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Water Heating in All-Electric Homes

May/June 2016
A version of this article appears in the May/June 2016 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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April 30, 2016
When I started working in the home energy field (in the mid-1990s), I never imagined I’d be suggesting that all-electric homes could be among the most efficient, sustainable, and practical choices in cold climates. In some warmer parts of the country—for example, in Florida, where cooling loads dominate and gas infrastructure is limited—all-electric homes have always been common. But in colder parts of the country, electric-resistance heat was to be avoided at all costs. The air source heat pumps (ASHPs) of the 1990s offered no solutions; they switched to resistance heat at mild temperatures (often in the 30–40°F range). In the north, ASHPs got a horrible reputation as systems that negligent landlords installed when they didn’t care about tenants’ utility bills.

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