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WETT Certified Inspection

WETT Certified Inspection

Here are some of the common problems found during a WETT Certified Inspection.  As a home owner you can check your wood burning appliance before arranging for an inspection.  This can save you time and money.   Also if you are installing your own appliance it can help you comply with the required installation and safety standards.

Hearth Extension 

Fireplaces shall have a noncombustible hearth extending not less than 400 mm (15 3/4 in) in front of” title=”View all articles about fireplace here”>fireplace opening measured from the facing, and not less

Barrie WETT Hearth Inspecton

Large Fireplace Hearth

Where the fire chamber floor is elevated more than 150 mm (5 7/8 in) above the hearth,the dimension of the hearth measured perpendicular to the plane of the fireplace opening shall
be increased by not less than
(a) 50 mm (2 in) for an elevation above 150 mm (5 7/8 in) and not more than 300 mm
(11 3/4 in), and
(b) an additional 25 mm (1 in) for every 50 mm in elevation above 300 mm (11 3/4 in).

When a fireplace opening is greater that 6 sq ft require a hearth that extends 20 in in front and 12 in to each side.

If the fireplace opening is less than 6 sq ft a hearth extending 16 in to the front and 8 in to each side.

Chimney Inspection

One of the most valuable items you can install on your chimney is a rain cap.  A $25.00 chimney cap will prevent water, snow and debris from entering your chimney.  Water, Masonry and Winter Freezing Cycle can do a lot of damage to your chimney and also cause some safety issues.

Modern chimney’s have to have a prefabricated or poured on site chimney cap with drip edge.  Older masonry chimney caps tend to crack and allow water to penetrate into chimney structure.  Unless you are regularly inspecting and sealing cracks in older chimney caps,  most likely there is some deterioration occurring.  Once the water penetrates the cap it starts attacking bricks, mortar and chimney flue liners.

Flue liners can become cracked or mortar deteriorated and missing.  This will require repair by a mason prior to inspection.  Many times if clay flue liners are damaged the home owner will opt for installing a stainless steel” title=”View all articles about liner here”>liner.

Height of Chimney

The top flue of your chimney must be a minimum of 3 feet above roof at chimney base.   It must also be at least 2 feet above any roof feature that is within 10 feet.

WETT Chimney Height Rule

Chimney Height Rule

Weather Resistant

The outer surface of your chimney should be weather resistant.  The top of chimney cap where” title=”View all articles about liner here”>liner passes through should be sealed with caulking.  Mortar joints should be shaped to shed water.  The freeze / thaw cycle can deteriorate bricks.  Masonry chimney’s need periodic maintenance to repair cracks in caps and caulking.


Inspect flashings to ensure they are tightly fitted against brick surface, for corrosion or rust.  Caulking maybe required to ensure adequate seal.  Any corroded or rusted flashings should be replaced.

Type A Chimney’s

These types of factory built chimney’s were used until the late 1970’s where it was discovered that the metal could buckle with the extreme heat of a creosote fire.  Although still in use, this  Type A chimney’s should be closely inspected for any signs or corrosion or failure.   If installing a new wood burning appliance, the Type A chimney must also be replaced.

Chimney Cleaning

Depending on how often you use your wood burning appliance should dictate how often you clean it.  Every chimney should be cleaned annually and if used as a heat source during the winter, twice or more is probably a good idea.   If your chimney has seen a lot of use then it is recommended you have it inspected by a WETT Certified Chimney Sweep as Creosote can hide cracks and missing mortar etc. Read more about Chimney Cleaning

Wood Stove

Certified Wood Stove

The very first question I ask my clients when calling for a Wood Stove inspection is; ” Is your stove Certified?”.   A Certified Wood Stove has a data plate, usually located on the back, which

Certification Label - Barrie WETT Inspections

Certification Label

indicates that unit was tested in accordance with a Listed Agency and it will display the clearances required to combustible products.  It will usually also indicate the clearance required for stove pipe, whether single wall or double.  Older stoves may also have minimum hearth pad dimensions. CSA, Underwriters Laboratory (ULC), WarnockHersey, and OMNI  Laboratories are typical Testing Agencies found on label.

Uncertified Wood Stoves

If your wood stove does not have a label indicating it was tested by one of the above agencies, then it is an uncertified wood stove.  The minimum clearance to any combustible on front , sides and rear is 48 inches.   Although clearances can be reduced by using approved shielding methods,  most home owners opt for buying a new wood stove.   The new models of wood stoves have very small clearance requirements and they are quite energy efficient  compared to older models.  EPA requirements also require cleaner burning stoves which requires less chimney cleaning and more efficient fuel burning.

Floor Protection

There are two types of required floor protection: thermal protection – protecting the floor from radiant heat from the bottom of the stove – and ember protection. For ember protection, you need to have continuous, non-combustible flooring under your appliance, extending 8” beyond it at the rear and sides and extending 18” in front of the wood loading door.


For more information on obtaining a Certified WETT Inspection of your wood burning appliance,  Call Roger at 705-795-8255



Wood Heating

Wood Heating - Barrie Wett InspectionsWood heating is practiced on a small scale, the fuel is usually harvested from a local resource, and the users gain a more complete understanding of their impacts on the environment than users of other energy sources. As environmentalists have suggested, these are some of the very features needed for economic and environmental sustainability. Families who heat their homes with wood responsibly should be recognized for their contribution to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a sustainable energy future.

Wood stoves are free-standing space heating appliances. Used either as the principal source of heat for a home or to supplement conventional heating systems, wood stoves are the most popular form of wood heating equipment because of their relatively low cost and installation flexibility. There are two general categories of wood stoves based on differences in combustion technology, emission characteristics and efficiency: conventional wood stoves and advanced technology, EPA certified wood stoves.

Wood cooking stoves have a cook-top surface, a bake oven and sometimes a reservoir for domestic hot water. Cook stoves are not common in Canada, although a few models are still available for sale in specialty stores. Cook stoves are exempt under the EPA wood burning regulations because the numbers were considered small and their manufacturers testified that practical cooking features and low emission combustion technology are incompatible. Smoke emissions performance for cooking ranges is not available, but particulate emissions are probably similar to conventional wood stoves.

Certified WETT inspectors will specifically inspect components of all wood-burning appliances and fireplaces to determine if they were installed safely and in accordance with building and fire code requirements. WETT inspectors are required to complete a minimum of four days of formal training and declare a minimum of 80 weeks of related field experience before being certified.

The best way to start your fire is with newspaper and dry kindling. Never try to get a blaze roaring with gasoline, kerosene or charcoal starter – you will get more firepower than you bargained for. Remember to remove ashes from your stove or fireplace regularly and store them in a covered metal container in a safe area away from the side of your house. The sparks in hot ashes can easily start fires. It is important to keep all household items – such as; drapes, furniture, newspaper and books – away from the heat and the stray sparks of your wood stove or fireplace.

Any fuel you choose to heat your home will affect the environment. When wood is not burned properly, it can have negative impacts on both outdoor and indoor air quality. Smoldering, smoky fires that produce a plume of blue-grey smoke from the chimney are the main cause of air pollution related to wood burning. You can reduce the amount of smoke from wood heating in many ways.

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.

WETT Inspection Information

Many Canadian home owners are surprised that their insurance company requires them to have their wood burning appliance inspected. Although your stove may be “certified” by ULC or another listed rating agency, that only supplies the required installation instructions for that particular appliance. There are three agencies which test or list wood burning appliances; C.S.A., Underwriters Laboratories, and Warnock Hersey. Your insurance company will require that your stove be inspected by a WETT Certified Professional Inspector prior to issuing an insurance policy.

The testing agency will set up a manufactures appliance in accordance with the installation instructions and perform a test firing. They set up thermal couplers at all sides of appliance to ensure unit does not exceed safety requirements for temperature. Only when the unit passes this test will a ULC rating sticker be allowed to be attached to appliance.

As part of your Wett Inspection your appliance will have all its parts inspected including chimney, damper and vents. All parts have to be in good condition and operable in order for your appliance to pass this part of the inspection. A broken damper or cracked chimney would be cause for failure.

When installing your wood burning appliance you will have to ensure all clearances on rating data tag are met. If there is not rating or listing tag then the minimum distance to combustibles will be 48 inches. If required, you may install a radiation heat shield which can allow up to 67 percent reduction in clearance. This shield has to be constructed in strict accordance to CSA B365 requirements.

Wood appliances will usually have either a single wall or double walled pipe. Usually most people use a double walled pipe to avoid the 18 clearance required by use of single wall pipes. When passing through a wall or chimney a listed thimble is required. A listed thimble can reduce the required 18 inches of clearance required to 2 inches.

If your masonry chimney has damaged clay flue tiles most experts will recommend installing a flexible stainless steel liner. These liners come in various sizes and are guaranteed for life. This re-lining method is both faster and cheaper than repairing a damaged masonry chimney.

Many fires are caused by individuals not cleaning their wood burning appliance and chimneys. Regular inspection and cleaning is the most important method of preventing chimney fires. Take down the stove pipe at least once or twice during the heating season and clean out the soot. Removing the accumulated soot saves fuel, increases heat and minimizes the danger of fire.

For more information visit  Barrie WETT Inspections

ULC – Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC) is an independent product safety testing, certification and inspection organization.

CSA – CSA Group is a not-for-profit membership-based association serving business, industry, government and consumers in Canada and the global marketplace.

Warnock Hersey – The Warnock Hersey Mark (WH) is North America’s leading product safety and performance mark for building and construction products.

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