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Wood Stove Installed into a Fireplace Opening, Code compliant?


Is this a Code compliant installation?

I come across a few of these every year. Some have even been installed by a WETT certified person.

Lets evaluate it by applying applicable Codes and Standards.

This is a ULCS627 certified, free-standing wood stove.

It is not 'Alcove' certified, nor is it ULCS628 certified.

If it was alcove certified, the manufacturer would give specific measurements for the alcove

(no alcove is ever this small, 72'' high is a typical example.)

ULCS628 is the certification Standard for fireplace inserts and hearth mounted stoves.


This is a picture of a certified fireplace insert.

All inserts have an air 'jacket' around them that allow convection air to move the heat from the appliance into the room when it is being used.

So, herein lies the problem. A free-standing wood stove, certified or uncertified does not do this.

The heat radiates outward into the masonry, prolonged use can and will overheat the building materials in contact with the masonry.

I know it is counter-intuitive, it looks like there is a lot on masonry in that picture and masonry is non-combustible, but this is the mistake, that even those with 'some' training will make.

ULCS628 also has a provision that wood stoves, certified to that Standard can be installed as a 'hearth-mount' stove.

It can be done, but there are rules:

#1 The stove has a rear exiting exhaust outlet (not upwards like the one in the first picture)

This is because the stove cannot be install at all within the opening of the fireplace - it must sit in front of the fireplace (so there also needs to be adequate hearth protection, more of an extension out in front of the fireplace, which does take up a lot of space, so not often done for this reason)

#2 A stainless steel lining system is installed onto the back of the stove that incorporates a tee, with liner going all the way up to the top of the chimney from there.

There are other details, but this makes the point.

Don't even get me started with an uncertified wood stove installed into a fireplace opening.

If a ULCS627 certified wood stove is considered hazardous, no testing Standard at all is definitely not the right direction.

All wood burning appliances installed in Canada must be installed per manufacturer's instructions and those instructions are supposed to be in accordance with the applicable Codes and Standards.

Sorry, I just said "supposed to be", that will be the subject of another post; there are rare occasions where manufacturers have gotten 'creative' with their manuals and with our current Code structure, a part of making things right is consumer awareness until the course can be corrected.

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