Regularly assessing any wood-burning structure or appliance is essential for various reasons. The most important one is the safety of your family. Emitting toxic gases and pollutants into your house from any wood-burning source can be deadly. Furthermore, an open flame increases the chance of nearby flammable objects catching fire. This is why you must examine and maintain your system whenever possible. Thus, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of a WETT inspection before buying a house. They are also necessary as part of the home insurance application process. Therefore, before purchasing a home with a wood-burning appliance, it is a good idea to do a WETT inspection.

What exactly Is a WETT Inspection?

WETT stands for Wood Energy Technology Transfer, and it is a non-profit training and teaching organization. It is run by a volunteer Board of Directors chosen by WETT certificate holders. It aims to offer professional training and public education in Canada on how to maintain and utilize wood-burning systems successfully. The WETT-certified specialists are not just home inspection professionals, however. A WETT certificate extends to stove and chimney builders as well. The only way you can ensure that your chimney or stove is safe is if you let WETT-certified technicians look it over.

A Canadian flag flutters in the breeze.

WETT is a non-profit teaching organization based in Canada.

What Are the Elements of a WETT Inspection?

The inspector will examine all aspects of the home's wood-burning systems. This way, they will ensure that they have been put in appropriately and following building standards and laws. WETT inspectors may also inspect the home's roof for any possible structural or ventilation problems. Furthermore, a WETT inspection includes a complete examination of any stove, flue pipe, and chimney systems in the home. It also looks at all potential fire hazards in the area near the wood-burning systems. It's essential to follow any recommendations that the inspection professional makes. It will prevent you from having to pay for costly repairs in the future and will keep your family safe. 

A residence with a stone chimney

WETT inspections include everything from stoves to chimneys.

Why You Need To Do a WETT Inspection

Over the past century, there has been a substantial shift in how we construct homes. Not only that, but the components that go into the building of our houses have also evolved. Some of these strategies and elements have not been able to withstand the passage of time. As a direct consequence, WETT inspections might be necessary for certain circumstances.

  1. Shoddy fireplaces
    Believe it or not, the older the home, the more likely it will have a solid fireplace. The way fireplaces are built changed drastically around 60 years ago. Before that, the build quality was so good that almost no moisture could get in. The masonry was solid as well. However, the way fireplaces are built nowadays makes it very easy for moisture to seep in. The stonework deteriorates as a result. It usually forms a hole through which gases and heat can enter the home's living areas. Even well-functioning fireplaces may have dangerous flaws.
    For this reason, if you're purchasing any home built in the past 50 years, it is a good idea to conduct a WETT inspection before buying a house. This is especially the case if you intend to buy a cottage. Most old cottages have wood-burning stoves.
  2. Metal Chimneys
    Most homeowners are completely unaware of how dangerous metal chimneys can be. The age of the chimney will determine whether or not you will have problems. In older factory-built models, the insulation may degrade over time. The chimney may appear in good condition, but you should conduct a thorough inspection to be sure. This is because chimney problems are not always visible. If you are looking to buy a home with a metal chimney, a WETT inspection before purchasing a house is almost always necessary. Chimney repairs can be costly, so a home inspection like this can save you significant money in the long run.
  3. Improper Heat Shielding
    Heat shielding is meant to keep the temperature of flammable objects surrounding a wood-burning system at a safe level. It constantly moves air around, so it never gets too hot in one spot. However, not all homes have properly installed heat shields. For air to circulate behind the shield, there must be a 7/8” gap between the wall and the shield. There should also be and have a 3” gap at corners, floor and the ceiling where applicable. This allows the cooled air to escape. A WETT inspection will measure everything for you to figure out if the heat shielding is safe.

One Last Warning

Most people who buy their new homes and start planning a local move don't think much about the faults that their new properties may have. They want to find people in the area to help them move and be done with it. But, haste makes waste, and when it comes to the security of your home, you should never rush it, especially if we are talking about fire hazards. This is why it's imperative to take every precaution when you choose a home to purchase.

A snow-covered house.

It's a good idea to do a WETT inspection once a year before winter.


Hopefully, now you understand the importance of a WETT inspection before buying a house. But be warned - you shouldn't just do a single check. Generally, it is a good idea to do a WETT inspection at least once a year before winter. It will guarantee that your wood-burning systems work correctly.