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Anybody using a woodburner in their house?

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    Anybody using a woodburner in their house?

    I installed a Jotul wood burning stove back in 2006 and we use it a lot during the winter months. Wood is getting expensive to burn now with true cords of wood costing near $250 if I pick it up but we still enjoy it.

    We renewed our homeowners insurance a few months ago and I'll be honest to say that I never read the policy. For some reason I glanced over something while I was flipping through it and noticed something about wood burning stoves. Basically it states that any damage caused by them will not be covered. I contacted my insurance agent and they told me that it is true. Nobody is covered unless it is added on to their policy along with (here in Georgia) a 2 page report to be completed by a certified chimney company. I asked them about fireplaces because just about every house I see built today has a shitty prefab fireplace installed and I feel that a fireplace is 10 times more dangerous than a wood burner. They told me that they are covered automatically at no extra cost but not a wood burner.

    I contacted a certified company and they were scheduled to come out on Wednesday but after he read the form he had to fill out he told me he wasn't interested. Here was his reply.

    Hi Todd.

    As soon as I saw "Auto Owners Insurance" and the form to be completed red flags appeared. I have a bad taste in my mouth from Auto Owners Ins. One of my customers who I swept eight years in a row had a fire under their hearth - due to a hidden construction defect, undetectable by me during a normal sweep and inspection, - resulting in a $40,000+ fire - but I was forced to cancel a day's worth of work to attend the fire investigation, which resulted in my pointing out to their Certified Fire Investigator and an Engineer that it was improper installation of the fireplace - and which I was found to not be held liable.

    As such, knowing (should something bad happen due to your use of the wood stove) they are happy to pursue anyone who has ever looked at or touched your wood stove, not having done the installation myself, and upon viewing their inspection form and participating in the completing of it, $325 is not worth it to me to assume such a magnitude of liability for your entire house. I like to sleep well at night, and walking away from this job is the choice I'm going to make over a potential headache down the road.

    I will be taking you off the schedule for next week and I wish you luck in finding a company that will help you with your wood stove and insurance company.

    I bring this up because I know a lot of members heat with wood and want to know what you or your insurance companies say.

    Oh, it's a shit show Todd.
    We "used" to have a wood stove in the house, just to have a wood fire now and then. And the insurance company said, "not going to happen". Our home owners, wouldn't even give us a quote. Told me to look elsewhere, if we continued using it...
    I never went any further, pursuing other companies, we just blocked off the chimney, and pulled the wood burner.
    They can't all be turn key.
    Make the best of each and every day.
    Original's Start to Finish vid.


      Yeah, this is true about everywhere. Same here in Illinois. Fireplaces most often are accepted with just a minimal rise in premium. Wood stoves most always will get you dropped from your company. Lots of people here had to pull out their wood burners several years ago due to this. Most bought a remote system with an outdoor firebox that heats water and is circulated through a heat exchanger in a forced air system. They can heat using wood, or gas or even both should they need it. I'll also note that the actual stove has to be so far away from the house for insurance companies. It's like 30 to 50 feet or something like that. A lot of complaining when that happened, but it is what it is.

      On the second note, there are several Amish sawmills in my area. They sell the scraps for cheap. Like $25 a truckload or something. Most people just cut their own off people with wooded acreage. Which, as a note is also dangerous. My family went through a lawsuit in the 90'S when a guy was cutting firewood in our woods and a tree fell on him, paralyzing him from the waist down. (Freak accident, not really the mans fault. Tree he was cutting down pulled down a dead one while it fell. Wasn't a very large diameter tree, but could have killed him.) Lawsuit lasted years before it was settled. I think insurance covered it all, but my grandad was personally named in the suit. Thank God he had good insurance!
      Oblong, Illinois

      Just because it's old, doesn't mean it's obsolete!

      I've got a lot of Cubs in the barn....but I have more implements/attachments!


        I have a wood stove in my living room. My insurance co at the time (State Farm) covered it. When I put it in, I had to provide pictures of the wall behind it. I faced the wall with thin brick, behind that is cement board, attached directly to the block wall with a 1/2” airspace. The air space was specd by State Farm but I guess that’s pretty standard. Then the chimney is a single wall stainless pipe to the living room ceiling, into a double wall adapter and up through the roof. I’m lucky to be able to have plenty of places to cut good dead hardwood. If I had to pay for wood it would likely offset the savings on oil. In the pic, the windows are a different length from the corner. Argued with myself for a while on what to do with the brick. I think I picked the lesser evil. Lol

        I agree about the fireplace thing, throwing sparks out and all that. I think most of the “new” ones are gas and you have to do 3 wrong things in a row to even get near the flame. Insurance is always such a racket, but you gotta have it.
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          Dang, you got me worried now Todd.. I live in GA and have an open woodburning fireplace.. I have Auto Owners ins also.. I think I'm going to have a talk with my agent..

          I have a fireplace insert with a metal double wall flue going out the roof.. It is listed on my policy.. wonder where I stand with them??

          I don't really rely on it for heat.. I just grew up with a full masonry fireplace and really like the open crackling flame and feel.. more for looks and feel than anything.. I know it's very inefficient but I barely burn a chord a year and I usually saw and split my own wood..

          Thanks for the heads up!!


            I don't have a woodstove, although I'd like to put one in the garage. It gets cold out there. Not really the point, though.

            When I was a kid, my stepdad sold cord wood on the side. I remember when i was 5 or 6, we'd go to camp every weekend, and bring home a trailer full of wood. He'd spend his mornings outside splitting wood, and sometimes I helped stack it. In the late summer and early fall, we'd go out and deliver, we were always out of wood before deer season. He wouldn't split in archery season, and he used the money from the 15-20 cords a year that we sold to go on a hunting trip out west.

            When I was 10 or 11, Mom bought him a log splitter for Christmas and everything changed. One of our clients at the garage owned a tree service, and he needed a place to dump wood. 20 cords turned to 60, 60 turned to 100, and when I turned 16, our family's third car was a dump truck, and there was always a load of wood that needed to go somewhere.

            Never once did we burn a stick of wood in the house. We had a big fireplace in the living room, and when the old man passed the 60 cord a year mark, he had gas logs installed. Later, we built a trophy room in the basement, complete with a stone fireplace. The gas logs in that fireplace even have a remote control.

            Mom did the math a long time ago, but it turned out that we used a lot less wood to heat the house if we sold it and used the money to pay the gas bill.