If you are going book a WETT inspection, it makes sense to carry out your own pre-inspection and fix the defects that you can find on your own before you pay me to find them. This will, in most cases, allow you to avoid the requirement of a follow up inspection. First, a bit of a disclaimer: I can’t cover all of my training and experience in a short article. Things can get complicated. So, following this little guide won’t necessarily ensure that you’ll get your installation perfect, but I can help you get past the most common pitfalls. Also, if you’ve got a complicatedinstallation, you can feel free to call or e-mail me with your questions and I’ll try my best to talk you through it.

Is it a certified appliance?

The first step in your inspection is to figure out if your stove is certified by an accredited laboratory. The most common labs are CSA, Underwriters Laboratory (ULC), Warnock-Hersey, and OMNI testing Laboratories. They will have a sticker on the appliance (usually on the back) that specifies the required clearances around the stove. This certification also comes into play in a few other aspects of the installation. If it’s not certified, not to worry, you can still make the installation “safe” (I put safe in quotes because nothing is foolproof); it’s just a little harder, as you will see.

If you have an insert that was installed by a previous owner, you probably can’t see the sticker without removing the insert from the fireplace – a bit of a daunting task for most homeowners. If the manual is available, the installation specs will be there. If the manual is not available, I can help you try to figure out the make and model so that you can download a manual. The manual will specify the required clearance to the mantle, nearby walls and combustible facings on the front of the fireplace. It may also specify the minimum dimensions of the fireplace into which the unit is inserted.

Floor protection

There are two aspects to 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. When I say “continuous” it means there can be no cracks where embers could get down to combustible material. So,patio stones won’t work unless you grout between them. If you have a certified appliance, you don’t need to worry about thermal protection. The legs are designed to be long enough to keep the firebox far enough from the floor that the floor won’t get too hot. If you have an uncertified appliance, you will need to have additional thermal protection under the stove. This gets complicated (different requirements for different leg lengths); so, it’s best to call me about this.

Appliance Clearances

Clearances around the appliance seem pretty straightforward...until they get complicated. Look at the sticker on the appliance to tell you how much space you need between the appliance and any combustible construction.

Define combustible construction? Combustible means anything that is capable of catching fire and burning. This includes drywall. And a wood framed wall with brick in front of it is still combustible. So, unless you’ve got a solid masonry wall, you will have to comply with the required clearances.

The sticker likely won’t tell you what the clearance to the ceiling needs to be. You have to calculate this by measuring the height of the stove in inches and subtracting that from 82”. That is: Top clearance = 82” – height of stove. Why? You ask. It’s a long story. Have ice cream or liquid refreshments available at your inspection and I’ll explain it. If you have an uncertified stove, don’t rush off and measure its height. The clearance to the ceiling is required to be 60”.

If you have a wood burning furnace, the sticker will likely give you a clearance from the top of the plenum and the first six feet of duct. The sticker will tell you the required clearance from the back, sides and corners of the appliance. The clearance from the front or wood loading door is always 48”. So, it’s simple, right? Just measure from the stove to the nearest combustible items (walls, ceilings, furniture). If you have less than the required distance, you have to move the stove, move the combustible item or install shielding to reduce the required clearance. Flue pipe The flue pipe is the pipe (usually black) that connects the appliance to the chimney. Measure the distance between the pipe and any combustible construction. Required clearance around the standard single wall flue pipes 18”. Double wall flue pipes have a sticker stating the required clearance (usually 6”)

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