do you need a licensed contractor to change a gas cooktop

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Submitted by newdad on October 12, 2017 - 4:23pm

So I had our gas cooktop replaced by a newer, similar model. It was done by a general contractor who did a bunch of other small things.

It seemed like a straightforward thing. Just unhook the existing one, attach a new flex pipe to regulator/cooktop , use detergent to check for leaks and then turn it on.

This guy is not licensed, just very good at handyman like things. Am wondering if I should have gotten a licensed person to handle the gas cooktop replacement. Am worried about any future issues with either insurance or the city.

Submitted by spdrun on October 12, 2017 - 5:21pm.

If it don't smell, don't ask, don't tell.

And you did it yourself, you didn't hire anyone to do it. How many people change their own stoves in less posh areas?

It's amazing that you even thought to ask us for permission here...

Submitted by SK in CV on October 12, 2017 - 7:56pm.

Either it was done by a licensed GC or it was done by a handyman. There is no such thing in California as an unlicensed general contractor. I'm pretty sure the law is still that if the total cost is $500 or more, a GC is required.

If someone is qualified to do this kind of work, there's not many good reasons for them not to get their license.

Submitted by spdrun on October 12, 2017 - 8:05pm.

Define "qualified."

Someone may have done this kind of work abroad for years, had the ability to do it safely, but doesn't have the formal schooling and/or apprenticeship required to become licensed in CA. We're talking bureaucracy here, not rationality.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on October 12, 2017 - 9:21pm.

Think of it this way. What you do inside your home is your business.

That a guy contracts out his work with or without license is between him and the licensing board.

The only issue you might have with Insurance or the city is you do work that requires a permit without getting one. You don’t need permit to change out a stove. But you do need a permit to replace a water heater.

You can check directly with thr building Deparment. They will tell you what needs permitting. Notwithstanding a required permit, you can do owner-built, and you don’t need a license to work on your own single family house (condo and commercial are different). If anyone asks, just say you installed it yourself.

Submitted by Hobie on October 13, 2017 - 6:08am.

For you own peace of mind, you might give your gas utility a call for a free inspection. They will take a look at all gas appliances for proper operation. Nice service.

A quick call to your permit office will give you the correct answer. I'd verify to keep your insurance folks happy.

Remember the reason behind the permit. Safety. Those building codes are written from the blood of others. They are there for your protection.

Lots of well intentioned people, handymen or owners may make serious mistakes risking life safety. Permits help prevent this.

Submitted by Ribbles on October 13, 2017 - 6:49am.

newdad wrote:
It seemed like a straightforward thing. Just unhook the existing one, attach a new flex pipe to regulator/cooktop , use detergent to check for leaks and then turn it on.

In my experience, hooking up a gas line is actually easier than water plumbing. As long as you know he did it right (I've had movers forget to use sealant), there will be no issues.

Submitted by spdrun on October 13, 2017 - 2:12pm.

Some building codes are written with the blood of others.

Others are made to make money for cities and union workers.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on October 13, 2017 - 3:13pm.

spdrun wrote:
Some building codes are written with the blood of others.

Others are made to make money for cities and union workers.

Haha. I like how you put in.
30 year plan, 10 year plan... building and zoning is worse than communism.

Submitted by spdrun on October 13, 2017 - 3:36pm.

I'm fine with zoning, etc, but some other requirements are excessive.

Ideally, I'd support requiring inspections (but not necessarily licensed installers) for things like modifying gas plumbing beyond the flex hose to the stove.

If the person doing the work is bonded and can pass inspection, union-driven licensing requirements tend to be excessive.

Submitted by Hobie on October 14, 2017 - 6:40am.

spdrun wrote:
Some building codes are written with the blood of others.

Others are made to make money for cities and union workers.

Absol-damn-utly!! Yes, it frosts me how they are exploiting the intent to make money.

Submitted by ucodegen on October 14, 2017 - 8:16am.

FlyerInHi wrote:

The only issue you might have with Insurance or the city is you do work that requires a permit without getting one. You don’t need permit to change out a stove. But you do need a permit to replace a water heater.

Looks like I did an 'un-permitted' water heater replacement over 1 year ago 8-P. Ironically, it was replaced about 5 years before that by a licensed contractor - who FORGOT THE SACRIFICIAL ANODE! He also didn't know how to correctly attach the overtemp/pressure release valve (he connected it to where the sacrificial anode goes, instead of the correct location on the side at the top.).

Another interesting side effect is the replacement (un-permitted) water heater replacement is producing hotter water with less energy and is a much larger water heater than its predecessor - and this newest replacement cost us much less to boot - both heaters were same basic 'style' of heater. What is strange is the yellow sticker on the newer one shows that it actually burns a bit more energy to heat the water than its predecessor. I wonder if some of the manufacturers are gaming the gas consumption (therms) by designing their water heater to be unable to heat to a standard reference temperature for doing accurate fuel consumption calculations.

NOTE: Useful tools for doing the replacement if the water heater is located on the required elevated pedestal in a garage - a long arm engine hoist and straps/ropes to make a sling. It makes it a piece of cake!

And yes, some of the regulations get kind of excessive, almost nany-state'sh.

Submitted by newdad on October 14, 2017 - 10:20pm.

So I did call SDGE and they were kind enough to send over a person to check for leaks.

I wasn't really worried about leaks, just didn't know what the rules wrt insurance are since the insurance co always finds a way to wriggle out of paying anything. Seems like telling them "I did it" is the safest way to go.

Thanks for the excellent (as always) inputs!

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