There’s no denying that the world is changing, and the transition away from fossil fuel utilities is underway. This evolution isn’t just a change in how we generate electricity either, with heat production accounting for about 25% of U.S. emissions, according to a 2019 EPA report.
Most people don’t realize the number of things in their homes that consume fossil fuels in some form. This guide will help you understand what it means to electrify your home, the benefits of doing so, what you may consider electrifying, the obstacles you may run into, and the incentives you may qualify for in the process.
What Does It Mean To Electrify?
Electrifying your home means replacing appliances and equipment that run on some form of fossil fuel with things that run entirely on electricity. While there are one or two major appliances most people think about when it comes to electrifying their home, many others tend to fly under the radar.
If you plan to electrify your home, the goal is to get away from anything that burns fossil fuel. The more you reduce the volume of fossil fuels you consume, the more you’ll experience the following three benefits:
1. Reducing Home Carbon Emissions
We can all agree that pollution is harmful, including atmospheric pollution caused by burning fossil fuels. One of the primary benefits of electrifying your home is reducing your overall carbon footprint. The concept of a carbon footprint looks at how much your lifestyle contributes various carbon compounds to the environment.
That footprint includes the carbon-generating actions you take directly, such as burning natural gas in a furnace or water heater. It also considers the actions you take that indirectly contribute carbon, such as the electricity you consume that’s generated from carbon-producing sources.
Part of the electrifying process is considering whether you can add power-generating capability to your home. The most common power-generating addition is a roof-mounted solar array with a storage battery.
2. Diversifying the Electrical Grid
As a California resident, you’ve undoubtedly heard the concerns over shortfalls in the electrical grid’s capacity, especially during the summer. By electrifying your home, you’ll help diversify the electrical grid. That solar array we just mentioned may produce more electricity than you need in your home. In this case, you can set your home up to divert that excess power back to the grid.
This process is called net metering, and in California, it provides a one-to-one credit to help offset power you may need to pull from the grid later on. In other words, for every kilowatt-hour that you add back to the grid, you will receive one kilowatt-hour credit.
The benefit of this process is that it enhances the entire electrical grid. No longer are power companies solely responsible for generating all of the consumable power for the grid. Instead, each person with a net metering setup acts as their own micro power plant.
3. Increasing Home Safety
It’s easy to forget that bringing fossil fuels to your home presents a level of risk. While natural gas and propane accidents are relatively uncommon, they do happen. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Agency, an average of 4,200 residential fires occur each year because of natural gas. These fires contribute to about 40 deaths annually.
When you remove the appliances that depend on these fuels, you reduce some of the risks. Unless you completely remove the gas lines serving your home, you will continue to have a level of risk, though it is greatly reduced. In addition, when you convert to electricity, you reduce other hazards presented to your home, such as carbon monoxide exposure from burning these fuels.
What Can You Electrify in Your Home?
The appliances that most people immediately think about when considering electrifying their homes are their gas furnaces and gas water heaters. These are both easy to replace with electric models. For your home’s heating, you can switch to an air-sourced heat pump, which provides heating and air conditioning and reduces maintenance and repair costs. You can replace your water heater with an electric, solar, or heat pump model.
The other appliances commonly considered are your oven and clothes dryer. These units are simple to replace with electric models, though they may require new wiring and a new circuit in your panel.
Many people forget about the smaller appliances that may or may not run on natural gas. For instance, consider your outside grill. It likely uses gas from a portable tank or connects to your home’s gas service. Remember your motorized equipment, such as your lawn mower, trimmer, and blower. You can swap out the gasoline-powered yard tools for models operated by a rechargeable battery.
Obstacles to Electrifying
Despite the advantages, there are some obstacles to electrifying everything in your home. The most obvious challenge may be the costs associated with replacing all your appliances and equipment that rely on fossil fuels. Give yourself time and a little patience to replace these items as they age and near the end of their service life. For instance, a furnace that is nearing 15 years old and a water heater that is more than 10 years old are good candidates for replacement with an electric option.
Adoption of electric appliances has historically been slow, so it might seem difficult to find options that will serve your home well. However, there is a strong push to electrify homes and other buildings, meaning that you will begin to see more and better options entering the market.
Finally, there is a lack of sufficient incentives to make electrifying your home worthwhile, especially in California. However, with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, incentives for converting to electricity are improving.
Incentives for Electrifying
There have been various incentives for improving the efficiency of your home’s appliances. However, converting from gas to electric units has not been a part of many of the programs offered in California. The federal programs outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act have changed this. Homeowners can now get rebates and tax credits for electrifying various components of their homes. This includes upgrades like adding solar power sources and installing a heat pump or geothermal system.
The Home Owner Managing Energy Savings rebate program offers rebates for electrifying small appliances, such as your clothes dryer. Talk with your tax professional about the different rebate and tax credit options to see what you may qualify for and how to plan your home improvements to maximize your incentives.
People around La Puente have trusted Temp Air System Inc. to keep their homes comfortable and energy efficient for over 20 years. Our expert team provides an extensive range of residential electrical services, including electrical system installation and conversion. We also offer heating and cooling system installation, maintenance, and repairs. Call Temp Air System Inc. to schedule your consultation with one of our trained experts to start making plans to electrify everything in your home.