Whether for financial reasons or concerns about climate change, more and more people have been asking whether they should remove natural gas and switch to an all-electric home.
If you’re one of those people, I’m here to clear it all up for you.
Removing natural gas from your home and switching entirely to electricity is possible. You can get an efficient heat pump to keep the house warm and an electric water heater, stove/oven, and fireplace. Some governments provide incentives for households to switch from gas, which can help reduce the costs.
The scope of work may intimidate you, but don’t let it stop you.
In this article, you will find the complete guide on switching to electricity from natural gas, what steps to take, what problems you may face, and how to deal with them.
Read on to find many helpful tips and all the essential answers.
For more ideas on how to save money on your energy bills, why not read our article on the subject here?
Let’s start with covering the basics. Here’s an outline of the steps you should take while planning the act of ditching natural gas:
- Consider all devices and systems in your home powered by gas. This will help estimate the scope right away. You will need to consider a new heating system, water heater, and stove. However, each home may have individual additions to the list.
- Look for replacements. For each gas-powered device, there are several electricity-powered alternatives. Consider your options to find what works best for you. I will discuss the said options below to give you something to start with.
- Get quotes from contractors. Do your research on local contractors to help you in the process and become familiar with the equipment you choose. DIY-ing is also an option, but only for the skilled and committed.
- Estimate the costs and prospective bills and build a budget. Take the best prices for required equipment and services, but also consider the bills you will have to pay while making a choice. Later in the article, I will advise you on how to cut those costs and make the best deal.
Once you’ve done all of the above, you can kiss your gas goodbye and enjoy your home of the future!
The most important part of the process is deciding what you will replace your gas-powered equipment with.
This will determine the efficiency of your new system and how expensive it will turn out. If you’re unfamiliar with currently available options, here’s a brief overview to get you started.
When we talk about electricity-powered heaters, most people first think about electric baseboard heat.
Yet, the most efficient option by far and also the most popular one at the moment is surprisingly not as well-known.
If you’re unfamiliar with heat pumps, let me introduce you to their great benefits. They are much more efficient than baseboard heat systems, as they take existing heat from the air and move it inside instead of generating heat directly.
Heat pumps work similarly to air conditioners but in reverse, blowing outside air across a heat exchange coil and transferring the heat to a refrigerant before bringing the captured heat inside your home.
To heat your house, an air source heat pump will extract the heat from the outside air and release warm air into your living space.
And just like that, an electric heat pump can keep your house warm without causing damage to the environment in the process (assuming your electricity is clean, which is not always entirely true, but it is almost always more eco-friendly than gas).
There are various types of eco-friendly heat pumps. The most popular are air-to-air, which I have already described.
There are also geothermal heat pumps, ground-source heat pumps, and water source heat pumps.
Their working principle is similar to that of the air-to-air type, except instead of using heat from the air, they take it from water or – you guessed it – the ground.
Electric water heaters don’t need a special introduction. They work very similarly to gas boilers, except they use electric heating elements to warm the water.
You won’t notice much difference, except the price of electricity is usually higher than that of gas, which is why it is crucial to seek out a heater with maximum efficiency.
You can get a heat pump water heater, as heat pumps also win in efficiency in this category.
Although they are more expensive to install, you can expect to spend nearly half as much on running a heat pump than a standard water heater.
However, it also requires a lot of space and might not be a good fit to replace your current gas-powered heater, so do talk to a specialist before making your final choice.
When replacing gas appliances, people are most reluctant to replace their stoves. That’s probably because cooking is an integral part of daily routine, and the habit of working with a specific type of stove is too strong to let go of easily.
However, you may find that an electric stove brings many conveniences. It is safer and easier to use (once you get used to it), not to mention it spares you the gas fumes and improves the internal air quality in your home.
If your budget allows, investigate electric induction stoves that heat the pots and pans directly.
Not all cookware is compatible with them, so you may also have to do some additional shopping, but once they try the induction, many people won’t switch to anything else.
I should say right away that the costs of transition are pretty high. A heat pump alone will cost you a minimum of $7,000-$10,000 with installation.
Add a stove, a water heater, contractor’s services, and additional adjustments like providing an adequate electrical circuit and the increased numbers in your bills… you get the picture.
A rough estimate of the entire project costs around $20,000. It could be more or less than that, depending on your region, local prices, the available contractors, the chosen equipment, etc.
The fact remains: you will have to spend a lot of money upfront.
Luckily, there are ways to cut what you spend to transition and your expenditures on electricity during the year.
Consider the following options:
- Government support. Many local, state or federal governments have programs to help people remove natural gas from their homes and stimulate the transition to electricity.
They can cover up to half of the check, so if you’re lucky to have a government offering schemes like that, don’t miss out on the opportunity!
- Go hybrid. If you can’t afford the complete transition immediately, consider going hybrid. It will cost you significantly less than a complete transition.
Though your house won’t be completely green, you will nevertheless reduce your impact on the environment.
- Install solar panels. Investing in solar panels makes a lot of sense if you live in a sunny region.
Although it brings additional costs at first (the cheapest ones start at around $3,500), the panels will reduce your bills significantly in the future. You can use the power they generate during sunny months, saving the remains and using them in winter.
Effects of Burning Natural Gas
Burning natural gas, while often considered a clean and efficient energy source, does have its drawbacks.
Here are some of the key effects associated with burning natural gas:
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Natural gas primarily consists of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. When burned, methane converts to carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas.
According to CBS News, gas stoves emit 6.8 million tons of CO2 in the U.S. annually. While natural gas emits less CO2 than coal or oil when burned, it still contributes to overall greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating climate change.
Additionally, methane leaks during extraction, transportation, and distribution further increase its environmental impact.
Burning natural gas releases pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter into the atmosphere.
These pollutants can contribute to smog formation, respiratory issues, and other health problems, particularly in areas with high concentrations of natural gas infrastructure.
Indoor Air Quality Concerns
Natural gas appliances, such as stoves, furnaces, and water heaters, generate indoor air pollutants when they burn.
These pollutants include carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and formaldehyde.
Prolonged exposure to these pollutants can cause adverse health effects, including respiratory problems, headaches, and asthma.According to this study, one in eight cases of childhood asthma in the U.S. results from gas stove use.
Environmental Impact of Extraction
Extracting natural gas through processes such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) can have significant environmental consequences.
Fracking operations can contaminate groundwater, disrupt ecosystems, and contribute to habitat destruction. Moreover, the extraction process may release additional greenhouse gasses, such as methane, into the atmosphere through leaks or intentional venting.
The bottom line is: yes, you can remove natural gas from your home and power all your equipment from electricity.
Electrification is our most eco-friendly way forward, and the options for electrifying your house develop daily.
Highly efficient heat pumps and convenient electric stoves will be great investments in the future.
While the whole endeavor can be costly, there are opportunities to reduce those costs, for instance, through government support.