I’m going to tell you a true story-

  1. On a Tuesday my stove broke
  2. On Wednesday we bought a new one
  3. On Friday morning the stove was delivered
  4. On Friday Afternoon my building handyman installed the stove
  5. On the following Monday a new law went into effect in New York City- only licensed plumbers were now allowed to install gas stoves

Background: About five years ago there was a horrible explosion in Manhattan’s East Village caused by faulty gas installation. The law was enacted to try to prevent future explosions.

Ok- you have the basics. Now let’s get to the practical:

When my building handyman installs my stove, he charges me about 8% of the cost of the new stove.

If I have to have a licensed plumber install my stove, their fee would be about 90% of the cost of my stove.

So, you see the cost differential.

I discussed this new law with members of my virtual book club. All are NYC residents so this law would apply to each and every one of them.

We had been talking about bureaucracy and I mentioned this new policy and the inherent flaws that I saw with this new law. First off, it once again made living in NYC more expensive. While I understand why it is important to have gas appliances installed properly, I also know that my handyman and building super are both armed with certificates in plumbing as well as other things. I opined that they should have a certification course for building staff so that building staff could continue performing this job. I also said this was going to inversely effect people who live in public housing, because the NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) would try to batch new stove deliveries so that it would take forever for someone to receive a new stove. NYCHA is not known for it’s well thought out managerial tactics.

Do you know what the members of my book club all said?

“Well, I just won’t have a plumber install it. My ________ will install it. Who will know?”

Which of course leads to the third problem:

More people will end up getting hurt because they will just choose to just not obey the law, therefore, even less experienced people will now be installing gas appliances. In reality, there will be more chance for inept gas line hook up.


Here’s some possible discussion points:

  1. Though the law is obviously done to protect people, is it too hard to follow the law?
  2. Would you pay 70-80% more to have your appliance installed, or would you find a cheaper and not legal alternative?
  3. Would you buy a place that uses gas appliances, or would you seek out electric?
  4. Do you think this law will work?
  5. Anything else you want to add?

Of course, timing is everything, so I’m glad I don’t have to worry about this, for now, and that I sprung for the extended warranty for my stove.

69 thoughts on “There’s A Reason-However…

  1. I am a rule follower and afraid to break laws so I would follow the law and complain about the expense. I have electric stove but always wanted to cook on real fire, however, this makes me somewhat placated that I have electric stove. 🤔

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That has been the law in Massachusetts for as long as I can remember. I had to buy a new dishwasher and of course needed a plumber, checked out the prices at Home Depot and Lowes (both within a 20 minute drive) and they charged more than the cost of the dishwasher. Went to a smaller independent dealer, cost of the appliance was the same, but the delivery and install was 1/4 of the big places. Yes, it takes a little more time and coordination to find the right installer etc, but for safety and giving the job to an independent is worth it. NYC is an expensive place to live and this sort of thing must be a challenge to be sure, but maybe it will force people that manage buildings to make sure they employ licensed contractors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But, no licensed plumber is going to take a job as a super or handyman. Plumbers make so much more money. And though our building has a plumber, it’s for building issues, they are egregiously priced for home use. I understand the spirit of the law and will follow it. However, most won’t. It’s impossible to enforce properly


  3. When it comes to the possibility of blowing up an entire city block I think I’d go with the legal route, but you’re correct…many will not and that’s frightening when you think about what’s at stake.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s like the low flush toilet…sounded like a great idea on paper–except that in real life people have to flush three times. It’s that whole “real life” intruding in on “great ideas” problem…

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I had a conversation with a blogger the other day about the people that say “back in my day” and my point was, sometimes well enough was enough. We have to really think if we need to reinvent thevwheel

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Typical government over-reach. I would be curious to see the data as to how many accidents can be proven to have occurred due to someone installing a gas appliance who is not a licensed plumber. Seems to me that New York probably has more important things to be worrying about.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I’m pretty sure we have a similar law here. I do understand the frustration and have dealt with some similar things in the past. Yes, it is more expensive, but that is because they have special skills and training to do the job correctly and to keep you safe. You wouldn’t go to a mechanic to have heart surgery just to save money. In a place like NYC especially, when you have so much of your housing connected to others, rules like this are absolutely necessary to keep everyone safe. There should also always be the ability to go with an electric stove if you really don’t want to deal with the hassle (probably a big assumption on my part), though a plumber would probably still be needed to cap the line if the existing stove was gas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In a perfect world this is great. My problem is no one is going to listen, and people who could probably do the job well (like my handyman) aren’t going to do it because it’s illegal. However….doesn’t mean other less qualified people aren’t going to do it, or, people doing it themselves. I might pay the money. But if my neighbor doesn’t, does it matter? Rules are great if people adhere to them. When’s the last time you saw someone driving the speed limit if there wasn’t traffic? I agree with the sentiment. I doubt 90% of people will follow it

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am a rule follower, especially with anything involving fire.

    We have regulations around here regarding chimneys, since many people burn wood.

    Sometimes we drive around and look at people’s chimneys and we see that some are non-compliant with the safety standards.

    Unfortunately, this leads to some house fires. Our fire department is composed of volunteers.

    Thanks for a thought provoking discussion, LA.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well that sucks. It reminds me of the low flow showers we have to have. I will admit that I had my husband install a more forceful shower head after the inspector left, but they don’t even manufacture stronger shower heads anymore. Still, more water is not as dangerous as a poorly installed gas stove. Thank goodness you got in under the wire. I agree about the certification for building handypeople. That should be allowed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My thought is that the price of installation should be included in the cost of the stove, and should be based on the cost of the stove. Appliance stores should have installer on payroll or contract

      Liked by 2 people

  9. This is a tough one. I’m not one for following laws that don’t make sense. This one makes sense but wasn’t well thought out. Because my hubby is a rule follower, I’d probably follow the law by default, but begrudgingly.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, wonderful timing to save you a lot of money. I guess, if it were me, I’d be calling around different plumbers to find the best price in the short term. In the long term, I like your idea of having building supers all certified as plumbers, electricians, etc. That would be good for both them and you. If only that were an easy solution for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Between safety, money, and need I would cough up the dough for a properly installed stove, but I would not be happy for the additional cost and hoops I’m now expected to clear. California is trying to phase out gas appliances and fireplaces so the cost to repair what we have is going to be astronomical. We are over regulated because…C

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There’s a high probability that we would hire a reasonably priced alternative that we felt was competent. (We also know a fair amount between us and could tell if something was being done right or not). I suspect that the law is less about the chance of explosion (exceedingly rare) and more about the political clout of the plumbers union.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, think about what was happening before the law was created and ask if things were really in bad shape. Or was a problem invented that really didn’t exist? And probably won’t in the future.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Think of it like this. My stove cost 700. The cost of a plumber needs to install will be about 550. I paid my handyman who has some sort of plumbing and electrical certification 75. Do you think people are going to shell out hundreds of dollars now, or do you think they’ll do a work around. Also, the people willing to do a work around…do we trust them? I understand why they came up with a law. I just don’t think this will make things better. It might make them worse

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes. The plumber was always expensive compared to the handyman. The law didn’t change that. People were looking for the cheaper option all along. Now they want to penalize you for it or force you to take the crazy expensive option. I don’t think it will make things safer or less safe. Just more aggravation for appliance buyers.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think it will be less safe because people won’t comply with the law and will find someone who may or may not be qualified to install it. I think if you don’t live in a doorman building it’s impossible to enforce. The question is will someone qualified but not a licensed plumber be willing to do the work. It all depends on how many people are willing to break the law.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Without being specific, I think this same discussion could apply to a good range of political topics we debate regularly. It’s not about picking a side, yknow? Follow the law or not. It’s about creating an opportunity for people to get hurt. or conversely we could create the opportunity for people to have safe options that fit their budget/lifestyle/needs.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Bureaucracy is one of the longest four letter words in the dictionary.

    I mean, what’s wrong with having someone who’s licensed install it? And what’s wrong with having to provide documentation if asked to do so, and if you can’t, well, there’s a fine?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This situation effects the lower income individuals the hardest. I want everyone to be safe. But I also want to make it reasonable for people to have a stove installed. This is a quality of life necessity. Figure out a way to protect people in all ways

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hm. Gas stoves are far superior to electric, yet I would be hard-pressed to spend the additional money to have it installed “properly” in accordance with the law. Seems like the law, in this instance, may cause more damage in the long run.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m thinking back to when my gas stove was put in…I am pretty sure the guys that delivered it from the store installed it. I never thought about whether it was within their scope or not. I don’t think I paid any extra, just assumed it was part of the delivery charge. They asked if I wanted them to install it for me or if I had anyone lined up and I said go ahead. This was a few years ago and in A different state. I sure would not want to pay a lot of $$ for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the idea of building installation into the price. It seems the most fair way to make sure that all are installed properly, and should be prorated as to the price if the appliance!

      Liked by 1 person

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