A proper inspection of a wood burning system is critical.  

But when do you need one?

Well the obvious time is when you are purchasing a new property.

But also when you first get a system installed or make any changes to the system one is necessary.  When changing insurance companies perhaps or maybe for simply PEACE of MIND.

But what do you look for to find the inspector?

Well the NFPA 211 states a Level 2 Inspection should be done for ANY home purchase.  Keep that important note in mind as we work through this.

There are 3 levels of inspection for WETT certified inspectors and you almost NEVER need a Level 3.  

And as important as the inspection is the report.  Some inspectors will sadly give you a one or two page report that neither tells the condition nor what was actually inspected.  Ask what they give for a report as the minimum recommended WETT report is between seven to nine pages, depending on system and chimney.  That is the BASIC, MINIMAL RECOMMENDED – many of the best go beyond that in length.  

Next the Inspection.  A Level 1, the most BASIC level offered is nothing more than a quick visual inspection some measurements and not much else the use of any TOOLS is NOT PERMITTED on a Level 1 Inspection.  Sadly many even miss critical aspects of that as well.    For a new purchase a Level 1 is NEVER recommended regardless of who does the inspection.

 A Level 2 still inspects essentially what is on the surface but does need some tools and equipment.  One of the key items that makes a Level 2 so important for home purchases is the chimney camera.  No shining a flashlight up the flue does NOT provide even rudimentary information on the chimney health.  Even the basic chimney cameras go far beyond what even the best flashlights or cameras at the end of the flue can manage. 

Many realtors and even Home Inspectors realize this and will leave the wood burning systems to the professionals as they do also with septic systems.   On the left is Darryl with Keen Eye Inspections.  This particular one was in the area where we do many – Big Chute, Honey Harbour, Port Severn, Six Mile Lake areas.  Darryl is one, there are several others who call WETT Certified Inspector who can do a Level 2 inspection for that part of the job.  It is important as you know no history of the system, when or how it was maintained, when or how it was last cleaned.  Nothing.  Many aspects of home inspection are maintenance related and while they may cost money and need to be budgeted they are generally not as dangerous as a poorly maintained or cleaned wood burning appliance.

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