Permitting Stove Installations
Updated: October 9, 2015
Can I install my own stove?
- Hundreds, if not thousands, of towns and counties in the US require permits to install a wood or pellet stove.
- To our knowledge, only Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin have statewide requirements that stoves be permitted (If you know of others, please let us know)
- Some states specify pellet stoves and wood stoves, but if a permit is needed for a wood stove, always check to see if pellet stoves are also covered
- Generally work done under a permit must be inspected by a certified mechanical inspector
What is the difference between a building permit and a mechanical permit?
- Some jurisdictions allow it, but self-installation is risky if the stove will not be inspected after, unless you have a real high-level knowledge about hearth installations. Even relatively good self-installations might have some long-term safety implications and will be more likely to reduce the stove’s efficiency and cleanliness. This means you must continually add more wood, you will lose more money from buying more wood, and there will be more creosote build-up and lower air quality around your house.
- A building permit is a document that authorizes the construction of a new construction project, addition, or major renovation
- A mechanical permit more specifically regulates systems such as heating and cooling equipment
- For additional information, visit: http://www.permitsprotect.info/mechanical.html
- In Telluride, CO, permits required to own and use a wood stove can be traded and sold
- Other communities in Colorado implement similar programs, which combine performance-based standards encouraging the retirement of old, inefficient fireplaces and wood stoves.
- All of these programs focus on reducing the wood-burning, but some do not offer rebates for converting these fireplaces and stoves to natural gas. These programs appear to have been a success, achieving air quality goals quickly and at a relatively modest cost.
- In Montgomery Country, Maryland, a mechanical permit is required for a pellet stove, while a building permit is required for a wood stove
- In the state of Washington, permits for the installation of wood stoves, pellet stoves, or fireplace inserts can only be issued for EPA-certified appliances
Most insurance companies do not increase the annual premium for a wood or pellet stove but some add $20 - $30 a year. However, many insurance agencies want to know that the stove was installed by a professional and/or complies with any local requirement to get a permit and inspection. Bottom line: to ensure you don’t have any problems with your insurance company in event of damages from a wood or pellet stove, you should take these safety measures:
- Call your insurance company and find out their policies,
- Comply with all local requirements for permits and inspections, and
- Keep paperwork showing that you had professional installation and got all necessary permits.
In Maine, if a wood stove is installed correctly and inspected by the fire department, insurance should remain the same. However, if a home is rented, wood stoves increase exposure to loss or damage, so fire insurance is available at a higher premium. To view a discussion board on this topic, visit: http://www.city-data.com/forum/maine/445934-wood-stoves-question-insurance-increase-installation.html
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