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#186523 05/18/09 04:01 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
Trumpy Offline OP
Hi folks,
Just looking to compare notes with you guys in the US.

Over here in NZ, anyone that fixes the electrical parts of appliances (say washing machines, stoves and the like) must have a current practicing licence as an Electrical Service Technician.

I would imagine that this would (loosely) be the equivalent of a Restricted Electricians Licence in the US (and maybe a few other countries too).
I realise it varies between states and what-not.

But, here is the crux of my question, when that EST fixes or alters the appliance, they MUST affix what is known as an Electrical Safety Certificate (about the size of a credit card and it is an adhesive-backed sticker) to the back of the appliance.

What the EST must fill out on it, is their registration no, a contact phone no., the date the repair or what-ever was done and a signature that the appliance was tested to ensure it is electrically and operationally safe to use, after the work has taken place and the tech has left.

What I suppose I am getting at is that electricians must pull a permit to do electrical work that could potentially kill or injure some one.

Now, there is no way that a permit system for appliance repairs would ever be remotely workable.
But the potential for shock or injury is more or less on the same level, if a repair is mucked up and the appliance is not tested before the tech leaves.

Reason I bring this up, is, I was sent to a place this morning, where a lady recieved a near fatal shock after having her washing machine repaired, because it used to cut in and out all the time during a wash.
The tech replaced the plug on the end of the cord supplying the washing machine and left.

An ESC was used in this case and I was able to find out who did the repair with a phone call.

The plug had been wired with the phase and earth backwards, effectively livening the metal body of the washing machine. mad

Being able to track who has done these repairs would certainly be helpful.

Your thoughts please?

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,791
Likes: 14
In most places I have been in, anyone can repair appliances and they just need a business license if they charge money for it. A few companies make it a little harder for anyone but a factory authorized repair shop to get wholesale parts but they have to make the parts available "retail".
This becomes an issue when the delivery driver also becomes the installer. That is why I prefer anything that can be cord and plug connected, be C&P.
I have also never heard of that Oregon permitting process for small items like ballasts and I bet it virtually never happens that easy replacements like that get permitting here in Fla. It is hard enough to get HVAC replacements permitted and they do that with pre approved permits the installer buys ahead of time. I have yet to see how they are going to deal with the new energy code requirement that they submit energy calcs before they can replace a condenser. My bet, they just swap them out and never get a permit.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
I'm not aware of any mandatory certification requirements for appliance techs in the U.S., but nowadays, there is a lot of very good training info available if someone really wants to learn appliance service.

Here in my state, the appliance techs can generally work on any related electrical, gas, water or refrigerant [with EPA 608 Cert.] within the appliance itself, but nothing external beyond the electrical cord cap, water or gas line without the proper respective state licensing.
Most techs will probably connect a saddle valve to the homes cold-water branch piping for a refrigerator icemaker water supply line, but even that may be considered as pushing the boundaries, since the potable water system is involved.

I think that the repair company's invoice is normally the only evidence you would usually have to indicate that anyone "reputable" had serviced the equipment.
If there's no record of the service because the homeowner hired some fly-by-night repairman to do the work and paid in cash, then that's where law enforcement may need to get involved to track him down, certainly if someone was injured or killed as a result of his work.

On a related note, these days, with so many different appliance brands and models, each with their own specialized electronics and servicing techniques along with DIY internet competition and the need to stock many expensive, brand specific replacement parts, service tools and equipment, it's very difficult to turn a profit in appliance service, unless your connected with a large, high volume regional or national service outfit. Add to this the lower cost of replacing appliances versus repairing things like window AC's and the profit of non-warranty repairs disappears completely.
This is mainly why I no longer offer any appliance repair service for other than immediate family members.
All I can say is… all of my own household appliances and HVACR equipment work fine… and I don't miss the endless circle-jerk associated with that type of work at all.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
I disabled the 3rd redundant safety microswitch of my microwave oven when it failed. There are now only 2 redundant safety switches left between me and the microwave not shutting off by itself if I yank open the door while it's running.

This is my right as an American! I don't have a pacemaker, nor does anyone in my family, and frankly, recieving a small % of 1000W of microwave radiation is not the least bit harmful to humans. (Lemme tell you a funny story about me and a microwave-oven magnetron in an RF lab about 15 years ago...)

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 404
What you do to yourself is nobody's business but yours, but what you do to people that you're "helping" is another story...

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
Trumpy Offline OP
Interesting comments,
May I say that I was talking about those that repair appliances as their normal day job, not those that "repair" their own appliances.

Having said that, during my apprenticeship as an Electrician, I was required to be able diagnose and repair faults in most common household appliances, to pass the 3rd Qualifying Exam.

This included Stoves, Fridges, Heaters of varying types, Air Con gear, Washing Machines, Clothes Driers, Ceiling Fans and other bits of junk.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,333
Likes: 7
I have to look into appliance repair guys here (NJ) as to what (if any) licences are required.

As to permits/stickers, I can only recall seeing a "call me' type label from the smaller repair guys. Permits are not required. There are also factory (mfg) repair/service guys, and large (Sears) retail ops that provide service/repair.

I see your point about shoddy repairs, and possibility of injury or worse.

Most, if not all the sparkies that I know....don't touch appliances. My personal thoughts over the years was and still only what you do best; leave what you don't know alone.

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,392
boy, it sure sounds like NZ has it all over the usa in the appliance dept....


Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 174
In Washington State:
Do you need to hire an electrical contractor to repair your household appliance?

If your household appliance is cord-and-plug connected, then:

Neither an electrical contractor's license or an electrician is needed to install or replace (plug in) the appliance. The electrical law does not regulate repair work done in the appliance repair shop environment. Electrical contractor licensing and a certified electrician is required for repair work done on the owner's premises.

If your household appliance is hard-wired, then:

An electrical contractor utilizing properly certified electricians must be used to install, repair or replace the appliance.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,333
Likes: 7
I overlooked another 'biggie' in repairs...
One of the POCO's (PSE&G) has a "Worry Free" division that repairs appliances. They do both electric & gas appliance service in areas approved by BPU. Also, the gas utilities have repair/service people. The gas guys stick to furnaces, gas ranges/ovens and dryers.

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