Nuts and Bolts
The rubber meets the road. Awesome products that replace water heaters and stoves in your house. They just happen to be electric.
NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop
Don't knock it until you try it. This hot plate lets you try out induction to see if you like it. It's probably the most important step of Electrify Everything. (Here are the 7 Steps BTW.)
If you can get over cooking on gas (which is the general preference), you have broken the only emotional connection to fossil fuels in your home. The rest may be a bit technically challenging, but not emotionally challenging.
If you want a 2 burner version, my friend Blake Reid recommends this one after trying and returning multiple others.
So buy one of these and try it. They only work with pans that have ferrous metals in them (iron and steel.) Test your pans with a magnet, if it sticks, it will work on induction. You may need to buy new pans like the ones on this page. It's a good excuse to refresh the kitchen!
Frigidaire FGIF3061NF Induction Range with Convection Oven
This is the range my wife and I bought. It's highly reviewed and about $1500. That's where induction starts.
We really like this range, I burn stuff much less, water boils wicked fast, the oven cooks evenly, and more. We do wish there were two big burners instead of one, but not a big deal.
The best option changes, Google "best induction range" and see what the latest is.
Circulon Symmetry 11 Hard Anodized Piece Nonstick Pan Set
You're probably going to need new pans to use induction, unless magnets stick to all of yours.
This is the pan set we bought after a lot of research. 18 months later the very tough nonstick coating is like new.
They say you can use metal utensils in them (but we haven't.) The pans clean up easily, they still look like new. I highly recommend them. BTW they look much browner in the photos than they do in person. They are more of a slightly brown dark grey.
50 Gallon AO Smith Voltex Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater
Heat pump water heaters are rather magical. They now have lower operating costs than natural gas in most of the country, yet they're electric. Don't buy this here, it's just an example.
They also can't produce carbon monoxide so they're better from a health and indoor air quality standpoint.
Don't buy it here, buy it from the HVAC company that installs it or you may not get a warranty. The tanks alone are typically $1100-1300 for 50 gallon, $1800-2000 for 80 gallon. Plus install. This is competitive with the gas water heaters you should be buying for safety reasons.
Rheem/Richmond 12E50-HP Heat Pump Water Heater
I've heard good things about this model. Take a look at Energy Guides (the big yellow sticker with energy cost/usage estimates.) You'll see these are operation cost competitive with cheap gas.
The drawbacks of heat pump water heaters are that they need some space to pull heat from, they'll slightly cool the space they're in (1-2 degrees for a basement/crawlspace, more for smaller spaces), they may require new wiring (30-50 amp 220), and they make a minor amount of noise like a window fan or dehumidifier (don't put them by bedrooms).
Sense Home Energy Monitor
If you want to geek out, this is one of the best ways. Sense will tell you how much your house is using, and break out many (but not all) individual devices.
I've worked with 3 different energy monitors, this is my favorite for most applications.
Kill a Watt Electricity Monitor
While Sense will watch your whole house for $300, this will watch one outlet for $20.
If you think your fridge is a pig, find out.
More of a toy than a tool, but if your kids want to help out with your Home Performance project, this may be just the thing.
Dimplex DLGM29 OptiMyst Open Hearth Fireplace Insert
Until recently, electric fireplaces pretty much sucked. That changes with this product. It looks very much like realistic fire, you likely have seen one at a Starbucks for Burger King (both of which use it.)
Check out the videos on the Amazon listing. I was impressed. A viable alternative to a fireplace! You can run it 24/7/365 if you like. It does require being filled with water every 14-17 hours of operation.
It's done by atomizing water and shining an LED on it. Sounds silly but it looks surprisingly good.
It doesn't put out any heat on its own (although they have models that do, and they're modulating, so they only add as much heat as is needed.)
Foobot Indoor Air Quality Monitor
Nate's favorite monitor, read the in depth comparison. Measures the most important stuff (temp, humidity, PM2.5/dust and tVOC/chemicals) at a good price point. Performed well in Lawrence Berkeley Lab testing.
One is a good start. We really like installing 3-4 of these to watch comfort in different parts of the house. Check out the "Special Offers" section on the Amazon page for multiple unit discounts.
Frigidaire FFRH0822R1 Heat Pump Window Unit
If you are looking at a space heater for a tough to heat or cool space like a finished attic or a sunroom, consider a heat pump window unit, which is an air conditioner AND a heat pump.
Read carefully, many of these have resistance backup heat, not a heat pump. Look for a heat pump designation.
Whynter Elite ARC-122DHP Standalone AC/Dehumidifier/Heat Pump 12,000 BTU cooling, 11,000 BTU heating
UPDATE: Avoid this one. A client tried this to serve as AC in their home. It works ok for that, but the controls are not intuitive. The heat pump only works down to 45F outdoors, which isn't useful.
This serves as air conditioning, heating, and dehumidifier. Has a pump for the dehu. It has 2 vents (in & out) which is critical if you want good performance.
It also has an activated charcoal filter which should help reduce VOCs (chemical pollutants).
Reviews for these units are quite mixed.
Haier HPND14XHT 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Air Conditioner, 10,000 BTU Heat Pump Heater
Just bought one of these for clients to use in between HVAC systems.
One review notes the heat pump working down to 10F.
Best reviews I've seen, one fellow has 14 of them for the condos he owns in a building with failing central cooling.
We cool our 2200 sf home in Cleveland with 10,000 BTUs of cooling, curious to try this one out in between gigs at client homes.
If you buy one please let me know your experience!