What You Need to Know About Sacramento’s Natural Gas Ban

natural gas burner

California often leads the nation when it comes to environmental initiatives and the regulations that come in their wake. However, those initiatives don’t always come from the state level; often as not, as with a recent ban on natural gas installations in Sacramento, those changes take place at the local level. When that happens, there tend to be more questions than answers. So what do you need to know before you call Ace Plumbing for natural gas plumbing in Sacramento? Let’s address a few common questions.

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When Does Sacramento’s Natural Gas Ban Take Effect?

Signed into law on June 1, 2021, the ban actually takes place in two phases. The first applies to new construction in structures of three stories or less; this goes into effect on January 1, 2023. The second phase, applying to structures of more than three stories, goes into effect on January 1, 2026.

What’s the Rationale Behind the Ban?

As the city sees it, there are numerous reasons to embrace electrification.

  • Meeting aggressive targets for renewables and carbon emission reduction
  • Improving indoor air quality to help those with asthma and other respiratory conditions
  • Improving Sacramento’s outdoor air quality, which currently ranks as the sixth-worst in the nation per the American Lung Association
  • Reducing fire risk, since leaks and gas explosions can have catastrophic, and highly costly, consequences
  • Reduced capital costs for new construction
  • Improved equity, especially since low-income households are disproportionately impacted by the consequences of natural gas use

How Does This Impact Sacramento Homes and Businesses?

That depends. If you have an existing home or business, you should expect minimal impact; right now, the ordinance does not apply to existing infrastructure, so remodels, new additions, and tenant improvements can continue as before.

For new construction it’s a different story. New homes and businesses will be required to adhere to the new rules and regulations, though there are temporary provisions for permit exceptions through 2025, especially for low-income housing and use cases where installing electric equivalents of gas appliances may prove impractical, though this applies primarily to water heaters.

Is There Any Way to Plan Ahead?

If you’re undertaking new construction, it’s a good idea to make it “electric-ready.” The city encourages this both for compliance reasons, and also as a cost-saving measure (it’s much less expensive than having to retrofit an existing structure).

What About Other Cities and Towns in the Sacramento Area?

The city of Davis has adopted similar ordinances, and other communities are considering them. Your best bet is to check with your municipal government; because these are local ordinances, there will be variations in laws and compliance from one jurisdiction to the next.

What If I’m Exempt, but I’d Like to Electrify?

That’s a great idea, and we offer a number of different ways to do exactly that.

Where Can I Learn More?

We suggest reading the ordinance — and its extensive accompanying documentation — contained in this PDF from the City of Sacramento.

What If I Have Questions About My Heat, Hot Water, or Plumbing Needs in Sacramento?

Be it a furnace installation, hot water heater repair, or any other plumbing or HVAC need, we encourage you to do what you’ve always done: call (916) 455-4548, and speak to Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning for fast service throughout the greater Sacramento area!