Chimney Brand vs Meets CAN/ULC S629 Approval

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Macroman

New Member
Dec 8, 2023
6
Ontario
Hi All:

I hope you have a fire going, a comfortable chair, and a warm cup of cocoa. This post is a bit of a read 😊

My question/comments have to do with solid fuel chimneys. I live in Ontario, Canada and code states that we are required to have chimneys installed that meet CAN/ULC S629, UL 103 HT (2100 °F) standards. I would say this is very similar, if not the same, to what my American friends would need to follow.

I will be starting a new build in 2024 and I am looking to get my wood burning appliances selected. For the fireplace unit, Valcourt Lafayette II, the manual says in one location “Type of chimney: CAN/ULC S629, UL 103 HT (2100 °F)”. However, in another location of the manual, there is a chart that states “Approved Chimneys”, then lists the Manufacturer and the brand. Valcourt is owned by SBI who also owns several other fireplace and chimney companies. Talking to a couple of dealers that are quoting out this job tell me that Valcourt won’t warranty/support the unit if sold without a chimney from the approved list. I contacted SBI and their answer was very short and to the point “must use chimney listed in chart”.

My question – If all the building/safety codes in Canada specify CAN/ULC S629, UL 103 HT (2100 °F) as a requirement for the chimney, how can a fireplace manufacturer dictate that it must be a specific brand?

My preference is to use ICC Excel and UltraBlack. Excellent products and great price point. This product is being used on the other two wood stoves being installed. The chimney product I have been quoted from two suppliers for the Valcourt fireplace is the 2100 Ventis from Olympia Chimney of Canada. When I look at all the specs, this pipe is very similar to the ICC brand, however, it costs significantly more. This “must use one of our products” reminds me of back in the day when the auto manufacturers said you must replace parts with OEM or you void your warranty.

I have talked to a WETT technician and my insurance company and both mentioned that if the chimney being used is listed as approved under CAN/ULC S629, UL 103 HT (2100 °F), then all is good. They both said “who cares what brand you buy” as long as it is approved. My suspicion is that ICC is a Canadian company out of Quebec and SBI is a Canadian company out of Quebec, and I am willing to bet they just don’t get along. My second-choice fireplace is a Pacific Energy product and the only thing they say about the chimney: “Must be CAN/ULC S629, UL 103 HT (2100 °F) approved”.

What are your thoughts on this lengthy explanation?
 
Hmmm, ICC Excel was approved for the prior Lafayette FP10. This may not be bias, but just what was available to test with and that had a chimney adapter that fit the fireplace correctly. It needs the anchor plate nozzle to be less than 2". There are several other brands listed besides Ventis including chimney from DuraTech, Selkirk, MetalFab, and Security.
 
Thanks begreen. The current Valcourt does not have any Excel approved. Too bad. Yes there is a list of approved chimney suppliers - see attached for updated list. Last night I learned that ICC is doing the same. I was looking at the RSC Pearl 3600. Only pipe approved for the Pearl is the ICC Excel. Did some more digging and I see that ICC-RSF is the same company. I understand what you are saying about ICC not being tested yet or having the correct adapter, but I find it strange that the EPA 2020 Layette has been out for several years and testing is not completed yet. It's not like there are hundreds of chimney manufacturers that need to be tested. And a little suspicious that these two companies are next door neighbours on the grand scheme of things. Too bad, I like the Valcourt but the quoted pipe adds another $1200 to the cost over the Excel pipe. So now my choices move to Pacific Energy Arch 30 LE or the RSF Pearl 3600.

Long live the burn.

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Do not forget Selkirk Chimney's, they have been around for at least 75 years anyways, they use to be manufactured in Kingston ON and are probably still there, like many companies I believe they were purchased by an American company. I have been a Selkirk user for 40 years and have never had any problem with their product. In Quebec the two main chimney brands are Selkirk and ICC, obviously both are tested and certified to meet all American and Canadian standards.

 
Thanks begreen. The current Valcourt does not have any Excel approved. Too bad. Yes there is a list of approved chimney suppliers - see attached for updated list. Last night I learned that ICC is doing the same. I was looking at the RSC Pearl 3600. Only pipe approved for the Pearl is the ICC Excel. Did some more digging and I see that ICC-RSF is the same company. I understand what you are saying about ICC not being tested yet or having the correct adapter, but I find it strange that the EPA 2020 Layette has been out for several years and testing is not completed yet. It's not like there are hundreds of chimney manufacturers that need to be tested. And a little suspicious that these two companies are next door neighbours on the grand scheme of things. Too bad, I like the Valcourt but the quoted pipe adds another $1200 to the cost over the Excel pipe. So now my choices move to Pacific Energy Arch 30 LE or the RSF Pearl 3600.

Long live the burn.

View attachment 320390
The fireplace accepts DuraTech chimney pipe which is less expensive than either Excel or Ventis. Likewise for SuperVent Pro which is now another DuraVent company.
 
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Selkirk is now part of the Duravent family, with their acquisition of Selkirk the Duravent group has gained a dominant supplier in the commercial/industrial market as well as adding a prominent player in the residential chimney markets that holds a sizable market share.

That is an old chart that needs updating.
 
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The fireplace accepts DuraTech chimney pipe which is less expensive than either Excel or Ventis. Likewise for SuperVent Pro which is now another DuraVent company.
Thanks begreen. I will talk to the dealers quoting this job about the DuraTech.
 
Selkirk is now part of the Duravent family, with their acquisition of Selkirk the Duravent group has gained a dominant supplier in the commercial/industrial market as well as adding a prominent player in the residential chimney markets that holds a sizable market share.

That is an old chart that needs updating.
I checked the manual date Trevor. This chart is from the latest Valcourt Lafayette II manual dated 2022-08-17. I guess SBI is a little behind in updating things.
 
I checked the manual date Trevor. This chart is from the latest Valcourt Lafayette II manual dated 2022-08-17. I guess SBI is a little behind in updating things.
They may also have limited their testing and certifications to lower costs.
They have listed Selkirk as 2'' thick Solid Pack when actually Selkirk uses 1'' Solid Pack. They are using old old info, they just keep reprinting year after year, copy and paste.
Valcourt fireplaces are manufactured 45 minutes from me, next door to where BRP Bombardier snowmobiles, watercraft and ATV's are manufactured.
 
They may also have limited their testing and certifications to lower costs.
They have listed Selkirk as 2'' thick Solid Pack when actually Selkirk uses 1'' Solid Pack. They are using old old info, they just keep reprinting year after year, copy and paste.
Valcourt fireplaces are manufactured 45 minutes from me, next door to where BRP Bombardier snowmobiles, watercraft and ATV's are manufactured.
Is there any documentation or location that I can check to see what is the most current information on chimney approval? The only thing customer service said was in reference to the chart in the Lafayette manual and did not indicate anything about print date or current version of the manual. I am going to ask my dealer about the Ventis 2100 chimney and see where that comes in for pricing. Very cool being that close to Valcourt. Do they every have any scratch and dent sales? I live a few km away from a large Danby appliance factory and a couple times a year they have these types of sales. How cool would that be to pick up a fireplace unit on sale. Thanks very much Trevor.