Creative solutions are needed for complex problems such as climate change. You need different strategies for various applications. Many think that electrification is the best way to achieve clean energy. While this may be a viable option for large corporations with abundant financial resources, homeowners might not be as prepared for the conversion cost. This is especially the case for New Jersey homeowners as they depend on propane, gas, and oil for their household needs.
This article discusses all you need to know about electrification’s hidden costs.
The Hidden Costs Of Electrification – Things You Need To Know!
- 1 The Hidden Costs Of Electrification – Things You Need To Know!
- 1.1 Converting To Electrical Heat Pumps From Traditional Heating Systems
- 1.2 Replacing Fuel-Powered Water Heaters With Electric Water Heaters
- 1.3 Converting A Gas Cooking Range To An Electric Stove Conversion
- 1.4 Setting Up An Electric Car Charging Station
- 1.5 Switching From Gas Dryers To Electric Dryers
- 1.6 Upgrading Electrical Service From 100A To 200A
- 2 Obstacles & Consequences Of The Energy Master Plan
- 3 Take Action Now
Read on to learn some of the costs you need to pay for electricity conversion.
Converting To Electrical Heat Pumps From Traditional Heating Systems
Heat pumps are highly efficient and can be used all year. These features make it an attractive system that homeowners want to switch to. However, drops in temperature cause a decline in the heat pump’s performance. New Jersey often has low winter temperatures, so this is a concern for its residents.1
Several heat pump models also need HVAC ducts. Homeowners need to think about the high cost of installing ductwork and how long the project will take if their homes aren’t fitted with it yet. New Jersey has a lot of old houses that weren’t built with the use of ducts in mind. Therefore, their walls and ceilings need to be renovated, and they need a budget of around $6,800 to $12,400 to retrofit ductwork.2
Older homes might not be able to accommodate a heat pump’s power requirements as well. Therefore, an electrical system upgrade is needed to have a higher capacity. Most homes will have to spend around $4,000 to $7,000, making it challenging to justify the switch.3
Replacing Fuel-Powered Water Heaters With Electric Water Heaters
Water heaters are essential in all homes. After all, having domestic hot water means homeowners can bathe, cook, and clean with ease. In most cases, both water heaters and heating systems use the same fuel, which can be gas, heating oil, or propane. Families rely on these due to their low prices.
Homeowners who want to go all-electric will have to install an electric water heater. This is no small matter as it could cost around $4,000 for labor and materials.4 Multiple units might be needed for large homes, which can spike up the cost.
Removing the current water heater can also be costly if it is in a difficult-to-access area. Contractors might charge you as much as $500. Homeowners might also have to spend more to extend the new unit’s warranty coverage. The cost can increase to $3,000 for permits, electrical work, carpentry, and expansion tanks. Cosmetic repairs like retiling your shower or drywall repairs might also be needed.
Converting A Gas Cooking Range To An Electric Stove Conversion
Gas stoves utilize 120V, while electric stoves use 240V. Hence, an electrician is required to make these changes. A compatible receptacle will have to be installed near the stove. New wires need to be run from the circuit breaker as well. Depending on the kitchen’s current layout, these changes can cost around $400 or more.5
Some electric stove features include easy cleaning and precise temperature control. However, gas stoves are known to heat food faster and have an extended lifespan. Areas that often have power outages should strongly think about converting to electricity. Pushing through with it means they must consider cooking alternatives in case of emergencies.
Setting Up An Electric Car Charging Station
Switching to electric personal transport is more than just buying an electric vehicle. After all, it needs to be charged regularly for it to run. Therefore, you’ll need to set up an electric car charging station at home for easy charging. This installation has a national average cost of $750, depending on the setup complexity and unit type.
Level 1 or basic charging stations have a low cost but are slow. They typically plugin directly to a standard 120V socket. Level 2 or advanced chargers can charge faster than basic ones, but they are costlier to get and install. High-end installation costs a bit under $2,000.6 We also have to consider the electricity usage cost of charging the EV every night. This will mainly rely on the miles traveled.
Switching From Gas Dryers To Electric Dryers
Electric dryers and gas dryers produce heat to dry clothes. This way, clothes can be reused faster than just air-drying them.7 Other homeowners opt to use gas dryers because operating them costs half of using electric dryers. As per Bob Villa, gas dryers only consume 15 to 25 cents per load on average, while electric ones cost 30 to 40 cents per load. Therefore, gas-powered dryers save more in the long run.8
Some homeowners might insist on an electric dryer conversion. They would need to buy a brand new unit that requires a 240V socket. Therefore, a licensed electrician is required to install one in the laundry room. This can cost around $250 to $1,000. Smaller electric dryers might run on standard wall sockets with a lower voltage. However, the limited capacity can be frustrating.
A Note About Disconnecting Gas
You will need to disconnect the gas supply when you make the switch to an all-electric dryer. Hire a contractor to do this for you. They will find the shutoff valve where the gas pipe passes through the wall. The contractor will turn off the valve so that the gas flow stops. This way, they can disconnect the tubing safely. The valve is also protected from dirt.
If you don’t have a compatible outlet, this needs to be resolved first, and you need an electrician to help you. Around $350 is needed to get the job done provided that the job is quick and easy with accessible wiring. However, it might be a slow and challenging endeavor as drywall might get in the way. You might end up spending more than $1,000 to install the unit and repair the resulting damage.9 Moreover, some homes might need to add extra capacity for the breaker panel, which can cost more. Get an estimate from a qualified electrician before doing a project like this.
Upgrading Electrical Service From 100A To 200A
Old homes in New Jersey typically have an electric service rate of 100 amperes. This might be enough for standard appliances. However, more and more homes are increasingly dependent on electricity, so an upgrade to 200 amperes is likely needed. This way, multiple appliances can run at the same time without issues.
The box and installation are usually priced from $750 to $2,000. This price can increase if the process needs a permit, new wiring, and a circuit breaker. If you have electrical work experience, you might be able to do it yourself so that the price range stays low. You can also try searching for electricians who charge a low hourly rate. If the job entails a major electrical wiring overhaul, the total cost can easily bump up to $4,500.10
Obstacles & Consequences Of The Energy Master Plan
Awareness of environmental concerns is at its highest right now. Many people are willing to help push towards clean energy. New Jersey is with the rest of the US in reducing climate change. As a matter of fact, the Energy Master Plan of New Jersey aims to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050. The state’s residential energy industry is all for this, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences and obstacles to the plan. Families need to know what will happen once this EMP is implemented. They need to know the whole picture, including how it will affect each household’s finances.
Take Action Now:
Let your opinion be heard. Take action today. Send a message to your local senator by clicking the button below!
Significant & Unnecessary Upfront Costs
It is expensive to switch from fuel to electric power for your home’s heating and cooling. Aside from the unit’s price, you should also check the hidden costs. These can add up to a staggeringly high figure. NJ contractors estimate that you will spend over $20,000 for the entire house when you switch to heat pumps. Converting other fuel-dependent appliances like water heaters, cooking stoves, and clothes dryers to be electric-powered will spike up the cost even more. This upfront cost might be too much for most families. Even households who can afford this might look for cheaper and better alternatives available.
Unmanageable & Ongoing Expenses
It makes financial sense that oil or gas-powered appliances are used widely. After all, oil and gas cost less than electricity in New Jersey at current consumption rates. As more households switch to electricity, there will be higher demand, and the power cost will increase as well. This can be difficult during the winter as everyone needs their heat pumps to work all day. It might be better to have several low-carbon alternatives instead of focusing only on electrification. This will help ensure that clean energy is viable for homeowners and prices are controlled.
Straining The Current Electric Grid
Heat pumps are highly efficient, but they still use up a lot of power. The power grid is placed under unnecessary strain when it is the only heat source you have during the winter season.11 Many infrastructure upgrades are needed to ensure it is up for the job. Therefore, a great deal of work and large investments are required. Households might not feel satisfied with the warmth from the heat pumps during the coldest days, even with all the upgrades made. Its reduced performance makes it essential for homeowners to install other heating options.
Keep in mind the blackout that happened in Texas in February 2021. This situation is an example of how higher power demands can result in disastrous rolling blackouts. This is especially true in the winter because there’s an increased demand for power to use for indoor home heating. Remember that the 2021 Texas winter storm resulted in 111 people dying.12
SmartHeatNJ.com states that, per the US Energy Information Administration, only 13% of US households utilize electricity for heating.13 A more popular option is natural gas with 75%, while other petroleum products comprise 10%. It is clear that New Jersey’s EMP for full electrification by 2050 needs a lot of work. It might end up being unnecessary as well due to the emergence of cheaper zero-carbon and low-carbon options, including Bioheat fuel and renewable natural gas. These products reduce emissions without the need for expensive equipment conversions.
Careful navigation is needed for a more sustainable future. After all, the solution might seem easy but could cause you problems upon closer inspection. The Energy Master Plan of New Jersey calls for the costly conversion to electric heat pumps. However, low-income households might not afford this without financial assistance. The bills of the subsequent power consumption can also overwhelm families who are already having trouble making ends meet. It might be time to explore alternative paths and provide people with more viable options for clean energy.
Take Action Now
Let your voice be heard. Send a message to your local senator today by clicking the button below!
1. Weather in New Jersey: Climate, Seasons, and Average Monthly Temperature ↩
2. Comparative Energy Use of Residential Gas Furnaces and Electric Heat Pumps ↩
3. Op-Ed: The big and costly flaw in Gov. Murphy’s Energy Master Plan ↩
4. How Much Does Water Heater Replacement Cost? ↩
5. Should I Convert My Electric Stove to a Gas? ↩
6. How Much Does An Electric Car Charging Station Installation Cost? ↩
7. Can A Gas Dryer Be Converted To Electric? ↩
8. Choosing a New Appliance: Gas vs. Electric Dryers ↩
9. I Want to Replace Gas Clothes Dryer with an All-electric One. Who do I Contact about Disconnecting Gas? ↩
10. How Much Does it Cost to Upgrade to a 200 AMP Service? ↩
11. Why does the electricity grid have to stay in balance? ↩
12. Texas Tribune: At Least 111 People Died In Texas During Winter Storm, Most From Hypothermia ↩
13. Inside the Energy Master Plan ↩