If you’re concerned about the climate and your health and want to reduce your monthly bills, now is the perfect time to begin your journey towards an all-electric home. Thanks to rebates and tax incentives offered by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and other new climate policies, going carbon free has never been more accessible. To estimate the money you could save with the IRA, check out this calculator from Rewiring America. And don’t forget local incentives. Find out more about city rebates here.
Remember: This journey takes time, patience, and advanced planning. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to navigate the electrification process.
Step One: Sign Up
Complete our sign-up form (Coming soon!) and order an “in-process” sign kit, which includes milestone badges to track your progress. Proudly display your sign in front of your home — by joining the electrification movement, you’ve earned the bragging rights! Plus, every Electrify sign helps spread the word and inspire your neighbors.
Step Two: Get All-Electric Ready
Before you begin, it’s important to ensure your electrical panel is ready to handle the switch to all electric. Some homes need at least a 100A service rating; many need up to 200A. You’ll also need to check to make sure the panel has empty slots available.
To check your service rating, look at the main breaker of your electrical panel. (For guidance, check out our handy video [HYPERLINK HERE] how-to!) If you don’t have 200A and/or there are no slots left on the panel, ask an electrician to assess the situation. If you do end up hiring an electrician, it might even save you money in the long run to have them go ahead and do any other electrical updates your home needs to handle going all-electric. Remember, if you get stuck or need help along the way, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you attach a photo of your electric panel, we’ll tell you all about what you’re looking at.
Step Three: Understand Your Current Equipment — and the Electric Alternatives
We recommend focusing your electrification efforts on four main systems/appliances that are the biggest energy users in your home:
- HVAC (heating and cooling) system
- Water heater
- Clothes dryer
There’s no need to rush to replace all your equipment immediately. (Of course, if you can afford to and can’t wait one more second before going all electric, be our guest!) But it is important to have a plan, so that when your current gas-powered (or older electric) equipment inevitably ages out, you’re ready to go with an electric option.
Tip: Check out our list of local contractors for help replacing equipment.
Your HVAC System
The life expectancy of a gas furnace is typically 15-20 years. (Watch this helpful video for tips on determining how old yours is!) If you’re going all-electric, you’ll want to consider a heat pump heating and cooling system. These highly efficient systems use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating their own electricity.
If you have a forced-air system, it’s good to have a qualified inspector or HVAC contractor check the ducts and return to confirm that your home can effectively circulate the conditioned air. If your system of ducts is well-designed, you can use them for your new heat pump system. If not, a high efficiency ductless heat pump (“mini-split”) may be a better option. An HVAC contractor can help you make a decision that’s right for your home.
The life expectancy of a gas water heater is typically 8-12 years. Consider replacing yours with a heat pump water heater. (Just like a heat-pump HVAC system, these water heaters use electricity to move heat, rather than generating their own.) Here are some questions you should ask yourself as you plan this next move:
- What size water heater do you need? This resource, which includes a water heater capacity calculator, can help you answer this question!
- What kind of electrical supply do you need? Most heat pump water heaters require a 240-volt outlet. However, it’s getting easier to find 120-volt heat pump water heaters. If the unit you plan to install requires a 240-volt outlet, you will need your electrician to install this service in the water heater location.
- How much space do you have? Unlike other types of water heaters, you shouldn’t install an HPWH in a small closed closet because it won’t have enough warm air to power the heat pump. Most manufacturers recommend a space that’s at least 100 square feet (10’x10′). Heat pump water heaters will end up cooling the room it is in by about 5 degrees. Heat pump water heaters also make some “white noise” so the best location is in a garage or utility room that is away from your living area. Is this available? Ask your plumber or contractor for their ideas.
Cooktop / Range
Most gas ranges and cooktops have a life expectancy of 13-15 years. A new cooktop/oven can be installed by the company from whom you buy the appliance. If the right electric capacity and outlet is in place, you won’t have to hire an electrician.
As you get ready for your next cooktop, research your options. Induction stoves are the more efficient and high-performing cooktops, but less-expensive electric stoves are also available. You’ll also want to make sure you have a grounded 240-volt outlet available for the stove. The outlet needs to have 40- or 50-amp breakers terminating in an approved junction box.
Electric Clothes Dryer
Most gas dryers have a life expectancy of 13 years. A new electric dryer can be installed by the company from whom you buy the appliance. If the right electric capacity and outlet is in place, you do not need to hire an electrician. Highly efficient heat pump clothes dryers are available but may take a little longer to dry your clothes.
Along the Way: Check Out These Resources!
What are the hurdles to electrifying a home? Contractors and experts weigh in. (Canary Media, February 2022) A great resource to read before you get started! Installing heat pumps and induction stoves can be costly and complex, but they boost homeowners’ health and comfort — and benefit the climate, too.
How to Install an Electric Heat Pump Water Heater ( Video: 6:27 min.) Check out this video for more detail on how a heat pump water heater works.
Understanding Heat Pumps –(Video: 8:36 min.). This video, from This Old House, is a deep dive. It’ll reward you with a helpful explanation about how new technology enables these systems to work in the coldest climates, and how you can get precise heat. 77.5 degrees? You bet.