to operate because they DON'T keep heating the room after the thermostat says STOP, you have gotten the heat you paid for and little more.


An all electric home is not horrible in mild climates, but since the majority of electricity in this country is going to be generated buy burning NG at large power plants for at least the next 50 years it is far more efficient to just burn the gas in the dryer, furnace, or water heater than at the power plant.


I believe that nearly everybody in California with NG service already has a seismic gas shut-off valve outside near the gas meter that stops all gas flow at the first real tremor.


John L.

Post# 1039007 , Reply# 32   7/21/2019 at 21:42 (1,294 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
Hi John,
ďALL resistance electric costs the same amount to operate, in fact the older baseboard heaters with just heating elements with Finns are actually the most responsive and least expensive to operate because they DON'T keep heating the room after the thermostat says STOP, you have gotten the heat you paid for and little more.Ē

The heat that is coming off the hydronic heaters after the thermostat cycles off is from electricity that has already been paid for, so in a sense Iím getting more bang for the KWH buck. The old electric heaters go off and on much more frequently to maintain the set temp, and in my experience they do use more power than the hydronic heaters that keep radiating heat even after the juice shuts off.

And yes, in milder climates electric heat isnít as expensive. But Iíve also seen HGTV shows from Canada, and they have lots of hydro electric power there and do use electric heat in some areas, and Canada is pretty cold.

And I have very bad allergies, while a good forced air furnace may have a filter to prevent dust coming out of the vents, there is still forced air that comes out of the vents that will stir up any dust that may be in the room, and we noticed right away when we moved here that there was less dust, so thats my experience.

As far as earthquakes, yes there may by seismic shut off valves for some homes, but not all, and we in California are still advised to shut off the gas main outside of our homes in the event of an earthquake. Anyway, its the underground gas mains that concern me, and thats where the real danger of a gas explosion is.

When we bought our home 25 years ago, we were hesitant because it is all electric, but we loved the home and the surroundings, so we bought it anyway. My posts on this thread are only to give my perspective of living in an all electric home, and its not as bad as some would think.

Iíve posted two links, one for Cadet Soft Heat Baseboard heaters and the other for the pros and cons of hydronic vs convection baseboard electric heaters


Post# 1039037 , Reply# 33   7/22/2019 at 00:09 (1,294 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

foraloysius's profile picture
Natural gas is on it's return here in the Netherlands. Burning gas may be one of the cleanest way to heat a house, but the mining of natural gas has lead to many earth quakes here in the Netherlands, where we never had them before. And then there is fracking, putting a lot of chemicals into mother earth is a very bad idea to begin with.

Overhere forced air is indeed not advised for people with asthma. Underfloor heating is the best, it makes house cleaning easier, not corners where dust can hide. And I agree with Eddie, dust that is not moving, is less of a problem than dust that moves around. Which is also the reason you should never vacuum just before someone with asthma comes to your home.

Post# 1039080 , Reply# 34   7/22/2019 at 11:57 (1,293 days old) by marky_mark (From Liverpool. Now living in Palm Springs and Dublin)        

marky_mark's profile picture

It sounds like Berkeley City Council is getting a little ahead of itself.  It would (will) be great for all homes to run entirely on electricity generated entirely by renewable sources with zero emissions.  But right now, most of the electricity in the US is generated by burning fossil fuels.  It's much more efficient and far cheaper to burn gas within the home for heating, drying and hot water than burning fossil fuels at the power plants and then using electric resistance heating.  The gap does partially (but not completely) close when we're taking about heat pump space and water heating, heat pump dryers and induction and microwave cooking.  Modern heat pump heating should work well in Berkeley's mild climate, whereas its efficiency drops as outside temperatures drop in very cold climates.

Post# 1039119 , Reply# 35   7/22/2019 at 23:16 (1,293 days old) by SudsMaster (California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
I live about 80 miles south of Eddie, and my winter combined electric gas bills are in the $250 range. It's the gas part that zooms up in the winter. The electric bill is fairly constant through the year.

And it's not like I haven't taken steps to minimize heating energy use: with in a year or so of buying this place, and enduring the first winter with the gas forced air central heating running continuously at night, I insulated the fuck out of the attic (previously not insulated at all) and also under most of the ground floor (crawl space) and also sealed off numerous air leaks between the living area and the attic. This cut my gas consumption in winter to about 1/3 of what it had been.

On the electric side, I replaced two old juice guzzling fridges with modern Energy Star (for 2000) fridges, which use 1/3 of the energy of the older units. I still haven't put in double pane windows (I think it's a scam), but a few years ago replaced the felt insulation strips in all the sliding glass/aluminum windows. Before that I could hear them rattling in winter winds. Afterwards, no more rattling. There's probably more I could do but I'm relatively satisfied this place is as energy efficient as original 1941 construction will allow (aside from the windows and maybe shooting insulation inside the outer walls).

One area of extra juice consumption is the pump for the koi pond, which has to keep going 7x24 and uses about 100-150 watts. And a chest freezer I got about 15 years ago and I'm no giving that up! And there's a well pump here also, which is used for irrigation only. It doesn't get used as much in the winter when it rains, though.

Oh, and the gas explosion on the Peninsula was in San Bruno, not Burlingame. And Berkeley gets a lot of sunny days and could do solar electric no problem. In fact newer photovoltaic panels produce electricity even on overcast days, or so I've read.

Post# 1039120 , Reply# 36   7/22/2019 at 23:41 (1,293 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
ĎOh, and the gas explosion on the Peninsula was in San Bruno, not Burlingame.Ē

I just realized my mistake on this today Rich. Iím a little dyslexic and to me Burlingame and San Bruno are in the same general neck of the woods. Thanks for clarifying this. At any rate, that was a terrible disaster, due to an ancient gas main that wasnít properly maintained. An entire neighbor hood blown to smithereens. And there are 80+ year old gas mains like that all over the Bay Area. As far as I know there is no seismic shutoff valves for these large gas mains.

BTW, sounds like your combined gas and electric winter PG&E bills are around the same as our all electric bills. Natural gas isnít the bargain in California that it used to be. Be that as it may we all have to make the best of the utility services that are available to us. And if the day comes when we no longer have natural gas available as an option, weíll all survive.

Post# 1039134 , Reply# 37   7/23/2019 at 04:36 (1,293 days old) by thomasortega (El Pueblo de Nuestra SeŮora de Los Angeles de Porciķncula)        

"Require a leak detection system or a seismic cutoff valve. You can't tell me someone can't invent one when mandated by code."

Seismic valves work and they are excellent to REDUCE the fire risk, however, they're not 100% effective.

When we talk about gas explosions after an earthquake, it's easy to imagine the building shaking, the pipes breaking and for several minutes gas leaks, accumulates AND THEN a big explosion happens.

It happens exactly as described above, but not EXCLUSIVELY that way.
A different scenario, which can (and do) happen is the building shakes violently, the seismic valve goes off and shuts off the gas, the pipes that still have gas break and the parts rub against each other producing a spark that is enough to ignite that gas for a very brief moment. a tiny fire starts and in minutes turns into a huge fire.

Situation 3: It's easy to think about a single building shaking... now think bigger.... the whole block, 500 ft... 1 mile.... 10 miles of pipes full of gas. Even with shutoff valves working perfectly and going off during an earthquake, the pipe still has massive amounts of gas in it.

Here in Los Angeles I know the city pipes have seismic valves every few blocks that go off at magnitude 6 but what happens to the gas that is between two valves? we still have "a few blocks" of pipes full of gas. that's equivalent to a few cylinders of propane. What if the rupture is 1 inch before your meter/seismic valve? What if it ignites? You'll have a giant flame burning out of control against your house almost like a blow torch for a few seconds.

Think big again... 10, 20, 50 miles of pipes breaking. the same scenario on situation 3 happening exactly at the same time all over the neighborhood or all over the city.

My whole life I had gas. I love gas, I love cooking with gas, I love the way gas dryers incinerate the clothes fast but recently we were shaken by a 7.1 earthquake. What reached my apartment was much less than that because it was 100 miles from the epicenter. the scratches on my living room floor are the evidence of the sofa sliding 15 inches back and forth continuously while i was "hugging" one of it's arms otherwise I would fall. That day I discovered the real meaning of "drop, cover and hold on". 30 seconds made me change completely the "love" i have for gas. It was terrifying for be because i was right in front of a huge window I have in the living room and I simply couldn't walk away, not even one step.

I still use gas, I won't get rid of my gas dryers, but since that earthquake I can't sleep and every time I look at my dryers or my stove or that horrible wall furnace i wonder what will happen when "The Big One" happens.

Will I survive? Will the 100-year "earthquake proof" apartment I live really be flexible enough to resist a major earthquake without collapsing? Am I really ready?

If someday I build my own house here in California, for the first time in my life I'll seriously consider 100% electric.

Post# 1039156 , Reply# 38   7/23/2019 at 10:02 (1,292 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
Thank you Thomas for so clearly stating just what the danger gas underground mains can pose in the event of an earthquake, in a way that I wasnít able to do. Your description of how even seismic shutoff valves arenít fool proof is excellent.

Iíve lived in California all of my 68+ years and have been through countless earthquakes, the first in 1957 when I was 6. I was never afraid of earthquakes until the Loma Preita quake in Oct.89í, and that put the fear of god into me. Apparently, many members living on the East Coast and in the Heartland canít understand how devastating an earthquake can be, and its most often the explosions of gas and fire that can do the most damage in the aftermath. It was the fire that destroyed San Francisco so completely in 1906.

So, if localities, like Berkeley chose to take a proactive approach to prevent future devastation by limiting or prohibiting the use of natural gas, phasing it out over time, to me thats a good thing.


Post# 1039169 , Reply# 39   7/23/2019 at 11:45 (1,292 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

twintubdexter's profile picture

I've lived in California all of my 69 years and have been through several "shakes". Same with my parents who were native Californians. Where I grew up, the house next door was owned by an elderly lady, Mrs. Leonard. She was from San Francisco and told fascinating stories of the 1906 Earthquake. Their house, on a hill, remained standing but many people sat on their front lawn and watched The City as it burned.


The Loma Prieta quake was by far the worst I've experienced. Oddly enough I don't recall many fires in Santa Clara County being reported. Most of the damage was to brick chimneys, Earthquake insurance isn't much help when you have a typical $35,000 deductible unless you live in a mansion with a half-dozen fireplaces. and that was way back then. There were reports of self-induced arson since most people had fire coverage. I was at home at the time but went back to the Orchard Supply Hardware store I worked at to see if I could help. The store was heavily damaged on the inside. No power, the emergency generator (gas) did not kick in so it was pitch black. It was difficult to breath since entire aisles of volatile chemicals, many in glass containers, had fallen over. There was a sizable crowd outside demanding supplies. We had to escort people in and of course gave them what they wanted, flashlights, batteries, bottled water and the like...all free of course. It only took a couple of hours before we were out of just about everything. I personally don't recall anyone demanding a lawnmower or a Weber BBQ but there probably was.


The one thing I do vividly recall is that after things died down and we went to lock the doors (difficult since the frames  were bent) was being told by people who refused to believe that we had nothing left "you might as well not lock those doors because as soon as you leave we're going to smash that glass and take what we want". The point here is that in the event of a large quake, your gas appliances may prove to be the least of your worries. I guess we all have different experiences when a crisis hits. Some people are saints, other change quickly into monsters.



This post was last edited 07/23/2019 at 14:22
Post# 1039177 , Reply# 40   7/23/2019 at 13:38 (1,292 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
Joe, I recall that there were several fires in the Marina area of San Francisco after the Loma Prieta quake. The other thing that I recall so vividly, was how unusually polite and considerate everyone was right after the quake. I was at work when it happened, and when I left to go home on Hwy 101, which even then had very heavy traffic at the evening commute time, I was prepared for pandemonium. I was shocked that every driver was so considerate and traffic moved very smoothly, with drivers allowing others to merge without speeding up and trying to crowd out the cars trying to merge. I guess everyone realized we were in the same boat and tried to be their best selves. Humanity sometimes is at its best during a crisis, and this was one of those times.

I had the radio on, and when I heard that a section of the Bay Bridge had collapsed, I was very worried what I was going to find when I got home. Thankfully, we had no damage. But after living thru so many quakes, it makes one wonder if the next big one will be the time that my luck runs out. However, when youíre a native Californian you learn that you canít obsess over it, you just have to be prepared to cross that bridge when you come to it.


Post# 1039180 , Reply# 41   7/23/2019 at 14:29 (1,292 days old) by SudsMaster (California)        
San Bruno gas main explosion

sudsmaster's profile picture
As I recall the San Bruno gas main explosion was not on an ordinary gas main, but on a high pressure 30 inch diameter steel transmission pipeline that just happened to be in that neighborhood. It took up to 1.5 hours for PG&E to shut off the gas.

There is speculation this pipeline was improperly installed, and PG&E was unable to provide the California Public Utilities Commission with records showing that the pipeline had been strength tested.

The pipeline had been installed in 1956 and the section that blew out had numerous welds, some of which were defective. Apparently PG&E kept raising the operating pressure to meet demand; the last recorded pressure was 386 lb/sq. in.

The disaster resulted in a number of reforms, such as installation of automatic shut-off valves, lowering gas pipeline pressures 20%, routine strength testing, etc. One pipeline in Woodside failed during a later strength test; it resulted in a mudslide but no fire and no injuries.

People who extol the greater safety of electric over gas might need to be reminded of the cause of the forest fire that destroyed the hilltop enclave of Paradise: high voltage electric transmission lines.

My own impression of PG&E is that it likes to play the role of a benevolent utility bringing needed energy to the people. The reality is that its management had become complacent and unwilling to take painful and costly steps to enhance the safety of its own customers.

PG&E went bankrupt after the costs of the San Bruno disaster added up; it has also raised gas rates to compensate for the additional costs of greater safety measures. And of course electric rates are rising as well.


Post# 1039182 , Reply# 42   7/23/2019 at 14:39 (1,292 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        
I promise, no more comments...

twintubdexter's profile picture

Actually, the Marina fire started in one structure but spread to a few nearby buildings including 4-story apartment units which left many people homeless. I'm sure there were many other fires that never made the news because they weren't "sensational" enough. No "Towering Inferno" film (you gotta be old to remember that). Like when drivers slow down to view an accident, they want to see bodies. A morbid thought but very true. I hate earthquakes, fires and the like. Never experienced tornadoes, hurricanes or floods but I'm sure they're no fun either.

This post was last edited 07/23/2019 at 15:38
Post# 1039191 , Reply# 43   7/23/2019 at 16:48 (1,292 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
ďPeople who extol the greater safety of electric over gas might need to be reminded of the cause of the forest fire that destroyed the hilltop enclave of Paradise: high voltage electric transmission lines.Ē

Itís not lost on me Rich that the electric lines are also a source of fire danger. I live just 10 miles from the devastation the Tubbís Fire reeked on Santa Rosa on 10-7-17, when thousands of homes were burnt to the ground in a few hours. This fire was also a result of PG&Eís negligence in electric line maintenance. Even though this area is so close to me, to this day I canít bring myself to drive by it for a look. It somehow seems ghoulish to view this misfortune that devastated so many lives.

Our county has changed forever as a result of that terrible disaster. The housing costs have shot thru the roof, and my little town is now swarming with way too many people, because there was no other place for these poor, displaced people to go. And they are the ones lucky enough to be able to afford the astronomical rents. The others are still living in trailers, campers, RVís and tents.

And what has PG&E done? Why theyíve raised their rates and instituted surcharges to offset their expenses related to the fires. God forbid that they should use their profits to pay for the damage, the shareholders wonít have it and the PUC is only too happy to rubber stamp any rate increase that PG&E asks for.

One way to prevent such a future occurrence would be to start putting the power lines under ground. Our complex has all the power lines underground, much safer.


Post# 1039200 , Reply# 44   7/23/2019 at 18:47 (1,292 days old) by SudsMaster (California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
The main problem in the Marina, as I recall, were all the multi-level apartments and residences with "soft" ground floors. Typically these would be for parking with a separate garage door for each unit. Problem is, this makes the support for the rest of the floors inherently weak. Adding to that, the Marina district was largely built on landfill, ironically rubble from the 1906 Great Quake. This accentuated the shaking and encouraged the type of ground failure known as liquefaction. In one case, a four story apartment building collapsed into just two stories. A broken gas main nearby set it ablaze. However, only four died in the Marina District. Far worse was the carnage in the East Bay, where the elevated freeway known as the Cypress Structure collapsed its upper deck onto its lower deck, killing 42 and injuring many more.

Ironically, normally I would have been driving north on the lower deck of that freeway at that hour on a Monday after work. I had called in sick that day instead, and that may have saved my life. At home in El Cerrito, some 20 miles north of there, I felt the quake, and knew it was a big one. I had gone out to my garage to work on something when it hit. I got on my motorcycle a little later and went up to the Berkeley Hills, where you can see almost the entire Bay Area from the top. As night fell, we could see the fire in the Marina District, and transformer explosions down near where the Cypress Structure had been (we didn't know until later that it had collapsed).

Post# 1039206 , Reply# 45   7/23/2019 at 19:08 (1,292 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
Excellent recreation of the events of Loma Prieta Rich! Itís just as I recall the news unfolding on the TV.

BTW, I used to live in El Cerrito, off the Arlington, in 1962 the year my Dad died. I can just see in my minds eye what you witnessed across the Bay that evening from the Berkeley Hills. My Grandma had a Dry Cleaners on San Pablo Ave, Central Ave. Cleaners, not far from El Cerrito Plaza.

What good luck that you were sick that day, because if youíd been on the lower level of the Cypress Overpass, as you said, you could very likely not be here to tell of that day and night.

Thanks for sharing your memories.


Post# 1039224 , Reply# 46   7/23/2019 at 21:12 (1,292 days old) by SudsMaster (California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture


As it turned out, I wasn't really sick that day. There was a lot of... turmoil at work... and I decided to take a day to ponder my next move. OK, the stress did have me out of sorts, but nothing that would have prevented me from working - had it been in a sane environment ;-).

When the quake struck, I was in the garage. I had a radio in there by the workbench, and I had just tuned it in at 5 pm to listen to the game. Within minutes - and this is the order I remember - the announcer stuttered something unintelligible, the radio went silent, and then the slow but definitely big ground motion started... sort of a rolling motion, like waves. I had put my bike in the driveway and while all this was happening, walked out to it to make sure it didn't fall over. It didn't. A box of two fell off a shelf, but I was far enough north of Loma Prieta, about 70 miles, and on firm enough ground, that there was no damage to the house that I could see.

Post# 1039229 , Reply# 47   7/23/2019 at 22:00 (1,292 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        
OK Rich,

ea56's profile picture
I swear, this is the last Loma Prieta post. I was at work in Santa Rosa, Calif. at the County Human service Dept., in the Medi Cal office, where I was a Lead Worker at the time. The rumbling started first, I looked at the clock it was 5:06pm, next the floor and the acoustical ceiling tiles started to roll, like waves on the ocean. I yelled to everyone, ďGet under your desksĒ, many looked bewildered, I yelled again, ďNOW, weíre having an earthquakeĒ. There was a 2íX2í support column right next to my desk and that was swaying violently. The office was on the first floor, with another floor above, in a reinforced cement building, that already had sustained damage during the 1969 quake, to the extent that the planned third floor was put off forever, because the building was deemed not sound enough for the additional floor, consequently there was a third stairway to nowhere. I was certain that my luck had run out and I was going to die with piles of reinforced cement on me.

The rolling seemed to go on for an eternity. When it was over everyone was in a daze. I was finished with work at 5:30pm, it was now about 5:11pm, the lights were out, the phones didnít work and no one from management was giving any direction, so I said, screw it, Iím going home, and I left. Thats when I experienced one of the fastest, easiest,13 mile commutes home Iíd ever driven, where my husband and I watched the San Francisco news all night to keep up with what was happening.

That earthquake made a believer out of me and Iím not so blasť about quakes, like I was before 10-17-89.


This post was last edited 07/23/2019 at 22:20
Post# 1039243 , Reply# 48   7/24/2019 at 00:55 (1,292 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

Post# 1039286 , Reply# 49   7/24/2019 at 11:43 (1,291 days old) by thomasortega (El Pueblo de Nuestra SeŮora de Los Angeles de Porciķncula)        

The worst about being from a country that NEVER had an earthquake and then suddenly moving to Los Angeles and having engineering skills is driving around the city and seeing those "seismic tiles" bolted on the walls, specially on old brick buildings.

Any person that understands just a little bit about the dynamics during an earthquake understand that hardening the structure isn't always the best solution.

Specially in downtown area, when a big earthquake happens, most of those 2 or 3 floor buildings will certainly collapse.

The engineers at that time didn't deliberately design buildings to collapse. They just didn't have the knowledge we have nowadays.

Unfortunately, many people think that "retrofitting" made those buildings earthquake proof. It's exactly the opposite. The structural reinforcement actually made those building less resistant to an earthquake.

On the other hand I can remember some buildings that I had to park my car and look closer, to admire something I studied the theory in college but never had a chance to see it applied in a real building. First building is near the World Trade Center, in Downtown Los Angeles. The building was retrofitted with an external steel cage and the floors were split with shocks between them. During a strong earthquake, each floor can move freely, completely independent from the other floors. It won't be pleasant to be in that building during an earthquake because the rolling and jolts are actually amplified by the structure (that's how it dissipates the energy) but certainly that's a place you want to be to survive.

The other building is the Burbank airport. It was built under modern seismic engineering knowledge. The whole building is suspended in giant shocks and then the structure is extremely resistant and not flexible. Coincidentally, the same theory applies to washing machines. Making the story short, the Burbank airport is a giant front load washer.

And of course, there's the US Bank Building (Oue Skyspace), the tallest building in Los Angeles and also one of the most famous because Hollywood made that building collapse, burn and even be attacked by E.T.s and washed away by a giant tsunami in several movies and TV series.

Question number one when I arrived here was: Who is stupid enough to build such skyscraper in a city that everybody is waiting for the "Big One"? However, walking in front of the building, you look to the sidewalk and can easily understand.

Los Angeles can collapse, the whole city can slide into the ocean and the OUE Skyspace probably won't have even a cracked window and people inside it probably won't notice a magnitude 12 earthquake.

Now, back to gas... One thing I forgot to mention before and you can understand ONLY when you actually feel an earthquake.Earthquakes can't be predicted, there's no earthquake forecast system. We now have the annoying ShakeAlert but it doesn't "predict" earthquakes because it's impossible to predict one. It goes off when seismic sensors detect an earthquake so the closer you are from the epicenter, the shorter will be the gap between the alarm and the first shock wave.

Don't think "Oh, if an earthquake happens, i can run to the kitchen and turn off the stove." No, you can't. You have no time for that. Eventually you can feel some rolling or a very weak jolt a couple of seconds before a much stronger impact. but you may not be "alert" enough to process the information and understand that's an actual earthquake and in 1 or 2 seconds there's not much you can do, except drop, cover and hold on. Everything is quiet, normal and half second later the place you are turns into a giant cocktail shaker.

Of course, we can't be paranoid, we need to live, but we all must be ready.

My family spent 10 days visiting me and they couldn't understand why i have boxes of military food piled in my living room (I'm actually making two emergency kits, for here and for my father-in-law).

I still need to buy more flashlights, another lamp, some tools, make two DECENT first aid kits (because those that come ready are useless unless you need a lifetime stock of bandaid.), batteries and hand crank radios, blankets, ponchos, etc.

Post# 1039340 , Reply# 50   7/25/2019 at 00:49 (1,291 days old) by SudsMaster (California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
Most homeowners in California keep a non-sparking (aluminum) wrench by the gas shutoff just outside their dwellings. I have one. In the case of a big quake, it's possible to turn off the gas to the structure. Of course, if the gas main itself starts a big leak, that's another story.

An automatic gas shutoff valve at the service entrance for structures would be better. I don't know if they are available or reasonably priced, though.

Post# 1039342 , Reply# 51   7/25/2019 at 02:21 (1,291 days old) by thomasortega (El Pueblo de Nuestra SeŮora de Los Angeles de Porciķncula)        

I have that wrench too. bought recently at Homo Depot. If I'm not mistaken it costed $3 or $4, which is very inexpensive and it also came with a zip tie to secure it to the gas meter.

Seismic valves are mandatory to all new connections. Here i'm a little bit safer because when the infamous williams wall furnace was replaced (A landlord's relative works at Williams and replaced it himself, he also installed a seismic valve). When I installed the stove, the gas hose came with a mix of seismic and overflow cut off valve. When the gas service was switched to our name, a SoCal Gas technician came to check everything, replaced the meter (which now has a built in seismic valve), instructed me how to rearm the valve (super easy, just close the valve, wait 10 seconds until the pressure builds up and pushes the pin next to the meter visor until it's visible and reopen the valve). Preferably I should use the valve to shut off the gas but in an emergency, if i have no tools to close the valve, i can just push the pin to manually trigger the seismic valve). When the seismic valve triggers, you can hear a hissle just like a pressure cooker for a fraction of second and it smells like gas. The valve in the meter was triggered 2 days in a row, during the two recent earthquakes. the valve under the wall furnace makes a loud mouse trap noise when it triggers and it has a spring that is a pain to reset. it's a small red box with a dome in one side and a lever that has two positions: "trigger" and "reset".

The laundry room has no seismic valve. A few weeks ago Kevin (Revvinkevin) generously helped me making the pipes for 3 dryers (actually he did most of the work because I couldn't help much with a broken foot) and now I regret I didn't use the opportunity to install a seismic valve there too, just in case. Those valves are very simple and cost under $50 at Homo Depot.

As I now have 3 gas dryers NOT VENTED OUTSIDE (ok, I know it is stupid but I have two windows that I never close plus a door that is always open) and I installed a Kidde CO detector with a CO level display. I ran a test with all dryer running for 1 hour at maximum temp with all the windows and doors closed (the laundry room mas hot as hell and of course i wasn't stupid to stay in the room) but even with that extreme scenario the reading was zero PPM of CO.

When I do laundry I usually wash everything first, then toss everything in the dryers, start them and leave the room immediately. If for some reason i have to start drying before I'm ready to leave the room, then I use the three electric dryers instead.

Post# 1039401 , Reply# 52   7/25/2019 at 07:41 (1,291 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Seismic Gas Shut Off Valves Etc

combo52's profile picture

Hi Thomas, if you have one of these at your meter that all you need.


As I have stated many times gas clothes dryers produce very little carbon monoxide because the flame burns in free air not touching cold metal, turning on a gas oven or even putting a full tea-kettle on top a gas range produces far more CM than an unvented gas clothes dryer, probably the most dangerous thing comes out the vent of a clothes dryer is ultra fine lint particles that go into your lungs and are know to cause cancer.


John L.











Post# 1039404 , Reply# 53   7/25/2019 at 08:58 (1,290 days old) by SudsMaster (California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
I did find a seismic shutoff valve on Amazon... about $120. The trick is that it must be perfectly level, which apparently can be tricky if the line before and after it is not level in x and y.

Post# 1039448 , Reply# 54   7/25/2019 at 20:10 (1,290 days old) by marky_mark (From Liverpool. Now living in Palm Springs and Dublin)        

marky_mark's profile picture

There is certainly a discussion to be had around the safety of natural gas and seismic valves, but that's not why Berkeley has banned gas in new homes.  Their motive was reportedly to reduce emissions.  In any case, I suspect one's risk from electrical fires and electrocution is far greater than the risk from natural gas (except perhaps on the day of a massive earthquake!).


Louis: it's common for homes in Spain to have central forced-air, ducted A/C -- especially newer homes.  Older homes may have split systems retrofitted.  More than half of Spanish homes have A/C.


As for indoor air quality, it's common in the US to use a high performance filter in the HVAC that provides excellent filtering like a whole house HEPA filter.  Whereas in Spain I've actually never seen people use anything but basic filters that are generally washable and are there primarily to protect the system from ingesting debris.  Personally I do use a HEPA style filter in my central ducted A/C, which also provides heat pump heating in winter.  Do these ducted A/C systems even exist in NL homes with your climate being much cooler than Spain?  I was born in the 1970s in the UK in a house that had forced-air gas central heating and again the filters were either non-existent or very basic back then. 

Post# 1039457 , Reply# 55   7/25/2019 at 23:53 (1,290 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
My long story-short: after Jim Bean w/ Cherry Ginger ale!

daveamkrayoguy's profile picture
Does this mean anything that IS gas on the owner's preference or insistence, means a TANK?

Yes, I would say that it would be the only "earthquake" solution and one I would want, given that I would have to at least have to have a stove top that is gas, while everything else I'm okay with being electric (c'mon,it's CALIFORNIA, who needs HEAT?!)

-- Dave

Post# 1039458 , Reply# 56   7/26/2019 at 00:01 (1,290 days old) by thomasortega (El Pueblo de Nuestra SeŮora de Los Angeles de Porciķncula)        

"c'mon,it's CALIFORNIA, who needs HEAT?!"

I'm from Brazil... I'm used to temperatures much above 100F AND humid.

During the winter i use the Williams furnace with a fan in front of it AND an electric portable space heater AND an electric mattress protector AND a super thick duvet.

I love in the summer because gas is cheaper to run the furnace and it heats much faster.

Now the only problem I have is finding a thermostat that goes above 90F, so I won't need to take the thermostat apart to bypass it.

Post# 1039459 , Reply# 57   7/26/2019 at 01:09 (1,290 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

foraloysius's profile picture
Ducted A/C systems are very rare here Mark. In the seventies some people installed forced air heating, but it wasn't widely accepted. Hot water heating is still big here. I guess a HEPA filter would help, but forced air systems still move dust around more than under floor heating. Nowadays in new buildings they install here not only under floor heating but also under floor cooling in combination with a heat pump.

Post# 1039466 , Reply# 58   7/26/2019 at 06:42 (1,290 days old) by Marky_mark (From Liverpool. Now living in Palm Springs and Dublin)        

marky_mark's profile picture
This is an interesting point, Louis. Ducted systems with a high-performance filter will be capturing airborne dust, pollen, pet dander etc. in their filter. So the home will contain less dust overall, but even though itís removing airborne dust, the airflow could be disturbing dust within the home that otherwise wouldnít have become airborne. So does this mean that the homeís air will be cleaner overall or not? I donít know.

I like underfloor heating. Itís very comfortable once itís warmed up but is slow to respond.

How well does underfloor cooling work? Iíve never heard of that. I didnít know it would be effective to cool a room using a chilled floor with no forced air movement. And I thought that the moisture would condense on the refrigerated floor leading to carpets with mildew and hard floors that are damp and slippery.

This post was last edited 07/26/2019 at 08:51
Post# 1039483 , Reply# 59   7/26/2019 at 09:58 (1,289 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

foraloysius's profile picture
Theory is that a house with underfloor heating shouldn't be cleaner per se but there is less dust moving around. Dust lying still in a corner is not causing allergies, but when it moves around, it will.

I have no idea how well underfloor cooling works, so far I know noone who has it. It was first put in in more expensive apartment buildings using a geothermical form of heatpump. But nowadays you see it more and more appear in ads for the middle market segment. The temperature difference is likely not very big, but don't know any details of these systems.

Post# 1039565 , Reply# 60   7/27/2019 at 07:50 (1,289 days old) by retro-man (- boston,ma)        

Ok dust blowing through the air with hot/cold air systems. In theory maybe a little more dust but what is removed I am sure more than makes up for it. Also I have forced air in both homes and I do not notice dust or clumps of dust blowing around. I vacuum regularly so that keeps it down to a minimum. How dirty are these houses that dust gets blown around. It is not like a leaf blower is pointed at the floor blowing dust around. The air is strong coming out of my vents but it is not making a tornado in my house. lol One house the vents are in the ceilings and the other they are located near the ceilings but on the wall. My last house had forced hot water and guess what, there was dust in that house also.


Post# 1039593 , Reply# 61   7/27/2019 at 10:02 (1,288 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

foraloysius's profile picture
Seems like your mind is already made up in this matter.

Post# 1039594 , Reply# 62   7/27/2019 at 10:15 (1,288 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        
Re: Reply#61

ea56's profile picture
You said a mouthful Louis.

It also makes it seem like I donít know shi*t from shinola. NOT what you posted Louis, but all the closed minded posts about this topic.

Iíve lived off and on all my life in home with both forced air heat and electric baseboard heat, both conventional and hydronic of all kinds, and for the last 25 years with hydronic electric baseboard heat, all the while having severe allergies, that improved when we moved here, and left a home with forced air heating.

I know for an empirical fact that forced air heat creates more dust in the home. And this has nothing to do with a lack of good housekeeping practices. I have always vacuumed the carpet at least 2 or 3 times weekly, and you wonít find dirt or dust in any of our corners.

So my mind is made up too, from actual practical experience, and this is my last word on the subject. Some people just think they know everything.

BTW, California has ALL kinds of climates, its not all sunshine, oranges and beaches. We have snow and mountains, and where I live, while it may not reach the arctic lows of the East Coast and the Mid West, we still get very cold weather in the winter months, and our homes arenít built and insulated for severe cold, like many of those in the colder areas of the country, so we need adequate home heating systems too. And our hydronic electric baseboard heaters do keep us warm, with quiet, dust free heat.


This post was last edited 07/27/2019 at 12:50
Post# 1039596 , Reply# 63   7/27/2019 at 10:59 (1,288 days old) by 48bencix (Sacramento CA)        
Comprehensive article about Berkeley Natural Gas Ban

The Guardian has a pretty interesting article about the Berkeley Ban.


Post# 1039600 , Reply# 64   7/27/2019 at 12:08 (1,288 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        
ReĒ Reply#63

ea56's profile picture
Thanks Martin for posting this excellent, thoughtful and comprehensive article about the reasoning behind the Berkeley city government decision to begin phasing out natural gas. I hope others will read this article too.


Post# 1039624 , Reply# 65   7/27/2019 at 20:21 (1,288 days old) by SudsMaster (California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
Yes, the Guardian article brings up an interesting side effect of communities going all electric: affordability. As gas rate payers dwindle, the remaining consumers will have to support an infrastructure that was developed for higher volumes. This may mean increased rates for the remaining gas consumers, who likely would be lower income people who cannot afford to replace all their gas appliances with electric versions.

Personally I don't think this is a real concern in my lifetime: it will take decades for Berkeley to go all electric, and more decades for the rest of the state, if at all. I'll probably be gone by then ;-)

Post# 1039642 , Reply# 66   7/28/2019 at 00:25 (1,288 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

twintubdexter's profile picture

"I will probably be gone by then..." With me I know I will be gone long before then. I guess I don't get high marks for being an environmentalist. I feel guilty, but not like I had a coal furnace or one that burns heating oil. I'm sure there are many people that still use oil for heating and do so as efficiently as possible.


The late, wonderful Charlotte Rae...Sylvia Schnauzer if you're as old as me.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO twintubdexter's LINK

Post# 1040215 , Reply# 67   7/31/2019 at 20:02 (1,284 days old) by Xraytech (Rural southwest Pennsylvania )        

xraytech's profile picture
I think itís a great decision,
One thing that no one ever thinks of is the cost of obtaining natural gas,

Iím located right in the middle of the whole Marcellus Shale fracking zone.
If you have not done so, consider reading the Pulitzer Prize running book, ďAmity and Prosperity ď

The book was written about the price that is being paid by those folks here in Appalachia all at the cost of big business and the fracking for more natural gas.

Just a side note, I know most of the folks in this book.

  View Full Size
Post# 1050671 , Reply# 68   11/11/2019 at 10:44 (1,181 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        
13 CA Cities & One County Ban Gas Hookups to New Dwellings

Cities Begin Banning Gas Hookups In New Homes
November 11, 2019 Climate Change, News

USA Today reports:
Fix global warming or cook dinner on a gas stove? Thatís the choice for people in 13 cities and one county in California that have enacted new zoning codes encouraging or requiring all-electric new construction. The codes, most of them passed since June, are meant to keep builders from running natural gas lines to new homes and apartments, with an eye toward creating fewer legacy gas hookups as the nation shifts to carbon-neutral energy sources.
For proponents, itís a change that must be made to fight climate change. For natural gas companies, itís a threat to their existence. And for some cooks who love to prepare food with flame, itís an unthinkable loss. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, mostly methane, and produces 33% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas causing climate change.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO Tomturbomatic's LINK

Post# 1050682 , Reply# 69   11/11/2019 at 12:11 (1,181 days old) by Kate1 (PNW)        

So letís replace clean burning, low emission, efficient household gas appliances and replace them with all electric appliances pulling power from coal fired power plants. Thatíll fix climate change.

Post# 1050686 , Reply# 70   11/11/2019 at 12:24 (1,181 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Why are you stuck with fossil fuels? Haven't you heard of wind, tidal, solar and geothermal generation? Oh, that's right, Idaho is a big coal producer so we have to be wed to an energy source first used in the US in the 1300s by the Hopi Indians.

Post# 1050689 , Reply# 71   11/11/2019 at 12:34 (1,181 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
PG&E uses little if any coal to generate electricity, and the little that is being used is being phased out.

The future is in solar, wind, geothermal and hydro power. Some are proponents of nuclear generated power, Iím not one of them. In a state that experiences earthquakes, nuclear power, IMHO is a recipe for disaster.


Post# 1050690 , Reply# 72   11/11/2019 at 13:32 (1,181 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

rp2813's profile picture

San Jose, with a population of over 1M is in the process of prohibiting gas connections to new construction.   In light of the recent wildfires, it seems that gas is safer than electricity (negligent maintenance on the San Bruno pipeline notwithstanding) and since it's clean-burning, it is also more environmentally responsible.


I suppose for those who prefer gas stove tops to electric, it means converting the fittings to propane and having a big, unsightly tank placed on your property as if you live way out in the sticks somewhere.


Eddie, isn't Diablo Canyon the only nuke powered plant in PG&E's system?  IIRC, they are already in the early stages of shutting it down, but I know that's a long process.  Renewable resources aren't the future, they're the now, and even corrupt PG&E has been pursuing and including them for quite a while.

Post# 1050693 , Reply# 73   11/11/2019 at 13:51 (1,181 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
Put an propane tank on your property now in Calif. and Iíll bet the rent that you wonít be able to get fire insurance. People that live in an area with any kind of vegetation are having their fire insurance cancelled or the premiums raised so high that they canít afford to renew.

Our HOA has a small pool with a solar heater, and there are tall trees all around it, so consequently the solar panels get little sunlight. About 5 yrs. ago one of my fellow board members wanted us to retrofit the pool with a propane heater as we have no natural gas service on the property. When we inquired with the insurance agent about the possible repercussions we were advised this was a no can do, the insurance would be cancelled.

And I believe you are correct about the Diablo Canyon nuke plant being shut down. Iím so glad that they werenít successful years ago in getting approval for a nuclear power plant on Bodega Head, its only about 20 miles from us. I have no desire to relive Fukushima here.

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

The Discuss-o-Mat has stopped, buzzer is sounding!!!
If you would like to reply to this thread please log-in...

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy