By Catherine Poslusny

Home electrification is easier than ever, thanks to new technologies that help us decarbonize our homes to support a greener grid, while making our homes more comfortable and saving money. “We’re at a pivotal moment in our climate crisis where decarbonization is crucial,” said Joe Wachunas, Senior Project Manager at New Buildings Institute. “Electrifying everything is a key way to achieve that.”

There are four main sources for your individual carbon footprint: home energy use, then gas-powered cars, furnaces, and water heaters. Brian Stewart, Co-Founder of Electrify Now, estimates that 60% of personal carbon emissions come from the energy we purchase to power our homes and transportation.

“A typical household with two gas cars emits about 20 tons of CO2 every year and has an energy cost of around $7,000,” said Stewart. “You could cut those emissions in half by electrifying your home. But the real savings comes from switching to renewable energy and electrifying your home. Then you’re looking at zero emissions and thousands of dollars cut from your yearly energy expense.”

Still, electrifying everything is a big undertaking that can initially feel overwhelming. By creating an informed action plan, you can simplify your electrification journey by breaking it down step-by-step. “After all,” said Wachunas, “electrifying your home is a process, not a single project.”

guide them through the process.

Quick: What is electrification?

Electrify Now breaks down home electrification into three parts:

  1. Clean up your electric supply by installing rooftop solar, joining a community solar program, or opting for a green power plan from your utility company.
  2. Electrify your home by swapping out inefficient and gas-powered appliances for energy-efficient electric alternatives, such as heat pump water heaters and induction stoves.
  3. Electrify your transportation by replacing your gas car with an electric vehicle.

Every person and every home is unique, so individual paths to full electrification will be different. Electrify Now’s 7-step guide can help homeowners and contractors develop a personalized home electrification action plan to

1. Take a home inventory

The easy (and free) place to start is a home energy inventory. Take stock of your home’s systems and appliances, including their age and condition. How long can you expect your current appliance to last? Where are energy-efficient upgrades an option?

Old gas stove with cooking oil stains and corroded grates and elements — Photo

Be sure to check your heating and cooling system, water heater, stove and oven, clothes dryer, wall insulation, and vehicles.

This is also a great time to review your current energy plan with your utility, and explore options for renewable energy plans or community solar.

“As you’re doing your home inventory, you can start thinking about which upgrades are your highest priority and which [appliances and systems] seem like the best candidates for replacement,” said Wachunas.

2. Check your electrical panel

Before starting electrification upgrades, you’ll need to know how much electricity you’re working with. Most electrical panels will tell you how much electricity they provide (usually 100 or 200 A). “If you have a 200 A panel, you should be set for any type of electrification you need for your home,” explained Wachunas. “You can absolutely electrify with a 100-amp panel, too. But you may have to put a little more thought into how you make your electrification upgrades.”

close image of residential electrical panel with gray metal enclosure and black switches with white lables

While looking at your electrical panel, check to see how much space you have for new circuits. (Look for slots on your panel that don’t have breakers next to them.) Talking with an electrician about your plans can help you understand your panel’s capacity and map out what you will need to fully electrify.

You may also want to ask about your options for upgrading your electrical panel and pre-wiring your home for full electrification.

3. Get a home energy audit

A professional home energy audit will help you determine the most impactful ways to make your home more efficient. An auditor will check your insulation and ducts, windows and doors, electrical wiring, heating systems, and appliances. They will spot areas and issues that degrade your home’s safety or energy efficiency.

Exterior view of two-story home and lawn; hand holding infrared imaging gun in foreground shows heatmap of front facade

Auditors also have a sense of the options for home electrification upgrades and which appliances and systems are the oldest or most in need of replacement.

Your home energy audit will help prioritize your steps. For example, you may need to reinsulate the attic before sizing your solar system or figuring out what size heat pump should replace a gas furnace. Or the auditor may find a safety issue, like a gas stove that leaks carbon monoxide. So you should probably kick off your home electrification work by switching to an induction stove.

4. Prioritize what’s important to you

“There’s no single correct starting point for electrifying your home,” explained Wachunas. “Your value system should guide you on which upgrades to tackle first.”

  • Lowering energy costs: According to Nick Stevens, president and co-founder of Go Electric Colorado, the two upgrades that tend to save the most money on energy are electric vehicles and heat pump water heaters.
  • Replacing old appliances: Did your energy audit reveal that you’re housing some ancient appliances, like a 35-year-old water heater? You’ll probably want to replace those first before they break down.
  • Making your home more comfortable: Maybe you’re tired of outdoor temperatures and drafts affecting the comfort of your home. Prioritize weatherization and/or a heat pump heater and air conditioner upgrade for an energy-efficient way to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.
  • Quick, easy changes: If you want to electrify quickly and on a budget, switch to an electric grill, yard tools, and power tools—a great first step.
  • Improving indoor air quality: If you want to drastically improve indoor air quality quickly, swap out a pollution-heavy gas stove for an induction cooktop or hot plate (hob).
graphical image of wants and need with "must have" at the intersection - graphic
  • Clean up your electric supply: Home electrification upgrades may increase your overall electrical use. So you may want to explore your options for renewable energy before working on the other steps in your plan. “Just note that the number of electric appliances in your home will affect how you size your rooftop solar system,” said Stevens. “So if you do solar first, make sure whoever designs your system factors in what your usage will be after your electrification upgrades.”

5. Get estimates from trusted contractors

Your values should guide your electrification journey. But upfront cost information (in relation to estimated energy savings paybacks) can play a big role. Before starting any project, Wachunas recommends getting estimates from multiple trusted local contractors. Check references, and make sure they’re  enthusiastic about home electrification.

Builder Fitting Insulation Into Roof Of Home — Photo

Reputable contractors can also help you choose equipment and appliances that qualify for federal, state, or local rebates and tax incentives. You can search for electrification-friendly contractors with:

6. Research electrification incentives

By taking advantage of federal, local, and utility program incentives, you may be able to shave thousands off the cost of green home upgrades. So do your research! For example, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides federal tax credits for almost every home electrification project: heat pump water heaters, heat pump HVAC, electric vehicles and chargers, energy audits, weatherization/insulation, and rooftop solar.

realistic rendering of home, exploded into four levels, showing multiple areas for home electrification

Wachunas pointed out that some incentive programs, like the IRA, have annual credit limits. So to maximize savings, a strategic plan for electrification projects over time must stay within the program limits. For a better idea of how much you could save, check out Rewiring America’s incentives savings calculator, The Switch Is On’s incentive finders for California and Washington, or Electrify Oregon’s incentives guide.

7. Create your electrification action plan

An individual action plan will transform home electrification from abstract ideas into a step-by-step project guide. Electrify your home in a way that works best for you. Once you have a project timeline mapped out, you can 1. budget for big upgrades, 2. replace old appliances before they fail, and 3. maximize your cost savings with available incentives.

Rewiring America’s Personal Electrification Planner is a great tool to help get started. “Our model crunches dozens of factors and compares hundreds of different types of homes to deliver information on cost and energy savings, incentives, and climate impact for each of these projects,” explained Stevens. The tool simplifies whole-home electrification by breaking down the process into individual projects. In-depth how-to guides, qualifying incentives, and estimated upfront costs and energy savings complete the picture.

Depending on your situation, your electrification action plan may include:

  • Home energy audit
  • Electrical work, such as adding circuits, pre-wiring for electrification, or electrical panel upgrades
  • Rooftop solar and battery system
  • Weatherization and insulation
  • Heat pump space heater and air conditioner
  • Heat pump water heater
  • Induction stove or hot plate
  • Heat pump clothes dryer
  • Whole-home energy management
  • Electric fireplace
realistic rendering of home, exploded into four levels, showing multiple areas for home electrification

Image courtesy Aurora Solar

  • Electric vehicle and charger
  • Smaller electric appliances, such as a grill, power tools, or yard tools

“Electrifying your home is a big process, especially if you have a lot of gas equipment and appliances,” said Wachunas. “Planning your electrification over time is a great strategy. It doesn’t have to happen all at once.”

This article springs from Electrify Now’s webinars, Go Electric! The Benefits of Home Electrification and  Make Your Go Electric! Plan.

The author:

Catherine Poslusny is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist based out of Norman, OK. You can find her at

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