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What is a WETT Inspection? Do I Need One?

What is a WETT Inspection? Do I need one?

A WETT inspection,  short for Wood Energy Technology Transfer, is a thorough inspection of all types of wood burning appliances.  This includes fireplaces, fireplace inserts, wood stoves, pellet stoves and outside boilers.

Fire is always a threat to a home and a WETT Inspection can provide “Peace of Mind” for the homeowner and his family.  Also many insurance companies now require a WETT inspection prior to issuing a Home Policy.

Many older homes and cottages have Wood Burning Appliances that will not meet the requirements of a WETT Certified Inspection.  Older wood stoves may not be certified by a rating agency such as UL, ULC or Warnock Hersey.   This means that the minimum clearance to combustibles for an uncertified stove is automatically 48 inches.   So unless your wood stove is in a basement you will probably be out of luck.

A WETT inspection is an inspection carried out by an inspector who is WETT Certified.  Below is a list of items that may be inspected by your WETT Certified Inspector on a Wood Stove, Pellet Stove or Fireplace inspection:

Typically, when people are looking for an insurance type of inspection, WETT certified inspectors conduct a visual Level I inspection to determine if there is evidence of any problems with the installation.

The Level I inspection is essentially a general overview of the readily accessible parts, clearances, chimney heights, stove location with respect to combustible materials and visual signs to determine if the system meets the CSA Standard B365 (Installation Code for Solid-Fuel-Burning Appliances and Equipment).

Call Roger at 705-795-8255 for your WETT Certified Inspection

Email Roger to arrange an appointment.

If you are installing your own appliance, call for information that may save you time and money.  Advice on installation is free and available any time.

Read our articles on various parts of wood burning equipment to find out about proper installation, maintenance and safety requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What areas do you provide service to?

We provide WETT inspections to Angus, Alliston, Barrie, Bradford, Brechin, Collingwood, Everett, Innisfil, Lisle, Midland, New Lowell, Orillia, Penetang, Ramara, Stayner, anywhere in Simcoe County.

Does My Chimney Require a Liner?

If you are installing a Fireplace Insert then you chimney requires a stainless steel” title=”View all articles about liner here”>liner to be installed.  Also liners maybe installed when there is damage to flue tile.

How Often Should I Clean My Chimney?

To be sure that all of your systems are in working order and operating as they should, it is recommended that homeowners get an annual chimney inspection. Most homeowners opt to have a Chimney Cleaning done every year as well, especially if they use their fireplace on a regular basis. Other venting systems connected to furnaces and stoves should also be cleaned on a regular basis to maintain safer operation.

What is a Fireplace Insert ?

Fireplace Inserts are essentially a well-designed wood stove that fits inside a fireplace firebox, which transforms the fireplace into a viable source of heat. Fireplace inserts are typically installed inside masonry fireplaces.

What is Creosote ?

Creosote  is the substance which is deposited in the chimney whenever a fire is burned, though some fires result in more creosote deposits than others, and is an unavoidable part of using a fireplace. Creosote is black, sooty, and tar-like; and it is dangerous enough that minimizing the amount of creosote in your chimney is an important safety consideration. If too much creosote builds up in your chimney, there is a much greater possibility of a chimney fire, which is extremely dangerous and often leads to deadly house fires.

Can I Reduce Clearance to Combustibles?

Yes clearances to combustibles can be reduced by up to 67% using an approved method and material to construct a heat shield.  Read article on Reducing Clearances.


Wett Inspections and Insurance

Wett Inspections and Insurance company – Most companies want a WETT Certified Inspection

WETT inspections and Insurance companies go hand in hand.  Most insurance companies today require that you obtain an inspection of your wood burning appliance by a WETT  (Wood Energy Technology Transfer) Certified Inspector.  WETT is the governing body who work with insurance underwriters and government bodies, to ensure safe installations and provide standards for inspections and insurability of wood burning appliances, such as wood stoves and open fireplaces.

There was a tendency during the development of the first round of EPA wood stove emissions regulations in the 1980s to rely exclusively on science and technology to reduce emissions from wood heaters. This made perfect sense at the time because most wood stoves were crude boxes with virtually no emission control technologies. Unfortunately, a repeat of this approach appears to be reflected in much of the recent commentary surrounding the EPA New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) review process. Unfortunate because this repeat of the reliance entirely on technology can result in appliances that burn cleanly under laboratory conditions through increased technological complexity but which do not meet user needs. This could produce disappointing emission reduction results in actual use.

Sawdust or other waste biomass material is compressed into small cylinders about 8 mm in diameter and from 10 to 30 mm long to produce pellets. The raw feedstock for pellet production does not include binders or other additives, except in some cases to assist in the extrusion process. In the pellet stove, the fuel is moved from the integral hopper to the small combustion chamber by a motorized auger. The exhaust is forced into the vent with a fan. Because steady state combustion can be approximated by adjusting the fuel and air mixture, pellet stoves can burn with lower emissions, on average, than wood stoves. In contrast, the combustion of a batch of wood in a wood stove never stabilizes, so combustion air requirements are constantly fluctuating and good combustion conditions are transitory. Pellet stoves deliver about the same efficiency as EPA certified natural firewood-burning stoves.

Creosote, a crusty deposit left behind by the smoke that drifts up your chimney, can ignite into a dangerous fire when it builds up. To reduce the build up of creosote burn only clean, well seasoned wood that has been split and dried properly. Dry wood lights faster, burns better and produces less smoke than “green” wood – a major culprit in creosote buildup. You should think twice before you chop up that old furniture and toss it into your wood stove.

Burning garbage, plastic, particleboard, plywood, salted driftwood or any other painted or treated wood releases a toxic cloud of chemicals and can build up creosote. A standard home inspection includes a visual assessment of the components of the fireplace, hearth and chimney. However, depending on your area and the property insurance you choose, a WETT inspection may be required.

Wood, however, differs from fossil fuels such as oil and gas because it is carbon neutral. The term “renewable” refers to the fact that trees recycle CO2. As a tree grows, it uses CO2 from the air as a source of carbon to build its structure. This carbon makes up about half of the weight of wood. When wood is burned, it decomposes rapidly, and CO2 is released into the atmosphere again. A similar amount of CO2 would be slowly released if the tree died and was left to rot on the forest floor. As a result, wood heating doesn##Q##t contribute to the problem of climate change the way fossil fuel use does. But wood fuel is truly renewable only if it is produced by using sustainable forestry practices.

The Barrie Home Inspector is a WETT Certified Professional Home Inspector for the Barrie, Alliston and Orillia area of Simcoe County. The experience and knowledge from over 4,000 inspections allows us to guarantee the best possible WETT and Home Inspection. The Barrie Home Inspector is also a Certified Building Code Official with the Ontario Building Officials Association.

Cleaning Your Chimney

Cleaning your Chimney tips and advice

Cleaning your chimney is typically done by a chimney sweep is an individual who removes soot and built up creosote from chimneys. In England boys as young as four were used to clean chimneys. Chimney sweeping was also one of the more commonly difficult, hazardous, and low-paying occupations of the era, and consequently has been derided in verse, ballad and pantomime.

Chimney fires can occur if you allow the build up of creosote. The smoke produced by your fire has tiny un-burned but flammable solid particles and oils from the wood which adhere to the walls of your chimney flue called soot.

Over time the soot in your chimney is refined by heat and becomes an extremely flammable material called creosote. A lot of people don##Q##t realize the creosote in their chimney is flammable, and all it takes is a tine spark or ember to ignite the creosote and start a chimney fire, where the actual walls of your chimney flue are on fire. Chimney fires burn at over 2,000 degrees and can easily spread to the rest of your house.

You need a chimney sweep to remove the creosote from your chimney flue. Chimneys and pipes like the ones on wood stoves are designed for smoke to pass through at relatively low temperatures; they are not built to withstand chimney fires which can burn at 2,000 degrees. A chimney fire can collapse a masonry chimney by destroying the mortar. In a pre-fab chimney the high heat can cause the metal to warp or separate allowing the fire to spread to the rest of your home.

Besides allowing a harmful build up of soot in your chimney, the air flow could become restricted causing smoke to come back into your home. The soot, if not removed, will e eventually turn into 3rd stage creosote which is extremely flammable. Always use a professional chimney sweep to clean your chimney. Only a chimney sweep can remove your creosote build up from your chimney.

Along with cleaning your chimney a chimney sweep will also perform an interior and exterior chimney inspection. It is a good practice to have the condition of your chimney checked every year by a WETT Certified chimney sweep to make sure your chimney is in safe condition and that the top seal of your chimney is in good condition to protect your home from the elements. The chimney sweep will make sure that your chimney##Q##s damper properly closes your chimney and doesn##Q##t  allow air conditioning to escape out of your chimney. An open, broken or missing chimney damper is like leaving two windows wide open.

Chimney sweeping is still a busy industry, as venting systems for coal, heating oil, natural gas, wood and pellet burning appliances need to be maintained. There is a greater understanding of the dangers of flue deposits and carbon monoxide and gases from combustion. The standard chimney brush is still used, along with more modern tools (such as vacuums, cameras and special chimney cleaning tools). Most sweeps are done from the bottom of the chimney, rather than the top, to prevent the dispersion of dust and debris.

In the US, there are two professional organisations that help to regulate the industry are the Chimney Safety Institute of America and The National Chimney Sweep Guild. Certification for chimney sweeps are issued by two organisations: Certified Chimney Professionals and The Chimney Safety Institute of America. Certification for chimney sweeps who reline chimneys are issued by Certified Chimney Professionals. In Canada the WETT (wood energy technology transfer) certifies Chimney Sweeps.

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