A state board has voted to phase out gas-fueled furnaces and water heaters in California in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint and cut down on pollution.
Starting in 2030, all new furnaces and water heaters will have to be electric.
“Absolutely it’s more efficient,” said Steven Pelle Jr. of Pelle Heating and Air Conditioning. “Heat pumps are really starting to take off.”
Pelle said he is already seeing a major change.
“I’m seeing customers basically looking toward the heat pump application purely for the environmental factors” he said.
The California Air Resources Board voted to make the switch Thursday after the same board voted to ban the sale of gas-powered cars and light trucks in 2035 – meaning, only electric vehicles too.
“I think it’s taking a very serious issue very seriously like it should,” said Jose Torres, director of the Building Decarbonization Coalition.
The coalition said swapping gas heaters and furnaces will help limit pollution of nitrogen oxide – or NOX — that’s harmful to the environment.
“Just to put it in perspective, gas appliances in homes and buildings in the Bay Area are responsible for more NOX pollution than the region’s passenger cars,” said Torres.
Many have voiced concerns after a record heat wave stretched the power grid to its limits, wondering if the grid will be able to handle changes like this.
“If we replaced old air conditioning systems with new high efficiency heat pumps that could save us some energy in terms of the grid just because they’re much more efficient,” said Torres.
Though the experts say they cost more at first, the Inflation Reduction Act passed this summer provides rebates for installing an electric hvac system like a heat pump — up to $8,000 depending on your income level. California is offering a rebate too starting at $3,000 per unit.
“It’ll be more efficient to run because instead of a traditional system where you’re heating and cooling the entire home, you can actually segregate it to where it’s in particular bedrooms and living areas,” said Pelle.
People won’t have to go out of their way to buy a new furnace, but when it breaks, they will have to replace them with a model that uses electricity.
“I definitely can tell there’s a rapid change in my industry that we’re basically trying to fill the gap,” said Pelle.
The state mandates that by 2026, all new homes are built with electric heaters or appliances.