Solar panels on the roof of a home
The Inflation Reduction Act includes a tax credit for U.S. homeowners who install clean energy systems, like solar. (Getty)

If you’ve been putting off buying a new furnace – or considering swapping out your suddenly controversial gas stove (more about that later) – 2023 is a good time to upgrade.

Why? Two words: Federal incentives.

But where should you start? For the average U.S. household, these three upgrades will make a big dent in your carbon footprint. 

Swap gas-powered appliances for electric

If recent news about the link between gas stoves and asthma has you giving your range the side-eye, it’s worth noting that the Inflation Reduction Act offers a rebate of up to $840 on the purchase of a new electric stove, cooktop, range or oven. 

That’s because gas stoves leak methane, a potent greenhouse gas, even when they aren’t being used. It’s estimated that stoves across the U.S. emit as much climate pollution as about 500,000 gas-powered cars.

The new law also provides rebates on appliances like clothes dryers and water heaters. In fact, low- and moderate-income households can get up to 100% of the cost of a heat-pump water heater or clothes dryer covered. 

But is it worth the hassle? When you consider that gas and fuel oil used for heating, hot water and cooking makes up more than 10% of carbon emissions in the U.S. – yes. 

Getting rid of your gas-powered appliances allows you to run your home on an increasingly renewable grid as investments from the bipartisan infrastructure law roll out. The other reason to consider replacing gas-powered appliances is potential leaks. Even small leaks of methane pack a much bigger planet-warming punch than carbon dioxide emissions in the short term. (On the positive side, that also means cutting methane emissions could slow the rate of global warming quickly.)

So, if you’re in the market for a new dryer, water heater or stove – 2023 is a good time to go electric. Check here to see how much you could save.  

Replace your furnace with a heat pump 

Aging furnace or boiler? Consider replacing it with a heat pump. Heat pumps do not directly burn fossil fuels to create heat. Instead, a heat pump keeps your home comfortable by moving warm air into your home in the winter – and out of your home in the summer. That means a heat pump can take the place of not only your furnace, but your air conditioner as well.

They are also more efficient. An air-source heat pump can provide up to three times more heat than the electricity it consumes. And when you consider that heating is the largest direct use of fossil fuels in buildings, heat pumps reduce your carbon footprint while you enjoy an immediate drop in your monthly gas bill.

But this is a big purchase. Installing an air-source heat pump can cost anywhere from $2,000 to more than $10,000, depending on your needs. (Though the true cost is really the difference between installing a heat pump and what you would have spent on a new boiler or furnace along with a new air conditioning unit.) 

Incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act defray the cost through both upfront discounts on installation and tax credits. Some households can save as much as $8,000 on the purchase of a heat pump.

Get solar panels  

There has never been a better time to go solar in the U.S.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes an income tax credit that covers 30% of the cost of clean energy equipment like solar panels. And, while upfront costs can be substantial – an average 6kW rooftop solar installation cost $15,300 in 2022 – this is an investment that pays you back: Most people recoup the cost of installing a solar-powered system within 12 years through savings on electricity costs. 

When it comes to your carbon footprint, powering your home with solar energy is carbon free. In some places, the electricity your home generates can even flow back into the grid and decrease the amount of fossil fuels burned by your utility company. (And if you have battery storage, you’ll be able to keep the lights on even if your neighborhood loses power.) 

Because of the high upfront cost, many states offer additional incentives on top of the federal tax credit. You can find out if your state is one of them here – and learn more about all credits and rebates included in the Inflation Reduction Act here.

This story is a part of our Inflation Reduction Act and You series.