Where to Start When Converting Your Home Appliances to Solar
Californians are moving away from carbon emissions and fossil fuels. You’ve probably seen more electric cars on your commute and more solar panels on the roofs of neighbors’ homes — but what about inside the home? You can power your home appliances with clean, solar energy. Electrifying your home starts with retrofitting your home and upgrading from gas-powered to electric appliances, which can be powered by the solar energy your panels produce.
Areas to Electrify
Electric appliances are three to five times more efficient than their gas-powered counterparts, meaning they are less expensive to run and are better for the environment because they use less energy. Think about all the different appliances in your home that currently burn fuel other than electricity. They all represent opportunities for conversion.
Keep reading as we explore each area of the home to see where electrification is needed.
Heating and Cooling Systems
Upgrading to electric heating and cooling with a heat pump system is an important first step in home electrification. A heat pump is a standalone electrical appliance that is capable of both heating and cooling your home. Comparatively, furnaces generate heat by burning fuel, such as natural gas. A heat pump does not require fuel. Rather it uses electricity and a refrigerant to transfer outdoor heat into the home and vice versa. Because this system does not require fuel, you can power it with the electricity you provide with your solar panels. This makes them more cost-efficient and better for the environment.
Most kitchens in California have gas stoves. You know, the ones with the real-life flames. Cooking with a gas stove can be a very satisfying and authentic experience. However, more and more evidence shows that in-home gas stoves are harming our health. A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that air pollution levels in the 60% of homes with gas stoves exceeded the US EPA’s definition of clean air, meaning that the air pollution in these homes would be illegal if found outdoors.
Instead of gas stoves, both induction and electric stoves can be powered by your solar panels. An induction cooktop provides many benefits like faster boil times, safer operation/less pollution, and greater energy efficiency. By converting your stove to one that is powered by electricity, you not only help the environment, but you help yourself, too.
Heat pump water heaters are an efficient, electric option. They use the same technology as the heat pumps used for heating and cooling homes. Simply put, a heat pump water heater extracts heat from the surrounding air and stores hot water in a tank similar to a normal water heater.
There are also several models of tankless water heaters that are powered by electricity instead of gas. Tankless water heaters are a great option for people with small spaces or who want to save space.
The Importance of Annual Energy Audits
When you power your home with solar, you reduce your reliance on the unreliable PG&E electrical grid and utilize renewable energy to power your electric devices. With electrification, your home’s electricity load will increase, along with the number of solar panels required to power all those appliances. So, an all-electric solar home must operate as efficiently as possible. When electrifying your home, make sure you consult with our specialists at SolarUnion to ensure that your solar system is prepared for the new appliances.
To make sure your home isn’t wasting energy, you should schedule yearly energy audits. An energy audit is an inspection of your home that assesses energy usage and identifies energy efficiency measures that you can conduct to improve your home’s efficiency. An energy auditor will tell you where your home is losing the most energy and propose improvements that save energy – and reduce your utility bills. Though this is a paid service, it will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in wasted energy bills.
Electrification is a great way to reduce your home emissions, clean up the air inside your home, and gain energy independence from the PG&E grid by using solar power and battery storage to power your home. More and more homes are going electric, and the California state government is expected to mandate electrification on all homes built after 2022. It is time to get ahead of the curve. Contact SolarUnion to learn more about how we can assist you with this process.