WETT Inspections

If you have one or more wood-burning appliances in your home, including stoves, furnaces, fireplaces and other such appliances, you may need a WETT inspection. A WETT inspection allows you to ensure that all of your wood-burning appliances are installed safely and properly, and do not pose a risk to you, your family, or your home. Still not sure if you need a WETT inspection? Get the details below.

What Is A WETT Inspection?

WETT stands for Wood Energy Technology Transfer. WETT is an organizational body that certifies professional inspectors who examine wood-burning appliances for safety.

Therefore, a WETT inspection is a thorough, comprehensive assessment of any wood-burning appliance present in your home. A WETT inspection is necessary to ensure that your health and well-being are protected and may also be a requirement for some insurers.

Three are different types of WETT inspections. See the FAQ below to understand the different types of WETT Inspections. Here at Inspection Works, we have SITE Basic Inspectors certified to provide WETT Type 1 (Visual) SITE Basic Inspections.

What Does A WETT Inspection Include? What’s The Process Like?

Any typical home inspection will include a cursory visual inspection of chimneys, fireplaces, and hearths, and even wood-burning stoves and furnaces, in some cases. However, a WETT inspection is much more in-depth.

It’s conducted by a certified, qualified inspector. The inspector will use their specialized training to inspect the important elements of a wood-burning appliance in your home. This inspection can ensure proper installation and condition, and that it complies with local regulations, building codes, and other guidelines.

The inspection will include a visual examination of all relevant systems and their positioning in the home.  If there is a potential issue, the examiner will alert you, and give you information on what you’ll need to do to proceed.

Do I Need a WETT Inspection?

If you have any kind of wood-burning appliance in your home, including a fireplace, periodic WETT inspections should be conducted on your home.

A WETT inspection ensures the proper installation of wood-burning appliances and it protects you from potential issues like house fires, harmful pollutants that may enter your home, carbon monoxide buildup, and more. In addition, periodic WETT inspections may be required by some insurance companies. If you currently live in a home that has any kind of wood-burning appliance, we recommend that you get a WETT inspection right away if you have never had one performed in the past.

If you’re a prospective home buyer, we usually recommend that you have a WETT inspection performed before you purchase a house with wood-burning appliances. As mentioned, a home inspector will likely perform basic assessments of these appliances, but may not have the skills or tools required to ensure their complete safety and efficiency.

WETT Frequently Asked Questions

A WETT inspection is the inspection of a solid-fuel-burning system, performed by a WETT-certified professional, for compliance with applicable codes and standards. Appliances or installations cannot be WETT certified.

We frequently receive requests for a “WETT certificate,” a “WETT certification,” a “WETT approval” or asked if it’s a “WETT-certified installation.” We also receive inquiries if we are “WETT certified.” These are common misconceptions — they do not exist. What we will issue is an inspection report completed by one of our inspectors who is WETT certified. The WETT certification number of the member should be included in the report.

Contact us to inspect your solid-fuel-burning system. WETT Inc. has adopted a process to help identify the level of inspection required. This is called SITE®.

SITE is a set of standardized guidelines and procedures that are recommended by WETT for the inspection and/or evaluation of wood-burning systems. WETT outlines three types of inspections.

  • Type 1: Visual inspection
  • Type 2: Technical inspection
  • Type 3: Invasive inspection

Click here to view the WETT SITE inspection table

SITE outlines three types of inspection
An inspector will be able to help you assess which type is required based on your needs. For most insurance and real estate inspections, a Visual inspection is sufficient. If, during the course of the inspection, the inspector sees signs of concern, a Technical or Invasive inspection may be recommended.

Type 1 – Visual Inspection
This type of inspection may be required as part of a real estate purchase, as requested by your insurer, as required by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) or as part of a Fire Code requirement. It also provides peace of mind to you prior to using the appliance.

This includes a basic inspection of the solid-fuel-burning appliance and venting system components that are visible. It will include measurements of clearances, opening doors or dampers, and a visual inspection of the chimney from the ground. It will identify any noted deficiencies and red flags that may require a more detailed inspection. It will include a final report on WETT inspection forms.

If there is obvious evidence of a problem with the system, a “Technical” inspection should be completed.

Type 2 – Technical Inspection
This type of inspection may be required by the insurance company or Authority Having Jurisdiction. It can be a follow-up to the Visual inspection where further investigation was recommended.

This inspection would include all elements of a “Visual” inspection. It would also include a hands-on inspection, which may include taking apart flue pipes, opening clean-outs, entering the attic to view additional system components, and may include accessing the chimney on the roof. The WETT inspection report will include all findings and clearly define what was able to be accessed and what not able to be inspected.

This could be required where there are concerns noted in a “Visual” inspection, or after a significant period of time where the appliance was not used. If you have replaced some components in the system, this inspection will review the system as a whole. It may also include a recommendation for an invasive review where some components are not accessible.

A chimney fire, seismic event or suspected incident may require completing an “Invasive” inspection if some components of the system are not accessible through the “Technical” inspection.

Type 3 – Invasive Inspection
This inspection would include an invasive review of components. It may include opening walls (drywall), or other tasks that require additional construction-related skills. The extent of the inspection and its purpose should be clearly discussed with the WETT technician prior to commencing. The WETT inspection form will be provided at the end of the inspection and will include additional narratives to describe the results of the invasive work.

When concealed components identified in a “Technical” inspection require further investigation, this inspection should be completed. If there has been a chimney fire or suspected incident and there are components not accessible with a “Technical” inspection, complete an “Invasive” inspection. The corrective actions indicated in the report must be completed prior to the appliance being used again.

If your wood-burning system is not functioning properly or causing concerns such as smoke spillage, rapid creosote accumulation, etc., you should contract a WETT-certified technician or sweep.

Click here to view the WETT SITE inspection table

As part of an inspection, you will receive an inspection report. The report details the areas in which the installation meets or does not meet the requirements of the manufacturer’s installation instructions and the appropriate codes. An installation is either in compliance of the inspection area or non-compliance.

Typically, most basic visual inspections will capture information that includes appliance type, certification markings, clearances and if the installation meets the relevant codes.

The nature of any inspection report is that it records what was seen at the date and time of the inspection. After completing an inspection report and leaving the premises, the inspector has no control over, nor knowledge of, any changes to a solid-fuel-burning system. Consequently, an inspection report can only warrant what was seen and recorded at the time of the inspection.

WETT certifies individuals in the following categories (and combinations thereof)

SITE Basic Inspector – These are individuals who can perform a Visual Inspection. At Inspection Works, we are SITE Basic Inspectors.

Technician – These are individuals who can install or perform maintenance on wood-burning appliances. They can also perform a Visual or Technical inspection.

Chimney Sweep – these are individuals who can clean and maintain your entire wood-burning system, including cleaning the chimney. They can also perform a Visual or technical inspection.

SITE Comprehensive Inspector – These are individuals who can perform Basic, Technical or Invasive inspections. These individuals are also technicians and/or sweeps.