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Liberal Area to Phase Out Natural Gas Furnaces and Water Heaters

Eric Risberg

The San Francisco Bay Area will begin a “gradual phaseout” of gas-powered water heaters and furnaces, which will be banned after 2026, The Hill reported Thursday.

Reportedly, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) voted this week to approve new rules to eliminate nitrogen oxide emissions from water heaters and furnaces. Going forward, the sale of NOx-emitting natural gas water heaters will be prohibited beginning in 2027. In 2029, the sale of NOx-emitting furnaces will be banned. “Large, commercial” water heaters that emit NOx will be banned in 2031.

“The 1.8 million water heaters and furnaces in the Bay Area significantly impact our air quality, resulting in dozens of early deaths and a wide range of health impacts, particularly in communities of color,” Philip Fine, executive officer of the Air District, said in a statement to the outlet. “This groundbreaking regulation will phase out the most polluting appliances in homes and businesses to protect Bay Area residents from the harmful air pollution they cause.” 

The Hill noted that a separate fact sheet from the agency said that the only zero-NOx appliances available in the are electric appliances. A press release from the BAAQMD said that the regulations do not affect appliances used for cooking, such as gas stoves, which was previously a target for Democrats.

“The new amendments will safeguard public health against the hazards of these pollutants and prevent an estimated 85 premature deaths, as well as dozens of new asthma cases, in the Bay Area each year,” a statement from the agency added.

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