Homes in the US run mainly on electricity, renewables, petroleum, and natural gas. With petroleum and natural gas being non-renewable sources of energy, more people are finding ways to achieve all-electric homes.
Now, you may be wondering what the home electrification process entails. That’s where this post comes in.
How Do You Fully Electrify Your Home?
To switch entirely from gas to electricity in your home, you must assess its electrical capacity. Then, after ensuring you have the proper amperage, you can start changing your gas appliances to electric ones. Once completed, you can start looking into alternative sources of electricity.
However, these are just the basic steps, which the rest of the article will discuss more thoroughly to guide you. It will also share some tips on fully electrifying your home before wrapping up.
1.) Know Your All-Electric Home Budget
Electrifying your home is no small project. Just buying and self-installing electric appliances to switch to can cost around $2,000.
However, working with electricity and retrofitting to accommodate an all-electric home is dangerous and usually requires a professional’s help. In addition, hiring contractors and electrifying a larger house multiplies the cost to around $10,000.
Many factors can affect the cost of converting to an all-electric home, such as the age of the house and its condition, the current electrical wiring and service, labor, and the needed parts.
Of course, your needs and personal preferences will also factor in. Just be realistic about how much it will cost to electrify your home and set aside enough funds for it. You don’t want to be in the middle of ripping up wires to prepare for your appliances when you realize that you don’t have the budget to finish the all-electric home project.
Depending on your budget, you can decide which direction to take when planning an all-electric home. Also, do your research regarding rebates applicable to your area when electrifying.
President Joe Biden recently signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. This act encourages the use of clean energy, thus benefiting those switching to electric, a clean energy source—tax credits and generous rebates are offered to those who install all-electric home appliances like solar panels and heat pumps.
2.) Determine Your Home’s Electrical Capacity
Before even starting your all-electric home conversion process, you need to know the size of your electric panel. This figure is crucial as it will help you determine how many electric appliances your home has amperage to accommodate.
The age of your home can sometimes determine the amperage of its electrical panel. From the early 1900s to the 1950s, panels had an amperage of 30 amps. That went up to 60 amps in the 1950s to the early 1960s. Then, service panels with a 100 amp fuse panel were introduced in the mid-1960s.
According to the National Electrical Code (NEC), today’s home’s standard minimum service size is 100 amps. However, some newer homes have a 200 amp capacity.
To know your home’s electrical service capacity, check these locations, including:
- Outside your home, on your electric meter – the face of your electric meter may have a label indicating your home’s electrical capacity. For example, if it says CL100, this means 100 amps.
- Inside your home, in your electric panel – you can usually find the panel in your basement or closet. When you open the box, you’ll likely see a sticker or label on the door indicating your home’s amperage rating.
- Inside the electrical panel, beside the main breaker – the main breaker or fuse is usually located inside your panel box. The electrical capacity of your home should appear beside the breaker.
After checking these locations, take note of the amperage. Assume that the lowest rating is the capacity of your home.
You can do the math if you want to know your home’s current electrical load. This graphic from Better Homes & Gardens can help you do that.
3.) Upsize Your Panel (if Necessary)
If you live in an older home, one built before 1965, you are more likely to have a home that has a 60A electrical service capacity. If so, you’ll have to upsize your electrical panel.
The budget for this step is around $450-$4,000 and averages about $1,475. These figures include both parts and labor.
If you already have a 100A capacity, it should be enough to accommodate your all-electric home, and upsizing your panel may not be immediately necessary. So, if you did the math, check if the resulting electrical load fits your home’s capacity or if you need the upgrade.
A 100A electrical load capacity is enough for an all-electric home of 3,000 square feet (279 square meters) or less. Note that this estimate doesn’t include central heating or air conditioning.
If your house is wider than 2,000 square feet with HVAC, it is likely to have a 200A electrical service.
Note that it is highly recommended this job is left to a professional, as it is very dangerous.
However, if you do need to increase your home’s electrical load capacity, here are the steps:
- Contact your utility – you should disconnect all electrical wires from your house before work begins.
- Upgrade your service wire – it’s not enough to just increase the size of your electrical panel. Your service wire needs to be the appropriate size for different amperages.
- Upsize your panel box – your new service wire should match your electrical panel size. Note that this may involve not just changing the box but sometimes the wires, outlets, and switches of your home.
If you don’t yet have the budget or time to upgrade your electrical service wire or panel, you may be able to delay this step. With the help of Smart Splitters, one high-voltage circuit can be enough for two high-powered devices to share.
4.) Check Which Appliances Can Be Switched to Electric
Switching your non-electric appliances for a similar electrical counterpart is known as “box swapping.”
If you’re working with a tight budget, the easiest way to start on your all-electric home is with “box swapping.” Some appliances you can swap out are your cooktop, dryer, and water heater. You can also consider plug-in appliances like a rice cooker, mini-oven, or crockpot.
It’s recommended that you swap out these appliances “organically” or at the time they need to be replaced. For example, you don’t want to swap your gas stove with an induction cooker just yet when it’s relatively new or still working perfectly.
If you don’t have the space or budget for a slide-in or standing kitchen range, the NutriChef Convection Oven w/Dual Hot Plates can be for you. It’s flexible with its large and small hot plates and oven where you can bake, toast, broil, roast, and rotisserie.
Before getting an electrical appliance, check if it has an outlet or dedicated circuit. Running the necessary wires to devices can range from $85-$600 and an average of $300 per circuit.
5.) Consider Alternative Renewable Sources of Energy
Once you have your electrical service and your appliances set, you may want to consider adding alternative sources of electricity to supplement your electrical service. Some examples of alternative renewable energy sources are solar panels and home wind turbines.
These sources will help reduce your reliance on the electrical grid and your electricity bill.
Installing solar panels is not enough to fully power an all-electric home. However, you can still have 20-year savings of around $9,000 to over $34,000 in electric bills depending on which US state you live in.
If you want to take the “no gas” rule even further, you can check with your utility provider if they are using 100% clean energy. In the US, fossil fuels account for around 60% of the energy source for electricity generation.
You can also purchase renewable energy. Check with your utility provider to make the switch.
If this isn’t possible with your utility, you can join a local Community Solar or Community Wind project. Enrolling in one enables you to buy power fed to the grid by its solar panels or windmills.
Other Tips To Electrify Your Home
Aside from the basic steps to achieve an all-electric home, some additional things you should do include:
- Ensure your home is well-insulated – you will benefit from checking your insulation when opting for electric temperature control. A well-insulated house will keep your all-electric home at the desired temperature for longer, at a lower cost.
- Analyze your house’s hourly power usage – knowing your electrical load capacity will inform you if your home is running under or at the electrical load capacity. This way, you’ll see if you can add more electrical devices or are due for an electrical service upgrade.
- Consolidate the work for your electrician – if you have an electrician over to do some work, you may want them to install dedicated outlets, circuits, or wires for other electrical appliances. This process saves on the cost of calling an electrician multiple times.
We hope this has helped get you started on your path to an all-electric home. Remember to have a realistic budget, conduct your research, and always hire a professional when needed. Following these steps, you can achieve an all-electric home and stop using gas to power your appliances.
- Rewiring America: Electrify Everything in Your Home
- Redwood Energy 2021: A Pocket Guide to All-Electric Home Retrofits of Single-Family Homes
- Bloomberg: Your House is Due for an Electrical Upgrade
- The Spruce: How Electrical Service Panels have Evolved
- Vero Beach Electrical: Purpose and History of Electrical Service Panels; Deaths and Injury Due to Electrical Fires and Accidents
- Better Homes & Gardens: How to calculate your home’s electrical load and what it means for your power needs
- US Energy Information Administration: Use of Energy Explained: Use of Energy in Homes
- US Energy Information Administration: Electricity Explained: Electricity in the United States
- EnergySage: How much do solar panels save?