Electrifying Homes

In 2018 California passed Senate Bill 100.  The law requires that energy sources be both renewable and zero-carbon for generating 100 percent of electricity to California customers by 2045. So, power plants can’t use fossil or nuclear fuels by 2045. You don’t need to do anything in San Carlos CA, just sit back let the power plants do their thing! However, PG&E also supplies gas that you love to use in your furnace, water heater and stove – are they coming for that?

New HomesThe Electric Home

California is encouraging electrifying homes in new construction, but not mandating it. The California Energy Commission (CEC) started its green revolution in 2019 by demanding that all new home builds possess solar panels. Then California adopted some new building energy codes starting in 2023. The codes encourage new construction to be purely electric. Basically, San Carlos CA buildings will need to meet certain energy efficiency standards that can be achieved in numerous ways, as long as the end result meets the code’s energy efficiency requirements.

For example, a builder could still install a gas furnace, but then they might need to install better windows and/or insulation to make up for it. An electrical heat pump is more efficient than a gas furnace, so the electric appliance makes more sense to install. Regardless of what’s installed, buildings must be “all-electric ready” so that homeowners in the future can easily convert any non-electric appliances to electric.

All Homes

Cooking with gas

Cooking with Gas

So, if you already own a home in San Carlos CA, you might be thinking none of this electrifying homes nonsense affects you but wait! While you’re perfectly comfortable in your 1950s rancher, progress is coming for you! California will ban sale of all new natural gas-fired furnaces and water-heaters by 2030. There is currently no ban on gas cookstoves, fireplaces, or clothes dryers, but I suspect that’s coming eventually too. There’s already talk about banning gas cooktops because they pollute the air inside homes.

Now you’re thinking, “Alright, when my gas furnace or water heater go out, I’ll just install a new electric one!” Not so fast, electrifying homes is not cheap! Those things require 220V and 30-40 Amps. Your home might only have 100 Amp service plus it’s likely that your circuit breaker box is not big enough for the new electric service requirements. You also have to get the wires over to the appliances. So now your typical $2,000 gas water heater replacement might cost you at least 10x that when you install your first electric hot water heater.

Converting to Eletric Heat

Heat Pump inside the Home

Then there’s the aesthetics of it all. You know those white boxes you sometimes see hanging on people’s walls? Well, that might just be all of us soon. That’s what some heat pump system looks like although there are ones that will also install into your existing duct system! Of course, you can also go with baseboard heaters?

Cost to Convert

Electrifying San Carlos CA homes will not be cheap! The San Mateo County Assoc of Realtors put together a potential cost range of all electric conversation in August 2021 with estimates from 8 electrical contractors in San Mateo County as well as a pool service company. Cost range was $134,500 on the low end to $293,000 on the High End. Ouch!

My Big Concerns

There are many homes in San Carlos CA and other areas that only have 100 Amp electric service or not enough to power an electric water heater or heat pump. So, these homes will need their electric service upgraded. This might mean that PG&E will need to upgrade the transformer that feeds into your home. This process typically takes anywhere from 3-6 months. So, come 2030 your gas water heater goes out and you can only buy an electric water heater, but it will take 3-6 months to get that working, you willing to take cold showers for 3-6 months? Unless something changes in the law or PG&E somehow significantly expedites their ability to add service to a home, then it’s cold showers!

The most reasonable actions you could take to avoid cold showers are as follows:

  1. In early 2029 you replace your gas water heater and furnace before sales of new ones are banned from California!
  2. While your gas appliances are in perfect working order you start the process with PG&E to upgrade your service so that when the appliances go out, you’re set up to easily replace them. I fear that trying to do this in 2030 or 2031 might be impossible as PG&E becomes slammed by all those people whose gas water heater die on them.


Here’s a breakdown of some available rebates for electrifying homes

More Info

Cost study for 10 homes in San Mateo County looking at home electrification: https://www.smcsustainability.org/energy-water/decarbonizing-homes/.

More info about author https://sancarloslife.com/best-realtors-in-san-carlos-ca/

To find some of the best realtors in San Carlos CA visit https://www.vabrato.com/about-us/

Don't miss out!
Subscribe To San Carlos Life

Add your email here to subscribe to all things San Carlos

Invalid email address
Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.


Click one of our contacts below to chat on WhatsApp