3 Ways to Start Your Electrification Journey in 2024
As more and more consumers look to lower their carbon footprints and improve the energy efficiency of their homes, home electrification – the process of moving cooking, water heating, space heating and more to electricity – has begun gaining momentum in recent years.
Now, with the passage of the landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes $8.8 billion in rebates for home energy efficiency and electrification projects, the move to electrify will only accelerate. If you’ve considered electrifying your home, there’s never been a better time.
In this month’s blog, we look at three ways to start your electrification journey in 2024:
1. Start small with an electric mower or other yard tools.
Cordless, battery-powered yard tools have come a long way in recent years and are now a great starting place for electrifying your home. According to Touchstone Energy, electric yard tools are cheaper to run – saving you up to 35 percent over gas-powered tools – and require less maintenance as they will never need spark plugs, oil or filters. They’re also much better for your health since there’s no dirty exhaust or loud noise that can damage hearing.
Their environmental benefits are also substantial. In addition to the risk of spilled gasoline leaking into groundwater, “running a commercial gas-powered leaf blower for just an hour produces about as much pollution as driving a 2017 Toyota Camry 1,100 miles,” according to the California Air Resources Board. And as the power grid gets cleaner every year, the environmental benefits will continue to increase over gas-powered tools.
2. Check with an electrician whether panel upgrades are needed.
Next, moving all your appliances to electric will increase your home’s electrical load, and “before you make any electrification upgrades to your home, it’s important to know the amp capacity of your current electrical panel”, according to Clean Energy Connection. While many newer homes have 200-amp electrical panels that are ready for higher electrical loads, it’s not uncommon for older homes to have 100-amp panels, which may (or may not) need to be upgraded.
Since the IRA has substantial electrification rebates and tax credits for both panel upgrades and any required wiring upgrades, next year is the perfect time to contact an electrician and make sure that your home is electric ready. Depending on your income, you could have electrical panel costs up to $4,000 and electrical wiring costs up to $2,500 covered through rebates. There are also tax credits that can be used to offset your federal taxes owed when tax season comes around.
3. Start researching which electric alternatives are right for you.
Finally, since it can be very expensive to replace all your appliances at once (even if you do qualify for significant IRA rebates and tax credits), it’s a smart idea to start looking into which of your current appliances might need to be replaced next and what the estimated replacement costs and annual monetary savings from switching these appliances from gas to electric might be.
Fortunately, Rewiring America, a leading electrification nonprofit, has several resources to help you do that. With their Electrification Planning Chart (part of the Electrify Everything in Your Home e-book), you can make a plan to electrify everything in your home and choose what you’ll tackle first based on several factors, including cost, age of your appliances, estimated emissions impact and more. With this approach, you can make sure that you’re informed and prepared when one of your appliances breaks down.
Home electrification is a great way to do your part in addressing climate change while also improving the air quality of your home and increasing the energy efficiency of its major systems and appliances. If you’ve thought about electrifying your home in the past, use these steps to begin planning your journey for next year. And don’t forget to contact your energy company before you begin – they may have contractor recommendations or financial incentives beyond what’s included in the IRA.