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Canadian insurance companies

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Paul Whipple, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Paul Whipple

    Paul Whipple New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    I almost posted in some other the other threads but decided I didn't want to derail them.

    I got a question for the fellow Canadians on here. I'm getting ready to start construction on my house in Alberta and would like to know how your insurance company feels about your wood boiler? I was going to go with an Eko but I'm not sure that it is certified in Canada (ie CSA). Do they ask for stuff like this?

    I'm a little worried about insurance companies because I had heard that some companies have discounts for all insulated concrete form homes so I called my current insurance company to inquire. The lady didn't have a clue and said they would charge me more on my premiums if I built a concrete house because it would be more prone to earthquake damage and would be more expensive to rebuild (regardless of the fact that we don't have earthquakes where I live!).

    I'm scared to even bring up the word "wood boiler" with these morons!

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  2. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    217
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    I pay a $25 surcharge for having my Empyre Elite in the house. I had to fill out a Solid Fuel Survey. They sent someone out to inspect, all was good. If I burn over 6 cords, it is a 100% surcharge.
    You will not need a boiler in an ICF home. It will be a waste of infastructure. You will need storage if you do go with a boiler.!
  3. Paul Whipple

    Paul Whipple New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    Hey Willyswagon,

    I was thinking with a wood gasification boiler I could heat my domestic water and my house and not have a monthly gas bill (propane backup in my absence). Do you think this is overkill? I went with ICF for the great efficiency but the home does have lots of big windows! (and it gets cold here)

    Is that 25$ a month?
  4. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    217
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    No $25/yr. I think it is just to cover the paper work.
    We built an ICF for a buddy of mine. He put in Solar panels for DHW(electric hot water heater as back up).
    He burns less than 3 cords/ yr.
    He has electric as a back up. They have never been on( cause the breakers are turned off).
  5. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    Messages:
    944
    Loc:
    Port McNeill BC
    We pay a 35% surcharge for our gasification boiler with storage. The storage is static pressure only (an open to atmosphere expansion tank on the floor above).
    If our storage was pressurized, we would not be able to get insurance! The town was also adamant about the storage being no pressurized.
  6. Robby

    Robby Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Loc:
    Priddis, AB, Canada
    I too am in Alberta. Vigas gassification boiler, pressure system, storage 1000 Imp/gal ( rated tank with brass plate on side). No extra charges for wood,or storage or pressure, etc. Mine is not inside house.

    1st question (from ins.co.) Primary heat is (natural gas of course). I have gas boiler and wood boiler.

    Gas or Propane or oil or electric must be primary, I think.

    2nd question. Inspection form from licenced inspector (chimney sweep). I installed system. The inspection is for chimney, air intake etc. Not for plumbing, didn't seem to care.

    3rd. The inspector (the agent himself) quick look, copy of inspection form, had a coffee and gone.

    4th. There never was any mention of distance from house etc. It is barely 50 ft.

    By the way, I happy as a clam with the setup.
  7. Paul Whipple

    Paul Whipple New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    Robby, thanks for the details about your personnel experience, good to know. I know it adds more cost and work but maybe I will put the boiler in the detached garage.
  8. OldStoneHouse

    OldStoneHouse Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    85
    Loc:
    Eastern Ontario
    I checked with my agent last week and he told me that the company we have "likes wood boilers" - I suspect in relation to wood stoves. There is no surcharge for having one (nice) but they do want a professional install (less nice). I'm planning on doing mine myself so I haven't figured out how to get around that. I've got a buddy who is a contractor so I might see if he can do the install of the boiler itself and I can do the storage and other parts.
  9. Mushroom Man

    Mushroom Man Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    Loc:
    Eastern Ontario
    I installed about 5 years ago. My boiler is in the attached garage which for me is ideal since the family room is directly above the garage. That room was formerly the coldest room, now it is the most comfortable.

    I can load wood into the garage with the front-end loader (or rear forks if the wood is on pallets) and build a fire while still in my PJ's. The wood mess stays in the garage. The radiant heat off the boiler and plumbing stays in the building envelope. If there is smoke I open the garage door and let it out.

    My insurer charges a $50 surcharge per year. The insurer, a local firm insisted on:

    1. WETT certified install of the chimney and clearances from the walls dictated by the manufacturer;
    2. Bottom-most opening 20" above the floor; and
    3. Inspection by their underwriter (who is also WETT certified)

    They recommended not parking in the garage; (not forbidden just recommended) I never parked there anyway. They also recommended that no gasoline be stored in the garage.

    I expected more hassles than this. They have caused more grief over the oil tank and oil furnace than the wood boiler. The oil furnace is a modern one.
  10. Trex83

    Trex83 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Loc:
    Far Eastern Ontario, Canada
    I would add to the points Mushroom Man pointed out for insurance concerns (although for Ontario, legislation is similar from province to province, ie. CSA B51 for ASME...).

    - Municipality; don't forget a building permit. Rules of thumb, touching electric, plumbing and chimney/structure requires building code approval. Insurance companies like to know the basic plumbing and electric is done right. Building inspectors may get antsy if you havent followed CSA b214-07 for your hydronic side of your install. Also by-laws! Certain municipalities had so much complaints with neighborly smoking that have applied some by-law examples from Environment Canada wood burning guide.

    - WETT; use the search function to get a local qualified guy to do the chimney. They take care of the standards of installation CSA B365 or other ULs for other components (vents + draft regulators). It helps to get a few quotes before taking on someone. http://www.wettinc.ca/

    Another good source of info is the Biomass Information Center from Nipissing University:
    " An%20explanation%20of%20Canadian%20Solid%20Fuel%20Burning%20Regulations%20with%20a%20focus%20on%20Ontario.pdf "
    Taken from the guide:
    These appliances while exempt from CSA B51 are required to pass certain performance criteria standards established by CSA B366.1, UL 391 and ULC S627. The performances tests ensure the unit is not a fire or electrical hazard and are required by insurance companies. Stickers are placed on the unit to inform the buyer that the necessary performance tests have been passed.

    As for the EKO models, ask the vendor the certificate from Guardian or Intertek for UL391/ULCS627 or if it has been inspected for the electrical work (CSA cables and connectors, 60 Hz motors/transformers, etc...).

    Your authority having jurisdiction over boiler and pressure vessels would have pressure and power limits indicating quickly if you can go budget wize with pressurized storage for your boiler system. In that case, a building inspector, the evaluator of the insurance and the WETT guy may have a say in this. They will look for ASME or equivalent rated pressure brass plate on storage and maybe on some component.

    The professional install is recommended if you want the warranty on the boiler... It may depend on the type of agreement the vendor has with the manufacturer. When is doubt, phone the manufacturer what they ask for. Would you pay 8k$ only to know 5 years down the road that the boiler is worth scrap metal? These boilers are pricey units.
    Side note if you have an ICF house. Maybe a pellet boiler would be more appropriate for a house install since the heat load will be minimal? Cost could also be lower (smaller storage and expansion tank) and less labour for taking care of harvesting/seasoning/splitting/storing the wood? Propane backup is also a good idea if you want to hook up a propane stove and a fridge.
    my 2, oh 5 cents...;)
    trex

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