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Buying a property with a “solid fuel” stove or fireplace?

Ahhh, thinking about enjoying those cool winter nights in front of your warm and cozy wood fireplace?

When buying a property that has a wood burning stove or fireplace, some insurance companies are now requesting a WETT Certification prior to changing over to the new owners. What they really mean is a WETT Compliance report from a WETT Certified inspector.

WETT stands for “Wood Energy Technical Training”. When someone is WETT Certified, this means that they are a “WETT Certified Member”, and can perform certain visual safety checks on a solid fuel burning appliance system.

After completing the necessary training, that person receives a WETT Certification Membership Number which gives them the necessary skills to carry out a Level 1 inspection. A Level 1 inspection is really what the insurance companies are looking for when reviewing a specific property.

It covers all the “Readily Accessible” components of an entire solid fuel appliance installation. The actual inspection process is visual only, and by a WETT certified SITE inspector; and is performed without ladders or specialized tools, and the issuance of a report using WETT’s recommended inspection checklists or similar checklists based on the type of system being reviewed. WETT inspections will generally include examinations of: The chimney; The liner and flue; The smoke chamber; The damper; The firebox; The hearth or floor around the wood burning appliance; and Check to see if all combustible surfaces are far enough away from the appliance and its parts.

In most cases this visual inspection will be enough for insurance companies to move forward and support the insurance of the property.

In other cases, a more intensive inspection may be required by a “WETT Certified Technician” who can also perform maintenance or fix major problems that may exist. When we do a home inspection on properties with a wood burning appliance, we typically use home inspectors who are also certified to conduct a Level 1 WETT inspection. This makes the whole home inspection process as streamlined as possible for the Buyers as well as the Sellers.

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