How the Gas Appliance Ban Is Going To Work
You’ve probably heard that California is planning a gas appliance ban. If a gas appliance ban makes you think of Charlton Heston’s famous phrase, “From my cold dead hands,” there’s no need to panic. No one is going to come knock on your door and rip out your gas appliances. First off, on the state level, it’s a phased program, primarily aimed at new construction, that focuses on heaters and furnaces with incentives (not mandates) for homeowners to switch from gas to electric.
Let’s take a closer look at what California’s gas appliance ban means to you. In this post, we will examine:
- Why a gas appliance ban?
- What the California gas appliance ban actually says
- What are your options?
- How Ongaro and Sons can help you make a successful transition from gas appliances
Why a Gas Appliance Ban?
Natural gas combustion creates nitrogen oxide (NO2) and methane, greenhouse gas pollutants that affect health and the environment. A primary source of these pollutants is natural gas space and water heaters. Consequently, banning these gas appliances is expected to help create a healthier environment for California citizens and a smaller carbon footprint.
However, as we shall see, there’s a significant gap between theory and execution.
What the California Gas Appliance Ban Actually Says
The California Air Resource Board (CARB) unanimously passed the outlaw of new natural gas heaters by 2030. In addition to new construction, the rule requires that only zero-emission appliances, namely heat pumps, can replace old furnaces and heaters once the gas appliance ban goes into effect (though actual feasibility of implementation and safety of this is questioned by many, not the least of which is the gas industry). This is part of a larger statewide plan to control emissions to meet the federal 70 parts per billion, eight-hour ozone standard over the next 15 years.
To be clear, this rule currently does not include gas ovens, cooktops, or ranges, although all of these are considered sources of indoor pollution, notably benzene, even when turned off. However, the rule does direct state agencies to draft a potential total gas appliance ban that does cover gas cooking for a vote in 2025. Which doesn’t mean a ban on gas stoves is imminent, only that a vote is scheduled to take place in a couple of years. A lot can happen between now and then.
Note, however, that Los Angeles recently voted a gas appliance ban for new construction, requiring electric stoves, water heaters, furnaces, and clothes dryers. Similarly, San Francisco regulators approved a ban on new home furnaces and water heaters that rely on gas fuel. The ban does not, however, apply to gas stoves. Berkeley enacted a gas stove ban in 2019, the first city in the country to do so, which survived a lawsuit from the California Restaurant Association.
Critics raise the objection that the state lacks the electrical power and transmission infrastructure to fully accommodate the transition to all-electric appliances in commercial and residential buildings. The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles has also stated its opposition to the gas appliance ban.
Needless to say, the American Gas Association is opposed to the gas appliance ban; lobbying efforts opposed to the rule are likely. The federal House of Representatives recently introduced two measures, the Save Our Gas Stoves Act and the Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act to preemptively block any new laws that restrict or ban gas stoves. An energy bill amendment, termed the Lower Energy Costs Act, was passed in the House in response to a proposed Department of Energy standard for both electric and gas cooking tops that effectively rules that about half of gas stoves in use today are out of compliance. President Biden is expected to veto any such measure.
At the same time, environmental groups are lobbying for a federal gas appliance ban. While a commissioner with the Consumer Product Safety Commission proposed a gas appliance ban, there is as of yet no official action on the part of the agency.
Whether this could result in some delay or even reversal of the current gas appliance ban is uncertain.
What Are Your Options?
For right now, you can buy and install any gas appliance you like. If your gas-powered furnace or water heater is getting toward the end of its useful life, and you really prefer natural gas, now is probably a good time to consider replacing it with another gas-powered unit.
That said, if you are thinking of replacing a furnace, at least consider a heat pump, which is powered by electricity. Heat pumps are more energy efficient (up to 50%) than conventional gas combustion units. An added bonus of high-efficiency heat pumps is that they dehumidify better than standard air conditioning, which not only lowers energy consumption, but provides greater cooling comfort.
Regardless of whether the gas appliance ban does go into effect as it is currently composed, the California Public Utilities Commission announced incentives to switch to electric heat pump water heaters. Single-family residential and low-income customers are eligible for up to $4,885. Other incentives are capped at $3,800 for other customers. There is also an additional incentive for an electric panel upgrade required to install a heat pump water heater.
In addition, the Inflation Reduction Act contains provisions for rebates up to $840 and up to an additional $500 to help offset the cost of converting from natural gas or propane to electric.
For those with new construction, note that the California Public Utilities eliminated ratepayer subsidies for the extension of gas lines. California is the first state to fully end the subsidies. It is important to point out that the order does not ban new gas line connections. According to one commissioner, the edict is intended to promote electrification and decarbonization.
Ongaro and Sons — We’re Here to Help
Ongaro and Sons sells and services both gas- and electric-powered appliances to heat and cool homes and businesses. We aren’t taking sides on the gas appliance ban controversy. But we are here to help you make choices on appliances that best suit your needs and your budget to ensure maximum comfort with the highest efficiency.
Family owned and operated for over 90 years, Ongaro and Sons is dedicated to achieve 100% customer satisfaction with quality workmanship that surpasses any of our competitors. Ongaro and Sons technicians are experienced and highly knowledgeable in all the latest technologies. Whatever appliance you are considering, or if you have an appliance in need of repair, Ongaro and Sons offers quality advice and service.