Expert WETT-Certified Inspection for Your Wood Fireplace: Stay Safe and Compliant

Installing and properly maintaining a wood burning appliance in Canada is not a regulated industry. Wood Energy Technology Transfer Inc. (WETT Inc.) is a non-profit education and training organization that supports safe wood burning practices. If you’re burning wood and live in any of the Canadian provinces, you should be aware of this information to keep your family and property safe.

To carry out its mission and promote safety, WETT Inc. has developed the Wood Energy Technical Training program, which produces WETT certified professionals.

WETT’S Mission: Safety First

This program provides training for those who offer wood burning products for sale, those who install and maintain them, and those who conduct inspections of wood burning systems for the general public. The WETT program also officially recognizes and confirms the knowledge and skills acquired through field experiences, WETT course work and self-study by issuing certificates of qualification. You should look for these qualifications when deciding to have your wood burning system installed, inspected and cleaned.

The main objectives of the organization:

  • To develop and promote safe and professional training courses for those involved in the wood burning industry.
  • To maintain a registry of those people who hold valid WETT credentials.
  • To promote the safe and efficient use of wood burning technology.
  • To advance research and education on using wood as an energy source.
  • To foster a professional code of ethics among certificate holders and set expectations for a high level of professional service and conduct toward the public.

It's also worth noting that WETT does not act as a regulator, nor do they oversee or claim responsibility for the quality of work from their membership. WETT does not assist in resolving any consumer disputes, but they do maintain a database of violations of their code of ethics.

WETT Inspections: What to Expect

So, let’s focus on inspections. A typical home review from an inspection company would include a visual inspection of the fireplace, hearth and chimney. So, what kind of technical subjects is a WETT Certified Inspector proficient at? A WETT inspection goes well beyond a general “look-see”. To start with, a WETT inspector will ensure your wood burning system is installed to comply with all appropriate building codes and manufacturer requirements.

A WETT inspection includes a visit to the roof to examine the chimney for any potential structural or other issues. The inspection could consist of closely examining the wood stove, connector pipe, chimney system, clearance to combustible materials and more. You’ll find comfort in knowing that a knowledgeable, experienced, licensed individual has carefully looked over your entire wood burning system, not just a quick visual look at the appliance, hearth and chimney.

Let’s briefly explain the three levels of WETT inspections. Level 1 is a Visual or Readily Accessible Inspection. Readily Accessible is defined as “quickly or easily reached” for inspection. A Level 1 inspection does not require special tools for opening and removing any doors, coverings or system components. An inspector will ensure clearances to combustibles are met, will open stove or fireplace doors, check accessible dampers and clean out doors, and visually inspect the chimney from the ground.

Level 2 is called a Technical or Accessible Inspection. “Accessible” is explained as being able to reach, without invasive methods, the areas of the building that contain the components of a wood burning system. This may include removing a door, panel or other component, taking apart connector pipes, entering the attic or accessing the chimney from the roof. Accessed building or system components can be repositioned to their original condition.

Level 3 inspections are called Invasive or Concealed Accessibility Inspections. Level 3 inspections are needed when access must be gained by invasive methods. This might include opening walls and ceilings, disassembly work on masonry or prefab chimney systems, or examining a chimney liner. In a Level 3 Inspection, it’s not possible to return the property or a component to its original condition without significant repairs. Based on needs, the WETT Inspector may use drills, saws, video scanning or other equipment. WETT inspectors will get an agreement in writing from the homeowner before any invasive measures are taken.

The Importance of WETT- Certified Inspections

The bottom line for a certified, professional inspection of your home in Canada is the safety of you, your family and your property. Whether it’s a fireplace, stove, fireplace insert, pellet stove or outside boiler, it’s important that these appliances have been correctly installed and are regularly inspected and maintained.

In Canada, WETT inspections are required as part of the home insurance process. Insurance companies require homes using wood burning appliances to be thoroughly examined by a certified professional before they can be insured. Many homeowners first become aware of WETT inspections because of this insurance requirement.

A WETT inspection will tell you whether your wood burning appliance is operating correctly, is in good structural condition, and burns wood in a way that does not compromise health and safety.

You can verify that a person is WETT certified by visiting this website or calling (888) 358-9388. We all know that fire can be a threat to any home, particularly one that is burning wood in the living room. The reassurance and peace of mind that comes with a WETT Certification is something you’ll not only appreciate, but that will bring comfort to your entire family.

Please note that your local WE LOVE FIRE® dealer is either fully WETT accredited or can recommend someone in your area for an inspection.

Below is a list of fireplace and grill stores that service Virginia (VA)

Manassas, VA

Winston's Chimney Service
11301 Industrial Road
Manassas, VA 20109

Winston's Chimney Service LogoVisit Store Page

Mechanicsville, VA

Hearth & Home Shoppe
8151 Mechanicsville Tpk
Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Hearth & Home Shoppe LogoVisit Store Page

Roanoke, VA

Dixie Building Products Inc.
3342 Melrose Ave NW
Roanoke, VA 24017

Warrenton, VA

Costello's Warrenton Fireplace & Hot Tub
251 West Lee Hwy
Warrenton, VA 20186

For more information, contact your local fireplace and grill store..

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