Dr Annabelle Warren works in a Merri-bek clinic and a local public hospital. In 2020, she electrified her East Brunswick home, installing insulation and gap sealing to reduce heat loss, replacing gas with reverse-cycle heating, heat pump hot water and induction cooking, and beefing up her rooftop solar.
Taking her home all-electric cost $12,000, an up-front cost she expects to recoup in a handful of years.
But for Dr Warren, switching her home to all-electric wasn’t just about savings and environmental benefit, it was also about health.
“Gas heaters and stoves have health risks because they release carbon monoxide and other pollutants that create indoor air pollution,” she says. “This can cause or exacerbate illnesses, such as asthma in children.”
According to the National Asthma Council, scientists have found that around 12 per cent of childhood asthma in Australia can be attributed to the use of gas stoves for cooking. So not only is burning gas in our homes increasing climate change, it’s also a risk to our health.
“Remove gas from your home as soon as you can,” says Dr Warren.
Start the transition to all-electric
While Dr Warren was able to move her home away from gas quickly, she acknowledges that not everyone is in the same position. She counsels people to start where and when they can, accessing rebates and government support wherever possible.
Solar Victoria has a range of rebates on offer and eligible homeowners can also access the Victorian Government’s $1000 rebate to switch gas heating to energy-efficient electric reverse-cycle air conditioning.
There are also incentives for rental providers. Incentives for heat pump hot water systems can mean basic units are very low cost. Planning ahead to research the best options before appliances reach their end of life is also a good idea.
In the meantime, make sure any gas appliances you do have are regularly serviced so that they don’t leak carbon monoxide. Energy Safe Victoria has information for renters and homeowners.
Those who are interested to try induction cooking but unable to change their built-in cooktop in the short term, could consider a portable plug-in induction unit, which can be bought for around $50.
For Dr Warren, the health benefits of going all electric reach beyond the home. How we travel around our Merri-bek community is also key.
“Imagine walking down Sydney Road or Bell Street with less traffic noise and air pollution because we’re walking and cycling more and using electric cars and buses? The sooner we can do that for our kids, the better.”
Home gas appliances and your health – medical advice
Asthma and indoor gas appliances – medical advice