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cooking stove ~ natural gas VS electric VS ?  RSS feed

 
john smith
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Realizing how much the noxious gases from the natural gas cooking stove have long been bothering me, and for such a long time, I have finally decided to get rid of it and change to something else. 

As I live in a city, it seems the only other option is an electric range.  I am getting estimates to put in a 220 outlet and have selected a stove.

I want to not increase electricity use, as it is currently down to 1kw/day.  However I am quite excited to get rid of the gas!  I don't use the stove myself, however it is used 5 or 6 times a day for short periods, which is very annoying with the gas.  One evening a burner was left on, not lit, and I got up to check because I kept feeling that I was going to die.  Since then I've left a window cracked in the kitchen, and have been paranoid about making sure the burners are off.  Besides this, the gases get in my system and affect my breathing when I run. 

This is why I'm looking to an electric stove.  Being in the city, I don't know if propane would be feasible, and don't know if it would be any cleaner or safer than natural gas anyway.  Some of the issues could be similar.  I want to have the smallest use possible.  If I could run an electric stove on solar, or even on 110 instead of 220, that would be good.  Just a range would be fine, as an oven is not needed.  Wood is not feasible as the stove is not used for any length of time. 

Suggestions are most welcome.
 
                        
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One compromise might be to get a gas stove with an electric lighter.  Uses a 110V outlet, and there's no way to leave the burners on "just a little" without them being lit.
 
john smith
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Muzhik wrote:
One compromise might be to get a gas stove with an electric lighter.  Uses a 110V outlet, and there's no way to leave the burners on "just a little" without them being lit.


Yes, that is not the only issue though.  The post burn fumes are also quite noxious. 
 
              
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Keep in mind electricity prices will rise with the greening initiatives and reduction of fossil fuels and increase cost.

I had to move rental properties and tried one for the first time with electric range and electric oven. I almost shat myself with the local prices charged.

Had to put $180 deposit just to get service turned on and then got a $50 bill for 2 weeks of service. Calculated it out to $4.60 a day without running A/C or heating of any kind. So that's going to be near $1,700.00 per year roughly in electricity bill. And I hear prices are going to soar even higher with the state now paying .80c/kw for solar feeds into the grid they will pass the cost plus hefty profit margin by charging all consumers higher rates.

Not sure what the prices are currently over there but here its .22/kwh for a set amount and higher charge over that amount. But the thieves get $70 every 3 months just to be hooked up without even a single kwh being used or charged on top of that.

I always demanded gas cooking appliances in the places I rented before and will probably go back, unless I find a nice wooded property and will give wood stoves and ovens a go and manage a small woodlot/coppice.

 
Len Ovens
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Before you try too much, see if you can find a counter top induction unit. They plug into a 120v socket (1400 watts) and yet heat faster than a 2400 watt coil. They are 90% ef. gas is 45% and most electric ranges are 55%. At less than $100 I replaced our 4 coil burners with 3 of them. They have been fine so far ... about 1.5 years.

One note though, unplug them while not in use, ours draw 6watts when turned off so I have switched them.
 
              
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Last thing that needs mentioning is that Electric Stoves and Electric Tractors and while I love them as an ex electronics nut, my professor back in the day got me onto Becket and his books (Body Electric, etc.) and these things put out Electromagnetic Radiation Fields so some people might be put off having sources of EMF radiation in their lives. That does not leave much else though, wood stoves or natural gas or any other fossil fuel. We had a retired linesman from VA in the course and his stories about his lifetime of high tension exposure leading to defibrillation of his heart rhythm when driving under high tension lines ended my budding electronics course studies and I switched my field of study.
 
Larisa Walk
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I try to help folks with excessive EMF exposure using electric and magnetic field strength meters of various types. I also use an electric car, tractor, trike, and 12-volt DC homemade oven. The trick with electrical exposure is to lower voltages, amps, frequencies and exposure times while increasing distances from the sources.

Lower voltages yield smaller electric fields. And DC is more bio-compatible than AC except when using big-amped loads. Shielding the big magnetic fields from a large amp load is a lot trickier and more expensive than dealing with electric fields. The huge magnetic field in our car is kept far from the occupants and is further shielded using cobalt and nickel alloys. We don't go near the DC oven except to load, check, or unload it. Induction stoves are the most efficient and the biggest source of magnetic fields.

In the high frequency realm we try to maintain radio silence. This means no portable phones, no wi-fi, etc. Remember F=ma? Well, the higher the frequency the faster you accelerate electrons. This means higher frequencies have more force at the same wattage. We use wired networks and a Telular cellular base station that uses a yagi antenna on our roof to communicate with the network while allowing us to use standard wired phones (up to 5) indoors. I'm not so indispensable as to need instant accessibility anywhere anytime!
 
john smith
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PeterD wrote:
Not sure what the prices are currently over there but here its .22/kwh for a set amount and higher charge over that amount. But the thieves get $70 every 3 months just to be hooked up without even a single kwh being used or charged on top of that.


That's how it is here for water/trash/sewer, use nothing and it's still $60 a month.
Verizon is the same, I hardly use the phone and they keep jacking it up.

The electricity is .115/kw so far. 
The bill used to be $25/mo but I've reduced it to $6 a month, and $8 for gas.

I thought electric and gas stoves had about the same cost to use.
 
john smith
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Len wrote:
Before you try too much, see if you can find a counter top induction unit. They plug into a 120v socket (1400 watts) and yet heat faster than a 2400 watt coil. They are 90% ef. gas is 45% and most electric ranges are 55%. At less than $100 I replaced our 4 coil burners with 3 of them. They have been fine so far ... about 1.5 years.


Wow 90% and using 110v would be great.  Where did you find burners for that price? 
The countertop electric units here are almost the price of gas stoves.  I will look for induction units.  I've seen some on ebay but they were all refurbished, which makes me wonder if they don't last very long?  Does 90% mean the energy cost would be 1/2 of electric or gas?

One note though, unplug them while not in use, ours draw 6watts when turned off so I have switched them.


Good point, thanks.
 
john smith
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Walk wrote:
Induction stoves are the most efficient and the biggest source of magnetic fields.


As induction stoves are twice as efficient but use 1/2 the voltage, does that mean the EMF's are the same?
- - -
An average priced induction burner on Ebay is $125, and is 1800 watts. 
Apparently one burner will replace a stovetop as they're faster, which is fine.

That's a lot of wattage though.  Do they really use less energy?
 
                        
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johnlvs2run wrote:
An average priced induction burner on Ebay is $125, and is 1800 watts. 
Apparently one burner will replace a stovetop as they're faster, which is fine.

That's a lot of wattage though.  Do they really use less energy?


It's the difference between using 1800 watts for 5 minutes and using 700 watts for 20 minutes.
 
                    
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Maybe it is obvious to some, but induction cooking only works with magnetic cookware, no aluminum, ceramics, glass and so on.


I still much prefer a gas range cooktop for the exquisite instant heat control it provides and I prefer an electric oven with the convection option.  Ours has the electric ignition burners. I've never been bothered by gases/fumes so I guess I'm lucky.

The CO monitor in the kitchen has never registered more than 2 ppm and that was only once.    We also have an air exchanger unit to facilitate having fresh air in the well sealed structure.

How do induction cookers compare for heat control? More like a gas range than an electric element?
 
john smith
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Thank you for all the feedback and ideas.

I've decided to get two induction burners, and to put them on a cutting board top in place of the stove.

The induction burners have 10 settings and the heating is instant, so they are more like a gas stove in that regard, however cook in about 1/2 the time.  There are quite a few ratings on this link with good information that helped me to decide.  I believe the settings go from 100 to 1800 watts, so using mostly settings 1 to 5 would not use as much energy.  Also they run on a 110v outlet.
 
Len Ovens
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johnlvs2run wrote:
Thank you for all the feedback and ideas.

I've decided to get two induction burners, and to put them on a cutting board top in place of the stove.

The induction burners have 10 settings and the heating is instant, so they are more like a gas stove in that regard, however cook in about 1/2 the time.  There are quite a few ratings on this link with good information that helped me to decide.  I believe the settings go from 100 to 1800 watts, so using mostly settings 1 to 5 would not use as much energy.  Also they run on a 110v outlet.


I would love to get an 1800watt one, but I don't think they sell them in Canada. Both of the models I have are 1400w. I don't know if my house insurance would cover a "made for the US" if it is not CSA or UL.

Most come with one pot. Go through your pots and only use the ones a magnet will stick to. cast iron works really well   I have a magnet in my pocket to check them at stores before I buy.

The first I got at Canadian Tire for about $120 and the second two I got at Central Builders (home hardware) for $89. I have seen them in Zellers too. Even if it comes from China, I like to support the local retailers...
 
john smith
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The watts are proportional to the settings, so 1400w is probably good for most purposes.  The Athena Burton 6200 setting #7/1400w goes up to 360 degrees, and setting #10/1800w goes up to 450 degrees.  There are data sheets here.

how induction works

radiation, not a hazard (they say)
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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So glad to hear that you've decided that!

I also wanted to point out that a gas stove might be much more useful in the far future, if national distribution grids become untenable and localities need to put in their own energy systems: methane digesters can put out a lot more energy, more reliably and efficiently, than a typical village-scale electrical system.
 
john smith
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Len wrote:
Before you try too much, see if you can find a counter top induction unit. They plug into a 120v socket (1400 watts) and yet heat faster than a 2400 watt coil. They are 90% ef. gas is 45% and most electric ranges are 55%. At less than $100 I replaced our 4 coil burners with 3 of them. They have been fine so far ... about 1.5 years.

One note though, unplug them while not in use, ours draw 6watts when turned off so I have switched them.


I ordered 2 of the Athena Burton 6200's for $180 (total) yesterday, and a 5 piece Ikea Annons stainless steel cookware set for $22 today.  This is quite a bit less than an electric stove and 230 line would have cost.  I'm investing some the difference into making sure wiring and breakers are up to date, and am putting in a cutting board counter for the burners where the stove used to be.

Thanks much for all the helpful suggestions.  I'm sure glad that I posted this thread.
 
paul wheaton
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I want to throw a few obnoxious thoughts in here:

14) I once tried to figure out how much oxygen one gas burner would use.  I calculated that a gas burner would empty a standard sized kitchen of oxygen in about 45 minutes - assuming the kitchen was air tight.  Since 79% of air is nitrogen, then the air that comes in to replace the oxygen is mostly nitrogen.  No matter how you slice it, the kitchen air will become oxygen depleted.  Frankly, the thought of using gas for cooking in a kitchen really freaks me out.

15) If you use electric heat in your home, cooking anything on an electric stove in the winter is effectively free.  Getting 2kwh of heat from your stove or oven will almost exactly displace 2kwh of heat from your heating system.

 
                                          
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i hate cooking with electric stoves.  they heat unevenly and scorch food too easily.  my cooking is far more precise with a gas stove, which saves me money from having to throw out scorched food.

i've cut steel collars to sit between the pot and stove top to keep heat piped up at the pot and to keep it from escaping around the sides of the pan.  it improves the efficiency of the the stove, methinks.

i think that electric stoves are more dangerous.  i can't tell you how many times i've accidentally dropped a towel or wooden spoon on a burner after i've taken a pot off of the stove.  the burners take far too long to cool down. 

with a toddler running around, it makes me even more scared that he'll put a hand on top of a burner that's still hot.  granted the stove top gets hot on a gas stove, too, but it's not red hot like an electric stove.
 
john smith
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Paul, those are helpful thoughts, thank you.  Natural gas needs an explosive gas detector for the pre cooking fumes, and a carbon monoxide detector for the post cooking fumes.  There is also considerable water vapor in the exhaust fumes, which raises humidity in the house, and condensation on the windows, especially in winter.

The induction cookers came last Monday and WOW!!!  I am very impressed.  So far I have opened only one of them and it has been plenty.  It warms cold drinks or cold meals (such as beans) in one minute, boils water, cooks oats, and/or boils eggs in 2 minutes!  The heat is absolutely instant, much faster than gas.  Once the oats are boiling, turning the burner off stops the boiling instantly.  Turning it on again and the oats are boiling again instantly. 

There are 10 power settings, 10 temperature settings, a default for each, and a timer.  So far I have used only the default power setting for 1 or 2 minutes.  This cooker is totally awesome!  I am very thankful to you Len, and the rest of you for getting me going in this direction. 

The cookware from Ebay is not here yet.  The seller is slow.  I went to goodwill and they didn't have anything so I went to a dollar store a few doors down, which had very nice carbon steel cookware with glass tops for $13 each.  Hmm a bit pricey I thought, as the three I've ordered are three for $22.  However they were very nice.  Also they had a nice miniature pan with glass top for $6, and a larger pan with glass lid for $12.  The guy said both for $15 so I got them.  The induction cookware, and the induction cooker, are all awesome!  I am very happy with them!
 
                        
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paul wheaton wrote:
15) If you use electric heat in your home, cooking anything on an electric stove in the winter is effectively free.  Getting 2kwh of heat from your stove or oven will almost exactly displace 2kwh of heat from your heating system.


This key there is getting some way of circulating the heated air from the kitchen to wherever you need the heated air in your living space.  Moving from an unbearably hot kitchen to a living space that is 20 degrees or more cooler isn't going to increase your comfort level any (esp. if you've purposefully been keeping those spaces cooler to save money, and wearing sweaters instead.)
 
john smith
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Len wrote:

At less than $100 I replaced our 4 coil burners with 3 of them. They have been fine so far ... about 1.5 years.

One note though, unplug them while not in use, ours draw 6watts when turned off so I have switched them.


Was that $100 each?  I'm curious how you space them with your wiring.
I have decided to keep one on each side of the kitchen, each on it's own outlet.

The 6200 uses 0 watts when off and plugged in, though I unplug it anyway.

The stove is cold, except from the pot, and cools rapidly when the pot is removed..
 
Brice Moss
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paul wheaton wrote:
14) I once tried to figure out how much oxygen one gas burner would use.  I calculated that a gas burner would empty a standard sized kitchen of oxygen in about 45 minutes - assuming the kitchen was air tight.  Since 79% of air is nitrogen, then the air that comes in to replace the oxygen is mostly nitrogen.  No matter how you slice it, the kitchen air will become oxygen depleted.  Frankly, the thought of using gas for cooking in a kitchen really freaks me out.
quote]

can I get you to post up the math on that
I've always hated electric stoves so I'm hoping to punch holes in your argument there cause otherwise I'm gonna have to learn to cook on the wood stove
 
                    
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I too do not like electric stoves; I much prefer cooking on gas.

Next weekend I am going to run a test at the cabin. We have a propane range and now that it is cold out we use it rather than the outside cook station. It's a small cabin, 16x30, all one room basically. The cabin is pretty well sealed, better than many homes but not as good as I could have done.

I also have access to a finger clip blood oxygen saturation meter. I'm going to monitor my blood oxygen saturation outside in the fresh air and then inside with no fuel burning appliances working; none that use interior air that is. The wood stove, the propane wall heater, the water heater and the propane refrigerator all draw combustion air from outside and vent the combustion exhaust to the outside as well. Only the range uses air from within the cabin for combustion.

That will give me a baseline. Next I'm going to bake a loaf of bread and cook a meal and monitor my blood oxygen saturation during that time.

I think that should be a good indication as to whether or not there is any issue.

 
john smith
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Home gas test


Try this simple test for yourself. In the evening, turn on a gas appliance. Then turn off all of the lights in the room and watch as your gas flame burns. Look for the blue colors. That's methane gas burning. Methane gas makes up most of your natural gas supply and it burns with a blue color.

If there are yellow, orange, green, purple or red colors in your flame - that ... could be Benzene, Toluene, Tar, Oil, Dust, Rust, Gas Odorants or - PCBs. Notice how the colors burst out and jump about. The colored condensates bursting in your flame are some of the hazardous chemicals in your gas.


 
Len Ovens
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johnlvs2run wrote:
Was that $100 each?  I'm curious how you space them with your wiring.
I have decided to keep one on each side of the kitchen, each on it's own outlet.

The 6200 uses 0 watts when off and plugged in, though I unplug it anyway.

The stove is cold, except from the pot, and cools rapidly when the pot is removed..


I rewired my stove. There are 4 fuses, one for each coil... I took the coils out and the top off the stove where they mount. I replaced it with ceramic floor tiles with chrome trim that I put the induction hobs on. I then took the hot line from each fuse and wired them to the hot side of an outlet which I mounted behind the stove "bridge". The neutral side of the outlets is wired to the neutral line into the stove. I  have left the original control in line to use as an on/off switch after I opened one up and realized that there were two switches, an on/off and the one that controls the power level. I use the first. So the old pilot lights still work and tell me if we have left one on.

So.... each induction unit has it's own dedicated fuse which I down graded from 20 amp to 15 amp. The oven wiring has been left alone and continues to function as designed. I want to fix the oven next. I already have fire brick in there to help even out the heat, but I would like to re-insulate it with better insulation as I tend to use it "cranked" right to 500F for baking bread. (I also cover the vent to keep the steam in when baking to help it work more like a brick oven)

However, having said that, this is my own home and my stove and so I am pretty free to do what I want (so long as it passes the admiral's inspection ) You may not be in such a place if you are renting, that is why I did not go into these details. You could pick up an old stove from the side of the road for free and refurbish it for use while you live there and put the landlord's back on leaving. However, if your kitchen is wired correctly, each duplex outlet should have two breakers, one for the top and one for the bottom. So you would see 220v across the two hot pins (one top one bottom).

Here is a picture:


The counter-top convection oven to the left uses one of those fuses too. This picture was taken before I put the coil controls back in, so you can see the two right hand side units are always on.  The left hand unit is older, but it is also still drawing 6watts at the time this picture was taken.

 
                    
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johnlvs2run wrote:
Home gas test



I've seen that someplace. I've watched the burners in the dark and laid on the floor watching the oven burner. We seem to have clean propane. Ditto for watching the burner in the wall heater. The water heater used to have tinges of yellow, but that was a matter of adjustment.

For the cabin though propane is the only reasonable fuel to use for cooking. We have a good off grid electrical system, but not enough to cook with.

We don't even use candles or oil lamps because of their products of combustion, but the range seems to be a good compromise. We'll see what I think after the O[sub]2[/sub] tests.

 
john smith
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Len,
Nice photo, thanks for sharing.  You are quite creative.  That gives me some ideas. 

don miller; MountainDon wrote:
I also have access to a finger clip blood oxygen saturation meter. I'm going to monitor my blood oxygen saturation


I was thinking of getting an oximeter, but most of them do not differentiate well between oxygen and carbon monoxide, and also do not account for the other contaminants. 
A higher level of methemoglobin will tend to cause a pulse oximeter to read closer to 85% regardless of the true level of oxygen saturation.

It also should be noted that the inability of two-wavelength saturation level measurement devices to distinguish carboxyhemoglobin due to carbon monoxide poisoning from oxyhemoglobin must be taken into account when diagnosing a patient in emergency rescue, e.g., from a fire in an apartment.

A Pulse CO-oximeter measures absorption at additional wavelengths to distinguish CO from O2 and determines the blood oxygen saturation more reliably.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Pulse_oximeter
 
Len Ovens
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don miller; MountainDon wrote:

For the cabin though propane is the only reasonable fuel to use for cooking. We have a good off grid electrical system, but not enough to cook with.

We don't even use candles or oil lamps because of their products of combustion, but the range seems to be a good compromise. We'll see what I think after the O[sub]2[/sub] tests.


Off grid is a whole new ball game in a different park. when I lived in an RV, I used propane for everything I could to save on battery. My fridge was two way, but propane seemed to be cheaper. I think off grid all heating should be by preference:
- Solar, this can provide any kind of heat.
- twigs and cast off wood
- cord wood
- propane or oil (on a boat oil may be better than wood)
- electric ... wind power sometimes needs to dump power, it is great if this excess can be used for heat.

Oil lamps work fine... put them on a ledge outside the window shining in.

Just think, a few 100 years ago, it was considered rude not to share your smoke with a stranger.
 
                    
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Well my planned test didn't go quite as planned. I never got around to baking any bread as we ran into a friend on the road up and were gifted a loaf of fresh bread. We just didn't need another. But I did some range top cooking.

My basis readings, taken at home at 5500 feet had my blood oxygen saturation readings running from 95 to 98 percent.

My readings at the cabin (8800 feet) ran from 93 to 97 percent. Those were outdoors and indoors after arriving. The windows were opened for about 20 minutes after we arrived as it was warmer outside than inside, until the wood stove was going good. The cabin is 16x30 with an 8 foot ceiling.

After boiling up some angel hair noodles and cooking a chicken and veggie stir fry, plus boiling water for tea my pulse oximeter readings basically had not changed. They would range from 93 to 97 as I moved about. The CO monitor by the range still registered zero. The CO monitor did record a reading of 10 ppm after I lit a kerosene lamp and maladjusted the flame. I could have fired the oven up for an hour or so, but didn't want to use the propane without having something to bake/roast.

We'll try again next time.

 
allen lumley
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_I have skipped over this topic until to day - Anonymous' Test caught my Eye and I must comment !

Todays best Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitor Has a serious Flaw and Will record CARBON MONOXIDE = OXYGEN ! (Not a Miss-print ) CO attached to The Hemoglobin
in Red Blood Cells will Be Read As O2 attached to the Hemoglobin in Red Blood Cells !

ASK a Basic E.M.T. - Someone who is a longtime smoker will inhale large amounts of Carbon Monoxide that attaches itself to the Red blood cells, and renders the test
results as shown on the monitor to be seriously flawed *

This is common knowledge among Emergency Workers, and the Emergency Room Staff in Hospitals !

Big AL !

* L O O O N G term smokers with constant high per cent of Co bound to the Red Blood cell will adapt in two ways, Getting used to doing more with less, AND -
producing even more Red blood cells until the circulating blood is extra thick and sticky like maple syrup and hard for the heart to pump, this damages the heart and
also the small blood vessels setting up contains for Clots, floating Emboli, and Strokes,
 
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