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As a competent DIY'er, am I legally allowed to install Hive myself?

The reason for the question is I have been asked to provide a cert as I'm selling the house.

If not, can someone point me in the direction of where it legally states I can.

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    Call your building department and ask them if what you did requires a HVAC license or permit or certification. I'm assuming it doesn't. Then ask them if they can point you to the section in the code showing it doesn't. Print that section out and provide it to your buyers. If it was me I'd ask my real estate broker to do this. – Platinum Goose Jul 1 at 15:53
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    Which country do you live in (and if USA, which state)? – Martin Bonner Jul 1 at 16:10
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    You probably aren't going to sell your house to this guy w/o taking huge hits all over the place, if they're asking for crap like this. I wouldn't even return their phone calls; their 'other concerns' are going to add up to +$20k real quick. – Mazura Jul 1 at 23:06
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    I'm voting to close this question because permitting and licensing is off-topic – mmathis Jul 2 at 15:03
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    I would urge you to not place Smart Home devices in a house you plan on selling. Smart home are aimed at tech enthousiast home owners who are willing to invest the time needed to set up these devices and keep them maintained. The new owners will need to regularly install software updates and stay up to date with new features. In addition, these devices are usally developed with very low security standards, leading to privacy issues and malware risks. Finally, these companies sometimes cease operations, generally bricking all devices in the process. Ask Lowe Iris users how that went for them. – Nzall Jul 3 at 11:22
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In the vast majority of jurisdictions, most DIY work is perfectly legal in a house you own/land contract, and live in. The only exceptions are things like Freon handling, gas lines, and several other crafts, due to the particular hazards (often indirect, e.g. Freon).

You're not allowed to work on houses you don't own for obvious reasons. In many crafts, including electrical, you're not allowed (or permit non-licensed people) to work on houses you rent out, because that would be a huge incentive for "slumlord repairs". Given that rental properties tend to already be at the "more distressed" end of the housing spectrum, this is a recipe for dead tenants. However it is presumed you have incentive to do good work on housing you expect to occupy yourself.

Further, certain minor jobs are always allowed (for homeowners not tenants) due to their simplicity, common-ness, and low chance of critical failure. For instance changing receptacles and switches (typically done for cosmetic reasons) even though this work is harder than it seems. I would certainly expect that changing thermostats on a 24VDC system would be on the short list.

That said, the "only work on houses you expect to live in" principle applies in spades. If you are gussying up a house for sale, STOP. Aside from the "no incentive to do safe work" factor, you're also locking them into choices they may not want. Don't lay white carpets (pretty but nobody wants to live in it), don't fit 20-space stuffed service panels, and don't pick a smart 'stat for them. Give them a price concession of a fraction of the upgrade cost and let them choose.

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    Gas plumbing is often regulated. If you screw up an electrical installation you will probably only kill your own family; if you screw up a gas installation, the resulting explosion can easily kill a large number of people in the neighbourhood. – Martin Bonner Jul 1 at 16:09
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    +1 for don't install smart-hell in a house you're trying to sell. It's a major anti-feature. – R.. Jul 1 at 21:42
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    New construction in Chicago now requires a separate low voltage permit (yea, money!), but I highly doubt swapping a thermostat requires one when done by yourself... in your own home, +1 – Mazura Jul 1 at 22:58
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    @Mazura In Aus you aren't allowed to do any electrical/plumbing regardless of whether you live in the house or not (first sentence of this answer). In fact for a while it was even illegal to change your own lightbulb (and the rumour that it still is still circulates today). – Shadow Jul 2 at 5:35
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    Absolutely what @R.. said- don't install a smart-stat for them. If i were a buyer, my first concern would be "how do i know he's not going to screw with my HVAC via phone?" Put in a dumb, cheap thermostat and let the buyer install what he wants. – Jamie M Jul 2 at 13:52
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The final answer will depend on your specific jurisdiction. However, generally speaking

  • Plumbing - gas and water - typically requires appropriate licensing and/or permits
  • Electrical - "mains" voltage or above - i.e., typically greater than some particular voltage, but generally designed to include 120V/240V (and above) but NOT to include telephone, network, doorbell, low-voltage thermostat, etc. - requires appropriate licensing and/or permits. Note that the "do your own electric work" really varies considerably - some locations forbid it unless you are licensed (possibly with a special "homeowner's license" available), some allow you do basic work yourself (the sensible answer, IMHO) but not big changes, and some allow you to do almost anything in your own home.
  • HVAC - in addition to gas, water & electrical issues, working with refrigerant (most air conditioners and heat pumps) requires special licensing
  • Changes to the outer structure of the house typically requires a building permit

In most places, this means:

  • You can't (legally) install or do major repairs on most HVAC systems, but you can replace a thermostat (low voltage, not directly working with gas or higher voltage electric, etc.). The exception is a line-voltage thermostat, but that's a Hive is a typical low-voltage thermostat.

The actual specifics will vary depending on location. But as a general rule, you should be OK replacing your thermostat yourself.

  • answer will depend on your specific jurisdiction and WHEN you did it no matter what we're talking about : Grandfathering of Existing Buildings. But if this is a new realtor trick something might have changed recently (or this is just some noob freaking out? ... Or he lives in Australia? @shadow, what's that about?). - OP needs something somewhere that says "but you can replace a thermostat" – Mazura Jul 2 at 4:01
  • I don't think that's true for working with refrigerant (in your own home. aka, residential; not commercial or industrial, nor as a service) : Is an HVAC license required for DIY home owner AC installation in the State of Georgia? – Mazura Jul 2 at 4:06

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