What comes to mind when you hear the term, “electrify your home?”
Probably images of a sci-fi movie, in which people are running around with futuristic gadgets and appliances. However, electrifying your home doesn’t have to be something out of a Hollywood movie; it’s simply a great way to improve your home’s efficiency and save money on your energy bills.
The rest of this article will discuss the emergence of home electrification, its benefits, and its drawbacks. We’ll also cover how to electrify your home.
What Does It Mean To Electrify Your Home? Is It Better?
Home electrification means converting all gas-powered technologies in your home to electric-powered ones. This can include your stove, fireplace, water heater, dryer, and car. An electric home reduces carbon emissions and helps you save on energy bills, and can be considered much safer.
Keep reading to learn how to use home electrification to your advantage.
The Emergence of Home Electrification
The use of fossil fuels has been on the rise globally. The trend attained an all-time high in the United States in 2018, accounting for 80% of total energy consumption. Cooking, drying, and heating were among the contributors to this increase in energy use.
According to the Understanding Global Change website, fossil fuels are the leading cause of the current climate change. This culprit emits massive carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when burned. Therefore, as many households keep using these fuels, the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air keeps increasing.
The impact of carbon dioxide on climate change is based on the fact that it’s a greenhouse gas. Therefore, it traps heat in the atmosphere. The trapped heat then leads to an increase in average global temperatures.
The increased use of fossil fuels has been a cause for concern as it threatens our environment and also human health and wellbeing.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested the best way to avoid climate change and global warming is by nations reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The best approach to achieve this is to switch to cleaner fuel sources like electricity.
Such climatic concerns push many homeowners to electric homes to achieve eco-friendly living.
How To Fully Electrify Your Home
Electric homes require sufficient planning. Unfortunately, you’re bound to experience disruptions in your home’s operations without adequate planning.
Some essential considerations during the planning stage include:
- Electrification cost – it’s essential to know how much it will cost to electrify your home, including replacing all gas-powered appliances and technologies with their electric home counterparts. The average price of electrifying a home in the United States ranges from $7,534-$13,793. However, this cost varies with location and utility territory.
- Availability of an electrician – you’ll need the services of an electrician to help you install some of the technologies in your home.
- Home insulation – it’s advisable to insulate your home before electrifying it because electric appliances generate more heat than gas-powered ones.
- Types of electrification technologies – the next step is to identify the electric technologies you want in your home. These include heat pumps, electric vehicles, and solar panels.
- A detailed plan – you must develop a plan that involves all stakeholders, including family members, roommates, and your utility company. This consideration ensures that everyone understands the changes that will take place and how they’ll be affected.
After planning, it’s now time to electrify your home. The following guide will take you through everything you need to know about the process.
Migrate From Gas to Electricity
According to the US Energy Information Administration, 42% of households relied on natural gas as of 2021.
Most of these households used gas for:
- Drying clothes
Therefore, finding alternatives to gas-powered appliances and technologies is crucial. The best option is to migrate to their electric home counterparts.
Some of the common electric home technologies include:
- Heat pumps – these devices are used for home space and water heating. There are three main types of heat pumps—water source, air-to-air, and geothermal.
- Electric vehicles (EVs) – you can use electric vehicles to replace gas-powered cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Electric vehicles like Tesla cars are powered by electricity from batteries, reducing carbon emissions significantly.
- Solar technology – solar panels are used to generate electricity for electric homes. They’re usually installed on the roof and are excellent for lighting and warming your water.
- Cooking – you can electrify your home cooking using an induction cooktop or electric oven. Options like induction stovetops are also excellent.
- Heating – electric resistance heating is the best way to replace gas-powered furnaces.
- Water heating – you can install an electric heat pump water heater in your home.
- Drying clothes – a clothesline is the most eco-friendly way to dry clothes. However, you can also use an electric dryer.
- Install an on-site source of renewable energy – hybrid renewable energy, residential wind turbines, and household batteries are some of the best options. These renewable energy sources help offset your home’s energy use and reduce your carbon footprint.
The Benefits of an Electric Home
An electric home has various benefits for your family and the environment.
The most common include:
Reduced Air Pollution
Fossil fuels accounted for 74% of greenhouse gasses in the US in 2019. Greenhouse gases cause air pollution that affects human health and the climate.
Electrifying your home plays a significant role in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases because electric appliances and technologies don’t produce greenhouse gasses when in use.
For example, an electric car doesn’t produce emissions, unlike a gas-powered vehicle that emits carbon dioxide.
Improved Indoor Air Quality
Gas appliances are one of the leading causes of low indoor air quality. Natural gas produces nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and other pollutants when it burns.
These pollutants can cause various health problems, such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea. The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health links these problems to the impact of burning gas on respiratory and cardiovascular organs.
An electric home improves indoor air quality significantly as electric appliances don’t produce these pollutants.
Some of the benefits of an electric home for your health include:
- Reduced risk of respiratory problems
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Reduced headaches and dizziness
Electricity is a cleaner source of energy than gas because electric appliances don’t produce pollutants when in use. Additionally, the process of generating electricity has become cleaner over the years.
For example, solar and wind energy use to generate electricity has increased significantly in the last decade, reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants associated with electricity generation.
Renewable energy sources are expected to increase in the coming years, making electric homes even more eco-friendly.
Increased Home Value
Home value is dictated by various factors like location, size, and age. However, the energy you use to power your appliances can also be a determining factor.
Homes that use electric appliances are more valuable than those that use gas appliances because electrification is considered an upgrade that makes the house more efficient and eco-friendly.
Additionally, electrification is a growing trend, and more homebuyers are looking for houses that use electric appliances. This increased demand is due to the different benefits of electrification, such as reduced emissions and improved indoor air quality.
Increasing home value is especially beneficial to those intent on selling their house shortly. Therefore, it’s worth considering an electric home if you’re a real estate investor.
Noise pollution has become a menace in today’s society. Congested cities have made it challenging to concentrate fully on projects. But, you expect the situation to be different once you get home.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, as some appliances produce a lot of noise. For example, gas-powered generators are very loud and can disrupt your peace at home.
On the other hand, electric-powered appliances are relatively quiet. Therefore, an electric home can help reduce noise pollution in your environment.
Drawbacks of an Electric Home
As with anything, some disadvantages are associated with electrifying your home.
High Initial Cost
The initial cost of an electric home is usually high. This is because you have to replace all gas-powered appliances with electric ones. Additionally, you may need to change your wiring and insulation to accommodate the new devices.
Apart from buying new appliances, you also need an electrician, adding to the installation cost. Moreover, hiring an electrician is a costly affair depending on your location.
For instance, an electrician in the US earns $25.95 hourly, translating to $268 per day on average. The installation takes several days, and the amount accumulates, adding to the purchase cost.
However, The high initial cost is offset by the long-term benefits. For example, you’ll save money on utility bills and maintenance costs. Additionally, you’ll also increase the value of your home.
An electric home is a long-term commitment as switching back to gas-powered appliances is not easy. This permanence is because you’ll have to change your wiring and insulation. In addition, you may need to buy new appliances if you move to a different house.
Therefore, it’s essential to be sure that you’re ready for a long-term commitment before electrifying your home.
Power outages are common in many parts of the world, meaning you may not have access to electricity for a few hours or days. This can be problematic, mainly if you use electric-powered appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners.
Therefore, it’s essential to consider the frequency of power outages in your area before electrifying your home. You may also want to invest in a renewable energy source, such as a solar panel, to avoid disruptions.
Electric appliances also pose the risk of electric shocks because they use high voltages of electricity, which can be dangerous if not handled properly.
Some of the leading causes of electric shocks include:
- Faulty appliances
- Damaged cord
- Wet hands
- Improper handling
According to the National Library of Medicine, electrical shock and injuries cause approximately 1,000 deaths in the US annually. Such a high fatality rate demonstrates how risky an electric home can be.
The best way to avoid electric shock is by handling the appliances per the user manual. Additionally, you should regularly check the cords for damage and replace them if necessary. It would help if you also unplugged the devices when not in use.
Main Obstacles to an Electric Home
Home electrification is not always a smooth transition due to the nature of the building industry.
Homeowners face obstacles when it comes to electrifying their homes for the following reasons:
Gas Is the Standard Source of Power
Most contractors and real estate developers build homes with gas as the standard power source because it’s the most common fuel used in the construction industry. As a result, it’s challenging to find electricians and contractors familiar with electric homes.
You can overcome this obstacle by researching and finding an electrician experienced in the field. You can also ask your contractor to make the necessary changes to your home’s wiring and insulation.
Electricity Is Expensive
Electricity is expensive compared to natural gas. Gas prices are two to three times lower than electricity in most parts of the world, making electrifying your home costly, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
Like many consumers, you might not think long-term. However, an electric home has many long-term benefits, like improved life quality. Therefore, although it’s initially costly, it’s essential to consider the long-term benefits of electrifying your home before deciding.
An electric home ensures a safe living environment. It also provides many long-term benefits that outweigh the costly installation.
However, before making the switch, it’s essential to be aware of the main drawbacks of home electrification, including the expenses. Once you’re ready for the commitment, electrifying your home should be a smooth and easy process.
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- Understanding Global Change: Burning of Fossil Fuels
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- The Conversation: The US Electric Power Sector Is Halfway to Zero Carbon Emissions
- National Association of Home Builders: How Much Does Whole-Home Electrification Cost?
- US Energy Information Administration: Use of Energy Explained
- Environmental and Energy Study Institute: Fact Sheet, Climate, Environmental, and Health Impacts of Fossil Fuels (2021)
- Energy: Air Pollution From Fossil Fuels Causes Over 8M Deaths
- Center for Occupational & Environmental Health: Study: Gas-Powered Appliances May Be Hazardous for Your Health
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- National Library of Medicine: Electrical Injuries
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- Green Ideal: What It Means to “Electrify” Your Home-and How to Do It
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