You might be thinking of installing your own furnace to save some money. The installation process is actually quite complex. Faulty installation can lead to a variety of problems in the future. These include inefficient operation and high utility bills. Some of the more dangerous side-effects are an increased risk of fire due to gas leaks, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Both gas and electric furnaces require safe installation by a licensed professional. Faulty installation can lead to injury, illness, or even death.
Permits and inspections ensure the furnace is installed safely. They also confirm that the contractor follows all the rules and requirements.
So, is it legal to install your own furnace? In short, no, you need a permit and a licensed plumber. Unsafe installation is a big hazard to you and your neighbors.
If you still don’t think installing your own furnace is a big deal, just search “gas line explosions” on the internet. That’s the worst-case scenario, but it can happen!
Common Problems with Furnace Installation
A gas furnace produces carbon monoxide, which is deadly. In order to install a furnace safely and effectively, you need years of experience. Improper installation can lead to injury and even death.
Here are some common problems that may result from improper furnace installation:
The furnace produces excessive carbon monoxide. It can poison you and everyone that lives in the house.
Gas leaks lead to an increased risk of fire. They are especially dangerous because they are difficult to identify. Even if you can identify it, you might not be able to find the source of the leak. And even if you did, you wouldn’t know what to do in that situation.
Choosing the wrong size furnace
Don’t always opt for the biggest one! Too big of a unit can be problematic and cause breakdowns, higher energy costs, increased humidity, poor indoor air quality, and noise. It most probably won’t last a long time and you’ll need to replace it sooner than later.
When you’re buying a new unit, think of the one you had before. Did you have any problems with it? If so, mention them to your contractor to help you choose the right unit.
If you can, definitely opt for the newest model. Every new model has gone through several upgrades, making it safer and more efficient.
As mentioned above, professional furnace installation is crucial! If not installed properly, the furnace can cost you a lot of money in repairs in the future. Professional installation, on the other hand, will reduce future possible costs.
If your furnace is installed by a licensed professional, you are entitled to future care under a warranty. Naturally, if you attempt to install your furnace yourself, you will have to pay for all future repairs out of pocket.
One of the biggest risks that come with faulty furnace installation is gas leaks. Those can lead to major explosions that can destroy your home in the process. You can even risk killing yourself and your neighbours as a result.
The biggest issue with this is that you can’t see gas, you can only smell it. Because of that, it’s quite difficult to find where the leak originated from. Even if you manage to find the source of the leak, chances are you wouldn’t know how to seal it yourself.
Is it Legal to Install Your Own Furnace? And Do You Need a Permit?
A permit is so much more than just a piece of paper. It is a confirmation that your furnace will be installed safely and lead to no complications. In most states, you need a permit to install a new furnace or replace an old one.
Another question is, can you repair appliances connected to gas lines? It depends. Non-licensed repairs may be legal in some states, but you’re always advised to avoid those and hire a professional instead.
Some states require a permit even if you’re installing a gas stove onto an existing gas line. That’s usually because these areas have experienced a gas explosion in recent years. Making you get a permit is their way of ensuring that it doesn’t happen again.
Furnace installation is not a DIY project. It is a big job that requires a licensed professional. So many things could go wrong! You should never attempt to install a furnace yourself.
Permits are in place to serve as evidence that your contractor is a licensed specialist that knows what they’re doing.
The inspections that you have to undergo confirm the following:
- The installation of the unit is up to the standards and requirements of your state.
- Everything is according to the code. There are no safety violations that could create a safety hazard.
- The air systems have been properly dealt with.
- The gas line hookup and the emergency shut off are in place.
You will also need a low-voltage electrical permit, even in the case that the thermostat is not being replaced.
How to Apply for a Permit?
You must mention the property and the names of the architects and engineers that will be working on the project in your application. You should also describe the work to be done in detail. In addition to that, you have to submit the following documentation:
- A floor plan that clearly shows the location of the furnace, the heat registers, and the return air registers.
- Compliance with the minimum installation requirements.
- Compliance with the combustion air requirements.
- Electrical plans that will showcase how the furnace will be energized.
- Plumbing plans that will showcase the gas piping system.
- Plan Requirements.
You don’t need to submit electrical and plumbing plans for a furnace or wall heater replacement. However, you still need a low-voltage electrical permit, even if you’re keeping the old thermostat and replacing the furnace.
Any projects that involve natural gas should be completed by licensed professionals. That ensures maximum safety and effectiveness.
The Cost of the Permit
A building permit can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,500. The final price will depend largely on your location. For example, if you live in a rural area, the costs will probably be much lower. Ultimately, if the cost of living in your city is low, the cost of a building permit will also be relatively low.
The permit price usually includes inspection fees, which are around $100. Some gas providers may offer you free inspections.
You can research different inspectors in your area before you settle on one. If you fail your inspection, you’re going to have to pay for another one after you’ve fixed the mistake that made you fail.
Hopefully, you’ve got the answer to the question “Is it legal to install your own furnace?” Now you can find a licensed professional and get that new furnace!
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