Oil to gas conversion with no permit Brooklyn NY?
I currently have an oil fired direct vent gas boiler for both heat/domestic. I am looking to convert because I need the space in my garage where the stand up Roth tank is, hate remembering to order oil, hating the smell of oil etc etc. So before someone suggest that I keep it,,,,me and wife are dead set on converting. I originally went into this thinking I just needed to find a competent plumber to have a game plan of what equipment I wanted to install, which I would then wait for the slow season and have the work done. The good news is, is that I have narrowed down what equipment I want/need to perform the job (ESC4 or 5 with a 50gal indirect)
Here's the bad news. I am not able to have this work done with a permit. I have an illegal deck, illegal garage etc (most of my neighborhood is like this) and there is no way I can afford to have all of this removed/taken down. (FYI the plumbers did a lookup on my address and it shows no permits for any heating system ever, which again is common for this neighborhood and age of home). My fear and concerns that have been told to me are that once the buildings dept. comes out to the home to inspect the work they will find everything else to fine me for. I've heard this from every plumber that I have spoken to. They have told me that they aren't allowed to self sign off on the plumbing work because of new laws/regs/codes and that the Buildings dept. inspectors assigned to these permit inspections are looking for anything they can to fine you for. Some have stated they have no issue performing the work but they obviously wouldn't be able to put their name on the work (which I totally understand and wouldn't expect them to).
Now here's where it gets tricky and I was hoping the guys with experience can help me out.
Lets say I wanted to go ahead with the work with no permits. Obviously I'm not concerned with permits considering other items at my house. Would National Grid get a RED FLAG because of my sudden increase of gas usage? I have asked each plumber this:
-A few said national grid might want to send someone out to inspect and make sure you're not using the gas for heating. Also if they do come to inspect and see you have a brand new heating system they will notify Buildings dept. and ask for a permit.
My questions for the guys with experience out there is this (again it may sound crazy but I'm willing to try if need be):
-Lets say I immediately cancel my National Grid account and have my wife open a new account in her name with a new account number (I would think that it would draw less attention if they have a new account number with higher gas readings rather then the same account number with sudden gas usage spike?). I would also run my gas bill up for the next 3 to 6 months and see if they say anything? If they ask to inspect, no problem.....they will come and see there is no heating system and I can state I cook all day every day because I'm taking cooking classes, etc (I can make up anything to say why I'm using the oven so often).
-The other plumbers said National grid wouldn't even notice. They stated that National Grid would only send out someone to inspect if your gas usage went to almost Zero because they would think you are stealing gas.
Someone out there must have dealt with this scenario before?
I know a few of the guys on here will feel compelled to tell me "how doing something like this is illegal and I wont help you" or "Permits are needed for a reason". So before you type that response, let me say in advance. I totally understand where you are coming from and I totally respect your advice. Unfortunately I am determined to have this done as long as it is done correctly without cutting any corners as far as safety is concerned. There are lots home repairs and alterations that the building dept. codes require a permit for. At the end of the day with or without a permit the only thing that truly matters is that the work is done correctly and safety is the highest standard.
Your skating on ice that is so thin that it will break.
If something happens you homeowners insurance will drop you so fast you won't know what hit you. Your playing with dynamite.
Also, what is a "I currently have an oil fired direct vent gas boiler" no such thing exists.
Also, doing this:
"At the end of the day with or without a permit the only thing that truly matters is that the work is done correctly and safety is the highest standard."
Any contractor that would do this will result in the opposite of the above statement.
And you can't sue the contractor because you are agreeing that "he was never there"
I appreciate the responce but a few things since you felt compelled to respond.
I do in fact have an oil direct vent boiler (verified with ever plumber that has come here to indirect look at situation, and maybe I should notify peerless to let them know they misrepresented one of their products and there is"no such thing")so not sure you know what your talking about.
My insurance company never even asked what type of heat I have and it doesn't reflect on my policy.
So let me get this straight.... if a competent,experienced licensed plumber decided to do the work,but because there is no permit..... it would result in a safety issue and that plumber now did a horrible job.....wow I think you might be insulting half of the plumbers on this site with statement.
Who said I'm holding the installer accountable for a lawsuit.
Honestly I get why some people feel the need to respond with something like what you responded with, but i can't justify the ignorance of some statements you have made.
Thanks for you honest opinion.0
Leonard Member Posts: 903Apples and oranges but I had a vacant comercial restaurant building 5k sq ft, 3 phase 400 amp service , that had zero electrical usage for few years , in new hampshire. I told them it was vacant and I only used power briefly to show it to tenants. Power co insisted on comeing out to inspect their meter. Guy came out and was happy I wasn't stealing power
Not knowing any better I'm courious why gas co would care if your using gas for heating, or what your using it for as long as you pay for it?
Here you can apply for a zoning varience, if your projects don't meet property line set backs and such. But they may say no,remove it. Need to get your neighbors to say your varience is a good idea and they approve of it-1
Leonard, I appreciate that input. It's definitely a little different here in Brooklyn ny. I wish is was that simple as a variance. But I do see your point. Maybe I can explain to national grid in advance that it was primarily vacant for the past few years and I want to notify them that usage will be going up and is there anything they need to look at before hand?
My neighbor (1 of many in my neighborhood) had done the conversion I'm attempting to do. The only difference is they had done it within 6months of buying the home.....I've been here 3years. I'm kicking myself for waiting so long.0
Nicholas- what a problem is right!lol.
That's a good idea. I didn't even think to ask that,yet none of the plumbers mentioned it as an option either.
I would think that regardless of having to file a permit for a water tank or for a boiler the building dept would still need to come inspect the work and that's where I would be screwed.?0
Couldn’t you be “grandfathered in” on the garage, and deck?
It seems the local authority has no knowledge as to what sort of heating system you have, so would a hot water replacement raise any red flags. Remember the plumbing inspector may not bother to look at the rest of the house, (and if the problems people come here with, are anything to go by, even the heater itself!).
Another problem may be: is the gas line big enough to run the boiler?—NBC0
To my knowledge everything in my area, after hurricane sandy, isn't allowed to be grandfathered in. They expected everyone to bring their homes up to code (only about 30%did and those homes were destroyed and rebuilt). Unfortunately I purchased the home after Sandy. Any plumbing permits having to do with heating system/gas at all filed with the building dept. will require this inspector to come out to check all plumbing/gas lines etc. Even tho back then the codes didn't exist the inspectors make sure everything now is up to most recent code....very stupid.
In order to gain access to the boiler area they must go thru garage. In order to inspect Direct vent they have to walk around deck. It sucks but I have no choice to go without a permit.
In my area it's a low pressure system. 1.5inch main coming into a 275 .5psi meter. I have the volume and its only a 6ft run to the boiler. I wish someone had experience going thru this before. If I knew that national grid wouldn't care about a usage spike I would go and do it without hesitatation....or prep(change account name, use oven 8hrs a day for next 3months etc)0
I think what people are trying to say is that the contractors who will hack this in under the radar aren't necessarily (or even probably) the ones who will give you a safe, efficient install; although it may be cheap.
With regards to the insurance, they won't look too closely while you're paying them, but you can be assured that they won't open the checkbook for any reason if an adjuster walks on-site.
You are well and truly screwed. Perhaps you can reconsider keeping the oil? get on the automatic plan with someone, find a GOOD oil tech (not necessarily from the oil company) to clean & tune the system & spend part of the cost of the gas upgrade on fixing the leaks & otherwise making the existing system better?0
File for the permit.
I think the inspectors wife likes the pies from the corner bakery (wink wink, nod nod).
What's the worst that could happen? Ha!
You basically came to an open forum to seek approval of trying to skirt the system.
So go for it, or don't convert. Even upgrade to a high efficiency oil boiler. It's a coin flip.0
He could be convicted and fined or jailed for bribing a NY city inspector. This isn't the '80s. Since several deaths due to home explosions and building collapses caused as a direct result of illegal work, NYC has a new attitude toward the way gas installations and repairs are performed.HVACNUT said:
File for the permit.
I think the inspectors wife likes the pies from the corner bakery (wink wink, nod nod).
What's the worst that could happen? Ha!
This is the single most obnoxious post I've ever read on this forum. Let's not make it worse.
This poster is going to find some fly-by-night "plumber" to do this work for him and it's going to be done illegally because that's exactly what he wants. Then he'll find out what it means to do business with someone who has no legal obligation to the job he's performed nor any motivation to warranty or otherwise honor any claim to the integrity of the installation. But he'll be happy because he's successfully said a big F. U. to the system put in place to protect him and others like him.
He's not talking about installing an un-permited toilet in his basement or an irrigation system for his flower bed. He's doing a full-on oil-to-gas conversion with an oil tank removal, gas shut-off and turn-on (even licensed plumbers can't do that anymore in NYC), chimney connection to God-knows-what, and purchasing new equipment for big dollars.
The liability here is huge. Let the poster find what he's looking for and thank your lucky stars you had nothing to do with it.
All to save his deck. Ridiculous.Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
Plumbing in NYC or in NJ.
Take his class.4
@JohnNY Yes, yes, yes.Retired and loving it.1
I appreciate the responses from everyone. I honestly do. I'm definitely not going to bribe a city inspector. They aren't even allowed to take a cup of water fro the home owner when they arrive.
JohnNY- I believe what you are saying is to be very accurate and only because I am aware (through online searching and through word of mouth from other plumbers in the area that I had asked about you and your very reputable company) that you are a very experienced plumber that works in the boroughs.
But I must disagree with you on something. To assume I am going to find a fly by night plumber is just plain wrong. If I was going to find someone like that do the work I wouldn't even be posting on this website. For the past couple of months I have done my research, talked to everyone I know and then had several plumbers come to my home. I started this search without thinking I was able to find any competent licensed plumbers and thru my searching I've actually made many contacts thru several of my friends local plumbing union and thru word of mouth. Just to assume that a licensed plumber is willing to do the work (which I find out there are several of them) without filing the permit, does not mean they are hacks or fly by plumbers. I am sure that you are aware of many licensed plumbers that should never go near a boiler system and yet they follow all the rules, file all the permits and they are still idiots. Just because your company does everything by the book, respectively so, doesn't mean that your work is done better or safer than someone else.....and vice versa. My neighborhood is full of tradesman carpenters, electricians etc. Some are licensed and most are not. Most of time that I've had work done to my home or I have personally helped to work on someone else's home (everything from raising an entire house to renovating a bathroom), the "contractor/carpenter/etc" was not licensed. This isn't to say that they are better than someone who is licensed, but it is to show that even licensed people can do sh*tty and unsafe work.
Example- "build it back program" was raising a home after Sandy in my area 2 years ago. Every single aspect of these jobs were over regulated with licensed/comptent people. There were more white hats and licenses for raising these homes than I've ever seen on a jobsite before. Guess what......they actually dropped a home, a god dam house! It almost toppled into my neighbors yard and killed his family. So please spare me the "this guy is gonna get what he deserves" crap because he is looking to trouble and doesn't care about safety. Had it been one of my unlicensed friends who's been raising homes for 50 years........I absolutely promise you it would've never happened. All of my friends and neighbors know who idiots are and stay away from them licensed or not.
FYI- I have a direct vent, no chimney. And yes to save my deck, and garage(which has solar panels on it) to remove all work and rebuild would cost over 40K.
I am happy to hear your response because I'm always willing to hear the point of view from a licensed professional regardless if he agrees with what I am trying to do or not.1
NYC is an upside down place compared to where I live now. We considered updating mom's furnace from an oil burning octopus to something from this century using licensed contractors, pulling proper permits.
What we kept hearing is, if you pull a permit, the dept of buildings will open the entire house to various inspections leading to possible violations that must be corrected. My family has been in that house for forty years and we bought it from the city thru HUD stripped of everything by vandals. So, the only permits ever pulled were to get a cert. of occupancy. Nothing added on like a deck. Just maybe some DIY electrical and plumbing by the old man.
Seems to me that this mentality ultimately defeats safety and sound economics. I can't see how a proper business can stay in business if all their bids can be shot down for unrelated work violations which opens the door to fly by night operators to do unsafe things.
Our neighbors ALL fly under the radar to do upgrades because of this. We decided to just maintain the old octopus. It's a hundred years old and only failed once. Occasionally, we get a whiff of oil but it never sets off the CO detectors.
If we can't do it legally, we wont do it. So, a legit business loses a job and we waste fuel oil. Upside down.0
Slamdunk- I agree. It's so crazy and upside down How the City Works. I am 100% on board for safety and having a job done correctly regardless what field (I almost got buried alive on my last job, miner). In regards to the city, what the heck does my deck/garage have to do with changing a boiler system correctly. I'm not that old but I will say over the years it's gotten terribly worse. it feels not only to me but by most people in the area that the city is just looking for reasons to gain revenue by putting violations and fining people. They change codes and regulations almost every year and expect you to keep up-to-date every time they do so. what was once okay 2 years ago now would have to be totally changed even though it's completely safe. Don't get me wrong they do a lot of good work and they do save lives in the process, but it's ridiculous now and getting out of hand. If I walked around my neighborhood I could literally find a violation on almost every home (with the exception of the brand new homes) and I'm not even a buildings inspector. Just crazy.1
Forgot to mention. What's crazy is if I had purchased the home 3 years ago with a gas boiler that was brand new, how would I even know that I was in violation because there's no heating permits on my home? Who's to say if I purchased an older used system and installed it in my home that it hasn't been there for 30 years? The Buildings Department would have no idea, National Grid would have no idea, my home insurance obviously wouldn't have any idea. Just crazy0
"What's the worst that could happen?"
What you said John was what I was eluding to. I thought the "Ha!" defined it.
He knows it's illegal. Seems like he's going to do it regardless of the opinions here not to proceed, nor care of the ramifications.
"At the end of the day with or without a permit the only thing that truly matters is that the work is done correctly and safety is the highest standard."
Right, except for that silly law thing.
This really shouldn't even be a topic for discussion.
I think the pie thing came from Shawshank Redemption.
A nut grows in Brooklyn
Are you being assessed and taxed for the garage and deck? If you are, the city already knows you have them.Hydronics inspired homeowner with self-designed high efficiency low temperature baseboard system and professionally installed mod-con boiler with indirect DHW. My system design thread: http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/154385
System Photo: https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/FileUpload/79/451e1f19a1e5b345e0951fbe1ff6ca.jpg0
So apparently a few years ago when plumbers were able to self sign off on their own work having to do with removing and installing boiler systems everything must have been safe because they did it legally? is that what you're stating? But because they change things the past few years and now require the city to be involved with the inspection/permit any work done without this permit is now a crappy job and unsafe? Do you truly believe that to be the case because that would mean any work than any of you have done prior to the city requiring their own Buildings Department inspection is now considered a crappy job and unsafe.
Again I understand where you guys are coming from and I would love to file permits and have this on the record that this is being done. but if 3 years ago this was able to get done without a permit with the city from the same exact licensed plumber per se, who's to say this job would be any less safe now?
Also I love the movie Shawshank Redemption please don't butcher up any of their lines.lol0
Let me put it this way: Is it currently against the law to do an oil-to-gas conversion/tank removal without the proper permits?
Pros? What do you say?Retired and loving it.0
if I remember correctly in my original post I wasn't questioning the legality of it but in case anybody wasnt aware of this , yes it is illegal0
This thread is going nowhere. I would suggest it be closed. Nothing positive is going to come from it.0
so instead of having actual real input on the questions at hand, you're just going to site legality issues. Fair enough, but to your point everything you've done it your entire life has been legal and therefore makes it safe and vice versa? you must be kidding me right.0
I agree with you it is going nowhere. unless someone could actually answer the question regarding National Grid and or has actual experience with this type of situation. I don't hold it against anybody if they've never come across this situation before regarding gas usage would National Grid. I again appreciate all the responses, some very insightful, some just ridiculous and some just outright avoiding the question at hand because they are hung up on legal issues. regardless it's good to get someone else's point of view.0
Trying to give positive ideas here...
We have worked in many homes and business that have gone through oil to gas conversions and the gas company (Elizabethtown or PSE&G here in NJ) was never informed. IF the gas line to the house and the gas meter were adequately sized, there were zero issues with the utility company. IF the gas line or gas meter were undersized, it became a problem immediately and the utility company had to either upsize the gas line or the meter (or the regulator in some cases).
Most NJ towns require plumbing, fire and electrical permits for an oil to gas conversion boiler. Some also require building and/or demolition permits. Every town requires permits for an oil to gas conversion. However, not every house or building we work in is fully up to code (illegal decks, recently renovated bathrooms with no permits, no GFI electrical outlets near kitchen sink, etc). As a matter of fact many homeowners learn that their house is not code compliant when they go to sell and the town Certificate of Occupancy inspector or the potential buyer's home inspector arrives. I suggest calling and asking the building department about "illegal" non-code compliant items before making any decision. Of course, don't give them your address over the phone. Instead, you might mention your considering purchasing a home in your neighborhood that might have an illegal deck, etc.
On many of our heating system installs (notice I said many, not all) the municipal inspectors (Plumbing, Fire and Electrical) did not pay attention to the deck, GFI outlets, or the size of the ceiling joist in the basements. On rare occasion the inspector would say something IF there was a serious code violation (safety concern). For example if your deck is say twenty feet by twenty feet and the joists were made of only single non treated two by fours, or if the water heater T&P valve had no pipe pointed towards the floor or if the wiring to the hot tub was speaker wire instead of heavy gauge romex, I think you get the idea.
Personally I need clarity on this. Are you saying the items were built without a permit or that they are built improperly?mleads310 said:
Here's the bad news. I am not able to have this work done with a permit. I have an illegal deck, illegal garage etc (most of my neighborhood is like this) and there is no way I can afford to have all of this removed/taken down.
There is a huge difference there. If it's built properly (in my area) you can get a permit and inspection after the fact and take care of things. They generally acknowledge people can inherit a mess and it isn't their fault, but that is my area.
If they are indeed built improperly, why on earth would you want that? My experience with inspectors is unless there is a glaring problem the just move on. Again if you have a glaring error (usually safety) why do you want that in or on your house.
As far as the fly by night contractor comments. I think what you are failing to acknowledge is there are plenty of legitimate licensed contractors that would do this, they also do crap work legitimately. Just because they are licensed and come with recommendations doesn't mean they will do it properly or back up their work. I have many friends and acquaintances that have done what you are proposing, when one of them gets something done properly I will let you know as it hasn't happened yet. Code violations hack work etc.
You are going down a slippery slope here. Worried about a 40k garage and deck, are you willing to lose your house over it? What is that worth? This is tripping over dollars to pick up pennies (IMHO).
As far as the gas company, having worked for a utility they do pay attention. Usually it's when usage goes down, but if you have a significant uptick in usage and they notice they may send someone out. Why, because that could mean a gas leak which they are always, always, always looking for. Those types of things they pay extremely close eye on.
I am just a homeowner, so I have no stake in your situation on any level.2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
Boiler pictures updated 2/21/150
I appreciate that input Scott. That's not a bad idea to contact the buildings department and run through the scenario of buying a random house let's say with these issues and see what they say. I'm obviously thinking worst-case scenario of what they would say automatically, but it's actually a really good idea to give them a call. Like most houses in my neighborhood the deck(30x18) is probably 20 years old appeared to be done correctly with the exception of it going to the property line which isn't allowed in Brooklyn. Also the garage from the outside appears to be seamless with the original construction of the home, they did a pretty good job but once you go inside the garage you are clearly able to tell that it is not part of the original Construction. Maybe I would be able to finish the walls, ceiling etc and make it appear as if the garage is actually seamless with the original construction of the home to avoid at least one issue with the building department of I priced that way.
Worst case scenario they tell me over the phone what I'm already predicting. Thanks for the input Scott I appreciate it.1
Typo.."priced that way" = go that way0
> @mleads310 said:
> so instead of having actual real input on the questions at hand, you're just going to site legality issues.
You might try a different site to get the approval or determination or whatever is driving you. Almost like your more into the heist than the score.
You never mentioned heat loss, radiation, piping... just "can I get away with it?"
No, you can't. So move on.0
Kc- I've had several people look at the work prior to purchasing the home to see regarding the stability and safety issues of both the garage and deck there are absolutely no safety issues whatsoever. Needless to say they obviously didn't file any permits for the construction or erection of a garage and deck. It's not to say that it wasn't up to code back then when they built these items. But I am 100% sure that throughout the years and codes changing that currently as it stands these items are not up to code. not because of safety issues,but for something as simple as maximum Dimensions allowed for a deck on your property or fireproofing the exterior wall of your garage. Back then you legally even with a permit did not have to abide by these regulations because there were no regulations for this, but since then the codes have changed and now anything currently erected will have to abide by these. So my fear is let's say I called the Buildings Department and ask them to come here to bring my items up to code. they wouldn't allow me, they would fine/violations and have me to remove all these items and erect them again up to code with permits. Two of my friends are going through this same issue with their garage now ( one friend tried to expand his garage by 3 ft and it just so happened that him and his neighbor got into a huge fight that week and the neighbor called the Buildings Department on him, another friend was caught residing his and since all the buildings apartment people were down here years ago building back houses for Sandy it just so happens a Buildings Department inspector was driving down the block). every time they have engineer come in to see if the current garage structure can be brought up to code they hit a wall because of the dimensions Etc and now they are forced to rip down a garage that has been there for 20 or 30 years.0
Yes HVACNUT- you've caught me, I have a ski mask on with a gun in my hand and I'm robbing the bank, please help me with the get away car. Very dramatic of you. Wow censorship at its best.0
KC- regarding a possible gas leak inspection from national grid, That definitely makes sense,good point0
Yes censorship when you use statements "like move on" or "cancel thread" that's exactly what that word means. I would have no issue with anybody reading or commenting on anything of this post other than those above phrases which have been mentioned several times already. And to think that it my concern is that an inspector would be reading this and somehow track me down through an anonymous email that I had made up is a bit of a stretch to say the least. But again not here to argue with anybody and I have gotten some really insightful information. In fact with all this going back and forth I am inclined to try another Avenue of contacting the building department and seeing if it is even possible to bring anything up to code which to me would be doubtful but you never know. Regardless of the comments said here on this forum, I am pretty sure that all of you guys are just looking out for my best interest, not me personally per as, but just for the fact of doing things the correct way which I appreciate.0
I like to post under my own name. Always have since Day 1.Retired and loving it.0
Honestly I give you a lot of credit for that. I guess as a homeowner with not much experience when it comes to Plumbing or heating whatsoever, it would be a bit intimidating especially when you read other threads and people start attacking each other. Not to say that's exactly what's happening here but I'm pretty sure you could see how things can escalate to the point of where somebody would want to take revenge on somebody else meanwhile both people are probably very good people in themselves. Like I said before though if anything what I have gotten out of this, is that maybe I do have one or two Avenues left before proceeding to go what I thought had been my only choice left. Trying to bring the garage up to code or what would look like up to code for the building inspector. And maybe ripping down a 20 year old deck wouldn't be the worst thing.0
I started this site in 1997 with my real name. I've learned over the years that the fights usually start between people using fake names. They're like beer muscles.
Years ago, we had a series of events we called Wetstock. We brought together hundreds of people who post here regularly at each one. The goal was to put faces to names so we could all sit and talk for a day over good food and drinks. We learned that some of the biggest ball-busters online were quite different, and quite nice in real life. We did these events all over the country and friendships formed that have lasted throughout the years. This is why we don't have many fights on this site. The Wall matured years ago.
And we are trying to help you. It would be so much nicer if you could use your real name. No one is going to hurt you, but I understand your fears.Retired and loving it.2
- 121.3K All Categories
- 84K THE MAIN WALL
- 2.9K A-C, Heat Pumps & Refrigeration
- 53 Biomass
- 417 Carbon Monoxide Awareness
- 40 Chimneys & Flues
- 1.7K Domestic Hot Water
- 4.8K Gas Heating
- 119 Geothermal
- 155 Indoor-Air Quality
- 3K Oil Heating
- 56 Pipe Deterioration
- 772 Plumbing
- 5.4K Radiant Heating
- 362 Solar
- 14K Strictly Steam
- 3K Thermostats and Controls
- 51 Water Quality
- 627 Buy, Sell, Barter
- 38 Industry Classes
- 73 Job Opportunities
- 19 Recall Announcements