The majority of insurance companies today require that any wood burning appliance be inspected by a WETT Certified Inspector. WETT in an acronym for Wood Energy Technology Transfer Inc. which is a non-profit training program for inspectors. Most insurance companies will only require a Level One – Site Basic inspection.
There are THREE LEVELS of WETT Certified Professionals available, which are:
LEVEL ONE INSPECTION – “Readily Accessible” The Site Basic inspection is essentially a visual overview of the accessible parts, clearances, chimney heights, stove location with respect to combustible materials and construction to determine if the system meets the CSA Standard B365 (Installation Code for Solid-Fuel-Burning Appliances and Equipment) and the Ontario Building Code (Part 9). Locate Site Basic WETT Inspector for Barrie ON
LEVEL TWO INSPECTION – “Accessible” This level of inspection may include the removal of doors or panels to conduct the inspection. The use of ladders and related service tools maybe required. There would be no invasive action to the actual building.
LEVEL THREE INSPECTION – “Concealed Accessibility” This inspection level can involve removal of parts of building or system but does not included any structural items. Specialty tools and equipment maybe required.
To become WETT Certified an individual must complete a number of courses and have 80 weeks of industry experience. WETT Certification courses are typically held in most major cities and their website has an up to date training schedule posted.
Although there is no Legal Standing for an individual to be WETT Certified most insurance companies do require that your wood burning appliance be inspected by an individual who is WETT Certified. Many rural municipalities have Building Inspectors who are also WETT Certified Inspectors, but they will not inspect your wood burning appliance, which could be due to liability issues.
Typically the home owner should have their chimney cleaned prior to inspection as creosote build up can hide cracks or damage to flue tiles etc. Creosote is highly combustible and when built up inside your chimney can ignite if sufficient oxygen comes in contact with it while using stove or fireplace, causing a “chimney fire”. Most wood burning experts recommend that you have your chimney cleaned at least once a year of only used periodically and twice or more is using as a secondary heat source.
The best way to control creosote is to prevent its buildup by maintaining a briskly burning fire with dry, well-seasoned wood. Maintain a flue temperature exceeding 250 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent creosote condensation.
Some modern high efficient stoves deliver more heat to the room than an open stove or fireplace. This reduces the amount of heat escaping up the chimney and lowers the flue temperature. Ensure creosote is not building up as a result of lower flue temperatures. Additional inspections and clean-outs may be needed.
Unlike Building Codes there is no “Grandfather Clause” which would permit using requirements in place when house was built without requiring compliance. This confuses many people who have had their wood stove in operation for over twenty years and now are told that unit does not comply to applicable standards. One major change is that Fireplace Inserts are now required to have a stainless steel insert installed between insert and top of chimney. Many older installations were accomplished by simply pushing insert into the fireplace opening sealing off with supplied metal trim plate.
WETT was formed as an educator, not an overseerer of workmanship or creator of rules or regulations. If you require more information about installation requirements or what a WETT Inspection includes contact Roger Frost at Barrie WETT Inspections.