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Old 08-11-2010, 08:14 PM   #1
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when is a permit not required?


I have read in several places that a permit is not required to perform "maintenance on an existing electrical installation". What does that mean exactly? Sounds pretty vague...

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Old 08-11-2010, 08:18 PM   #2
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when is a permit not required?


This is a big problem that I have since I service about 50 different towns.

The answer to your question is that it's up to the municipality that you are in.

If you have a specific task that you are thinking about doing, we might be able to help you with a general answer on whether it does or does not require a permit.

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Old 08-11-2010, 08:25 PM   #3
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when is a permit not required?


I take it as long as your not adding new electrical you should be fine. Things like changeing plugs, switches, fixtures, ballast probably don't need an inspection.

If you want to add a new plug or light then you techincally need a permit.

Like Proby said this can change from city to city.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:46 PM   #4
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when is a permit not required?


I basically want to replace an existing 2-wire 20A circuit with a grounded circuit. Other than the obvious reason of having a grounded circuit, I'd like to do this because the insulation on the old wire is so brittle; it virtually melts in your hands.

I think I know the answer to this one; I'd need a permit. But isn't this technically maintenance on an exisiting installation? Just like replacing spark plugs on your car when they stop firing...
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:50 PM   #5
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when is a permit not required?


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Originally Posted by debiasio View Post
I basically want to replace an existing 2-wire 20A circuit with a grounded circuit. Other than the obvious reason of having a grounded circuit, I'd like to do this because the insulation on the old wire is so brittle; it virtually melts in your hands.

I think I know the answer to this one; I'd need a permit. But isn't this technically maintenance on an exisiting installation? Just like replacing spark plugs on your car when they stop firing...
You'd definitely need a permit.

Maintenance would be things like darren specified. Changing out breakers, etc.

To run a new circuit would require a permit in most jurisdictions.

FWIW, if 1 new circuit was all that needed to be done, most people wouldn't even bother with the permit.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:59 PM   #6
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when is a permit not required?


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You'd definitely need a permit.
That's what I figured. I thought about getting one, because what if something happens to the installation years down the road, after we sell the house. Can't it be determined that my work was done w/o a permit, and I'd be liable? On the other hand, many people I know do their own work and never get a permit.

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FWIW, if 1 new circuit was all that needed to be done, most people wouldn't even bother with the permit.
What if I only do one circuit at a time, over the course of several months?
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:04 PM   #7
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when is a permit not required?


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That's what I figured. I thought about getting one, because what if something happens to the installation years down the road, after we sell the house. Can't it be determined that my work was done w/o a permit, and I'd be liable? On the other hand, many people I know do their own work and never get a permit.
Well, anything is possible. If you are worried in the least, pull the permit.

As for the future, you can be sued even if you got a permit. I've got thousands of electric installations out there that could lead to a lawsuit by someone looking for a payday. But as long as there wasn't any negligence or blatant disregard for safety, I don't think there is much to worry about. If you were to run a 20 amp circuit with phone wire it would be different, but if you are using approved wiring methods, you're good.
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What if I only do one circuit at a time, over the course of several months?
Now you're pushing it

BTW, I am not recommending that you do the work without a permit, I'm just saying that most people would for one circuit.
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:53 PM   #8
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when is a permit not required?


There have been some discussions on here (do a search) about permit rules. As I recall Massachusetts has some quirky rules. Like I think homeowners can't do anything with the plumbing. But I think they can do electrical with a permit. Check with your town. (Or maybe someone from MA will chime in here.)

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