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Can a WETT Certified Person 'Certify' your older wood stove?

This was written by Ian Myers to be included with WETT educational material:


Uncertified Appliances, the WETT Professional and the Hierarchy of Authority

During the process of becoming WETT Certified you learn that when an appliance has not been certified by the manufacturer to a Canadian recognized Standard, having no label fixed, nor manual together from point of purchase validating it is a 'Listed' appliance, then that appliance is 'uncertified'.

You also learn that the CSA B365, 'Installation Code for Solid-Fuel-Burning Appliances and Equipment', can be applied to evaluate the installation of such appliances and even guide the new installation or repair of old, uncertified appliances, or can it?

In CSA B365 4.1 Appliances and Equipment, it states: “Appliances, accessories, components and equipment shall meet the requirements of one of the following, as applicable:

(a) through (j) is a comprehensive list of all Canadian recognized, certified appliance and related installation, equipment Standards,

(k) the authority having jurisdiction"

Only, one of these things is not like the others; that would be (k)

Although CSA B365 provides minimum, default, clearance to combustible requirements, shielding methods etc. for the installation of uncertified appliances and equipment there is only one path to take for a new installation of uncertified appliances. Only the authority having jurisdiction (the local Municipal Building Dept.) has the authority to permit such installations (this would also include major repairs).

There are a couple of issues surrounding this: For one thing; Building Departments do not wish to assume the liability associated with deeming such appliances acceptable, regardless of whether of not the installation appears to be in accordance with the requirements of CSA B365. The trend is towards not having experts on staff to independently evaluate installations.

What does seem to occur is that the Building Dept. Staff will accept such installations, conditional upon a WETT member providing a 'WETT inspection', as declaration that the installation is 'Code compliant'.

This is a 'slight of hand' that should be avoided. The issuance of a permit does not, in itself, fulfill what would be construed as acceptance of legal responsibility on the part of Municipal Building Departments as intended in CSA B365. They should be pressed to specifically address the appliance in question, along with the proposed installation plans and then requested to issue a separate acceptance document which can be attached to the WETT inspection report. No verbal or written agreement should take place, whereby the permit is issued on the condition of a 'WETT inspection', or WETT 'number' being submitted.

I trust that most WETT Certified persons are not uniquely qualified, nor insured to assume such liability. I would suggest contacting your insurance company for their opinion of your insurability to perform such work. Likewise, it could be considered negligent to prescribe and perform costly repairs to an uncertified appliance without consideration of the probability that the home owners insurance company may not be willing to cover it. I might add, that this type of activity is not Wood Energy Technical Training's intended function for it's inspection forms. Such use, also contributes to the false impression that WETT members have the authority to 'certify' appliances or systems.

Whenever the situation arises, it is strongly suggested that as a WETT professional you are aware of, and function within the boundaries of the hierarchy of authority.