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I live in California and checked my city's website for building permits requirements. One of the things it says requires a permit is an electrical upgrade. I want to change my front door light to a photo-electric one. Would I need a permit for this? In normal circumstances, is a permit required for this type of work?

I will call the city/county on Monday or Tuesday but I wanted to ask here in case the person gives me bad info and tells me I need a permit when I don't.

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Every location can be different, but this hasn't required a permit anywhere I've ever lived. The only difference between changing this fixture and plugging a different light into an outlet is that the fixture is hardwired. Upgrading your service typically involves an addition to your home, or running a new circuit for something like a kitchen remodel. Anything at or after the junction box should be able to be changed without getting an electrical permit.

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No not unless your home has "historic" relevance in your area or if your area has very strict aesthetic codes. In both of these instances your municipality may care what the new lights look like but do not care about who does the work.

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