What is a W.E.T.T. Inspection?
W.E.T.T. stands for Wood Energy Technical Transfer; it has nothing to do with water (WET)! W.E.T.T. is for wood burning appliances only. With rising utility costs, people are looking for alternative ways to heat their homes and turning to wood burning units. With wood burning units, there is a risk. To ensure your wood burning unit is in proper working condition, a proper W.E.T.T. inspection should be completed by a certified W.E.T.T. inspector. These inspections are all about being up to current code. Wood stoves, brick fireplaces and factory built fireplaces all have different codes for installation and clearances.
Why should you get a W.E.T.T. Inspection?
Most insurance companies are asking for W.E.T.T. Inspections on wood burning units. One misconception is the term “W.E.T.T. Certificate”. Never has this certificate existed. All that is provided and needed is the actual W.E.T.T. report.
Canadian Home Inspection Services has performed thousands of W.E.T.T. Inspections and we can say without a doubt there are a lot of fireplaces out there that could burn houses down.
The photo at the top of this article is a perfect example. Looks like the average fire place, right? This home was being sold with a working fireplace.
What’s wrong with this picture?
This is the chimney connected to the fireplace. Do you see anything missing?
The chimney has been removed from the roof line upwards! The new roof goes over the chimney. Our client was buying the home expecting to use this fireplace. If our client did not get this home inspected and used the fireplace after they moved in, all the smoke, heat and sparks would have entered the attic and could have burned the house down.
Not only is it a good idea to get a W.E.T.T. inspection when you purchase a home with a wood burning fireplace, but you should also consider getting any wood burning appliance inspected every five years and getting a chimney sweep every two years (depending on how much you use the appliance) as there are many factors to consider such as creosote buildup as well as damper and flue maintenance.
Source: Stewart MacNamara, RHI, Canadian Home Inspection Services