Marie-Claude Dulac

By Marie-Claude Dulac

February 16, 2017

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4 Facts to Consider About Wood Heating

Article revised on 2 February 2018

There’s nothing like a fireplace to warm up a cold winter night, and create a relaxing atmosphere in your home! Thinking about having a wood heating unit installed in your home? Here’s what you need to know about the kind of impact that wood heating can have on your home insurance.

1. Your insurer has to be notified that you already have or will install a wood heating unit in your home

Your insurer will make sure the unit is installed safely and will add the unit to your home insurance contract. This way you’ll be adequately covered in the event of a loss.

Insurers will generally require:

  • That the wood stove is connected to a safe chimney, like a prefabricated metallic chimney that can withstand high temperatures of up to 2,100°F or a masonry chimney with a refractory tile or a metal duct
  • That your chimney is cleaned as often as required by your type of unit and by the number of cords of wood burned per year
  • Proper installation, i.e. no flammable materials nearby, hoses and connections in good condition, chimney in good working order, etc.

If your unit is not properly installed, your insurer can request that you take the necessary measures to make it proper. He could even refuse to cover a unit that is not installed according to the standards.

2. Be careful when you buy a wood heating unit or purchase a home equipped with one

No matter the type of unit you think of buying, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and l’Association des professionnels du chauffage (APC) recommend:

  • A unit that bears the mark of approval from an independent testing lab (CSA Group, Warnock Hersey, ETL or ULC certification)
  • Having it installed by a qualified technician, member of the APC
  • Checking with your municipality to find out about its heating regulations and requirements. For environmental reasons, certain cities such as Montreal prohibit the installation of solid fuel heating appliances in newly constructed homes

Before you purchase a home equipped with a wood heating unit, we recommend that you check with an Association des professionnels du chauffage (APC) member to make sure that the unit is properly installed.

3. Installing a wood heating unit will increase your home insurance premiums

Why? Because wood heating increases the risk of fire. The most frequent causes of fire with wood stoves are:

  • Construction defects and improper installation of stoves and chimneys
  • Placing flammable materials too close to the unit
  • Poor maintenance and misuse of the unit
  • Lack of chimney cleaning, leading to creosote build-up, which can cause a fire to spread throughout the entire house

4. Proper maintenance and use help diminish risks

Proper maintenance and use will help reduce the risk of fire caused by a wood stove. According to the IBC and APC, you should:

  • Have all equipment used for solid fuel heating appliances (wood stove or fireplace, chimney, ventilators) inspected by a professional
  • Use only dry firewood. Whatever you do, don’t throw waste or used, treated, painted or treated wood
  • Clean it every year

Need advice or have a question about heating appliances? Talk to your insurance agent! Your agent can explain the various coverage options and help you determine what’s right for you.

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