Permits needed for most appliances, equipment in homesBuilding inspectors, fire department inspectors and safety inspectors from Superior Water, Light & Power have observed numerous hazardous and defective installations of water heaters, furnaces, boilers, clothes dryers, ranges and similar appliances and equipment including air conditioning and ventilation equipment during the past year.
The following is a public safety notice released earlier this month by the city of Superior’s Building Inspection Division of the Public Works Department, regarding the installation of water heaters, furnaces, boilers, clothes dryers, ranges and similar appliances and equipment.
Building inspectors, fire department inspectors and safety inspectors from Superior Water, Light & Power have observed numerous hazardous and defective installations of water heaters, furnaces, boilers, clothes dryers, ranges and similar appliances and equipment including air conditioning and ventilation equipment during the past year. Although clothes dryers, ranges and similar appliances can be installed by anyone, appliances connected to domestic (drinking) water supplies cannot. Observed safety hazards found common with many equipment installations including the following:
• Carbon monoxide poisoning from improper appliance venting or incomplete combustion.
• Asphyxiation and explosion hazards from gas leaks due to improperly installed and tested gas piping serving the equipment.
• Fire and explosion hazards due to improper or missing electrical bonding (grounding) of gas piping.
• Burn and scalding hazards due to missing or improperly installed safety valves at the equipment.
• Electrical shock and fire hazards resulting from improper electrical connections of the equipment.
• Fire hazards due to lack of proper clearance separations as required by the equipment manufacturer.
• Fire hazards due to use of improper venting materials, components or methods.
• Health hazards resulting from installation of improper duct materials, systems and furnaces.
• Public health hazard from contamination of the public water system due to lack of proper isolation or safety valves.
These and other hazards are most often found where the installations were performed by unlicensed and unqualified individuals without the required permits and inspections.
Note: Permits are required for the installation of appliances and equipment other than typical residential cooking equipment, ranges and dryers. This includes the installation of replacement appliances and equipment due to age, poor performance or failure of existing equipment.
Except for dwellings occupied by the owner, Wisconsin state law requires that all plumbing and water heaters be installed by Wisconsin licensed plumbers. The city of Superior requires permits of plumbers and homeowners alike.
Except for buildings occupied by the owner, Wisconsin state law requires that all permanently installed heating and ventilating appliances or equipment be installed by Wisconsin licensed heating contractors. There is also an exception in the state law for certain commercial installations. The city of Superior requires permits for all installations of heating and ventilating appliances and equipment regardless of who is performing the installation.
The city of Superior also regulates gas piping installations. Most installations or alterations of gas piping must be done by properly licensed contractors with required permits. To change a clothes dryer or range from gas to electric or from electric to gas would require a permit(s). In most instances the permit would be issued to a licensed contractor for the work involved. There are no city regulations regarding the connection of replacement clothes dryers or ranges. Installation of this equipment must be performed in accordance with the equipment manufacturer’s installation instructions. The city building inspection department, fire department and SWLP can provide information regarding the safety of your existing installation of gas clothes dryer, range or other gas equipment.
The permit fees for the above installations have recently been reduced to encourage greater participation by homeowners, property owners, property managers and contractors alike. Fees for those working without permits are doubled. The permit applications, fee schedules and other important information and documents are available on the city website, http://www.ci.superior.wi.us/.
The safety of families and children is our top priority, whether it be in rented apartments or owner occupied dwellings.
For greater details of any of the above topics, contact the Building Inspection Department in the Government Center Building, 1316 N. 14th St. or call 715-395-7288.