Most homes today use gas and electricity as the two main power sources for heating, lighting, cooling, and cooking.
If you are building a new home or remodeling your old one, it can be tricky to decide which power source to use.
Having an all electric home comes with a fair number of pros and cons, which you must weigh up before deciding what’s right for you.
An all electric home poses zero risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and gas explosions. It also reduces the home’s carbon footprint. It’s safer for indoor use and great for the environment. However, energy bills may be expensive, and power outages can be more problematic.
In this post, we’ll go over all the pros and cons of having an all electric home so you can make more informed decisions.
Read on to find out more.
If you’re already convinced you want to go all electric, you can find out how to do this in our article entitled, “All-Electric Homes: How Do You Electrify? (5 Steps).”
Table of Contents
- Pros of an All Electric Home
- Cons of All Electric Homes
- The Bottom Line
Pros of an All Electric Home
You can find an electric version for pretty much any home appliance you can think of.
They don’t need any extra fuel source, making them easier to install and use. However, there are more reasons why an all electric home is a great choice.
All Electric Homes Are Safer
Electrical appliances in homes eliminate the risk of gas leaks, which can lead to devastating explosions.
Gas leaks can go undetected for long periods in homes where occupants have a poor sense of smell and don’t have carbon monoxide detectors.
While all energy sources have associated risks, manufacturers of modern electrical systems have taken giant steps to mitigate risks in their devices.
They have many safety features, ranging from surge protection and circuit breakers to fuses and automatic switches.
Natural gas appliances also have built-in safety features, but that doesn’t eliminate some of their potential hazards.
They have naked flames that can lead to kitchen fires, and leaks can lead to indoor air pollution and — even worse — explosions.
All Electric Homes Have Better Indoor Air Quality
Gas-powered appliances contribute to increased nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide gases in an indoor space.
These are all poisonous gases that adversely affect the health of occupants, especially in air-tight modern homes.
Worse still, these gases are odorless, tasteless, and invisible. They are hard to detect as they accumulate in the air and make their way into your lungs.
According to EPA estimates, people spend 90% of their time indoors. That’s why paying attention to indoor air quality is important for staying healthy.
A way to do this is shifting from using appliances that release pollutants to cleaner alternatives powered by electricity.
Ventilation is also very important for improving health and indoor air quality. We’ve written an article all about this here.
Technology integrates seamlessly with electrical appliances, leading to better control of their functions and more convenient usage.
For example, there are smart thermostats that you can connect to a smartphone to control your heating appliances and cooling systems.
With a smartphone app, you can remotely change the temperatures of various rooms or even the water in your washing machine.
While you’re on your way home, you can also set the temperature of your room to specific levels to make it more comfortable ahead of your return.
This means you don’t need to endure hot or cold temperatures for prolonged periods as you wait for your home to heat up or cool down.
Smart features like these make life much more comfortable.
Appliances in All Electric Homes Are Quieter and Mobile
If you value your quiet time indoors, you will appreciate the design of most electrical appliances.
They are relatively quiet, and some are noiseless. You can cook in complete silence. While your HVAC systems work, you’ll only hear a light hum as they provide the perfect ambiance to keep you cool or warm.
Electrical appliances are also convenient to move around. In large restaurant kitchens, it’s easier to move electric stoves from one location to another since they can function anywhere there’s an electric outlet.
Away from the kitchen, you can use portable heaters. You can use most mobile electrical appliances anywhere, provided you can find an electric outlet.
With their complex gas lines and hoses, you won’t have the luxury of moving gas cooking appliances around beyond a few feet.
All Electric Homes Contribute to a Safer Environment
It’s common knowledge that the planet is getting warmer due to greenhouse gas emissions. There’s a clarion call to everyone by environmental agencies globally to limit carbon emissions as much as possible.
All electric homes that consume electricity from renewable sources don’t burn as much fossil fuels as gas or mix-powered homes. They play a significant part in making the environment safer.
You can also combine your all electric home infrastructure with solar power and say goodbye to monthly electric bills while contributing even more to a safer environment.
All Electric Homes Are Cost-Effective
Upfront costs on electrical appliances are cheaper. You only need an electrical outlet to power them, which most homes already have.
Even when you decide to retrofit your gas-powered home with all electric components, it’s cheaper and easier compared to switching from electric to gas.
Electrical systems will save homeowners more money in the long run than gas sources. According to one study, all electric homes spend less on energy than their gas-powered counterparts.
The study estimates that owners of all electric homes will spend $6,000 less on energy in the long-term (10 to 15 years) than when they use natural gas. This estimate is feasible regardless of the climatic conditions or the electric grid’s reliability in your area.
This finding isn’t surprising if you consider the impact of certain electrical appliances such as electric heat pumps. These systems serve the dual function of heating and cooling systems. They also reduce the cost of energy consumption, killing two birds with one stone.
It gets even better by integrating photovoltaic systems to reduce your monthly electric bills. Depending on your setup, you can sidestep energy bills forever.
All electric homeowners also don’t have to pay pricey connection fees for natural gas infrastructures such as gas lines and meters.
Cons of All Electric Homes
As great as electric appliances are, there are some downsides to embracing the all electric approach.
You need to weigh the downsides against the advantages to make the right decision for your home.
Here are some of the disadvantages of an all electric home:
All electric homes largely depend on state infrastructure for power supply, which can fail anytime. One unfortunate change in the weather can lead to a storm that will wreck the power grid and cause a blackout.
Other natural disasters can also lead to power outages. Even with your backup generator, you won’t be able to power your electric ovens, heating/cooling systems, and other electrical appliances simultaneously.
The situation becomes dire if you don’t have a backup generator or an alternative energy source like gas. These power outages may last from two to several days, depending on the degree of the disaster and the extent of the damage.
Also, most homes get solar energy through the solar PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) system. A third-party developer installs, operates, and maintains a solar photovoltaic system on your property in this system.
You then purchase the power output from the system and automatically sell any excess energy the system generates back to the grid.
If the grid eventually fails due to a natural disaster, you could experience a power outage for extended periods due to the non-standard equipment and additional party involved in getting everything back online.
You can’t count on solar panels to provide energy when there’s no sun unless you have backup batteries.
All electric homes often lack the visual warmth of gas-powered homes.
Electric appliances usually fit better in small spaces, but there’s this unique appearance and ambiance that a wood-burning fireplace brings to a home that electric systems can’t match.
These gas fireplaces also perform better than their electrical counterparts in heating the space.
If you care about aesthetics, you’ll miss the classic appeal of a real fireplace. Many also swear by the benefits of cooking with a flame rather than an electric stovetop.
While this might seem like a minor downside, some people value aesthetics more than others, and some adjustments that change the look and feel of appliances won’t work for them, regardless of how well they work.
All electric homes flaunt the advantages of being cheaper in upfront cost and over time. However, this will not be true for some locations, as electricity costs vary from region to region.
According to the US Energy Information Association, a resident in California pays as high as 27 cents per kilowatt-hour. In comparison, someone in Nevada would only pay 13.5 cents for the same kilowatt-hour of electricity.
These cost variations depend on the number of customers, location, time of the year, etc. However, one reason stands out: energy availability within a region.
Some regions far away from the national grid may have access to abundant natural gas. Using natural gas in such a location will usually be cheaper than electrical energy.
Electrical Appliances in All Electric Homes May Be Slower
An electrical appliance won’t be the best option for your kitchen if you run a large eatery, club, diner, or restaurant.
Electric ovens and induction stoves tend to burn with lower intensity than gas stoves, so they will be slower at reaching higher temperatures.
Gas appliances instantly produce flames, letting them reach high temperatures quickly and setting the cooking process in full motion. In contrast, electrical appliances produce heat by radiation, which is slower than other heat sources.
Furthermore, electrical appliances won’t be ideal for some cooking needs. The heat produced by a gas oven creates more moisture, which is often desirable when baking cakes and cookies.
Meanwhile, the heat produced by electric ovens is drier. This might be a disadvantage in some cases, but it’s great if you’re going for a crispy texture.
All Electric Homes Consume More Heating Energy
Traditional electric heating systems typically demand more energy to heat a space. They also take longer to heat or cool larger spaces than gas furnaces.
It’s a reality that will be more glaring in winter. Your electric heating systems may overwork to warm your home, leading to higher electricity costs and draining your energy budget.
If you decide to use portable electric heaters, they can only heat one space at a time. They will also demand more time and energy to heat a room fully and may not output enough heat during winter.
Are you considering going all electric in your home because you strongly advocate for clean energy?
Do you despise traditional gas systems because they contribute to global warming? If that’s the case, you might need to think again. Electric energy sources aren’t entirely clean.
Much of the electricity that you receive from the grid comes from turbines. The turbines transfer kinetic energy to a generator that utilizes the energy to create electrical currents. But why does this matter?
The most common way to power these turbines is burning coal. That means that, while your home is not directly contributing to emissions, you are still encouraging the use of fossil fuels.
Nuclear, wind, geothermal, and solar are all clean energy sources, but they cover a small percentage of power needs in most countries.
In some places, you might have the option to source your energy exclusively from clean sources. You can consult your local government about it.
Although electricity might appear clean at the point of use, you need to question the source if you are serious about walking the talk when it comes to cutting emissions.
As you can see, electrical homes are not perfect.
Your choice of power might come down to which energy source is cheaper or more available in your location. Also, consider your energy needs, your energy budget, and the size of your home.
A good middle ground is to use electric appliances where they make the most sense and install gas-powered systems where electric systems won’t be as efficient.
Striking the right balance will ensure you stay comfortable all year and avoid the downsides of leaning heavily toward one side.