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Permitting Stove Installations

Updated: May, 2020

 

Overview

  • 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

Can I install my own stove?

  • 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. Self-installed stoves are far more likely to pose safety dangers due to more build up creosote, insufficient clearances, improper use of combination of parts, etc. Protect your home and your family and don’t skimp on hiring a pro to install your stove.

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What is the difference between a building permit and a mechanical permit?
  • 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

Unique circumstances
  • In Oregon and Washington State, it is unlawful to buy, sell or install an uncertified wood stoves.

  • In Washington state, all stove installations must have a source of primary combustion air from outside the structure, connected to the appliance as per manufacturer's specification.

  • In Telluride, Colorado permits required to own and use a wood stove can be traded and sold

  • Some states have incentives to buy and professionally install new stoves. Check here to see if your state has one. And, local government in many western states and some northeastern ones run periodic or ongoing change out programs to replace old stoves with professionally installed news ones. Check here for change-out programs.

Insurance Considerations
  • The following advice is some of the best we have seen and we reproduce key parts of it. Click here to read the entire article. Home insurance companies usually cover wood stoves or pellet stoves as long as you meet the conditions for coverage. These conditions vary according to the provider, but typically include professional installation and a safety check by an official inspector. Insurers tend to be more cautious about providing policies to homes that rely on stoves as the only source of heating.

    If you've installed your own stove, or if it was installed before you bought the property, you might have to provide documentation to prove your stove is safe before the insurer agrees to cover you. Sometimes, however, policies have provisions that exclude coverage to damages from faulty or inadequate workmanship, installation and maintenance. Imagine you install your own wood-burning stove. If your insurance provider does not require an inspection and your home burns down, your policy may not cover you if the fire was a result of your own workmanship.

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Pellet stoves often have smaller effects on home insurance premiums because they are much less likely to cause house fires than wood-burning models. Because they burn cleaner fuel, pellet stoves don't create a large creosote buildup. Your pellet stove also does not need a chimney connection for ventilation.

In Canada, many insurers will require your stove or fireplace to pass a Wood Energy Technology Transfer (WETT) inspection before they’ll cover your home.

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 inform them before you install a stove to 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.

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