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Old 01-23-2010, 09:39 AM
 
265 posts, read 538,533 times
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Much to my surprise, yesterday I learned that the Town of Cary requires that a homeowner apply for and obtain a permit to replace a hot water heater even with an identical unit. Further, and I'm not kidding, the town also requires that you apply for and obtain a permit to install a ceiling fan. If you have to replace your furnace or heat pump, you have to get a permit. Each permit has a tax or fee associated with it.

For anyone who knows, I have two questions:

1. When did these laws go into effect?

2. What are innocent homeowners who have replaced water heaters and heat pumps over the last 20 years WITHOUT obtaining a permit supposed to do now?
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Old 01-23-2010, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
11,791 posts, read 27,445,898 times
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Having a hot water heater replaced is considered major plumbing and therefore does require a permit.

Replacing a ceiling fan...I'm not sure about that if you are just replacing it. If you are installing a new fan and hiring someone to do it, I think that is considered electrical and you should get a permit.

I know when we added our hot tub, we had to have an electrician install a line to it. It cost about $900 and the electrician asked if we wanted a permit. He said that would be $50 extra. I told him that it was ILLEGAL to not get the permit. So, he got it.

When the inspector came to inspect the electrical, he asked if we had gotten a permit when we added on the decking for the hot tub. We had. He said if we hadn't, part of his job is to let his department know. Tattle tail!

Getting the permits for major electrical, plumbing, structural, etc. is a protection to YOU.

If you hire someone to do a job and they don't get a permit and they do shoddy work and because of that your house burns to the ground, is your insurance company going to pay since what you did was illegal? Something to think about!

Vicki

Vicki
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Old 01-23-2010, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
31,595 posts, read 55,320,924 times
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The permit requirement on water heaters has been around for 6 or 7 years, I think.
I think, permits were required around the time the requirement for the expansion tank went into effect.
A water heater can be pretty easy to replace and to make you hot water.
And it can be done wrong and create hazard to life and property.

Ergo the permit requirement.

I think the rule on permitting for HVAC equipment is older. Again, obvious potential for life and property issues.

The ceiling fan is not just an electrical issue.
Since a fan can weigh 35 pounds and more, correct anchoring to a solid framing member of the proper fan-rated junction box is imperative.
Confirmation of the proper box is a part of the inspection.

These items are all checked in new construction. Replacement should meet the same, or higher, standards.

If you have a significant concern or just want a firm resolution to the question, you can permit in arrears, and have an inspection performed by the Town.
They do it all the time, since there are so many unpermitted improvements and repairs happening.
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Oxxford Hunt, Cary NC
4,188 posts, read 9,813,507 times
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FWIW, this isn't just an "evil Town of Cary" requirement - I'm sure you would find similar regulations in neighboring towns. Apex, for example, requires a permit for "all installations or modifications to electrical, plumbing, or heating or air conditioning systems."

My screened porch and new deck were fully permitted. I was a little surprised at the number of inspections the town did, but I certainly didn't mind them looking over the work of my contractor. There was an electrical inspection for the flood light and ceiling fan, and an additional outlet was required to be installed "at ground level" in order for it to pass. I guess draping an extension cord over a deck is considered to be a safety hazard.

Anyhow, permits aren't anything new. Just be glad you didn't have to tackle the job my father did last year - getting a CO for my grandparent's house in Yonkers, NY. It was built by my grandfather probably 60 years ago, and never had ANY permits! I think it wound up costing $10-12K to have all the inspections and required work done!
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
11,791 posts, read 27,445,898 times
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I should have clarified...I live in North Raleigh. So, as AdInc07 said, the permits are not just a Cary issue.

I had clients from NY that had the same issues...they never got permits and when it was time to sell, it was a huge mess!

Vicki
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:36 PM
 
265 posts, read 538,533 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VickiR View Post
Having a hot water heater replaced is considered major plumbing and therefore does require a permit.
Replacing a water heater with an identical unit is an extremely trivial matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VickiR View Post
Replacing a ceiling fan...I'm not sure about that if you are just replacing it. If you are installing a new fan and hiring someone to do it, I think that is considered electrical and you should get a permit.
Whether you perform the work yourself or whether you hire someone to do the work for you is irrelevant as to the requirement to obtain a permit, based on what I read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VickiR View Post
Getting the permits for major electrical, plumbing, structural, etc. is a protection to YOU.
That's certainly the argument, but if I want to burn my house down with shoddy workmanship, that's my business. I'd never buy a house without a full inspection, so any problems should be detected at least at that point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VickiR View Post
If you hire someone to do a job and they don't get a permit and they do shoddy work and because of that your house burns to the ground, is your insurance company going to pay since what you did was illegal? Something to think about!
Something to think about is how many laws you're violating without knowing it. My house was built back in the era when the Town of Cary inspectors were on the take. I'm just the innocent homeowner trying to play by the rules. When the dust settles, I'm the one who gets screwed.
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
711 posts, read 3,707,877 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VickiR View Post
If you hire someone to do a job and they don't get a permit and they do shoddy work and because of that your house burns to the ground, is your insurance company going to pay since what you did was illegal? Something to think about!
LOL, show me something in your homeowners policy that says that!
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
711 posts, read 3,707,877 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcp6453 View Post
Something to think about is how many laws you're violating without knowing it. My house was built back in the era when the Town of Cary inspectors were on the take. I'm just the innocent homeowner trying to play by the rules. When the dust settles, I'm the one who gets screwed.
Some of the permitting requirements (like the 2 you mentioned) have definitely gotten out of hand. The fact is that 99% of these types of jobs are done unpermitted, by homeowners and contractors alike, and nobody cares (nor should they). Who's really going to stop and get a permit when their water heater blows up and they have no running water? Get real.
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Old 01-23-2010, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
8,264 posts, read 21,810,162 times
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Installing a new ceiling fan where there wasn't any previous wiring requires a permit. SImply replacing an existing one does not. That has to do with making sure the electrical wiring is done up to code. My understanding with the hot water heaters has to do with new plumbing codes as well. In an emergency situation, most plumbers will take care of the permits for you.

And it is actually not just "your business" if your house burns down due to shoddy wiring. The town's firefighters will be called and other resources will be used as well as putting other people's properties at risk as well.

Last edited by lamishra; 01-23-2010 at 04:27 PM..
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Old 01-23-2010, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
11,791 posts, read 27,445,898 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dedratermi View Post
LOL, show me something in your homeowners policy that says that!
Think about this...you get work done ILLEGALY (without permit). The work done causes a fire. The cause of the fire is traced back to the work done without the permit. Is your homeowner's insurance obligated to pay for something that you intentionally did illegally???

I wouldn't want to put that to the test!

Vicki
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