Contributed by Gerard Manning and Terry Nagel

There are some super deals available right now for replacing your gas water heater if you are income qualified, and bargains for everyone are expected soon. But these pots of money are limited, so it’s important to act quickly.

Currently, residents of San Mateo County who make less than $103,000 a year (if they live alone) or $149,100 (for a family of four) are eligible for a rebate of $7,745 on a new heat pump electric water heater, making it free to replace in most cases. You can even get an interest-free loan for up to five years if you don’t have enough funds on hand. If you are not income qualified, you can still get a $2,900 rebate, and 30% tax credit for going electric

Why should you replace your gas water heater?

  • Heat pump water heaters (HPWH) are four times more efficient than gas ones, so they’re cheaper to run.
  • If your gas water heater is more than 8 to 10 years old, it could fail at any time. Warranties usually only last six years. Emergency replacements usually cost more, not to mention the expense of possible flood damage.
  • Your water heater is one of the biggest sources of CO2 emissions in your life. A gas water heater emits the equivalent of 6,200 lbs. (3 tons) of CO2+methane emissions per year, the equivalent of driving your gasoline car for 18 months or flying from San Francisco to Hawaii five times.
  • Beginning in 2027, all gas water heaters and furnaces will need to switch to zero-NOx alternatives like heat pumps when they need to be replaced, according to a Bay Area Air Quality Management District regulation approved in 2023.

The funding for these rebates is available from a variety of sources. Renters may want to let their landlords know that they are also available to them.

If you don’t qualify for the current rebates available to specific incomes, stay tuned. Additional rebates for all incomes are anticipated soon.

Need help figuring out how to switch? Gerard Manning, a Burlingame volunteer, has made it his mission to figure out the best deals for San Mateo County residents at https://sanmateo.cleanhotwater.info and for Santa Clara County residents at https://santaclara.cleanhotwater.info. He’s also available at ger@ceolas.org to answer your questions.