We don't pay much attention to the water heaters in our homes until they break down. Just heating water for showers, cooking and washing dishes accounts for up to 18% of the typical household's energy consumption. Installing a heat-pump water heater to replace one run by gas saves energy and money AND reduces total household emissions by about 20 to 40%.
Roger and Cindy Davenport of Oceanside retrofitted their 1936 home from gas to electric, with photovoltaic solar panels providing the power. The change that had the biggest impact on their energy use was the purchase of a heat pump water heater.
Because a heat pump water heater has 3.5 times the efficiency of a standard gas heater, the replacement cost is paid back in about a year and a half. When replacing a standard electric heater with a heat pump, the payback can be 6 months. A recent Consumer Affairs article details the cost savings. And, SDG&E offers a $350 rebate until December 2019.
As California cities review and update Climate Action Plans, targeted consumer information on heat pump water heaters, with replacement incentives, could be a step in achieving substantial emission reductions in a cost effective manner.