Tips On Buying A Home With A Wood Burning Fireplace

Posted by Pam Brauer on Thursday, January 11th, 2018 at 5:52pm.

Wood Energy Technology Transfer Inc. (WETT Inc.) 

A WETT inspection is an important part of a home purchase, and an inspection condition should always be inserted into an agreement of purchase and sale where the home has a fireplace or a wood stove. (Wood Energy Technology Transfer), A typical building inspection will not be sufficient if the home has a fireplace or wood stove. Your insurance company will likely require a report and it will be easier insuring the property if one is complete. There is peace of mind knowing the unit is to code and There are different levels of inspections, level 1,2, 3.  For real estate purchases level one to start is suffice and the inspector would recommend if there is a need to have a different level complete.

  • Level-1 Inspection – “Readily Accessible”
  • Level-2 Inspection – “Accessible”
  • Level-3 Inspection – “Concealed Accessibility
  • A WETT inspection report details the areas in which the fire-burning installation meets or does not meet the manufacturer's instructions and the appropriate building codes.

    The issue is more than certifying the original installation. The WETT report will also note whether it is still safe to use the fireplace.
    If fireplaces are improperly used and maintained, they can be dangerous to the homeowner and could also prevent a buyer from getting home insurance.

  • An unsafe fireplace may have a buildup of creosote. This flammable substance is hard, dark and crust-like and is produced during incomplete combustion of wood, and when it accumulates inside the fireplace or chimney over time, it can cause a fire.
    Soot is also a flammable deposit, dark in colour but softer than creosote. Most chimney sweeps recommend cleaning when soot deposits reach  1/8-inch in depth.
    For safety reasons, fireplaces should always have a glass or mesh screen to prevent sparks from escaping and igniting an adjacent wood or carpet floor.

  • A complete inspection might involve checking whether the chimney has a cap with wire mesh sides to keep rain, birds, animals, and debris from entering. The outer mortar between the bricks or stone of the chimney will be examined to make sure it is intact. The inspector also looks for cracked tile liners or missing bricks, and dents, rust and missing screws on metal chimneys.

  • All homes with fuel-fired appliances should have both a carbon monoxide (CO) detector and a smoke detector. This is especially important if the home has a fireplace or wood stove, or both.
    If a wood-burning stove or fireplace is not used and maintained correctly, the results can be disastrous and even fatal.
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