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Wood heating: What you need to know

Published on November 7, 2017


With our extremely cold winters, it’s no surprise that many Quebec residents use wood heating to stay warm. Do you have a wood heating unit or thinking of having one installed? The L’Unique General Insurance team has gathered some information related to the purchase, use and maintenance of a wood heating unit and how it'll impact your home insurance!

1. Purchase and installation of a wood heating unit: make sure you do your homework
Before you purchase a wood heating unit or a home equipped with such a unit, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and l’Association des professionnels du chauffage (APC) recommend that you make sure that the unit is:

  • ULC, CSA, ETL or WarnockHersey (ITS) certified, including the chimney
  • Installed or its installation is checked by a wood heating professional, member of the APC
  • Permitted under your municipal regulations

2. Adequate use and maintenance: to reduce risks
Wood heating represents a higher risk of fire. In addition to making sure your unit is installed properly, the best way to reduce the risk of fire is to be very careful when using and maintaining the unit. According to the IBC and APC, you should:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector and make sure you have a 5-lb ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher close to the unit.
  • Keep combustible materials away from the unit.
  • Use only dry firewood.
  • Have your unit inspected by a wood heating professional every spring so that any defects are identified.
  • Have your chimney swept by a certified chimney cleaner every spring so that any creosote residue is avoided.
  • Clean the unit at least once a year.
  • Make sure the ashes have cooled off completely before disposing of them by placing them outdoors, in a metal container with a raised bottom for at least 72 hours.

3. Home insurance: Notify your broker that you have this type of unit
The use of a wood heating unit increases fire risk and can cause significant damage to your home. Therefore, having this type of unit impacts the amount of your home insurance premium.

It is very important to notify your broker that you have a wood heating unit or that you are installing one. Your insurer will add a note to your contract and will verify if the unit installation is safe and proper. If it does not comply with their criteria, they will provide with the changes to be made. Your insurer could also refuse to cover a unit that does not comply with the criteria. One more reason for having your unit installed by a professional!

Your insurance broker is there to help you prevent losses. Feel free to contact him or her!

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