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Unhooking from Natural Gas; how to in Boulder, CO

Over the years, we’ve done a number of projects that disconnect the home and property from needing or using any type of gas (municipal natural gas or tanks of liquid propane).

It’s interesting to compile a list of the reasons that people want to get off of gas.  Here’s the list:

  • Don’t like fracking or the natural gas industry, and don’t want to support any of it.
  • Very enthusiastic about PV (photovoltaic) solar panels and thus want a home designed around electricity and not gas.
  • Don’t want to consume fossil fuels.
  • Live in the forested mountains, away from municipal natural gas, and don’t want a huge above ground pig of LP gas in the yard.
  • Want a property that’s off the grid.  The easiest way to have a fully functional off the grid pad is to commit 100% to electricity.

And now, after the horrible fires in Superior, Louisville, and east Boulder County, we have another big reason to desire a home with no need for natural gas. 

  • In the event of a fire or other disaster, if the gas gets cut off, the house has no heat or hot water. Hundreds of homes that survived the fires were without heat for days. In extreme cold weather events, this can make the house uninhabitable and/or downright uncomfortable.

Getting Off of Natural Gas

So how do you make your home function without gas?

Here are some of the main ingredients to the custom recipes we use to create a property independent of natural gas or propane:

Heat System:  

If looking to convert your home to 100% electric and no gas, usually the trickiest thing to figure out is the heating.  Most homes in Colorado use natural gas as its primary heat source.  Most forced air furnaces use natural gas.  So do most boilers (Boilers are most likely the heat source if your home has warm radiators in lieu of warm air getting pushed into the rooms.).

One great way to efficiently heat and cool your home is with a geothermal system.  The system consists of a series of loops that descend up to 300’ into the earth.  There are pumps and condensers that utilize the consistent temperature of the earth (somewhere in the 50’s F) to heat the home in the winter and cool the air in the summer.  

Another very sensible solution is an air-source heat pump.  This looks and feels just like a standard gas forced air furnace, but it can extract the heat from outside air, even if it’s well below 0 degrees.

Domestic Hot Water:

Hot water is easy to take for granted.  And then when the water heater goes out and you’re without, the appreciation for the water heater is fully experienced.  Most water heaters use natural gas.  This includes tank water heaters and on-demand units.  The good news is that there are a number of great electric hot water tank options available.  In our experience, on-demand electric water heaters don’t work well.  We recommend sticking with a tank option for electric hot water.


Many kitchens use gas for the cooktop and/or range/oven.  It is relatively simple to provide new electrical circuits for a new electric cooktop or range oven.  Induction (electric) cooktops are a high powered and popular option vs a gas cooktop. 

Provide Renewable PV Energy:

All of the solutions mentioned above use electricity as the power source to replace gas.  If you’re going to retrofit your home to get off of gas, the perfect compliment is to add a robust solar panel photovoltaic system.  This is renewable energy that you’re harnessing whenever the sun is out.

In conclusion, getting totally off of gas isn’t that difficult.  Replacing several of your primary appliances and adding a solar panel array is the recipe to get your home super efficient all the way to the point of a zero net energy home.  My hunch is that as time goes by, there will be more reasons to want to get your home off of gas or other fossil fuels.

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