Last night I was sitting at our kitchen peninsula and I heard “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. My wife was singing and it got me thinking, about our cold damp winter season and how Newfoundlanders love a good fire.
There is nothing like sitting by a nice crackling fire. Fortunately most insurance companies don’t concern themselves too much with fireplaces. But NLers love our wood heat, and many of us have wood stoves/pellet stoves etc. As we use these more often as a secondary (sometimes as a primary) source of heat, insurers are definitely concerned about them.
Why Are they Concerned?
Insurers are concerned because over ½ of home heating fires occur during the heating months, and devices like woodstoves are sometime left unattended to warm the house during the day. As well because woodstoves etc, are designed to heat, they are more complicated and as such need more attention when installing them.
What do Insurers Want?
If you advise your insurer that you have a wood stove/pellet stove etc, they will have questionnaires that will be required to be filled out. They will want to know the make and model, distances from the wall, if it is mounted on a non-combustible surface, is there a heat shield, how far is it from the wall, among other information.
Many insurer are now requiring that these devices are WETT certified. So what does WETT stand for? It stands for Wood Energy Technology Transfer. There are only certain individuals who are WETT certified. Those insurers who are wanting your appliance to be WETT certified will want a report from the technician. Luckily this most often only has to be done once and you can keep the certification on file if ever required again.
If you add a woodstove/pellet stove after you take out your insurance, you must advise your broker. Insurers will consider this a material change in risk and want to know about it
What are the Safety Concerns?
If you have a woodstove or pellet stove you need to be concerned about safety, they say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With that some key tips would be
- Proper Installation – Some of us may be quite capable of installing … quite often it is best left to a professional.
- Ensure proper air flow.
- Make sure you have a proper chimney/vent
- Clean and service your appliance regularly
- Let ashes cool completely before removing and dispensing. It is not unheard of to hear embers taking several days to cool
- Be prepared
- Make sure smoke detectors are working
- Make sure CO2 detectors are working
- Have a fire extinguisher near by
- Remind people that the appliance is hot
- Have a fire exit plan
The above points are by no means exhaustive. I encourage you to do your own research, the following video also offers some suggestions as well
Fun & Games
Woodstoves/Pellet Stoves are great. They can be a great conversational piece, but they are not just fun and games. It is important to alert your insurance broker to any such device in your home and make sure it meets their standards. The last thing any of us want to see happy is a claim denied because your insurer did not know about it.
So here’s my big sell. It is time that you gave your Newfoundland & Labrador Homeowners Insurance Experts, Crosbie Job Insurance the opportunity to discuss your homeowners insurance requirements. We will work with you to tailor your homeowners insurance so that it meets your needs. We will make sure that woodstove or pellet stove is something you can enjoy. Kick back and relax enjoy the comfort from your appliance. Sleep Easy! We’ve Got You Covered. Don’t hesitate to contact us and put our Strength and Experience to work for you.