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An uncertified wood stove does not have a label issued by a certification agency that tests wood-burning appliances, the certification label states clearances to combustibles, and hearth pad size, the label also contains the logo of the testing agency, for example, CSA, UCL, OTL, Warnock Hersey, etc.
The truth is, wood stoves are a great way to heat your home, but not everyone who owns a wood-burning stove had installed it correctly, and some people have wood stoves that work really well but are not certified for use under government regulations.
In this post, I will talk about how to install an uncertified wood stove and also reduce your clearances, or an easier way of saying this is to move your stove closer to the wall without causing any danger to combustibles.
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Before we get started I would like to state that this is not a comprehensive guide but it will give you an overview of what you need to do to install your uncertified wood-burning stove and take in mind that depending on where you live the standards can change.
This post should not be construed as a definite guideline for installation. Installation requirements are not exhaustively detailed. The lack of description of a requirement does not indicate a lack of that requirement. As this is merely an overview, many details and requirements are omitted. Every installation is unique with a different structure, layout, and components to take into consideration. As mentioned above, it’s best to contact me or another Certified professional prior to installation in order to ensure proper installation. I assume no liability for any actions taken based on what is written in this post.
DO I HAVE AN UNCERTIFIED WOOD STOVE?
Do you have an uncertified wood-burning stove? this question may come up if you think your stove looks old and you start wondering if it is still good to use, or maybe you bought a used wood stove and you found out it is uncertified.
In most cases, homeowners find out they have an uncertified wood-burning appliance because a chimney sweep lets them know during a routine chimney cleaning and inspection.
When most homeowners find out that their appliance is uncertified they say “It’s been there for 30 years and we have never had a problem” but that is not the right attitude to have when you heat with a wood fire in your home, there are dangers that can cause a lot of damage to your home if a fire starts due to an improper installation.
Regulations can be unpopular with some people, but let me ask you would you like to live in a world where wheels fall off cars? elevator cables snapped? and anyone with a chimney brush could say they are a chimney sweep?
I think you can see the importance of these regulations, also regulations help chimney technicians in each area of the USA and Canada live by the standard in their area, taking out the guesswork.
let’s take a deeper look and see if your wood-burning stove is certified.
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How do I know if my wood stove is certified?
So how do I know if my wood stove is certified? well, this is really an easy thing to figure out for any homeowner, and you don’t need to hire a chimney professional to find out if your wood stove is uncertified or certified.
What you need to do is look at the back of your stove and if your wood stove is certified you will see a label on the back that looks something like the one in the picture, it should have a few key things on it like dimensions, clearances to combustibles and the certification logo of the certification administration that did the testing on your particular wood-burning stove.
Wood Stove Label and Hang Tag, the picture on the EPA website take a look at their diagram of where your label should be positioned on your stove.
if your wood-burning appliance had this label on the back then you have nothing to worry about, it is certified and safe for use as long as the guidelines and measurements on that label were followed when it was installed.
Am I allowed to use an uncertified wood stove?
Now if your wood stove doesn’t have this label on the back of it then your wood stove is uncertified because it needs this label for proof of certification.
If you think there is a mistake and that you have an uncertified wood stove then you can do two things, look up the manufacturer online and download the user manual to see if the label appears there.
You can also call a chimney professional in your area to see if they can come out and look at it.
If you have an uncertified wood stove they can help you make it safe so that it lives up to the standards in your area or guide you in buying something newer with certification.
What makes a wood stove certified?
Having a stove with Certification Agencies on its label makes it a certified wood-burning appliance
The certification agencies in Canada are CSA, UCL, OTL, and Warnock Hersey, in the USA you will see something similar.
Also, all modern wood stoves have EPA certification, What does that mean? EPA is the Environmental Protection Agency which means that the woodstove is environmentally safe, and has been rated for low air pollution, I think most people like yourself realize that this is very important because everyone can contribute to the environment.
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In an uncertified woodstove, wood is not completely burned, and a large number of gases and particles travel up your chimney and become air pollution.
EPA appliances are made with better insulation and airflow resulting in better more of these particles and gases being burned and making less smoke.
With Certified wood stoves, you will see little to no smoke coming out of your chimney.
In turn, uncertified wood stoves are not rated or tested and generally will put out a lot of air pollution.
As mentioned above uncertified wood stove air pollutants are something to take into consideration before thinking of buying a stove that does not have EPA certification.
Are old wood burning stoves safe?
An old wood burning stove can differently be safe, especially if it is certified as I have mentioned above, but whether it is certified or uncertified it would still be good to have yours checked out by a chimney professional to see its condition, Why is this important?
A Chimney professional will know some important things that a homeowner might miss, for example, inside the firebox the fire bricks might be broken or completely missing, or there may be some hairline cracks in the metal of the firebox, and if you are not sure what you are looking at then these things can be overlooked among other important safety factors.
So call a recommended chimney specialist for some help before buying or installing an uncertified wood stove.
How to install an uncertified wood stove
I really can’t go into all of the ins and outs of installing an uncertified wood stove because the laws from one place to another can change, so the best thing to do if you have an uncertified wood stove is to call your local chimney sweep he or she can guide you on how to install an uncertified wood stove in a garage, cabin or basement, etc. because depending on where you would like to install your stove the regulations change.
So as you can see this can be a very deep subject.
Clearance Requirements for Uncertified Wood Stoves
References like the W.E.T.T.inc manual and B365 code reference can be a great help for uncertified wood stove clearances in Canada.
Also the NFPA 211 reference from The National fire protection agency, in the USA.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, I really hope you found it useful, and if so feel free to share it with friends and family, and if you would like you can leave me a comment below.