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Transitioning To Electric Heat: The Next Wave For Home Heating

How we heat our homes has changed many times over the last century and today the majority of homeowners rely on either oil or, more commonly, natural gas to heat their homes. Those modes may soon be a thing of the past, though, as more homeowners switch to electric heat, either of their own volition or because local government programs are pushing for change. What’s next? Electric heat is the next wave in home heating, but that can take many different forms.

Electric Meets Solar
Solar energy is one of the most important new energy sources today, and from the perspective of those transitioning to electric heat, this is an ideal situation. That’s because solar panels route directly into the home’s electrical system. In some homes, this would then go to power steam heat, but it can also be the primary heat source. And in the process of transitioning to electric heat, homeowners shouldn’t overlook the power of direct solar heat, which means warming the house by leaving curtains open during the day and using insulated curtains at night.

Swap Out The Wood

While electric heat is primarily positioned to replace oil and gas heat, it can also play a role in replacing traditional fireplaces utilizing wood. Not only are these fireplaces realistic, despite the lack of wood, but they also come in a variety of styles. Perhaps best of all, though, they require much less maintenance than a traditional fireplace.

Fireplaces tend to be overlooked in discussions about transitioning to electric energy, but they should actually be at the heart of this conversation. Woodburning fireplaces are highly polluting and inefficient, but electric fireplaces are ecofriendly and offer a good zone heating alternative.

A Cost-Effective Approach

Not only is shifting from traditional heating oil or propane an important step from an environmental perspective – sustainability isn’t the only advantage. Changing to electric heat is also affordable. Electric heat pumps are less expensive than replacement furnaces, especially in comparison to propane burning ones. Natural gas pumps are slightly cheaper than those for electric heat, but many people don’t have access to natural gas, so electric heat proponents have made converting gas and propane users a top priority.

Programs Pushing Electric Energy

People rarely make major home infrastructural changes – even ones that benefit the environment – without appropriate encouragement, and a number of areas are taking those steps. The Sacramento Municipal Utilities District is incentivizing the construction of all-electric homes. Additionally, in some states, climate change initiatives have highlighted the importance of cutting carbon emissions, but they haven’t specifically targeted home heating as part of this process.\

The transition to electric heat is likely to be a slow one without additional incentives, but it is certainly happening. From incentives for solar panels and the electric advantages offered by these systems to the implementation of all-electric systems in new construction, the shift is happening. Electric heat should be considered part of the smart home revolution and it may help to pitch it to homeowners as part of this type of broad home enhancement.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

By Sheena Jordan
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