Electrifying Home

Electrifying a home starts with an assessment of the home’s fossil fuel- reliant elements.  Typical on this list are space heating, water and pool heating and yard maintenance equipment.  Furnace or water heater replacements most commonly happen on an emergency basis.  Add in an EV charger and your electric service may need an upgrade. Planning ahead will lead to smarter decisions with a lasting impact.  Electrifying transportation has some home elements but will be handled separately.

Space heating
An easy conversion from gas to electricity for heating homes – the heat pump – saves on operating costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  A heat pump differs from an air conditioner in one key respect: whereas an air conditioner sends cool in and heat out, a heat pump can do that AND reverse direction to heat inside air with high efficiency.  A heat pump costs minimally more than an air conditioner and fits in the same footprint.  Goodbye furnace, hello new storage space.  Research now to be ready for an emergency replacement, or decarbonize sooner and save an additional $250 with early replacement.

Water heating
The same technology is available to heat water as well.  A heat pump water heater (HPWH — see diagram, below) drastically reduces operating costs when it replaces gas or electric, being 3-4 times as efficient as an electric resistance unit.  Energy savings — in addition to utility and federal incentives — typically cover the higher initial cost within a couple of years.  An added benefit (most of the year) is that the HPWH — sometimes called a hybrid water heater — will cool the space where it is installed.  Consider location for reasons including the cooling effect, moderate noise made by the heat pump and proximity to hot water usage points in your home.  Rheem HPWHs are app-programmable and readily available in most areas. Learn more.

Water Heating Smallternatives for Water Conservation
If you hand-wash dishes, a four-gallon electric in-cabinet water heater like this one below the sink can provide instant hot water from a standard 110-volt supply. With a low-flow showerhead, a six-gallon unit can supply 2-3 short, back-to-back showers. While these small units are not heat pumps, they can be powered renewably and conserve energy and water by keeping heated water closer to the point of use.

    HPWH review
    HPWH payback

More resources on residential heat pumps and electrification (updated Feb. 2024)

Heat Pump Water Heater

Source: BetterHomesBC.ca

Yard equipment
Gas-powered lawn mowers are serious greenhouse gas emitters. Though most Tucson yards are not grassy, similar equipment can be replaced by electric versions — and Pima County will help cover the cost!

Next: Electrifying Transportation

Energy Transformation Home
Electrify Everything
– Electrifying Home
– Electrifying Transportation
– – Home and Transportation Electrification Incentives
Electrifying Work & Leisure (coming soon)
Renew our Energy Supply
Adjust our Rhythms