Woodstove in Penetanguishene – Smoky – Home Inspector had said it was okay..

Well had a call, mentioned in earlier post.  So what was wrong..

Well, the Home Inspector had missed a couple of things.  Having said that he is a very good Home Inspector in my opinion.  But this only goes to show even the best of them do not handle woodstoves well.

Problems :

a) missing heat shield at ceiling – 16 inches clearance with single wall pipe.  But this was not what was making it smoke!

b) missing screws on pipe joints – code says 3 screws per joint.  One joint of pipes had zero screws.. yes zero.

c) a two foot section of single wall pipe was not completely joined together.  Single wall pipe is essentially a flat piece of steel rolled into a circular shape and held together with a barbed like joint.  Snap it together and it is supposed to hold.  Well this was not together.. for a full half of the length of pipe!   And at the one end had a half inch gap .. this was defiantly one area where smoke was coming out..  when I asked they admitted smoke was exiting here.  Even if everything else was working this would leak smoke, flue gases, carbon monoxide, whatever.. a serious dangerous situation.  Yes this was potentially a cause of the smoke.

Three items missed – and potentially some very dangerous ones.. this is why a Level 2 Inspection is supposed to be done for Real Estate transactions.

But there was another cause as well, at least today being that it was minus twenty degrees outside.  A cold masonry chimney with a serious downdraft.  I did start a fire and get the stove pipe and chimney heated (after I replaced the stove pipe with gap – tried to snap it together and it did not hold – simply opened up again).  Once chimney was heated the stove functioned properly.

Realistically if you need a stove inspected then you do need to have somebody who understands the principles of the operation and how to fix and how to inspect it properly!

Unlike a Home Inspection there are few areas for opinions; it is generally right or wrong.  And with wood burning appliances you are often not simply violating a building code, which can be dangerous but you may get away with.  You are often violating or attempting to violate the laws of physics.   It is not an area to mess around and not do things right!  Be safe, sleep soundly at night.

Had request to check wood stove for homeowner – who already had a WETT Inspection?!

Yes, just had a call from a homeowner who had a WETT Inspection.. and wanted to know if they could use their system.

Wow!! .. What a waste of money that is.. getting a Level 1 WETT Inspection quite possibly from somebody who does not work on or know wood burning systems..  does not instil a lot of confidence.

That is why it is always best to get a WETT Inspection from somebody who actually understands the systems.. installs and cleans them.

Fact is if you follow NFPA 211 recommendations – then a Level 2 Inspection is required for any Real Estate transactions or land transfers.  Yes.. that is right!.. and to do a Level 2 Inspection you need to be a Chimney Sweep or Installer or Comprehensive Inspector.  The SITE Basic Inspector is only able to perform a Level 1 – the most basic visual inspection which is NOT adequate for a real estate transaction or land transfer..

Get peace of mind – gain confidence – get a WETT Inspection from somebody who is qualified to do it RIGHT.. save money.. do it right the first time.  Not saying you have to hire me!  But do hire a Certified Chimney Sweep or Certified Technician or a Comprehensive Inspector to do the WETT Inspection and save this 2nd time around for peace of mind!

Building A Firewood Storage Shed

Yes you need to split firewood; then dry it and store it.

Splitting it early enough in advance is critical; some suppliers do not wait nearly long enough.  The ones who split it at four foot lengths have to wait two years.. yes two years.  The fact is that wood really dries best out the ends due to the straw shaped cellular nature of the wood fibre which is designed to carry water and nutrients up and down the tree like small water pipes.  These cells are not designed to let water out the sides, and work very well, hence it needs to work out the ends.  The longer the cuts the more time it takes.  Unfortunately many do not understand the biology of the wood, and cut it longer.. a good help for custom cut wood which they then cut to 12, 16 or 24 inch lengths as requested by customer.  But, it is not dry in six months, eight months or even a year.  In a year it is getting close in some cases; I have measured it at 24%, but not much better than that.. and often a lot worse.

But once stacked – keep the water off of it if possible – but DO NOT wrap it with a cover as it needs wind, air movement and sunlight.

Drying wet wood while burning it! A waste of BTU’s.

Yes before wood burns it has to dry .. at least to a point.

Why – well wood has to reach temperatures above the boiling point of water to release combustible gases which are what really burns.  Until the water is all turned to vapour, it can not get to that next stage.  So, it dries the wood.  Now all wood has approximately the same about of BTU’s per pound or per kilo-gram of weight.  But some of that heat energy must go into drying the wood.. a lot actually.. study the term “latent heat of vaporization” to learn more.

Does this mean dryer wood is better; to a point but wood can also be too dry causing it to actually smoke more and to burn too hot which can be a risk and danger.  Potentially harming your wood stove or even causing a chimney fire.

Stoves are designed to burn wood at around a moisture level of 20%.

Labels on woodburning stoves

The data plate or label on woodstoves has been affixed to stoves for the past couple of decades, is attached to the rear (on a woodstove) and has a unique serial number as well as the appropriate testing information and clearances to combustibles.    Some woodstoves do not have any corner data on the plate, simply because the woodstove was never tested and certified for corner installation.  This does not mean it can not be safely corner installed, but that more work is required during any inspection or installation process for a corner installation.

To allow that plate to be attached, each manufacturer of a wood burning appliance is required to have extensive testing performed on their behalf in an independent accredited test laboratory.  Several of these laboratories exist, one example being Warnock Hersey.

A prescribed set of tests have been established allowing a determination of safe clearances of combustibles for various installation configurations, and these clearances will be printed on the data plate.

If you need an inspection for a wood stove installation in Canada, you will need a WETT Certified Inspector to perform this on your behalf.   There are two levels of inspectors in Canada, the SITE Basic Inspector and the SITE Comprehensive Inspector.  The SITE Basic being an entry level inspector and the Comprehensive being a more Advanced, Experienced and Knowledgeable Inspector level.  The SITE Basic is able to perform Basic inspection on existing installations where nothing has changed since the last inspection, or any changes done have been exact like for like changes.

The SITE Comprehensive is able to perform more rigorous testing required for new installations, changes in existing installations, inspections after a chimney fire or inspections for real-estate transactions or property transfers.

WETT Inspections do not provide a Certification of your equipment – it only provides a proper inspection to ensure it is installed properly as per applicable codes.  A good Level 2 or Level 3 inspection performed by a Comprehensive Inspector will also ensure the operation of the system is functional as intended at time of inspection.   Level 1 inspections performed by SITE Basic inspectors do not and can not ensure the woodstove or fireplace actually works due to the limited scope of the inspection.

WETT Inspectors can not provide a missing label for a woodstove or produce one for a homebuilt or uncertified woodstove.  These stoves can still be inspected but must comply with CSA B365 installation codes for uncertified appliances – which are more demanding in the way of clearances.

These clearances can however be reduced with properly approved heat radiation shields, and a inspector can help with these requirements.  In fact most SITE Comprehensive Inspectors can also install any necessary heat shields for you.

It is always a good precaution to find a WETT Certified Chimney Sweep or WETT Certified Comprehensive Inspector to perform these inspections due to their exhaustive knowledge and experience.

The Cheesecake Factory Opens Today At Yorkdale

Ever eaten at the Cheesecake Factory.. opens today at Yorkdale Mall.

If you have not tried it; you may wish to give it a go.. lots of good food all be it not necessarily a prime restaurant for health food, although they do have some vegan choices and a bit more healthy options.  Cheesecake of course is their speciality with 35 flavours of cake available.

To visit their website go here : https://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/

To read more about it here is a good article : https://nowtoronto.com/food-and-drink/food/cheesecake-factory-yorkdale/

Automated Machines

Just read about automated robotic cleaners for commercial areas; companies using them are claiming there will be no loss of employees – but it will allow the employees to focus on other more customer focused areas of work.  That may be true in some cases; but what about companies and employees who only do cleaning services?  Is it not possible that these jobs will be impacted?  Of course they will eventually be impacted – it is about reducing costs overall.

Also read about robotic inventory machines being used and tested in America, again a device that will eventually replace jobs.  There are companies who professionally preform inventory – they go into large retail stores with several employees and perform the inventory on the retail stores behalf – in a professional manner which has minimal impact on store staff.  Again the company performing inventory will become more efficient and lower cost – making more of a profit margin.

The same can be said of the new self driving semi-truck we saw introduced recently and which has a lot of stir on the internet.  Not here yet – but it will be developed and evolve.  May be slowed down if a large accident were to occur, on the other hand the large fiery crashes like we had a short time ago south of Barrie only promotes the support of these vehicles due to the ability to remove the human weak point.  Humans can be prone to lack of sleep, drugs to keep them awake, distracted driving, etc.  These can in theory remove that risk and certainly add significantly to the low profit margin shipping companies.

Self serve robots at fast food is another one that is typical and will evolve – place your order and pay.  Will see more and more of these soon.. self serve at grocery stores and drug stores are also just around the corner.  In fact many stores – clothing/footwear, hardware, department stores.. virtually any and all retail stores.  Many of the larger ones already have self serve lanes – and the only reason they have not expanded is consumer resistance – people want humans to work with – speak with and serve them.  If more used the self serve lanes, more would be installed and fewer human lanes available.  In fact more will likely come anyways in an attempt to force you to use them.

Bank ATMs is another one – convenient – but the beginning of the loss of tellers jobs.  There will always be more and more pressure to use ATMs and close the brick and mortar banks – which we already see as banks are closing across the country on a regular basis.

How to get around this?  Some is difficult – but pushing back can help – refuse to use the automated robotic lanes as much as possible – complain if there are not any or not enough human clerks.  Threaten to move your business to somebody who has human service.  Don’t just threaten but do it.. and encourage others to do the same.  Some will not, many will not, assuming nothing will change.  And with that mentality on consumers behalf nothing will change.. but if enough pushed back it would work.

Unfortunately too many consumers in the country are blind sheep and will never think of consequences or what their actions impact until it is too late and all the changes have taken place.  Kind of the way our population typically works.. but if they sit down and think about it then it is only a natural progression.  Fact is if you are working at minimum or near minimum wage – your job can be likely turned into a robotic job.  But.. there are other jobs above minimum wage that also can be automated so don’t get too secure – the bank tellers are a good example of this.  There are other jobs which can be outsourced to lower cost humans in far reaching and remote locations – call centres are a typical example of this with workers being anywhere in the world.  But there are others each and every day which are being considered.

What happens when over half the population is unemployed due to automation?  Stop and think about it for a minute or two..

Chimney Sweep Horseshoe Valley

Chimney Sweeping today in Horseshoe Valley area.  Yes homes in the Horseshoe Valley area do use fire-wood!  Many as a secondary heat source for sure, but none the less still do use it.

Anybody who does use firewood should/must clean their chimney and wood-stoves.  It is not optional it is something that is mandatory and needed or safety!  If you do not do it you will eventually almost certainly have a chimney fire.  Now, fact is that 80% of all chimney fires are not even known by the homeowner – note there are two types of fires in chimneys as noted in previous blog.  And reality is that often times the first chimney fire is not the one that is most dangerous.. it is the second or third one after the chimney liner has been seriously damaged.  Only a chimney camera can find that out for sure.

Cleaning chimneys is important – as is hiring a Certified Chimney Sweep!  Do not hire somebody who does another job as well and chimney work on the side – sorry – but something as serious as this takes somebody who knows and understands chimneys and wood fires.  Protect yourself.