Believe it or not, there are still a lot of homes in the city that have wood burning fireplaces. I have even come across apartment buildings that had some as well. I would recommend that you have it documented in your offer to purchase as one of the Conditions, that either the buyer or seller have a Wett inspection done. WETT stands for ” Wood Energy Technology Transfer.
A standard home inspection doesn’t meet the requirements, as a home inspector may not have Wett inspection training certifying him to perform this type of inspection. A Certified Wett inspector, has the proper training, expertise and is properly licensed in this field.
What is a Wett Inspection:
Many people think that a Wett inspection is to certify the appliance, however what it really means is that the Inspector is Wett certified, and that the wood burning appliance will receive a certificate or report suitable for your insurance or for your own peace of mind and safety.
Very often a wood-stove or even a fireplace insert will be installed by a do-it-yourselfer.. on a weekend or during the evenings, and at first glance everything may appear to be totally fine. And then the
Wett inspector comes along, as is most often required by your home insurance only to find some oversights either from neglect or inexperience of the installer. Sometimes the problems are just from age and or heavy use of the appliance. All good intentions aside, having a fireplace or a wood stove in your home is a fantastic source of heat and can create a wonderful atmosphere. But they can also be a silent enemy in the night.
A Wett inspection report, is normally a checklist. The inspector visually verifies the wood burning appliance’s condition and clearance’s. Sometimes everything checks out but very often there will be some code concerns. Defects or even issues with the method of installation. Some units are laboratory inspected (Certified) and approved for minimal clearance’s. But some units are UN-certified, where their clearance’s may seem excessive, but necessary.
Some of the newer style units, contain a catalytic converter to help reduce the amount of unburned gases. But many times these can become clogged with creosote from burning old or improperly dried firewood. This may be evidence of a poorly maintained woodstove and flue pipe. The orientation of the flue pipes as well the number of screws fastening the joints together.
The chimney will be inspected. Cracks racks in the mortar of the brickwork of the chimneys or even spalled bricks (clay bricks that are flaking apart) is evidence of water damage which is another common issue. If there is a Stainless steel chimney, there can be other problems. Ie. Poorly supported or insufficient brackets if going up through the side of your home, discolouration at the seams, would indicate leakage and warrant replacement of these sections.
As you can see these are only some of the possible causes for concern These samples are just to promote awareness and encourage people to maintain their fireplace’s / wood stoves regularly and to recognize the need for these important inspections.