Decarbonization is currently a top priority for residents of La Puente, California. With recent legislation making it mandatory for builders to install all-electric appliances in new developments, consumers are also feeling increasing pressure to lower their carbon footprints by electrifying their homes. Given that heating and cooling systems can account for up to 50% of a home’s energy use, electrifying your HVAC system is a great place to start. However, to limit the financial and logistical challenges of this effort, it’s important for electrification to be well-planned. Following are a few practical strategies for controlling your costs and optimizing your rewards.
Use Beneficial Electrification Techniques As Your Guide
With total electrification as the ultimate goal, Californians aren’t expected to cast their functioning gas appliances out all at once. Instead, the idea is to make as-needed upgrades in a way that’s both financially feasible and guaranteed to provide noticeable returns. Beneficial electrification prioritizes projects that will have the greatest impact without causing unreasonable burdens.
When you’ve already trained your focus on your HVAC system, determining your first upgrade should be a cinch. After all, the only feature within this system that relies on a carbon-producing fuel is your furnace. However, it’s important to understand all that replacing a gas furnace with an electric one entails. For instance, is your water heater connected to your gas furnace? If it is, this could mean simultaneously upgrading your water heater. How will this or other heating system change impact your budget and your requirements for HVAC ducting?
When you plan your electrification project with us, these are all considerations that we’ll carefully review and explain. If you’re ready to electrify but aren’t sure where to start or why, schedule a consultation appointment to learn more about your options and the building-specific challenges that you’re facing.
Consider the Entire HVAC System When Budgeting
Both furnaces and HVAC ducting can last up to 20 years. Given that both of these features were likely installed in your home at the same time, they’ll probably reach the ends of their lifespans together. This is a good reason to electrify your HVAC system at the time of your next expected furnace replacement. The HVAC air duct requirements for electric furnaces can be different from those for gas-fired options. By timing your project correctly, you can avoid paying for air duct replacement or air duct modifications before you actually have to.
Consider a Heat Pump
If you’ve always been efficiency-minded, you may have a gas-fired furnace that’s already quite efficient. Some high-efficiency gas furnaces can convert up to 98.5% of the fuel that they use into heat energy. Thus, they’re hardly sources of energy waste.
Although the primary driver for electrification in California is the reduction of greenhouse gases, you still want to be cognizant of your energy bill and other efficiency-related factors. Unlike gas-fired furnaces, electric models don’t have venting systems and they don’t lose energy via exhaust gases. This makes them 100% efficient. However, it does not make them the most efficient option available.
Electric heat pumps can be up to 300% efficient. This means that they produce three times more heat energy than they consume in electrical energy. If a heat pump proves to be a good choice for your home, you can lower your carbon footprint and drop your home energy bills at the same time. Moreover, you can even decrease the cost of your home cooling. Unlike electric furnaces, heat pumps don’t produce heat; they simply transfer it from one location to another. Best of all, they can work in reverse during the summertime to provide reliable air conditioning, too. And owning a heat pump that pulls double-duty means having only one unit to house and maintain.
Take Advantage of Efficiency-Related Tax Credits
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has made a number of impressive tax credits available to consumers who want to upgrade their HVAC systems for improved efficiency and lower carbon footprints. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking these. Although these aren’t funds that you can use to cover the upfront costs of electrification, they will offset your end-of-year tax bill, and they may even put money in your pocket later on by qualifying you for a tax return.
We’re committed to helping our customers save when replacing their HVAC equipment. You can count on us to help you find an electric furnace or heat pump that meets all the necessary requirements for these credits.
Tighten Your Home’s Envelope
One way to prime your home for a heat pump or electric furnace is by tightening its envelope. Install more or better insulation, seal up gaps and cracks around your windows and doors, and make sure that old and obsolete venting systems are sealed off. With less heat loss, your furnace or heat pump will have less work to do. Moreover, The Inflation Reduction act provides tax credits for these efficiency improvements as well.
Use This As an Opportunity to Make Other Upgrades
Among some of the most efficient heating and cooling systems are ductless mini splits. Ductless mini-split heat pumps provide reliable heating and cooling without the need for HVAC air ducts. Their naturally zoned configurations mean that building residents can customize temperatures in individual areas. As a result, there’s never a need to heat or cool spaces that are unoccupied.
If you have HVAC air ducts and are already reliant upon a central heating and cooling system, electrifying your HVAC equipment is an excellent opportunity to get similar capabilities. If the switch to an electric furnace or heat pump requires HVAC air duct modifications or total duct replacement, consider having your ducting zoned during this work. With a zoned central system, bypass ducts, sensors, and other elements will help further reduce your energy costs and your household’s total energy waste. If you have ongoing indoor air quality (IAQ) concerns, this is also a great time to have an air purifier, whole-house dehumidifier, media filter, or other integrated HVAC accessory put in.
Be Cognizant of Ongoing Improvements in Efficiency
The HVAC equipment that’s considered efficient today could be rendered all but obsolete by new innovations in the near future. In fact, it most likely will be. Researchers and HVAC manufacturers are scrambling to find ways to simultaneously meet the needs of modern consumers and reverse the climate crisis.
One clear example of how quickly professionals are innovating in this field is the phase-out of R-22 refrigerant and the incredibly rapid phase-out of its recent replacement. Just as some homeowners were making a late switch to R-401a air conditioners, legislators were planning the phase-down of this new coolant, and HVAC manufacturers were reimagining their products. Now, the single-ingredient refrigerant known as R-32 is the industry standard. Keeping up isn’t always easy.
The good news is that it isn’t necessary to immediately pull old equipment out and put new and more efficient equipment in as soon as regulatory standards are introduced. Phase-outs, like those implemented for R-22 and R-401a, are usually done over the course of years, if not decades. Buying the most efficient and all-around environmentally friendly equipment that you can find right now should keep you on target throughout the entirety of your HVAC system’s lifespan.
If you already have a high-functioning gas furnace, starting your electrification is also a feasible alternative. Waiting for your current HVAC equipment to run its course will allow you to take advantage of the latest and most cutting-edge advancements in HVAC technologies later on. In the meantime, you might consider upgrading to an electric, point-of-use water heater, or installing an EV charging station to support your all-electric vehicle. This strategy is perfectly in line with the recommendations for beneficial electrification, and it will allow you to get the most from your efficiency improvements without overspending.
We’re eager to help make the process of electrification both easy and optimally beneficial for our clients. Since 2002, we’ve been proudly servicing residents of La Puente, CA and the surrounding area. We offer furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump installation, maintenance, and repairs. We also provide indoor air quality services, water heaters, and preventative maintenance plans. To get help electrifying your HVAC system, call Temp Air System Inc. today.