Questions & Answers

Can all electric homes actually work?

Yes. Electric appliances are available for all residential uses and most commercial ones. When tested, these appliances, including stove tops, are as good as or better than their gas-powered alternatives.

What are the advantages to all-electric homes?

Electric appliances are cleaner, healthier, and cheaper:

  • Cleaner​: electricity is remarkably clean, especially in California. Both air pollution and​ greenhouse gas emissions ​are reduced when one switches to electricity.
  • Healthier​: quiet, comfortable and without negative impacts to your home’s air quality. Electric appliances emit almost no pollutants as compared with natural gas.
  • Cheaper​: electric appliances are far more efficient than their gas counterparts. This makes them generally less expensive to operate, especially when paired with solar. Some prices for top-of the-line equipment may be more expensive up front, but there are tons of incentive programs and rebate options available.
What are the potential drawbacks of an all-electric building?

The technologies are similar but may require some adjustment. Also, switching to all electric appliances may require you to upgrade yourelectrical panel. The good news is, this is something that contractors do, day in and day out.

Other items to consider: When you switch to an induction stove, you’ll need to use pots and pans that are magnetic. Heat pumps for water heating and space heating/cooling may also take up more space than your existing water heater or furnace.

Don’t electric appliances cost more?

Not necessarily. There is a cost savings of roughly “$1,500… when replacing both the furnace and air conditioner with a heat pump along with minimal electric upgrades” . Upgrade costs are estimated to be up to “$900 in higher costs when replacing only the furnace” because heat pump technology offers both heating and cooling in the same piece of equipment.

What if I’m building a new home?

Studies show that all-electric new construction can save on construction costs—especially since you won’t be paying to install gas infrastructure. Compared to a mixed fuel home, building an all-electric home typically saves $6,171 per single family home and $3,361 per unit for multifamily .

Won’t my bills go up with an all-electric home?

All-electric buildings are cost-competitive with mixed fuel (natural gas and electric) buildings. Homes that upgrade to heat pump water heaters and electric heating and cooling systems have lower utility bills overall ($540/year lower on average) than homes with gas appliances and “traditional” air conditioning units. When combined with solar, electric heating can cut heating bills in half or more.

How Clean Is My Electricity?

The actual cleanliness of your electricity depends on your provider. Across the state of California, utilities offer varying levels (up to 100%) of renewable electricity—and these numbers continue to climb.

Natural gas-fired power plants do provide electricity in many parts of the state today, but these facilities are regulated and monitored, whereas methane leaks from natural gas pipes as it makes its way to your home. Over the next twenty years, the mix of electricity will only continue to get cleaner (as required by law in the state of California) and more renewable electricity will replace those fossil fuel burning facilities.

If we’re moving toward 100% renewable energy, what will buildings run on when the sun goes down?

Geothermal, wind and hydroelectricity are renewable sources that are available at night after the sun goes down.

What about Renewable Natural Gas?

Renewable natural gas is an alternative to natural gas, derived from sources such as landfills and animal waste at dairies. But it cannot be compared to clean electricity.

Report after report has concluded renewable natural gas can not be produced in the quantities needed , has prohibitively high costs , and causes negative impact to the environment and our air-quality.

Substantial investment would be required to make a renewable natural gas system viable. Renewable natural gas in California can only meet “3% of the state’s natural gas demand” . Focusing those dollars instead on providing solutions where electricity cannot fulfill the need (e.g. jet fuel) should be the priority.

Will electric appliances really make a difference on climate change?

Roughly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions (the air pollution responsible for climate change) from California’s buildings come from gas combustion appliances like furnaces, water heaters, and stoves . If even a third of California’s buildings switched to clean electric by 2030, that would be like the equivalent of taking 1.5 million cars off the road, each year .

How do indoor appliances impact health?

On average, we spend about 90% of our time indoors, where pollutant levels are often higher than those outside. Gas appliances lack modern pollution controls and produce nearly seven times more nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions than gas power plants. Studies have linked these gases to higher rates of asthma, particularly in children . Converting to electric appliances eliminates all of these sources of indoor air pollution.

How does natural gas impact safety?

Unlike electric appliances, gas appliances have open flames, increasing the risk of fire. Going all-electric eliminates the carbon monoxide pollution that results from burning this fossil fuel inside your home, also reducing the risk of methane gas leaks.

How reliable is the electric grid as compared to natural gas pipelines?

Natural gas pipelines and the electric grid both go down on occasion. During California wildfires and earthquakes, utilities are supposed to turn the gas off. If 100% reliability is a goal for your home or project, electrification combined with a battery and solar backup system can provide remarkable peace of mind.

Is there enough renewable electricity to handle everyone going all-electric?

There will be. Several studies have shown that 100% renewable electricity is a viable long-term strategy for California and the United States.

Will electric appliances leave me more vulnerable during power outages?

If you have a backup power supply installed with your electric, you will still have power during an outage. Otherwise, your electric appliances will not work during a power failure. However, sticking with gas appliances aren’t going to help much in a power failure, either. Most newer gas appliances still have electric ignition switches or require electricity for their microprocessors.