Barnett will guide you through your upgrade to a heat pump water heater. 

You might have heard news reports or rumors that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has decided to ban the sale of all natural gas-powered furnaces and water heaters.

While technically this is true, there’s more to the story.

There’s also no need to worry. 

The facts about the Bay Area’s ban on gas water heaters.  

What: The Bay Area Air Quality Management District board voted to ban the sale and installation of natural-gas powered furnaces and water heaters for residential use.

Where: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara Counties, plus southwestern Solano and southern Sonoma counties. Click here for a map of the designated area.

When: The ban on the sale and installation of natural-gas powered furnaces and water heaters will begin in 2027.

Why: The goal of these restrictions is to improve outdoor air quality. Eliminating gas-powered furnaces and water heaters will reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides emitted into the Bay Area.

Nitrogen oxides have been known to produce acid rain and smog and increase the risk for asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, about 90 percent of the nitrogen oxides in the air come from gas-powered appliances in family homes.

How does the gas water heater ban affect me?

  • Phase out starting in 2027

Natural gas-powered standard tank water heaters cannot be sold or installed starting January 1, 2027. (This phase out/ban does not apply to propane-powered appliances.)

All new residential construction will be prohibited from installing gas-fired tank water heaters beginning  January 1, 2027.

  • Current use of gas water heaters

If you recently purchased or have a gas water heater in your home, you do not need to change anything. You will not be penalized for owning or using a pre-existing natural gas-fired water heater.

  • Repairs of natural gas water heaters in 2027 and after

If your standard gas water heater breaks after January 1, 2027, you can continue to operate it as long as it can be repaired.

  • Death of a water heater

Once your water heater can no longer be repaired or operated, you will need to replace it with an electric or heat-pump powered water heater. You can choose from a tank-style or tankless system. We can help you determine which type of system is best for your family’s needs.

Will upgrading to an electric water heater be costly?

Thanks to the national and statewide push to reduce carbon emissions, rebates and tax incentives have been set up to assist  consumers to upgrade to electric and heat pump appliances.

Last summer Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which created rebate and tax incentive programs.

  • High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate

Provide a maximum rebate of $1,750 on heat pump water heaters

  • Energy Efficiency Home Improvement Credit

Allows for a tax credit of 30 percent of the total upgrade cost, which includes the heat pump water heater, labor, and parts.

The maximum credit is $2,000.

We broke down the specific benefits of the Act in upgrading to a heat pump water heater in a recent blog about the Inflation Reduction Act.

Additionally California also has rebate and tax incentive programs you can take advantage of to offset the cost of upgrading to an electric-powered heat pump water heater.

  • Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayRen) is offering homeowners up to $2,000 in rebates to upgrade to a heat pump water heater.
  • The Switch is On, a Tech Clean California campaign to support the switch to electrical systems, has created an online incentive finder based on your zip code. You can find all currently available tax credits and rebates here.

Bonus: when you are ready to upgrade, our staff at Barnett will fill out all of the rebate paperwork for you. 

Will I have to upgrade my electric service panel to run a heat pump water heater?

If you have a newer home, especially one built in the past 30 years, you shouldn’t need to increase the capacity of your electric service panel when you upgrade to a heat pump water heater.

If your home is more than 50 years old, it’s highly likely you’ll need to upgrade your electric panel to handle 220 volts of current.

But, there are several pieces of good news!

We contract with local electricians to ensure your installation is smooth and safe. We make all the phone calls, manage them, and oversee their work so you don’t have to.

Before we agree to install a new heat pump water heater in your home, we will have an electrician determine if your house can handle the additional load and provide you with an estimate.

If you need an electrical panel upgrade, there is an Electrification Rebate program that provides up to $4,000 to help offset your costs.

The market is also responding to the need for heat pump water heaters that run on less electrical current. If it’s a good fit for your situation, we can install a unit manufactured by Rheem that only needs 120 volts of electricity. Installing this model typically prevents the need for a service panel upgrade.

What if my gas water heater dies and I can’t get a same-day upgrade?

One of the biggest concerns about the gas-powered water heater ban has been going without hot water if you can’t get a heat pump water heater installed the same day your old water heater dies.

It’s an understandable concern, especially if you have an older home and are likely to need to upgrade your service panel.

Fortunately, Barnett Plumbing is one of only a few Tri-Valley plumbers who is permitted and capable of installing a free, temporary system to ensure you never go a day without hot water.

The cost for installing a temporary system is offset by a state grant awarded to Barnett. You won’t pay a dime for the materials or installation of the system that will serve you until your heat pump water heater is ready to be installed.

The Gas Water Heater Ban is no problem for Barnett

As your trusted plumber, we are looking out for your family. Our technicians are trained and experienced in installing heat pump water heaters. Our staff is ready to answer your questions and complete your rebate paperwork for you.

Between the state and federal rebate and tax credits available, upgrading to a heat pump water heater should cost you the same as a standard gas water heater.

Thanks to available rebates and manufacturing developments, any electric service panel upgrades could be covered or unnecessary.

And if you find yourself in need of hot water and unable to have a heat pump water heater installed and operational on the same day, Barnett can install a temporary system to keep the hot water flowing without missing a beat.

Here’s my personal promise to you: When you call or schedule an on-site estimate, there will be no pressure. No obligation. We will not sell you a water heater you don’t need or want.

If you have concerns about the Bay Area gas-powered water heater ban, call us at (925) 438-6326. Don’t worry. Barnett Plumbing & Water Heaters has you covered.

Thanks for letting us be your trusted plumber.

Headshot of a smiling man with short hair
Phil Barnett
President of Barnett Plumbing & Water Heaters