Getting the right advice and assistance is critical to replace your gas appliances with electric ones
Changing over major appliances can be a stressful and expensive decision that will require planning, co-ordination, and communication
Best to locate wrap-around service providers in your area, and/or tradespeople who can help you map out your electrification project
Where to start
Before you start contacting tradespeople about going all-electric, you should make sure you have the right people by your side. To get your home off gas you may need some or all these trades at different times and for different jobs:
- An electrician;
- A plumber/gas fitter;
- An air-conditioning specialist;
- A builder/contractor.
For new builds
Discuss your needs with your designer, architect, or builder early on to make sure the appliances are electric, and the design will maximise energy efficiency results.
You can start by undertaking an assessment of your household energy needs, draw up a proposed timeline, and have an idea of your budget.
If you haven’t already worked with a tradesperson that you know, they appreciate clients who are engaged, and have thought about their motivations for going all-electric, whether for health, economics or environmental reasons. Best start with a tradesperson with some project management experience, or who is willing to talk you through the whole journey. Since doing your own electrical work is illegal in Australia as it is extremely dangerous, you will always need to call an electrician and they can often be the best place to start.
Understanding the pros and cons of the many product options, and which ones are best suited for your circumstances, is also critical. You will need to do your own research, or ensure you are working with a service provider who has the knowledge and experience to put forward informed recommendations based on your circumstances.
The Facebook group My Efficient Electric Home is also a good place to learn what you can and should ask professionals who will be doing the work to change heating, hot water or cooking units.
There are different kinds of electricians and specialised green electricians can optimise your home to be as energy efficient as possible. Whether you are a homeowner, property manager, body corporate manager, strata manager, building manager or a property investor, there are experienced electricians and energy assessors who can help manage your green energy needs. Green electricians may also design solar photovoltaic and battery systems and understand how to add appliances to the existing system, but they must be accredited by the Clean Energy Council for that work.
Plumbers and gasfitters
If you are renovating and/or installing new equipment or appliances such as hydronic heating or hot water services, you will need a plumber. There is a difference between plumbers and gas plumbers, however and not all will be familiar with heat pumps or understand the variation of heating options best for your situation. Gasfitters are also plumbers, but will remove your gas oven, gas hot water system and run any piping. Ideally, you will want a plumber that can work alongside an electrician to de-install your gas stove, and make sure the wiring and power is ready for your induction cooktop with as little lag time as possible.
Home handymen or builders
It is important to think about other ways to maximise energy efficiency when moving towards all-electric, and for this you may call on the help of a generalised builder who can help you with glazing, draught proofing and insulation. They can also help installing induction cooktops into existing benchtops. Find one in your area who understands the importance of maximising the home envelope, and work towards getting small changes made to increase your Whole of Home energy efficiency.
How to best manage the relationship with your tradespeople
You can find integrated service providers who can manage all products and installation. In other cases, you may have to manage multiple relationships. To get the best out of your project establish a professional rapport, regularly check-in with the work, understand that costs and timelines can shift, and give a good review if you are satisfied with the work.
Some red flags to look out for
- People who don’t explain the products their recommending or have demonstrated experience with certain products;
- Anything being offered as ‘free’. Check online reviews and warranty details of a lower cost equipment priced to match available rebates and incentives to the product is ‘free’ to the customer. While $0 upfront for a heat pump might sound great, you are often using a one-off rebate valued at thousands of dollars to buy what might be a sub-standard product;
- Anyone who suggests you upgrade to three-phase power without explaining why;
- Someone who doesn’t co-ordinate tradespeople so that you have continuous service.