Running a 220 receptacle to garage

I've got a new saw coming Friday, and I need to run 220 to my attached garage. I just want the one receptacle. Having read enough on it, I think it's well within my home improvement skills (my wife, OTOH, is shopping for funeral wear.) The only thing I don't know is whether this is something I'm allowed to DIY. Is it something that typically requires a permit? Inspection? Or can I just do it and go?
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strictly speaking, sure you 'should' get a permit. Do most people? NO! Even changing a water heater in San Jose "requires" a permit, but almost no one does it...
dave
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Depends on where you are and the regulations in your state or province. I know in Ontario you can do it but then it should be inspected afterwards by the electrical inspector.
Rick
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Check with your local building department. If you don't have one then you probably don't need one. Then you need to consider your home owners insurance. Stupidity is usually covered, but doing your own electrical work may not be if it's not up to code. If you don't have local codes, then make sure it adhears to NEC.
One level short of doing it all yourself, you could run the wire yourself and have an electrician make the connections. This will cut down on the billable hours and save cost.

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Location, location, location! <grin>
The 'rules' *DO* vary by locale.
If you're 'out on the farm', there's _probably_ no permit/inspection required.
In a town, it's a near certainty that a permit/inspection is part of the letter of the law.
In _most_ communities, a homeowner -- of a single-family dwelling -- can be certified to to the work themselves, by passing a relatively simple test.
Frequently, people do ignore the permit/inspection requirements. The "down- side risk" of doing that is quite substantial. As in: it is grounds for your insurer to refuse to pay off on a claim against your homeowner's policy.
I don't know where you're having to run the wiring _from_ (yes, the breaker panel, obviously -- but _where_ is *it* located? :), but there -are- issues with going through the wall between the garage and the 'living' spaces. If the panel is in the garage, then, of course, -that- matter is moot.
_Authoritative_ answers for your locale are available from whatever the local-level governmental jurisdiction is --- village, town, city, county, parish, or whatever.
The permit/inspection route is not terribly expensive.
And it's generally worth *more* than the dollar cost, in terms of 'preserving domestic tranquility'. Having the expert bless it and say 'you done it right' _does_ have value "in house". <grin>
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On Tue, 04 May 2004 12:21:47 +0000, snipped-for-privacy@host122.r-bonomi.com (Robert Bonomi) wrote:
[disclaimer] I don't advocate anyone who doesn't know what they're doing to tackle electrical work, nor do I advocate bypassing the permit/inspection process in most circumstances for major jobs. [/disclaimer]

I've always questioned this scenario. If the work was done right (and it is possible to be done right even without a permit or inspection) how would the insurer even know whether the work was new (unpermited) or original (permited and inspected)?
For example, although I am not a licensed electrician, I've been doing electrical work on my home(s) for more than 30 years; some of it quite substantial-as in pulling a larger service and wiring a good sized shop in the basement. I have a good working knowledge of the NEC and local codes and I've had the tutelage of a licensed master electrician available to me for most of that period.
When I pulled a new service (upgrade from 60A to 200A and from fuses to CBs) I got a permit from the village and had an inspection. The utility changed over the drop to the weather head and meter socket I had installed.
Fast forward 30 years to a new (old) home which already had 200A but with an old, documented faulty FPE load center. When I went to the (different) village to get a permit I was told the department didn't permit unlicensed homeowners to do electrical work. That was nonsense (as would a likely $1000 invoice for an electrician to do what I could do). I did it myself. Safely, within code, but undocumented. No one will ever know; certainly not my insurer.
In the remodeling of this house, I have also run at least six new circuits (mostly involving significant master bath and kitchen rewiring) and will be running a subpanel for the gara^H^H^Hshop with all of its own wiring.
That, however, is not for everyone. But with my experience and knowledge, it is right and safe for me. That is not to say that some eventuality might occur with an equal probability of that of a permited and inspected job, but it won't attract any more attention from the insurer than a permited and inspected job, either.
However, I emphasize: if you don't know what you're doing, don't even try. Unlike some other DIY arenas, it's not "good enough" if it's not done right.
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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LRod wrote:

I'm not second guessing your skills, but what if a fire occured and the fire chief determined it was due to the wiring? Wouldn't the insurance company send an inspector out to look at the wiring and possibly ask for some documentation proving that the wiring was certified within code?
-Rick
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On Tue, 04 May 2004 12:59:19 -0700, Rick Nelson

That's precisely the scenario to which I refer. First keep in mind that due to my knowledge and craftsmanship (I'm not being arrogant here, just factual) the wiring is no more likely to be the cause than the original electrician's.
Getting past that to the possibility that *anything* could go wrong, my house is more than 30 years old, I am the third owner, and the second owner lived in it for more than 25 years. What documentation is there going to be? Possibly the original permit, but what did the previous two owners do and is it documented? The immediately previous owner is deceased, so unavailable for testimony.
We're getting into the "dust-explosion-in-plastic-pipe" arena here. There is also a hot topic that flares up periodically on rec.food.equipment regarding the installation of a commercial range in a residence and how it relates to insurance. Most of it, and this electrical-wiring-without-a-permit scenario is urban legend, in my opinion.
I don't believe an insurer is going to dispute my claim based on what a previous owner may or may not have done 25 years ago, unless it's something obviously wrong. In fact, I'll issue the same challenge on this subject that I have in the past on the plastic pipe thing: cite one verifiable example of a home fire caused by faulty wiring in which an insurance carrier denied a claim because of lack of documentation of proper permiting and inspection. If that can be accomplished, I'll never post a response on an electrical question again.
I'm not suggesting anyone go out and wire away willy-nilly. I am saying that doing electrical work to the same standard or above as a licensed electrician is an extremely low risk that *I* am willing to take on *my* property.
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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Thanks for the reply. I wasn't trying to challenge or argue with you about this point, I was just genuinely curious as I don't know jack about that type of stuff.
Another option I thought of if they did happen to ask for documentation is to reply, "Yes, I keep all the documentation in that desk right there" then point to the smouldering pile of ashes <G>.
Similar situation came up last weekend at my Dad's house. The city painted a big white X across a joint in the sidewalk and sent him a notice telling him he had so many days to fix the 1/2" lip between the two sections of sidewalk. Dad had me bring out my floor jack, and he had his floor jack, a bunch of chain, steel pipe, sand, etc. I told him "Dad, we don't need all this crap, all we need is some carburator cleaner and a can of white spray paint - move the X down 30 feet to a level section of sidewalk and tell them to come inspect it whenever they please".
-Rick
LRod wrote:

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On Tue, 04 May 2004 13:48:49 -0700, Rick Nelson

I know you weren't, and I apologize if my reply came across as belligerent.

That's good. There are a lot of "chicken little" issues that have cropped up over the past ten or so years of heavy internet communication. Most of it is misapplication of data from one field to another (exploding dust collectors is a perfect example). Some of it is illogical extension of otherwise reasonable situations (insurance).
The more we talk about them and get some rational discussion going, the more we can dispel the myths.

Good one.
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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That may be true for wiring _you_ do. It is not necessarily so for DIY by "somebody else"

"who" done it is immaterial.
If things are not consistent with the original permit, and there were no other subsequent permits issued -- and yes, the city _does_ keep all that stuff on file, _in_perpetuity_, including the plans that had to be filed with the permit -- then the 'current owner' *does* have a problem. EVEN IF the work was done in a 'code compliant manner'.

Well, so much for "your opinion". :) I have _direct_ knowledge of *two* cases where insurers _did_ reject a claim on the basis of 'illegal' (i.e., non-permit) work. Both are circa 40 years ago. One was plumbing-related, the other electrical. In the plumbing case, the work had been done during the prior owner's tenure. When the pipe burst (freeze up, many years later), the 'truth came out', and the owner was himself stuck for all the damages. In the electrical case, the then-current owner had had the work done 'informally', by an ex-"Navy SeeBee" buddy. A fire did occur. Direct cause was a failing electrical cord (one of the old cloth-covered variety) on an appliance. Plugged into one of the 'illegal' outlets that the SeeBee had done. "Somebody" had told him he didn't need a permit if he wasn't getting paid for the work. OOPS! Expensive lesson for my 'chimney-corner' relative, the home-owner. (What *do* you call my father's brother's wife's brother?)

I will do my own work, when I can. In my current domicile, a condo, by law, I *cannot*. All plumbing and electrical work _must_ be done under the direction of a licensed/ bonded professional. Makes sense -- a screw-up has the potential to affect the _other_ owners in the building. (For my recent kitchen re-model, I found a really _good_ guy (semi-retired), who vetted what I was going to do, pulled the permit, and let me do all the 'grunt work'. Even loaned me some of his tools. And, he _was_ on hand for the 'critical' work, like splicing the new breaker panel onto the mains.
HOWEVER, when I've done work on a single-family property, I've always pulled a permit, and had the work inspected. It's a relatively petty-cash expenditure -- and, that way, *everybody*knows* the work was done right. I tend to engineer 'above and beyond' the minimum requirements, so inspection is a breeze. :)
There *is* another issue regarding having 'unofficial' work done (or doing it yourself). If/when, at some later date, it becomes necessary to have some "official" work done, all sorts of 'organic waste impacts the rotary impeller' -- when the prior, 'unofficial', work is discovered. This draws violation notices, fines, forced pulling of _another_ permit for the prior work, *and* whatever is necessary for the inspection -- potentially including having to open up walls so the inspector can _see_ the conduit. AND, in such a scenario, the inspectors won't cut you _any_ slack -- if there's a way to disqualify the work, they _will_ do so.
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On Wed, 05 May 2004 00:24:27 +0000, snipped-for-privacy@host122.r-bonomi.com (Robert Bonomi) wrote:

I agree. I took great pains to make that clear.

I don't believe that is correct. However, I am in no position to argue the point. I'll wait for the time to come when it becomes necessary.

"Plans" are very general in nature. There will be locations indicated of receptacles and fixtures and there may be notations regarding the service to be installed (60A, 100A, 200A, for example), but there won't be anything about Square D vs FPE or ITE. There won't be details on whether receptacles were wired by drops from the top plate or runs through the studs. There may not even be details such as half switched receptacles, or additional circuits beyond those required by code.
Those things are done by the electrician as he commonly does them. Granted, some techniques are more cost effective for the contractor than others, but they aren't specified on the plan. Moreover, if the owner/builder asked the electrician to add a couple of receptacles here or there, the plan on which the permit was based wouldn't be modified.
When the inspector gets there, he checks what was done to see that it complies with code, but he doesn't carry the plans around to check that the receptacles/fixtures/circuits installed are the same as those specified on the plan that accompanied the permit app.

One electrical example in 40 years; might as well be never.

Uncle, probably, although he's not a direct relative.

As a former president of the condo I lived in, I generally agree, although I did some work in my unit, too, while I was there.

I would have made that petty-cash expenditure, but when I went to apply for the permit in the case of the new load center I put in, I was told this community doesn't permit it. Bah.

Right. I hire an electrician to add a circuit. He pulls a permit, runs the circuit, and has it inspected. The inspector doesn't bring out the old plans (nor did the electrician) and compare to see that nothing's changed from the original.
Now, if someone did something really obvious, like the live wire connected to nothing that I found in a wall I demolished, that might get an inquiry started.
As I said before, I don't advocate this for everyone, or anyone, for that matter. But I know my limitations and how to accept a reasonable risk.
Thanks for your thoughts.
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
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There are two separate issues. #1 is doing the work without a permit, which gets the party doing the work in trouble. #2 is the _ongoing_ building code violation of 'having a non-compliant installation', or words to that effect, which gets the *owner* of the property in trouble. That violation starts from the day the work commences, and _continues_ until the day that things are brought into compliance. ALMOST UNIVERSALLY, the relevant laws state that "each day that such violation shall continue shall be deemed a separate offense", usually in almost exactly those words.
It *is* the responsibility of the current owner to eliminate the code violation, _regardless_ of when, or by whom, the violation was originally committed.

You're correct. those things are not on the plans. They are in the inspectors 'notes', made at the time of the 'rough in' inspection, before the walls are sealed up.
'Number of circuits' is usually on the permit itself.

I know, for instance, what is in the 'notes' on my kitchen remodel. The inspector had questions as to why there were so many neutral wires running into the panel -- more neutrals than circuits. Well, everything was wired through a 'master junction box' below the panel (located in the kitchen), with two outlets (one each on opposite walls) on each circuit. The hot lead was spliced in the junction box, but the neutrals were a straight pass-through to the main panel. Hence 1 hot and 2 neutrals for each circuit. Necessary for code compliance requirement of a 'continuous' neutral back to the panel; well, unless I wanted to wire up one wall, _and_back_, and then over to the other wall.

Hell, In my lifetime, I've only had 'direct knowledge' of _seven_ incidents where somebody had to file a casualty-loss claim against their homeowner's insurance. 3 plumbing, 1 electrical fire, another fire of unknown (to _me_ that is -- a lack of data) origin, and two cases of a house being damaged by a tree falling on it. Of those seven case, TWO were denied by the insurer. In _100%_ of those claim denied cases, 'construction without a permit' was the causative basis for the denial.
Of those 7 claims cases that I have direct knowledge of -- because I knew the homeowner involved (relative, neighbor, 'me'[in the case of 1 of the trees], friend of the family, etc) -- they all occurred more than 20 years ago. I guess that says something about my current circle of acquaintances. <grin>
It's not my business to keep track of such things for the world at large..
I'm sure there's better data available. I even know who would likely have it. the "Property & Casualty Insurers Association of America", or the "Insurance Information Institute". The data is probably available to any practicing property & casualty underwriter.

Actually, in most jurisdictions the permit fee is based on the number of circuits and/or outlets to be added/replaced. when his records show 6 previous circuits, and there are now ten, you betcha the citation book comes out. In the last 12 months, that precise thing has happened 3 times in the building I live in.
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Robert Bonomi wrote:

I don't know about where you live, but where I live add on work, whether done by the homeowner or by licensed individuals does not require any additional paperwork or permits as long it does not exceed a certain size or scope. So, the records in city hall will not reflect a wide spectrum of work over a period of years.
--

-Mike-
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Some kinds of work require a permit, some don't. running electrical wiring almost invariably does, while replacing an outlet or fixture almost always does -not-.
If work is 'discovered' as having been done *without* a permit, and is of a type _that_requires_a_permit_, the current owner of the property *does* have a problem on his hands.
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wrote:

Yes - every fire I've responded to that involved an insurance loss has resulted in the insurance company's fire investigator, in addition to usually the state fire martial if the fire involves "enough" damage and/or a fatality. These guys are motivated to find out that there is someone else who has to pay for the damage, be it the builder, or the owner for doing something dangerous, etc.
Dave Hinz (firefighter/EMT)
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Go ahead and put more than one in... otherwise you'll wind up in my situation...
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&threadm,1753d6.0403291643.1cd4ea08%40posting.google.com&rnum=1&prev=/groups%3Fq%3Dgroup:rec.woodworking%2Binsubject:220%2Bauthor:Never%2Bauthor:Enough%2Bauthor:Money%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26selm%3D2c1753d6.0403291643.1cd4ea08%2540posting.google.com%26rnum%3D1
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The main intent of insurance claim denial is liability. Insurance investigators are paid commissions on finding major liability shifts. They do know their jobs. A permit for electrical modification / addition is usually not too specific. 1 to 10 outlets, 10 to 25 outlets, 1 to 5 220 volt outlets, etc. The inspection semi verifies that the work was done to local codes and standards. ( The inspection agency will not assume any liability for errors missed or not discovered. ) If a claim arises assuming from a fire, The investigator along with the local fire marshal will determine the cause. They will interview neighbors, friends etc. If it is possible that a device has failed after proper installation and properly used, The manufacture is liable. If the device is a newer design or code dated and the last permit and inspection was dated prior to manufacture date, There is no proof that it was properly installed, The installer is liable. If a device is intentionally, illegally or improperly installed or used, The owner is liable. If death or injury has occurred, Criminal liability would be also be included. Of course all of this is subject to the court system.
Most of the electrical codes are common sense and safety oriented. Reviewed and written by people involved in all aspects of electrical, fire and safety fields, they are updated periodically to prevent problems as they are discovered or introduced. Understood and followed, an installation should be safe and trouble free. If one decides to DIY and they have any doubts, ASK someone experienced.
--
Chipper Wood

useours, yours won't work
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With regards to plans being kept in perpetuity by the local juridiction, that's not true everywhere. In fact, I know that mine tosses plans after six months. That's what the head of the building department (a buddy) told me. He said it would be physically impossible for them to keep them in perpetuity. "How many warehouse's are we going to devote to that? Just look around at the construction going on every day."
Another consideration to think about. Have you noticed that electrical wire now comes with a date stamp on the outer jacket. Unless you have some old stock, it's going to be real easy to know that the work was done after a certain time frame.
So I suppose if you had kept a roll of wire from a previously permitted job, you could install it later and claim that it had been done at the same time. I'm just not sure it's worth the possible problems.
If they'll permit you to do the work as the home owner, and the fee isn't steep, I'd get the permit.
BTW, just because an inspector signs off on work does not mean that it is up to code. It is common in my area for the inspectors to get lazy and treat a long term contractor as infallible. "Joe Blow does good work, and we never have a problem with his work."
I did an extensive remodel a few years ago, and it wasn't until I started pointing out the mistakes that the inspector decided that the contractor wasn't quite as good as he had thought. Well guess what, part of the cost of the permit was for an inspection not a rubber stamp. Make sure you get your money's worth.
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