Electrify Everything in Your Home
A Guide to Comfy, Healthy, Carbon-Free Living
We’ve been telling you why to do it. Now we’ve put together the best advice on how to do it. Electrify Everything in Your Home is a guide to replacing all of your fossil-fueled appliances with modern electric ones. Once you electrify:
- your home will be more comfortable,
- your indoor and outdoor air quality will be healthier,
- your monthly bills will be lower.
Each chapter includes info about what your options are for that electric appliance, how to get started, questions to ask contractors, suggestions for how to best run the appliance, and links to more info. The e-book is free. We are working on how you can order a hard copy!
Version 1.0, released December, 2021
Picturing Where to Electrify Everything
There are ten places in and around your home to electrify. This preview picture from the guide shows you where to look — from your garage to your kitchen to the attic to the roof. Download the full book above.
Electrification Planning Chart
Use this chart to make a plan to electrify everything in your home. Choose what you’ll tackle first based on:
- How close your existing machines are to their end of life.
- The estimated replacement cost and annual savings from switching to electric.
- Whether you’ll need a new outlet for the appliance (to plan ahead for when it fails).
- The impact your new electric appliance might have on your emissions and air quality.
Download the full book above.
Electrification Checklist for Homeowners
If you’re a homeowner or landlord, this checklist will help you identify what electric things you already have in your home, and what things you might want to get. Download the full book above.
Electrification Checklist for Renters
If you’re a renter, this checklist will help you plan to electrify some of the things in your home, letting you choose from the list of options available. Download the full book above.
- Redwood Energy
"A clear, concise call for climate solutions starting at home — live better electrically!"
- Electrify Now
“As more people hear about the benefits of electrifying their lives to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions and live more comfortably, a comprehensive guide like this to help them through the process is indispensable.”
- Solar United Neighbors
“Electrifying your home is an important step to take control of where your electricity comes from. This guide will lead you down the path. It is perfect for current or prospective solar owners to get the most out of their investment in solar energy.”
- Rewiring America
December 15, 2021
"'I couldn’t be more excited to release Electrify Everything in Your Home as a guide to help people take the first steps to going all-electric, regardless of their familiarity or understanding of their current home appliances,' said author and Rewiring America researcher Joel Rosenberg."
Frequently Asked Questions
Are these appliances worse than the ones I have now?
No! These are modern electric appliances, often with computer control, that makes them work much better than the clunky, outdated machines they’re replacing. But it helps to use experienced contractors who know what they’re doing, so that the design and installation goes well, and you’re happy with the result.
Which appliances have the biggest impact for reducing my carbon emissions?
On average, the three biggest contributors to your emissions are your car (50 percent), home heating (25 percent), and water heating (10 percent). If you electrify those three, you’ll make a big impact on your personal “carbon footprint.”
Cost of Electrification
I want to electrify everything, but how can I afford it?
Replacing all of your fossil fueled appliances all at once would be expensive, but you don’t have to do them all at once — you can replace things as they fail. The important thing is that you have a plan to electrify, so you don’t get stuck when an old appliance breaks, and you can’t electrify it because you need an electrician to install an outlet, or you need to upsize your electrical service.
That said, there are rebates on individual appliances, and financing options available. There are also the cost savings from lower operating costs for more efficient appliances that help pay back your initial investment. And there are things you can do with minimal upfront cost, like switching your utility plan to renewable energy, and getting a portable induction burner.
Doesn’t electricity cost more than fossil fuels like natural gas?
Natural gas is very cheap in the U.S., so it’s hard to beat on price alone. Since heat pumps can be more than 3 times as energy efficient as natural gas furnaces, there’s a good chance that your heat pump heating bill will be comparable or even lower than your natural gas bill.
Chapter 1: Purchase Renewable Energy
My local utility doesn’t have a renewable energy option. What other options do I have?
Many areas have Community Solar and Community Wind projects you could join, where you “subscribe” to power produced by them. You could create a community project if there isn’t one available to you. You could demand your Rural Electric Cooperative switch to renewables. And you could install solar panels on your roof or yard.
Chapter 2: Electrical Service
I have a 60 Amp breaker box. Do I need an upgrade if I want to electrify everything in my home? Should I get 100 Amp or 200 Amp?
If you don’t have at least 100 Amps available in your home, you’ll eventually need to upsize your electrical service to electrify everything in your home. If you’re upgrading, you should consider going to 200A if it’s not much more expensive. That said, there are many things you can do before needing to upgrade even a 60A panel, especially by using things that plug into standard 120 Volt outlet such as:
- Packaged (window) and portable heat pump units.
- Retrofit-ready 120V Heat Pump Water Heaters (coming soon).
- Portable induction cooktops.
- Condensing dryer or combo washer/condenser dryer.
- An Electric Vehicle charged using the included 120 Volt Level 1 charger.
- A portable rechargeable backup battery.
What do I need to think about as I make my #ElectrifyEverything plan?
There are two big things you should think about as you make your plan.
First: How much of your electrical service will each new machine require? In general, buying lower-powered machines (e.g. 120V machines without resistance heating backups) will help save both Amps and space on your electrical panel. Contractors are concerned about what they’re installing now, and not concerned about the other things you want to install in the future.
Second: What circuits and outlets should you plan to install in advance to make it easy to get an electric replacement for that machine when it breaks? Here are four you should consider having installed in preparation:
- Heat Pump Water Heater: 240V / 15A-30A.
- Combo induction cooktop and oven: 240V / 40A-50A.
- Heat pump dryer: 240V / 20A-30A.
- Electric Vehicle Level 2 charger: 240V / 20A-40A.
Note that there are 120V options for each of these that would avoid needing these circuits. Deciding which option you want should be part of your planning.
Chapter 3: Heat Pump Space Heating and Cooling
I already have electric resistance heating. Why would I want a heat pump?
Electric resistance heating uses a lot more energy than a heat pump. Let’s assume that 100 percent of the energy from electricity goes to making heat in an electric resistance heater. A heat pump — whether for space heating, water heating, or clothes drying — can produce 300 percent as much heat (or more!) while using the same amount of electricity. So even if you have electric resistance heating for your house, you can save money by replacing it with a heat pump.
My friend has electrical heating, and her electricity bills are through the roof! Why would I want that?
If their electric heat is expensive, they might be using resistance heating. Ask your friends for more details about their system, and suggest a heat pump if it’s resistance heating — their bill might drop by two-thirds with an air-source heat pump!
Chapter 4: Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH)
Isn’t a “tankless” water heater the most efficient?
It used to be that instead of keeping a tank of water hot all day, it made sense to just heat the water when you need it, and “tankless” on-demand heaters were considered more efficient. But now Heat Pump Water Heaters have become the most efficient, since the energy they need to keep the tank hot is a fraction of the energy used in even a tankless version.
If I want a HPWH, should I get a 240V version, or a 120V retrofit-ready version?
The 120V retrofit-ready HPWHs are supposed to be available by the end of 2021, so if you need to replace a water heater now, you need a 240V version. And if you live in a cold climate, it can also make sense to get a 240V / 15A “hybrid” with one backup heating element. You might also consider getting a “split” cold climate HPWH, where the heat pump is outside and the tank is inside. Avoid the 240V / 30A “hybrid” with two backup heating elements — it’ll just cost you more money to heat your water. Instead, get a larger tank, set the water temperature hotter, and use a mixing valve to increase your hot water supply.
Chapter 5: Electric Cooking
I love my gas stove — is electric really as good for cooking?
Yes! Modern induction cooktops are much more energy efficient than gas cooktops. They also get hotter faster, boil water faster, and allow for more precise and repeatable control. Induction cooktops are safer both because they only heat the pan, and because they get rid of the indoor air pollution from burning fossil fuel in your kitchen.
Will I have to replace my pots & pans?
You can test whether your pots and pans will work with an induction cooktop by seeing if a magnet sticks to them — if it does, it’ll work! That’s because induction transfers energy to the pan through a magnetic field. You can also buy an “induction converter” that will get hot and let you use your otherwise non-magnetic pots and pans.
Chapter 6: Electric Clothes Dryer
If I already have an electric resistance clothes dryer, should I replace it with a heat pump dryer or condensing dryer?
When your dryer fails, yes, consider switching to a heat pump or condensing dryer. Those use less energy than electric resistance clothes dryers, but you’re still better off hanging your clothes to dry, and spending your time and money on electrifying everything else in your home.
Chapter 7: Electric Vehicles
Doesn’t the EV’s battery wear out?
Real-world experience is showing that EV batteries are standing well up to daily use, they’re lasting for the life of the car, and they’re only getting better. If you’re concerned about battery wear, you can lease an EV and get a new one when the lease ends — the leased one will get sold as a used car. Or if you buy an EV (either new or used), you can sell it after a number of years when it can’t drive as far as you need. For example, one estimate is that a 150 mile range car might lose 17 miles over five years, at which point you could sell it to someone who only needs a range of 133 miles.
I drive a lot. Will an Electric Vehicle be able to drive as far as I need?
Probably — most new all-electric EVs can drive over 200 miles on a charge, and some can do 400 miles. Another option would be to consider a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), which might have a limited (e.g. 15-60 mile) electric range, and a gasoline engine for driving further.
Chapter 8: EV Charger
Should I charge as fast as I can at home?
It depends. If you get a Level 2 charger with adjustable Amps settings, you can start at a lower setting and see if it meets your charging needs. If you already have an appliance outlet in your garage, you can see how many Amps that circuit can supply and charge at that rate. You can also consider sharing an outlet with another appliance, such as a clothes dryer, by using a “Smart Circuit Splitter” (e.g. NeoCharge Smart Splitter).
Chapter 9: Rooftop Solar Panels
Isn’t getting rooftop solar the best thing I can do for the climate?
Not necessarily. Since your car, home heating, and water heating account for most of your home’s carbon emissions, electrifying those first are the best thing you can do for the climate. From there, if the grid near you has a lot of fossil power plants on it, solar panels can help further reduce your emissions. And pairing solar panels with a home storage battery will help make you more resilient when the electricity goes out.
Solar panels will keep my house running in a blackout, right?
Unfortunately, without battery storage, your solar panels won’t work during a blackout if they’re also connected to the grid for selling your excess electricity. To protect the safety of the people working to fix your power when it goes out, your solar panels are automatically shut off. But if you have a home storage battery, your solar panels can be configured to recharge the battery, which will let you run some circuits from the battery.
Chapter 10: Home Battery Storage
Can I power my whole house on a home battery?
Probably not. A home battery that stores 10 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy isn’t enough to power an average home which uses 30 kWh a day. Instead, a sub-panel of critical loads is wired to the battery, powering just essentials such as charging cell phones and other personal devices, running computers and the internet (modems & routers), food refrigeration, some lights and ceiling fans, some limited air conditioning (e.g. window units), and any other critical loads like well pumps and medical equipment.
Can I power my whole house from my Electric Vehicle?
Possibly — but not yet. Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) charging is just starting to come to the U.S., and the batteries in EVs can range from 10 kWh to well over 100 kWh, which is plenty for powering your whole house for a few days (and longer if you’re conservative with your electricity use). Look for this to become increasingly available in the coming years.