When to pull an electrical permit?

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Something of a philosophy question here...
I've recently moved into a 100+ year-old house and, in addition to finding the usual decaying wiring (mostly BX), I have discovered all sorts of poorly done and potentially dangerous work (mis-wired receptacles, neutral-switched switches, grounded receptacles without grounds, etc, etc). I believe I can handle most of the fixes for these things, but I'd like to comply with the laws and get permits and have my work inspected.
The question is, in the opinion of the "old hands", where is the dividing line between work needing a full permit and a simple "repair"? Replacing a receptacle: sure, no need to pull a permit, but what if I replace a corroded 6-foot BX run with some fresh NM at the same time? I think there is a gradation there, but I don't have a feel for its parameters.
Also, I have some lingering uneasiness related to 3rd-hand stories of inspectors demanding whole houses be brought up to code, whenever any work is done which disturbs the "pre-existing" state of the wiring. While this sounds counter-productive (since this would disuade people from doing any work, when even a little could really enhance the safety of the wiring), it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Or, maybe this is mostly paranoia on my part?
Anyhow... any thoughts appreciated.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospammail.net wrote:

I would call the building permit office and ask questions without giving personal information. They are usually very helpful and will tell you EXACTLY what you will need a permit for and what you don't. As long as you are doing the work yourself they will be helpful, however if you hire a licensed contractor you WILL be expected to get everything straight before you even place a phone call to them. They expect nothing but excellence from people who make their living in a trade as opposed to a homeowner taking care of their own house.
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I agree, the building dept. in your town, city, has jurisdiction over your property. They will tell you what you can do and how to go about it. These days I find building inspectors tend to be very paranoid and extremely concerned about their personal, and the towns liability. I for example had a building inspector require me,(a licensed electrician) to get a permit to safe off an unused cable,by installing it into a box. The electrical inspector was in as much disbelief as I was.

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I usually don't bother with permit$ but, I would get a permit for any work that when done, would change the legal description of your home as recorded with the county. A change in the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage etc. If you go to sell your property later on and things don't match then you may be required to comply with permits and/or fines. Just depends on where you are and/or how picky the buyer is.
Kevin
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Some inspectors just LOVE to give people a hard time, then suggest you call their buddy who gets a $ commision,
If I were you I wouldnt invite them in unless absolutely necessary, as long as you know how to do the work safely.
if theres any knob and tube you should get rid of it, insurance companies today dont want to insure homes with knob and tube
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I do believe that if electrical work is done without a permit/being inspected, and this electrical work causes a fire or whatever, your insurance company might not pay for damages.
Also electrical permits are not expensive and people doing electrical work make mistakes sometimes because they are human, so it is a good idea to get an expert (inspector) to look at your work to be sure it is safe.
FYI - I first upgraded my service and ran just a few new critical circuits. While inspector was checking my work, I warned him to not touch any old electrical boxes because of the dangerous D-I-Y wiring I had found. He said he had seen worse, but thanked me for the warning.
And he saw my new work and saw that I knew what I was doing. Understood that I was fixing things a little at a time, etc. And he saw that I eventually was going to fix all the dangerous stuff (which I later got separate permits for).
So I think they understand it is difficult to fix everything at once while living in a house.
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old wive's tale. what they might do is if the new wiring was done by a company and it causes a problem, they would go after that company's liability insurance.
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Charles Spitzer wrote:

I gave a deposition in such a case were the homeowner was the one that did the work. I was the layout man on the second due engine for his basement fire and it was rockin. We made a good stop but his insurance carrier walked away from the loss because it was directly caused by his incompetent electrical work.
--
Tom Horne

Well we aren\'t no thin blue heroes and yet we aren\'t no blackguards to.
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news:oU3Gf.12000

Can anyone make any sense of this?
Bob
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Bob wrote:

Yeah. Don't do incompetent electrical work and you won't have to worry about starting house fires, causing serious shocks or electrocutions, blowing up electric equipment, and getting dropped by your insurance company.
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Bob wrote:

I guess I should take more time to be clear or not post at all.
Someone alleged that the possibility of your insurance not covering the loss if your electrical work caused a fire was an old wives tale. My too cryptic reply was that I had been deposed by the insurance carrier in just such a case. I was the firefighter that handled the hose layout from the hydrant on the insured's well involved basement fire. When a firefighter says "it's rockin" they mean it is a very well developed fire that has quite a start on the attack crew on arrival. A good stop is when the attack crew holds the fire to just the involved space with just the initial attack staffing.
The homeowner in that case had done some very shoddy work which was obviously the cause of the fire. The insurance carrier took statements under the penalties of perjury from all of the first attack staff. They came to the conclusion that the loss was a direct result of the insured's unlawful act and refused his claim. The homeowner had to pay for the repairs out of pocket i.e. he had to eat the loss.
I hope that is clearer now.
--
Tom Horne

Well we aren\'t no thin blue heroes and yet we aren\'t no blackguards to.
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wrote in message news:oU3Gf.12000

With that knowledge, it now makes a lot more sense. Before, it was jibberish to me. Funny how a slight change of viewpoint can do that. Thanks.
Bob
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Know a guy who cut down a HUGE tree on his property. It fell the wrong way and dropped a high tension line on a low voltage one. Everyone for 5 miles got all their bad electronic equiptement replaced, paid by the fellows insurance. What he did was stupid, pulled the tree the wrong way, there were witnesses...
Cost insuurance 18 grand:(
His policy now has a exclusion for things like this...
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I've been on insurance fire jobs (State Farm) where the fire was almost definitely caused by the home owner and they paid anyway. I myself cut down a huge maple tree on my neighbors property and my homeowners insurance had to provide me with a lawyer and pay the damages. I can't say how homeowners policies work in other states, but in NY, they cover the stupid things the homeowner does

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i'm not quite sure why someone out on the curb or down the street would have anything substantive to say about the quality of work done inside someone's basement. everything you would have been able to depose about would have been hearsay, unless you're also a licensed electrician and did a before-fire inspection?
then they had a stupid, incompetant, or non-existant lawyer. i haven't seen all the policies ever written, but that's the object of insurance, to protect you against stupid and unforeseen circumstances. all the policies i've had haven't said: if you do something stupid we won't cover you.
insurance companies don't like to pay out and can fight you over every little thing that their host of lawyers can come up with. the person may be uninsurable after a claim about this, but given normal house insurance policies, any decent lawyer should have beat them.

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Thomas D. Horne, FF EMT wrote:

Sure. I have done extensive insurance work with several major companies (State Farm, Allstate, Providence, etc.) where the homeowner actually caused the damage and the insurance paid (or I would not have been there.) There is no insurance clause against stupidity.
I have heard these tales often and I know that they are bull. I have asked several of the adjusters about this and they all say the same thing; If we cannot prove that it was done to intentionally cause damage, then we have to pay. One is stupidity and one is insurance fraud.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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Robert Allison wrote:

How pleasant to be called a liar. So you have access to every refused claim from every insurance carrier in the US both stock and mutual and you know for a fact that no claim is ever declined for reason of the insureds unlawful act being the cause of the loss. It must be wonderful to have so much information at your command.
--
Tom Horne

Well we aren\'t no thin blue heroes and yet we aren\'t no blackguards to.
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Thomas D. Horne, FF EMT wrote:

<<snip>>
And it must be incredibly frustrating to need every bit of information available on any given subject to be able to come to an informed conclusion.
I was careful not to call the previous poster a liar. He may just be mistaken, he may have the details wrong, etc. I can only tell you what my 22 years of dealing directly with insurance claim losses and adjusters on a daily basis has told me. Now if you want to take the evidence of one anecdote and use that to base your conclusions on, fine with me. That would, however, violate your apparent need to have access to the data for every single claim on hand in order to come to a conclusion.
When you get all that data, and spend all the time necessary to parse the info, I would be curious to know what percentage of homeowner claims are denied for this reason. I know it probably runs between .1 and .3 percent, but I would be curious to know the exact percentage.
As for me, I can continue to operate knowing what little I know, based on my experience. If you are going to try to convince me that homeowners need to fear making a mistake lest their insurance claims be denied, then you are going to have to come up with a little more than one anecdote, because I know that that is bull.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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If you are redoing wiring or breakers I'd pull a permit. Making sure the circuits have the right breaker for the rated wire current is important, as well as any outlets.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospammail.net wrote:

In most places a permit isn't needed for repairs or even pulling in a new circuit. Permits are usually only required for service upgrades, whole house rewires, and new additions.

Shouldn't require a permit.

Some areas do have those requirements.

Call it what you want, but some cities do exactly that.
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