Published Date Written by Gail OberBELMONT — Selectmen approved a decrease in building code fees Monday night that also includes a new category for generator permits.
Code Enforcement Officer Steve Paquin created a new category for generators — a category that he said yesterday would allow him to trigger generator installation permits in one place.
Previous to Monday's vote, Paquin said generator installation actually required two separate permits — one for the fire department to check the fuel source going into the house and one for him to check the electrical panel to ensure the parameters and transfer switches are installed properly.
Paquin agreed with Laconia Fire Chief Ken Erickson and Gilford Code Enforcement Office Dave Andrade with the assessment that many people don't realize they need a permit to install a home generator or, more importantly, why they need to have the inspected.
Erickson said that aside from the carbon monoxide fumes that can seep into a home if a generator is improperly installed, one of the real dangers is that the transfer switch isn't working correctly.
He explained that the transfer switch on a properly installed generator immediately cuts electricity from the house to the lines.
"Our guys are out clearing up what we think are dead power lines and they're live," he said.
In Laconia, he said the when a person installing a propane generator purchases the propane, the prchase triggers a call to his department who go out and inspect the hookup. He said a second inspection of the main electrical panel is performed by the code enforcement department.
Andrade said the procedure in Gilford is very similar to the one followed by Laconia.
All three said the instructions on the generators should be followed to the letter and people installing them must take out a permit and have the proper authorities make sure they are installed properly.
All three said most people don't know they need a permit to install a generator.
Selectmen approved a new building permit fee schedule Monday night that would lower the town's commercial rates making them more compatible with those in neighboring communities.
Paquin said Belmont's commercial rates were almost double that of surrounding communities.