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What you need to know about wood heating  

Published on November 7, 2022


Our winters can be pretty harsh. No wonder wood heating is so popular in Quebec! Do you have a wood-heating appliance or want to install one? Our team has put together information you need to know about your purchase, its installation, maintenance and how it impacts your home insurance!

1. Buying and installing: required checks

Before purchasing a wood-heating appliance or a house with one, review the recommendations of the Association des professionnels du chauffage (APC) and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). Ensure that:

  • your appliance has a ULC, CSA or Warnock Hersey (ITS) certification (including the chimney).
  • it’s installed (or its installation is verified) by a wood-heating professional who is an APC member.
  • its installation is permitted under municipal bylaw.

2. Proper use and maintenance: reduce the risk

Wood heating represents a serious fire hazard. After ensuring it has been installed correctly, you have to remain vigilant when using a wood-heating appliance. That and proper maintenance are your best bets to reduce the risk. The IBC and APC recommend you should:

  • install carbon monoxide detectors and place a working 5-lb dry chemical class ABC portable fire extinguisher near the appliance.
  • keep any combustible material away from the appliance.
  • burn dry firewood only.
  • have all parts of the appliance inspected by a wood-heating professional (every spring to spot any defects).
  • have the chimney cleaned by a certified chimney sweep (every spring to prevent creosote build-up).
  • clean the appliance at least once a year.
  • let ashes cool completely before throwing out. Store them outside in a metal container with a raised bottom placed on the ground for at least 72 hours.

3. Home insurance: notify your broker

Using a wood-heating appliance increases the risk of fire and can cause significant damage to your home. The presence of such an appliance does have an impact on the cost of your home insurance.

So, your insurance broker needs to know if you own or have installed a woodstove. Your insurer will then add a note to your policy and ensure that your installation is safe and compliant. If it isn’t, you’ll be asked to make some changes. Your insurer could also refuse to cover a substandard installation. All the more reason to book a professional to install yours!

Your insurance broker is there to help you prevent losses. Contact him or her.