The Basics for Home and Business Owners

What you should know about appliance installation and repair

What are the specific requirements—including licensing and permits—for installing or repairing common household appliances? Here are the most common questions—and their answers—homeowners have about appliance installation and repair requirements.

What is a household appliance?

A household appliance is equipment installed in a dwelling unit that is built to standardized sizes or types and is installed or connected as a unit to perform one or more functions, such as cooking and other equipment installed in a kitchen, clothes drying, clothes washing, portable room air conditioning units and portable heaters.

Examples of typical cord-and-plug household appliances:

  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Range
  • Disposal
  • Washer
  • Water heater
  • Freezer
  • Dryer
  • Wall oven
  • Trash compactor
  • Cook top

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.

Does a permit need to be purchased for work performed on your household appliance?

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

  • An electrical permit is not required to install or replace the appliance.
  • For electrical repair work done within an appliance on the owner's premises, an electrical permit is not required for component replacement so long as the component is the manufacturer's recommended replacement part.
  • An electrical permit is required for any field modifications to the appliance.

If your household appliance is hard-wired, then:

  • An electrical permit is required for the initial connection to the electrical system.
  • An electrical permit is not required for a replacement so long as the replacement is like in kind (same function and electrical requirements).
  • An electrical permit is required for any field modifications to the appliance.

How do you know if your electrical contractor or electrician is licensed?

If your electrical contractor and/or electrician sent to your home is licensed by the Department, then they will show up in our database. The Labor and Industries public Web site allows anyone to search our database by the electrical contractor's name or electrician's name. The search engine will allow you to narrow your search to certain areas of the state. Look up a contractor or electrician.

What is the "like-in-kind" replacement of an appliance or appliance component?

"Like-in-kind" means having similar characteristics such as voltage requirements, current draw, circuit overcurrent and short circuit characteristics and function within the system, and being in the same location. "Like-in-kind" also includes any equipment component authorized by the manufacturer as a suitable component replacement part.

What is the difference between "cord-and-plug" and "hard-wired"?

  • Cord-and-plug-connected appliances have a cord with a molded plug that was either factory or field installed on the appliance. The appliance is then ready to be plugged in to a receptacle in the location where it is permanently installed.
  • A hard-wired appliance is one where the building wiring method attaches to the appliance in a more permanent fashion. This will involve splicing of wires inside the appliance.

Residential major appliance parts, repair, and services (we service Warming drawers, Dryers, Cook tops, Stoves, Garbage disposals, Ovens, Ice makers, Freezers, Trash Compactors, Ranges, Microwaves, Grill units, Cooking ventilation systems, Washers, Dishwashers Wall ovens, Barbecues (BBQs), Gas appliances, Refrigerators) in Bellevue, Bothell, Carnation, Clyde Hill, Duvall, Fall City, Hunts Point, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kirkland, Medina, Mercer Island, Newcastle, Preston, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Woodinville and Yarrow Point Washington.