a change in time

musings on behavioural change – the small stuff and the big stuff.

Giving up Gas


Some lifestyle changes can take a whole lot longer than one might plan, and converting to a fully electric house has been one of these. It has taken ten years to finally give up gas. Let me take you back in time as I share the process with you…

During my twenties and thirties, buying a home was never really upper most in my thoughts. It seemed like too big a commitment and yet somehow in 2001, when Peter and I were in our early forties, we became the proud owners of a red clinker brick house in the heart of Reservoir.

My story was that Yoshi wanted us to buy a house so we didn’t have to keep moving. Peter said I inspired him to consider becoming homeowners after I spoke of all the things we could do to make it our own.

I have now called this house my home for twenty two years. When I reflect back to those early days and years, not surprisingly, we didn’t think much about such things as ‘star ratings that measure energy efficiency’ or what it would be like to live here in very hot or very cold weather.

Our first stove was a gas cook top and oven, with a grill that never worked. We had it for nine years before we did the mandatory kitchen reno in 2010. The old stove ended up on the hard rubbish and was replaced with a shiny new 900cm stove with a gas cooktop and electric oven. We felt very modern.

It wasn’t until 2013 when I enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability at Swinburne that I really started to consider the ramifications of not thinking carefully about sustainable and energy efficient replacements for old appliances.

The next appliance to go was the gas heater, one of those that was ubiquitous in houses that experienced a 70s renovation. I’m not sure if Louis is lamenting the fact that the heater is still there or me taking the photo.

By this stage I was starting to think that choosing a new gas heater probably wasn’t such a great idea. We were finding it much harder to break the habit than I ever imagined, and ended up purchasing a Cannon Canterbury in-built gas heater. Two years later, there was an alert over potentially deadly carbon monoxide leaks in this particular model. But it had the word ‘eco’ in the advertising!!

We did have the heater tested and the faux logs looked rather pretty at night however it didn’t have the staying power of those old 70s models and I was soon faced with the problem of finding another solution for heating the house. I ended up having two Daikon reverse cycle air conditioning units installed, after doing some research on the most energy efficient way to heat and cool a house.

The units were installed in May 2020, one gas appliance down, two to go. Don’t forget to regularly clean the filters. Very easy to do!

Driving through Newstead in March 2022, we stopped off to charge the car at the Enviroshop charging station. We ended up having a chat with Frank Forster, the manager, about what we were planning to tackle next on our retrofit list.

Keith was in the market to buy a new car back in 2021. My sister Jann and her husband, Tony, convinced Keith that it was a waste of time to purchase a hybrid, he may as well go straight to a fully electric car. And he did!

I told Frank how we were considering getting a battery for the solar panels. He looked at us in a way that suggested this was not the next thing we should be considering. We waited for advice. He responded assertively, ‘Get off Gas’. They were the words I needed to hear to encourage me to make the next move.

I had been happy with the Delonghi free standing stove, and it didn’t feel right to move it on while it was still functioning. Then one day I read an article in The New Yorker that outlined the three downsides of cooking with gas: 1. It is a fossil fuel and a greenhouse gas. 2. It is no longer the cheap power option and 3. It is bad for your health. You can read the article here: Learning to love an induction stove

Finding a replacement stove with an induction cook top was proving to be trickier than we expected. Smeg had a few on offer with the average price being a cool 10K. Jann and Tony came to the rescue; they did a wider search and found the InAlto 90 cm Induction Upright Cooker for under 3K.

The last item on the list was the gas hot water service. We were going to change this over when we renovated in 2010, however, we thought we would wait until the unit stopped working and replace it with a new Rinnai continuous flow hot water service. That Rinnai is still sitting in its box in the garage.

The folk at Newstead recommended the Sanden Eco Plus hot water heat pump system, so that’s what we purchased. We managed to receive a rebate from both the federal and state governments which helped bring the price down. The blurb says ‘An air sourced heat pump absorbs heat from the air and transfers it to heat water. It runs on electricity but is roughly three times more efficient than a conventional electric water heater.’ Sounds good to me.

Nick, one of the Newstead team, gave us some important information: don’t say you want the gas disconnected, let them know you want to have it abolished. That’s not the kind of word one usually associates with the supply or disconnection of utilities. I couldn’t wait to do some abolishing.

Now for the confession – I couldn’t quite kick the habit. Like keeping a bottle of your favourite spirits in the cupboard, even though you have sworn of alcohol some time ago, I had to have a back up, just in case we lost power for an extended period of time. It feels like I am channeling our mother, one of the generation who lived through the Great Depression. Hopefully we won’t need to use it.

Another factor that contributed to this dramatic abolishment was that, even though Victoria still relies on electricity generated by coal-fired power, we are in a transitional period where other sources such as hydro, wind and solar are being added to the grid. There are no environmentally friendly versions of ‘natural gas’. Why gas is bad for climate change and energy prices

Giving up gas has taken too many years. I am hoping that this ‘change in time’ will encourage others to consider their options in similar circumstances. I still believe that every change we make contributes to the big changes that need to be made.

I have just joined a Facebook group called My Efficient Electric Home. It has a membership of 80,000. It’s good to know that we are not alone.

From the front garden to the back garden, a literal looking back. I do enjoy these unplanned journeys, especially when it feels like we are contributing to the bigger picture.

Author: rhinophile

I’m interested in how we live and how we die. I like to try things on and see if they work for me. I find the human experience a fascinating one. No matter how much we hear about there being evil in the world, I also know there is goodness, and many people who are dedicated to caring for everyone and everything.

4 thoughts on “Giving up Gas

  1. It is a pleasure having been on this journey to abolish gas Ruth. I love the way you write blogs when you feel there is something important to share, and this is a very important message. The decisions you’ve made along the way should help others do the same. The pictures are great and help tell the story. Having experts to guide you is a big plus as well. Well done my dear sister. You are an inspiration to us all. 😊♥️🌿🔥💦

    • Thanks for your response Jann. You and I have shared so many stages in our lives and this has been one that brings together our common concern and desire to see a real change in habits that have become too entrenched in our consumer society. Having family, and experts, such as the Newstead team, on board made it possible for us to take these small steps. I wonder what will be next on this ongoing journey!

  2. Is it giving up gas or wise-ing up. Love the phases of letting go of gas. Thank you for the thinking and the doing.

    • Wise-ing up – I like it! Now I just have to think of a clever title! Seriously though, it does all appear to be tied to a process of waking up to a very big problem we have with tackling climate change. Thank you for all that you do to make a difference.

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