Your journey to an all-electric home starts here. From how you heat and cool your home to how you cook your food, how you heat your water, and even how you dry your clothes, the inside of your house offers several opportunities to reduce your carbon emissions by switching to an electric home.
For the average American home, space heating, at least in the winter months, is likely the largest overall driver of energy costs. And yet, only 37% of homes in the US are heated with electricity. Only in the South is electricity the dominant source of home heating. In New England, where I live, the percentage is closer to 10%, while over 50% of homes here (and 48% nationally) are heated with natural gas.
This represents a double strike against the climate because, not only does natural gas release CO2 when it is burned, but it is 70-90% is made up of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases around.
Methane from natural gas invariably leaks into the atmosphere as it is stored and transported to its millions of points of consumption, so cutting its use and transitioning to all electric homes has become a top priority in the fight against climate change.
Some communities are even banning natural gas hook-ups for new construction and pushing the idea that the all electric house is the home of the future.
And then there is the fact that a gas furnace has a very long lifespan. A fossil fuel-powered furnace that is installed today will likely still be spewing CO2 into the atmosphere 20 years from now, so it’s imperative that people start getting wise to the benefits of electric heat sooner, rather than later.
Electric Heat Pumps
The answer lies in electric heat pumps, which can both heat your home in the winter and cool it off in the summer. Heat pump water heaters can also give you all the hot water you need (which is not as much as most homeowners believe, by the way), and heat pump dryers can even offer a more energy-efficient way to dry your clothes.
And what's more, electric heat pumps are more energy-efficient than gas furnaces. And they don't carry the same risks of carbon monoxide poisoning either.
Electric Induction Stoves
The other household appliances that add to a home's carbon footprint are gas stoves, which have come into focus more recently, not just because of the CO2 and methane they release into the atmosphere but for the dangers that cooking with gas pose in the home itself.
Numerous studies have highlighted the risks of indoor air pollution from cooking, so much so that the New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial in January, 2020 recommending that “new gas appliances be removed from the market."
The good news is that high performance induction stoves now provide a real alternative to traditional gas stoves, and the prices are coming down enough to make them cost effective, too. Several high-profile chef's and restaurant owners are touting their use of induction stoves, hoping to counter the gas industry's ubiquitous "cooking with gas" advertising slogan from the 1980s.
In this section of the site we’ll give you tips for filling your all electric home with modern, energy efficient electric appliances that will not only make your life easier and more comfortable, but will do so without burning fossil fuels.
We'll help you wade through the pros and cons of heating and cooling your rooms with an electric heat pump. We'll help your determine whether a heat pump water heater really will provide enough hot water for your family's needs.
We'll ask whether cooking carbon free on an induction cooktop really does give you the same control as your old fossil fuel burning gas stove. We'll also explain what induction ready cookware is, and why starting with a two-burner induction cooktop might be the best way to go.
Of course, one reason people worry about switching to an all electric home is threat of power outages leaving them without any source of energy at all. So we'll also take a look at battery storage as a way to combat that concern.
Rooftop solar panels, connected to a home battery storage system can keep your electric home running even when the electric grid is down. Add an electric car to the mix, with a bi-directional charger that can charge the house from the car, and you can have electric power, even when your neighbors have none.
Which are the best appliances, what kinds of incentives are available, and what is the right time for your family to make the switch. We'll discuss it all here.