If you’re currently using gas-fired appliances in your Los Angeles, California home, now is the time to start planning for electrification. With ambitious aims toward achieving carbon neutrality, California legislators have outlawed the installation of gas-fired heaters and gas-fired water heaters in all new construction. In fact, the State of California is leading the way in eliminating all appliances that rely on natural gas. With some California municipalities already implementing their own natural gas bans, natural gas is soon to be phased out almost completely. Read on to find out more about how statewide electrification will affect the environment and your household.
The Argument for and Against Natural Gas
California’s infrastructure is currently set up for natural gas delivery. As such, one of the major concerns with electrification plans is how to implement them equitably. Although using all-electric appliances will prove cheaper than relying on natural gas over time, the upfront costs of transitioning are significant. While legislators are committed to reducing the statewide impact of natural gas use on the environment, they’re also eager to move forward in a way that doesn’t place excessive burden on low-income families and low-income property owners.
Despite what you’ve heard about statewide “gas furnace bans,” legislators are targeting new installations only. Thus, if you currently have a gas-fired heater or gas-fired water heater in your home, the need to electrify will only arise when you get ready to replace these units. Many California cities and counties have implemented electrification-oriented legislation on their own, with some already outright banning gas heaters in any new commercial construction. At the state level, these restrictions will be phased in during the coming months and years with a constant focus on limiting their economic impact.
Most arguments for the continued use of natural gas are hinged upon the cost of transitioning. Gas rates in California are determined by the requirement for revenue divided by the amount of units sold. To simplify, if the revenue requirement for a California gas company is $500, and exactly 500 units of gas are sold, then cost per unit will be just $1. However, as people who can afford to electrify their homes do so, fewer units will be sold. With this same revenue requirement, selling only 250 units of gas would mean that the per unit cost would automatically double. Some estimates project a rate increase of 80% by the year 2030, and an increase as high as 480% just 20 years later.
Although limiting these economic challenges is a concern, the arguments against using natural gas as a main fuel source for heating are equally solid. Almost 90% of California homes currently rely on gas appliances. This means that there are over 13 million houses producing carbon emissions on a daily basis. The combustion of natural gas from both commercial and residential buildings accounts for 5% of the state’s total nitrogen oxide emissions, and of this 5%, 90% is solely the result of natural gas heating. When it comes to averting the current climate crisis, curbing natural gas consumption is a great place to start.
New and Forthcoming Legislation
In 2018, then Governor Jerry Brown set the stage for statewide electrification by signing an executive order that was dubbed by some as being “history’s most ambitious climate target.” Under this order, California is poised to achieved carbon neutrality by the year 2045 by linking its grid to a larger, regional market and by implementing stern restrictions on the use of natural gas. Also signed by Brown, SB-100 is a landmark policy that requires 100% of all retail sales to consumers to be either zero-carbon resources or powered by renewable energy by the year 2045.
This legislation was followed the signing of B-55-18, which further commits Californians to achieving carbon neutrality by 2045 economy-wide. However, recent legislation has further advanced this already ambitious goal by implementing a statewide ban on all gas-fired furnaces and water heaters by 2030. Although this doesn’t mean that homeowners must immediately pull their gas-fired appliances out, it does mean that they’ll have to purchase electrically powered alternatives when replacing them. Moreover, as fewer California residents use natural gas heating systems, noticeable rate increases are bound to occur.
Benefits of Electrifying Your Home
You don’t have to wait until 2030 to start considering your options in electric heating equipment. Electric, point-of-use water heaters, electric furnaces, and heat pumps are all home additions that can increase both the marketability and value of your property. As more Californians come to understand the widespread economic effects of gradual electrification in the state, many buyers and renters will start targeting properties that have already made this transition.
Strategic electrification is believed to be the most economically feasible choice for most households. By making changes in your heating plan in manageable increments, you can stay on top of fast-changing legislation and keep your house on par with the most current market expectations. Strategic electrification will also help you enjoy greater returns from the improvements that you make.
Switching to an electric water heater will limit your natural gas demands and offset the impact of eventual rate hikes. When it comes time to replace your furnace, exploring heat pumps, ductless mini-split heat pumps, and high-efficiency electric furnaces is the best choice. Even though companies can still sell gas-fired appliances in some areas, and even if gas furnace suppliers are offering deep discounts, the available upfront savings won’t account for the increasingly high costs of using these appliances as natural gas rates invariably rise.
Electrification and Resident Safety
Switching to all-electric appliances is currently recognized as being better for the natural environment. It’s an easy way to lower the carbon footprint of your entire household, even as you continue to enjoy the same level of indoor comfort and convenience. Given dramatic differences in heat delivery, many electric heating systems can also have a positive impact on indoor air quality. However, for consumers, one of the greatest benefits of making this change is being able to eliminate the biggest carbon monoxide producer in the house. All gas-fired appliances produce carbon monoxide (CO) gas. This is why California residents are required to have CO alarms installed throughout their homes. When gas furnaces burn natural gas, they do so incompletely. The result is a harmful exhaust that must be vented outdoors.
Unfortunately, furnace venting systems can collapse, develop blockages, and cause dangerous backdrafts. In other words, they aren’t infallible. Upgrading your home heating system to an electric furnace or electric heat pump will eliminate this risk. Heat pumps and furnaces don’t produce carbon monoxide. Thus, making this upgrade is both better for the environment and better for your health. Once you’ve electrified your home heating system, you can heat your house all winter without fear of CO exposure or poisoning.
At Temp Air System Inc., we proudly serve residents of Los Angeles, CA and the surrounding areas. We’re committed to helping our clients make informed decisions about the future of their home heating systems. We offer air conditioner and furnace installation, maintenance, and repair services. We additionally provide ductless mini-splits, heat pumps, and advanced indoor air quality solutions. To start planning for the electrification of your California home, get in touch with Temp Air System Inc. today.