Home Electrification Information

Take Advantage of Existing Rebates to Electrify Your Home!

San José is committed to developing policies and programs that support building electrification both in existing and new construction. Switching to cleaner electric appliances to cook our food and heat our homes improves indoor and outdoor air quality. This makes our homes healthier, safer, and better for our residents. For heating and cooling, electric appliances that use heat pump technology are much more efficient than their conventional counterparts, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money on energy bills. Switching from a heat pump water heater, for example, you can reduce emissions between 50 and 70 percent per household annually.

Learn about how you can make your home more energy-efficient and resilient, reduce your energy bill while helping out the environment, and most importantly, improve your indoor air quality.

Electric Appliances

Heat Pump Water Heater:

Heat pump water heaters move heat rather than make heat. It’s like a reverse refrigerator. While a refrigerator pulls heat from inside a box and dumps it into the surrounding room, a heat pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air and transfers it at a higher temperature into the tank to heat your water.

Benefits:
  • Lower energy bills
  • Healthier and more comfortable living spaces
  • Smart Home
  • More energy efficient and climate smart
Induction cooktops:

Electric induction cooktops are a safer, more energy-efficient, and healthier option for everyday stovetop cooking. They are superior to conventional electric and natural gas cooktops. They heat twice as fast and have better temperature control. They can improve indoor air quality since they do not burn natural gas which releases indoor pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Benefits: 
  • Faster and precise heating
  • Energy efficient
  • Cooler kitchen
  • Safer
  • Easy clean
  • Even cooking
Electric Dryers and Heat Pump Dryers:

Electric dryers work by electricity heating coils where the heat is transferred throughout the blower of the dryer. Electric heat pump dryers work as a closed loop system and detect moisture to dry. These dryers will stop once your clothes are done so your drying cycle runs more effectively.   

Example equipment and manufactures

Benefits:
  • Easy to Install
  • Energy Efficient
  • Gentle Clothes

The Switch Is On

The Switch Is On campaign is a regional effort to bring awareness and information about new electrification technology benefits. By introducing clean electric appliances into our lives, we can remove greenhouse gas emissions, make our homes warmer, healthier, and better for you, our city, and our planet.

Rebates

City of San José Rebates:

Limited rebates are available on a first-come, first serve basis. Please see “How to Receive A Rebate” and submit a fully completed rebate reservation application. For a list of completed project costs and remaining rebates available, please see the public reservation tracker.

  • Want to test the benefits of induction cooking? San José residents can check out a portable induction cooktop and cookware at no cost for up to two weeks by filling out an interest form.
  • Electrify San José: San José households can get up to $6,000 in rebates to upgrade from a natural gas water heater to an electric heat pump water heater. Limited rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis until December 31, 2020.
BayREN Rebates:
  • Save $1,000/unit – rebate on central heat pumps
  • Save $1,000/unit – rebate on mini-split heat pumps
  • Save $1,000/unit – rebate on heat pump water heater
  • Save $300/unit – rebate on heat pump dryer
  • Save $300/unit – rebate on induction range
PG&E Rebates: 
  • Save $300/unit- rebate on heat pump water heater

Health Impacts and Greenhouse Gas Savings

  • Indoor air quality is largely unregulated and is often more polluted than outdoor air.
  • Gas stoves can be a large source of toxic air pollutants.
  • There are well documented risk to respiratory health from gas stove pollution
  • Children are particularly at risk of respiratory health from gas stove pollution
  • Lower-income households may be at higher risk of gas stove pollution exposure.

Selecting A Contractor:

We recommend residents follow these best practices when selecting any contractor, including contractors provided on the list below.

On May 24, 2019, the City of San José issued a Request for Information (RFI) to generate a list of heat pump water heater installers to help residents identify local contractors. Contractors were asked to submit:

  • A signed “Participant Obligations and Requirements” agreement acknowledging that they will adhere to program rules
  • A valid and current California Contractors State License Board number
  • Proof of the minimum insurance requirements specified in the City’s RFI

Here’s a list of participating contractors who responded to the RFI. The City does not endorse or recommend any contractor. If you are a contractor and would like to be on this list, please email energy@sanjoseca.gov and provide the required documents as specified in the City’s RFI.

The Bay Area Regional Network (BayREN) provides regional-scale energy efficiency programs and services to reduce carbon emissions and promote healthy, energy-efficient buildings and homes. BayREN is implemented by local county governments and vets and approves contractors. Visit the BayREN website to find a participating heat pump water heater contractor in Santa Clara County. The City does not endorse or recommend any particular vendor.

The Switch Is On Contractor List 

Resources

What is an electric heat pump water heater and how does it work?

Heat pump water heaters are two to three times more efficient than gas water heaters. They use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly.
To move the heat, heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse. While a refrigerator pulls heat from inside a box and dumps it into the surrounding room, a standalone air-source heat pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air and dumps it at a higher temperature into a tank to heat water.

Does a heat pump water heater work if the outside air is too cold?

Yes. While this is unlikely in San José’s climate, if it gets too cold, an electric heat pump water heater will switch to backup coils and run just like an electric resistance water heater.

What are the benefits of switching from a gas water heater to an electric heat pump water heater?

Lower Energy Bills – While an Energy Star®-certified heat pump water heater costs slightly more upfront, the energy cost savings will pay for its additional costs in about three years for a typical home.
Source: Energy Star

Healthier and More Comfortable Living Spaces – Burning natural gas creates emissions of unhealthy gases such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde. Eliminating these emissions in your water heater or stovetop will improve indoor air quality while cooling the surrounding areas.

SMART Home – Most heat pump water heaters can be connected to Wi-Fi and to your smartphone for setting schedules and important alerts like water leak detection.

More Energy-Efficient and Climate Smart – Heat pump water heaters can be two to three times more energy-efficient than conventional electric resistance and natural gas water heaters, reducing your greenhouse gas emissions.

What are the benefits of a heat pump when used with solar electricity?

During the day when the sun is shining, rooftop solar panels harvest solar energy and convert it to be used in your home as electricity. Because heat pump water heaters are powered by electricity, pairing the heat pump with rooftop solar could effectively reduce the cost to run it compared to running it without solar. For more information on how to get solar, visit our Solar Energy page.

Will I need a building permit to replace my gas water heater?

Yes, your installation contractor will need to pull a permit with the City’s Building Division. For more information, call or visit the Permit Center at San José City Hall.

What are other ways to move toward a Zero Net Carbon home?

Additional ways to move towards a Zero Net Carbon home include:

  • Choosing San José Clean Energy’s Total Green option to power your home with 100% renewable electricity
  • Electric washers/ dryers
  • Induction cooktops
  • Air-source heat pump heating and cooling systems
  • Electric vehicles
  • Rooftop solar