Contractor Portal

There's more to it than just electricity.

Welcome to a world of modern electric appliances. It’s a whole new world out there and we’re ready to help you tackle it with the resources and suggestions on how to effectively make the switch from natural gas to electric.

Not everyone has caught on to the beauty and efficiency of electric appliances. It took a while to discover the benefits of electric vehicles, but they’re now just as cost-effective and popular as ever.

One of the most common concerns that exists in the switch to electric is around panel upgrades. Before you embark on the journey to an all-electric lifestyle, there are a few things you should know. Some homes may need an electric panel upgrade, but it’s surely not the case for everyone.

You might be skillful enough to switch your home to all-electric without any assistance, but some of these technologies are tricky so it helps to ask a professional for help.

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Heating and Cooling

Home / How it Works / Heating and Cooling

On average, about a third of the energy used in a home here in California goes to heating and cooling.

With that kind of a commitment, you want that energy used as efficiently as possible.

That’s why it’s important to try something new when those old appliances break down, like heat pump technology. Heat pumps aren’t really new technology, though. In fact, they’re the second most common heating appliance in the US and are very common throughout Europe and Asia.

Indoor and outdoor heat pump

The biggest benefit of having a heat pump is that it can both heat and cool your home, all in one unit. Unlike propane and natural gas-powered equipment, heat pumps circulate air while providing filtration and dehumidification, which means the air will be cleaner and healthier. Installing a heat pump is a great way to dial up the comfort and control in any room in the house.

Since heat pumps use clean electricity, they can also be paired with solar and back-up power—adding resilience and significant cost savings. There are a few different types of heat pumps. Central heat pumps are installed in a single location and the conditioned air is delivered throughout the house through floor or ceiling grates. If your home uses a single heating or cooling source, like a floor furnace or window air conditioner, a ductless heat pump (also known as a mini-split) system might be the better solution for you.

While it’s possible to install these units yourself, we recommend using an HVAC contractor familiar with new technology.

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Water Heating

Home / How it Works / Water Heating

You may not realize it, but your water heater can be the second-highest energy user in your home behind your heating and cooling system.

Get a water heater that makes you feel like you got a buy-one, get-one-free deal. The newest models are hybrid water heaters, also known as heat pump water heaters. They’re 3x (or more) as efficient than whatever you are using right now, whether you’re using natural gas or electric water heaters.

Heat pump water heaters are kind of like refrigerators. They pull warm air from outside into the hot water tank. They’re like water-based batteries—storing energy in the form of hot water. Very futuristic.

Not only is this great for energy savings, but it also can allow you to access some hot water in a power outage. Find rebates and other incentives in your area to get a heat pump water heater installed.
You’ll want to get a tank that’s large enough for your family size, find a location with enough air circulation, and may need to review the electric load capacity to make sure things will be running smoothly.

Installation of a hybrid water heater can be performed by a licensed contractor, a licensed handyman or by the homeowner.

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Dryers

Home / How it Works / Dryers

The most energy efficient form of drying clothes is using a clothesline, but that isn’t always practical.

The next best thing you can use to dry clothes is an electric heat pump dryer . Numerous models are on the market, and can be installed as easily as their gas alternatives.

Compact models are able to fit in smaller spaces and (since they don’t require vents) can be installed in practically any room with electricity. Heat pump dryers with smart sensors can also detect moisture and will stop drying once your clothes are done so your cycle runs more effectively.

Even if you don’t splurge for a heat pump dryer, a standard electric dryer can help you convert your home to all-electric.

To find the most energy efficient dryers, refer to the Energy Star guides.

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Cooking

Home / How it Works / Cooking

Electric stoves sometimes get a bad rap, but modern electric stoves aren’t even in the same realm as the electric coils of old.

Chef cooking with wok on an induction cooktop

Maybe you aren’t ready to open your own restaurant, but you know a thing or two about cooking. Gas ranges offer the perfect heat—or so you think. Have you ever tried to heat something evenly in a cast iron pan? It takes a great deal of energy and time to get that perfect sear.

Technology has come a long way in the last few years, so much that you probably wouldn’t even recognize an electric cooktop if you saw one. There’s so much to love about magnetic induction stovetops , which heat up faster than gas and have fine-tuned controls just as responsive as natural gas.

Induction cooktops instantly turn on and off when cookware is placed on or taken off the stovetop. This means you can cook with more accurate heat control and you’ll see an immediate response when you change the temperature.



Since induction stoves only heat the pan and not the air around it, they’re also cooler to operate and much safer to use. They’re also increasingly popular among gourmet chefs in both residential and commercial kitchens alike. Not only that, but Consumer Reports 2020 lists induction stoves at the top of the list in terms of cooking appliances.

Magnetic induction stovetop require pans that contain enough iron to be magnetic (a simple test with your refrigerator magnet will tell you if your favorite pan is “sticky” enough to make the switch). It’s a small price to pay for a meal cooked to perfection.

Not convinced? Watch a demonstration, or better yet, check with your electricity provider to see if they have plug-in induction stoves available for a trial period.

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Fireplaces

Home / How it Works / Fireplaces

Do you love to cozy up in front of a warm fire? Who doesn’t?

Now you can have the look and feel of fire without any smoke and, depending on the model, you can elect to toggle heat on or off. LED technology is not only efficient, but some models even give you a choice of “flame” color.

Electric fireplaces can come as inserts, be wall-mounted, or even recessed into the wall. Since they don’t burn fuel, you won’t need a chimney or flue.

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Barbecues

Home / How it Works / Barbecues

You might be thinking: electric grills and barbecues, really?

Shocking, we know, but we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

No empty tanks, no bags of pellets to store, just plug it in and go. Many are portable for easy apartment use or tailgating, while giving you much more control over the temperature so you don’t burn or waste food. Once you add in the safety advantages of an electric grill, then you’re really cooking.

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Pools, Spas and Saunas

Home / How it Works / Pools, Spas and Saunas

For those of us who spend more time in the water than on land, heating a pool year-round is something of a necessity.

That’s when solar thermal pool heating comes in super handy.

Commercial pools also generally need to be kept warm when it’s cold outside, so an inverter-controlled heat pump water heater is the most cost-effective solution out there. There are also models that provide 24/7 pump filtration, which may be required to meet health-code regulations.

Whether it’s a pool, hot tub or a sauna, heat pumps are an amazingly efficient way of keeping the water warm and ready for you.

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Electric Panel Upgrades

Home / How it Works / Electric Panel Upgrades

You may need an electric panel upgrade when you install solar, switch to electric appliances, or add an electric vehicle charger.

Talk to an electrician about including enough capacity in the panel to make the switch from gas to electric.

Before you upgrade your panel, check first for ways to reduce your electrical needs instead. Lower wattage appliances and two-in-one appliances, such as a washer and dryer, can help lighten the load.

Recent innovations in circuit breaker panels also help to monitor and control electricity usage. Some{" "} EV chargers even work as appliance splitters so two appliances, like a car charger and dryer, can share and transfer power back and forth.

If you find that a panel upgrade is needed for your home, consider adding a critical load panel to make it easier to provide back-up power only where you need it most.

Panel Upgrades may be eligible for Federal Tax Credits if added when installing solar panels. Please consult your tax professional.


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Back-up Power & Storage

Home / How it Works / Back-up Power & Storage

Power outages are on everyone’s mind these days.

With battery storage, you could be that lucky person on the block who still has the lights on and a refrigerator full of cold food.

Home battery storage systems are a great solution year round, even when energy is reliable. You can charge them up with solar panels for later use, or bank energy when electricity is less expensive to save money later on.

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