5 Ways You Can Electrify Your Home
Electrification – the process of moving from fossil fuels to electricity – has been gaining steam in recent years as consumers look to lower their carbon footprints.
And recently, this trend spilled over into the mainstream with the debate around gas stoves, which can have a negative impact on indoor air quality and have been linked to asthma.
Regardless of whether you’re looking to give up your gas range in the near future, there are many areas of the house that can be electrified and can potentially benefit you.
Let’s look at five possible ways you can electrify your home:
1. Swap your A/C and furnace out for a single energy-efficient appliance.
Did you know that there’s a single energy-efficient, electric-powered appliance that can replace both your A/C and your gas-powered furnace? It’s called an air-source heat pump, and it may be the single best electrification upgrade you can make at home.
During the summer, your heat pump will push hot air from your home, making it cooler, and during cold weather months, the process works in reverse, bringing heat from outdoors into your home. This highly efficient process ensures that your home stays comfortable all year. Plus, heat pumps are much better at dehumidifying your home than a standard A/C!
Though your savings vary significantly depending on where you live, Consumer Reports estimates that you could save about $115 each year on your energy bills if you upgrade to a high-efficiency heat pump.
2. Upgrade your gas water heater to an electric or heat pump water heater.
After space heating, water heating is typically the next highest single use of energy in the average home, accounting for about 20 percent of the average home’s total usage. So, it makes sense to look for the most efficient model next time you need a new one.
According to Energy Sage, electric water heaters are typically much more efficient than gas-powered ones, with gas models usually having energy factor (EF) numbers of 0.5 to 0.7 and electric models having “EF numbers higher than 0.9” (the higher the EF number, the more efficient the appliance).
Like with space heating and cooling, there are also heat pump versions of water heaters that are even more efficient than a standard electric water heater. According to Southern California Edison, they “can reduce energy bills in new construction, single-family homes with gas storage water heaters by 15-24 percent annually”.
3. Switch your gas-powered yard tools for efficient, electric ones.
Let’s now move from inside the home to the lawn and garden. Cordless, battery-powered lawn tools have come a long way in recent years and offer an excellent starting place for electrification with a number of benefits for you and the environment.
According to Touchstone Energy, electric yard tools are cheaper run, saving you up to 35 percent over gas-powered tools. They also require less maintenance as they will never need spark plugs, oil or filters. And they’re much better for your health since there's no dirty exhaust or loud noise that can damage hearing. Many consumers also state that they’re much more convenient compared to gas-powered models.
Their environmental benefits are also substantial. In addition to the risk of spilled gasoline leaking into groundwater, “running a commercial gas-powered leaf blower for just an hour produces about as much pollution as driving a 2017 Toyota Camry 1,100 miles.” And as the power grid gets cleaner every year, the environmental benefits will continue to increase over gas-powered tools.
4. Take another look at electrifying your mode of transportation.
If you’ve thought about purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) in the past but decided against it, it may be time to look again. There’s a whole new landscape of EVs today, giving you a much better chance to find something that meets your needs, including new electric trucks and SUVs and more affordable models. Plus, incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act can make EVs even more accessible than ever.
EV charging networks are also growing rapidly, giving you many more places to charge conveniently. Charging companies, power companies, automakers and others have made great strides in building out charging networks in the past few years, and the U.S. government recently bolstered these efforts with $1.5 billion earmarked for states to build out highway charging networks.
If an electric car isn’t in your near-term plans, you still have many options today if you want to electrify your mode of transportation. There are more electric bicycles, motorcycles and scooters available than ever before, and these can help you substantially cut down on your carbon emissions.
5. Replace your gas range for an electric – or induction – cooktop.
Finally, let’s look at the technology that has recently been a part of some controversy – the electric stove. While many home cooks rightfully love the control they have with their gas stovetops, there are many benefits of going electric.
To start, “gas cooktops and ovens affect indoor air quality the most” of any home appliances, releasing nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide that can be harmful to your family’s health. Regardless of whether you pick a standard electric range or an induction model, you’ll be free of these dangerous fumes in your home.
Induction cooking offers even more benefits over a standard electric range, including energy savings and near-instant heating. Some top chefs – including Eric Ripert, chef-owner of a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York – are even beginning to favor this highly efficient method that uses electromagnetism to heat pots and pans.
The debate around gas stoves has brought national attention to electrification, but this is just one potential area for electrification at home. If you’re interested in lowering your carbon footprint and reaping some other benefits, take a look at whether some of these other areas make sense for you.