by Kevon Binder, Jr.
As fuel prices continue to rise, many consumers look for ways to cut down on energy costs. Thankfully, there are plenty of options available.
One way to save is to install a wood-burning stove or insert. But before you make that decision, be sure to read the following tips and information.
Permits: Some locations require a permit to install a wood stove, so ALWAYS contact your city, township, or local jurisdiction before you install one. This very important step may also protect you from unlicensed or unqualified installers, since having a permit requires a final inspection, and a license to file for the permit.Inspection: If using an existing chimney, ALWAYS have your chimney evaluated before you purchase a wood stove.
Many states have adopted the NFPA 211 as a code standard for wood burning installations, and use its standards as the minimum requirements. Always consult the manufacturer’s installation instructions for more specific requirements.
The NFPA 211 code requires a Level 2 inspection, prior to a fuel change, or change in type of appliance. (Fireplace to wood insert, or chimney being converted to use for a woodstove*).
The “EPA strongly recommends that a certified technician install your EPA-certified wood stove or fireplace insert to insure proper performance.” (Why the EPA recommends this.)
Are you looking for a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep to perform a Level 2 inspection? Check out this fantastic resource, offered by the CSIA: Homeowner Resources.
Wood supply: You’ll need to keep your wood dry from rain, snow and ground water, so make sure you have a location designated for this purpose. Want to make sure your wood is properly dried? Check out moisture meters.
Insurance: Be sure to contact your insurance company when you install a wood stove. Not notifying them could result in a “special deductible” if a loss occurs. Most parts of the country require city permits approval and an invoice from a licensed contractor.
It’s also important to know that different types of stoves create different types of heat waves. For example: Steel produces a high frequency wave, which transfers heat quickly to nearby objects. Silicon carbide produces long, flat waves that travel greater distances throughout the home.