A modern home at dusk that has recently updated all their major appliances to electric ones so that they can quit carbon.
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Is it time to retire your home’s gas appliances? Here’s what to know.

Guest Author
October 5, 2023

Editor's note: This is a guest post by QuitCarbon. Here at OhmConnect we like to periodically highlight organizations doing good work in the energy space; we received no financial incentive to share this piece.

Is it time to retire your home’s gas appliances? Here’s what to know.

Switching your home’s gas appliances to efficient, electric options can save you hundreds of dollars per year on your utility bills. With the current rebates available, some of these upgrades are very inexpensive or even free.

Going all-electric also makes your home safer and more comfortable, and it’s likely the single most impactful climate action you can take.

Eventually, all your home’s major appliances need to be replaced: your stove, water heater, washer/dryer, and furnace. In this guide, we'll break down the timing considerations for making the switch for each major appliance so that you can navigate the transition with ease.

Gas Stove: Electrify Sooner vs. Wait a Bit

When it comes to your gas stove, there are compelling health reasons to electrify sooner. Study after study have shown the negative health impacts of nitrous oxide, benzene, and fine particulate pollution produced by cooking with gas. If you have kids at home, gas cooking increases their risk of respiratory illness by 20%.

We strongly recommend choosing an electric induction stove, which uses magnets (and not glowing hot coils) to directly heat your pots and pans. Induction cooktops boil water incredibly quickly, don’t get hot, and they’re easy to clean.

To reduce the immediate health hazards of cooking with gas, get a plug-in induction cooktop right away. There are many versions to choose from, most for well under $100. Plug this in to any regular outlet and start cooking, safely, with clean electricity - then electrify your gas stove when you are ready.

All the existing full-sized electric induction stoves require dedicated 240 volt wiring, which you may not yet have in your kitchen. That said, we’re excited about upcoming 120V options from Impulse and Channing St Copper! If you're planning a larger kitchen remodel in the next few years, it might be better to wait and do the rewiring then.

You may also consider waiting to electrify your stove if you want to focus on maximizing your climate impact per dollar. Although gas stoves harm indoor air quality, they only make up about 5% of your home’s fossil fuel usage. The vast majority of your fossil fuel usage comes from heating your water and your air, so we’ll cover those categories next.

Gas Water Heater: Electrify Sooner vs. Wait a Bit

When did you last think about your water heater? If you’re like most people, it was probably only when it started leaking or ran out of hot water. Yet, your water heater is by far your home’s largest use of fossil fuels; 59% in California. Heating water takes a lot of energy, and gas water heaters are not very efficient compared to modern electric heat pump water heaters.

An illustration of an old water heater lounging on the beach, as though retiring
Is it time to retire your gas water heater? Source: QuitCarbon

If your gas water heater is more than 10 years old, it's wise to make the transition sooner rather than later to avoid emergency replacements. Or, if you want to do your part for the climate crisis, you can’t do better than electrifying your water heater (no matter the age of your current one).

Electric heat pump water heaters are 2-3 times more efficient than fossil gas water heaters. That means you can save as much as hundreds of dollars per year on your utility bills. There are also rebates available today that can make electric heat pump water heaters nearly free in some areas. But don’t delay - some of those rebates are likely to run out soon!

A side benefit of heat pump water heaters is that they cool and dehumidify the space where they’re located, which can be a game-changer for damp basements or hot garages. There are many 120 volt options, so you won’t need additional electrical work.

Gas Furnace: Electrify Sooner vs. Wait a Bit

The decision to transition your gas furnace (and air conditioner, if you have one) to a heat pump system largely depends on your current system’s efficiency, your home comfort, and your specific needs.

A heat pump outside of a home

If your furnace or air conditioner is old (more than 15 years), it is inefficient, and it's a wise move to electrify sooner. Old gas furnaces can leak and emit carbon monoxide, which kills hundreds of people each year and sickens thousands more.

The added bonus? Heat pump systems will both heat and cool your home, meaning you'll get air conditioning at no extra cost. Plus, you’ll save money on winter utility bills by heating your home much more efficiently.

However, if the expense is a concern, it may be worth waiting until your state rolls out rebates through the Inflation Reduction Act, especially if you fall into the low or moderate-income bracket.

Gas Dryer: Electrify Sooner vs. Wait a Bit

For those contemplating the switch from a gas dryer to an electric one, the decision hinges on the age of your current appliance and your laundry setup.

If your gas dryer has seen better days or if your washer is also on its last legs, making the transition sooner can save space and energy. Combo heat pump washer-dryers (a single machine that washes and dries in one tub!) are an excellent choice for efficiency and space-saving, plus you won’t need to move laundry from the washer to the dryer.

However, if you own a newer gas dryer and your laundry setup suits your needs, waiting might be a reasonable option, especially if future rebates or incentives become available.

Gas Car: Electrify Sooner vs. Wait a Bit

If you’re in the market for a new car, leasing an EV is the cheapest option. With current pricing on used electric vehicles and enticing tax incentives, the transition can be surprisingly affordable.

Transitioning from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric one is an exciting lifestyle upgrade that also reduces your environmental impact (yes, EVs are definitely better for the climate than gas cars!)

In conclusion, the decision to electrify your home appliances and vehicles is a step in the right direction for sustainability and cost savings. By considering the age, efficiency, and specific circumstances of your appliances, you can make these transitions with confidence.

At QuitCarbon we make electric upgrades easy by providing free, expert guidance for your home, connecting you with vetted contractors, and maximizing your rebates.

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