If you’re a Bay Area resident and your gas furnace or water heater stop working after 2027 and 2029, respectively, you’ll be required to replace them with electric models.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) voted on March 15, 2023 to adopt rules to phase out the sale of gas furnaces and water heaters over the next eight years in a bid to reduce nitrogen oxide emission. If you live in the BAAQMD jurisdictions—San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, southwestern Colano and northern Sonoma counties—you’ll need to heed the new regulations.
Making the transition won’t be an inexpensive endeavor in our high-cost region, particularly when it comes to furnaces. Swapping out a gas furnace for an electric heat pump will likely run $10,000-$20,000, as many homeowners in older properties will need to upgrade their electric panels to 200 amps. The switch could also trigger modifications with respect to ductwork or other related components.
There are organizations, such as Bay Area Regional Energy Network, that offer rebates and financing that can ease the fiscal burden.
I’m all for limiting toxic gases in the air, though perhaps in a less aggressive way when it comes to completely banning gas appliances. If you’re rocking one of those old gravity furnaces in your garage, it might be a good time to think about replacing it with a heat pump. But if you have a more contemporary gas furnace and aren’t ready to bear the cost of switching to a whole new electric setup, make sure you have the furnace serviced annually to make it run as efficiently as possible and prolong its life.