Go All-Electric

One action to reduce the impacts of climate change is to get ones home off of fossil fuels. I had natural gas space and water, and cooking. I decided to all-electric. My story is …

My experience is that going all-electric works best if you plan ahead. Home appliances, like furnaces, water heaters, and stoves have 15-25 year service lives.

Start studying options. As appliances become older, check their operation and whether they have the features you want. Appliance technology is changing all the time and new features improve their functioning.

My gas furnace functioning deterioriated in the winter of 2016. I looked at natural gas and electric options and chose an electric, all-house heat pump and air handler to replace my gas, forced-air furnace. A few years later, I replaced my gas water heater with a heat-pump water heater. Next, my gas stove needed replacement, and I installed an induction stove. Finally, I added a heat pump dryer. It replaced and electric dryer, but is lower heat and less damaging to clothes.

Why do this? Getting off fossil fuels is one reason. Also, it is likely fossil fuels may be taxed in the future. My operating costs, currently, are 10% lower

Plus, now, I have air conditioning for the projected hotter summers. I loved cooking on a gas stove, but the speed and control of an induction stove is as good. My air handler has a HEPA filter, and I had no smoke during large forest fires during the late summer of 2020. Indoor air quality now has no NOx that is a byproduct from burning natural gas. Further, my wife says, “Í’m so happy not to worry about natural gas leaks.”

Becoming all-electric has advantages outlined in this slide.
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By Court Smith

A mechanical engineer who became a cultural anthropologist.

After a 34-year career as a professor at Oregon State University, Smith became an emeritus professor in 2003, and maintains interests in human interaction with natural resources. He focuses on contemporary domestic society and how to create more socially and environmentally just options for the future.

2 replies on “Go All-Electric”

Hi, Court – presumably, all electric requires more power production. What does this mean for increased emissions from the power plants? Fitz

Thanks for the question. Ideally, the electricity should be from a renewable source like wind, solar, or hydro. Currently, most electric grid mixes have too much in the way of fossil fuels producing the electricity. In Oregon, the electric companies have agreed to make the grid mix much more renewable.

Reducing the use of natural gas now is one of the fastest ways to reduce climate impacts from fossil fuels. Natural gas has very high leakage rates in production and distribution, even though it can be burned very cleanly. Methane (natural gas) has 80 times the greenhouse impacts in the first 20 years as CO2. Thus, getting off of natural gas or oil for space and water heating is a very good climate mitigation move.

In the coming decade, natural gas is likely to become more expensive because of its negative impacts on climate. Thus, people should consider that with the next upgrade of natural gas space and water heat to go all-electric, which is likely to get cheaper as cheaper electricity producing renewables come on line.

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