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Insurance for Rocket Stove in Canada?

 
Posts: 1
Location: Western Canada
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I'm new to this forum, joined because I figured this is my best bet to get a real answer. I've been looking on Google and even searched here but the information I found is several years old already (https://permies.com/t/62685/Insurance-company-RMH-style-heater)

I know there are lots of Canadians on this forum and also lots of folks that have built Rocket Stove Mass Heaters inside their homes but what I can't find is any concrete information about getting the house insured with the stove. How are all of you doing this? Just building and then hoping the house never burns down? I'm thinking lots of you must be like me in that insurance is not optional so how does a person go about securing this *before* starting the RSMH build?

Thanks for your time!
 
gardener
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Location: Westbridge, BC, Canada
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Greetings fellow Canuck Stefan!  So glad you wandered this way into the world of Rocket Science Fun!

All of my experiments with rocket mass heaters has been done in our workshop (which doesn't have insurance), not our home so I honestly can't give you an accurate answer.
I know in the Rocket-Heater-Builders-Guide, they mention calling it something that already has known safety thresholds established (like a type of masonry stove) and probably will have a less chance of being met with a cow-in-headlights gaze by building officials.
Hopefully someone with more research will chime in as it would be good to know for myself as well.

BTW, I also included your post into the Rocket Mass Heater and Rocket Stoves forums for more chances at getting the answers you seek, if that works for you?
 
gardener
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Hi Stefan;
I'm afraid there is no concrete answer.
To start , many approach their insurance agent and ask about masonry stoves.
There are rules and guidelines about them and most company's will insure them.
Metal box, wood stoves are acceptable for many as long as they are rated and properly installed to code.

The traditional RMH  J tube style , with the open firebox , 55 gallon barrel and long mass is just a bit more than any insurance company is likely to cover. Unless the agent & the fire chief are also your drinking buddy's! :)    

Now, the newer style RMH (Batch Box) utilizes horizontal wood and a door. No exposed flames. When built with a brick bell they make a very presentable looking heater. If given a double skin they are as safe as masonry heaters. But are not approved.
Are they rated ? No. Are they common? Not yet, but they should be. Would a progressive insurance person consider letting you have one ? I highly doubt it.
But it is possible some are able to think outside the box.

I would guess that most folks are getting insurance approved to have a wood stove and then switching it to a non approved rmh.
Truth is they are much safer and if your house does catch fire, chances are much higher it will be electrical caused not the rmh.

 
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my angle would be have a small woodstove, get insured for that, then build a rmh "for fun" but claim heat from the stove. is this potentially risky? probably
 
pollinator
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There is this thread here:   https://permies.com/t/62685/Insurance-company-RMH-style-heater ontario resident who got one insured. That does not match my experience though.
My insurance company insisted on a epa certified unit and a Wett inspection. Your results might differ. Do not think you can sneak one in and expect the insurance to honour a claim even if the stove was not the culprit. Any reason to deny they would has been my experience. Consult and follow their guidelines would be my advice. Different insurance companies have different requirements so shop around.
There is some merit to the certifications as Ontario has a very strict building code which produces incredibly tight houses. Any stove would need outside air capability and be sealable to resist partial negative pressure due to mechanical air exchange.
Cheers,  David
 
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Welcome to the illegal world of rocket mass heaters... Canadian style.
I am located in Ontario Canada, and have a rocket stove in my workshop, that after burning for 6 hours, will heat the shop for 3 days....
I have talked to several insurance companies about putting one in my main dwelling, only too be told "no".
My brother wanted to put one in his home close by, and was told "if a light buld starts a fire in the front of your house, and we find out you have a rocket in the back of the house, your insurance will be null and void" - NOT ALLOWED
In Canada, you have to find someone who is willing to build it for you (or with you) then turn around and certify it. I have talked to at least 6 different masons and wood stove people, and they all say the same thing - not interested....   Of course, why would they be ?  I built my rocket stove for less than 200 $ and it requries very little maintenance, while these guys have the market cornered on 5,000 dollar wood stoves, that burn out and need to be replaced, inspected and cleaned regularly....

sorry, my bitterness is showing... but Rocket Mass Heaters are not acceptable or allowed in Canada.
 
pollinator
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This thread has me wondering about a rocket mass equivalent of an outdoor wood heater. Build a nicely insulated little shack near your house with a RMH inside. Could be small, just big enough for air to circulate around your heated mass.  Run two insulated ducts, one from somewhere low like your basement and another going from the heater shack to your living space. Possibly with a fan to really get air moving if natural convection isn't working. Wouldn't be nearly as efficient as an in-home heater, but if insurance said no or jacked up rates, that loss of efficiency would  likely be worth it.  
 
master pollinator
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Matt, I like the idea. I think insurance will be a lot less pissy if the whole combustion unit is outside the insured building, at an appropriate distance. In fact, I'm sure they would tell you what they require if you ask about installing a forced-air, outdoor, custom-built masonry furnace.
 
pollinator
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Perhaps you could heat an uninsured auxiliary structure with the 'waste' heat from the RMH..

There have been recent discussions of RMH boiler options; IMO this is a much better option than forced air!
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Agree, handled correctly there would be no waste heat at all.

A boiler is always more efficient, though it may tie you to a pump. I've heard something about thermosiphon setups but don't know much.  

An outdoor boiler is something that insurance people understand. These are often tied in to in-floor heating. Or a radiator coil is added to the forced air furnace.

A fully pressurized system will freak them out, though, and they'll ask "where's the engineer's stamp?"
 
D Nikolls
pollinator
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Agree, handled correctly there would be no waste heat at all.

A boiler is always more efficient, though it may tie you to a pump. I've heard something about thermosiphon setups but don't know much.  

An outdoor boiler is something that insurance people understand. These are often tied in to in-floor heating. Or a radiator coil is added to the forced air furnace.

A fully pressurized system will freak them out, though, and they'll ask "where's the engineer's stamp?"



A small pump is not a big deal... all depends on how much juice you need to burn.. and when.

I would imagine a nice thick thermal mass floor could coast through a cold night, and then you run the pump to replenish this heat battery from another source in the daytime... Haven't tried to do the math on that theory yet though.


I got a short tour of a very fancy brand new house a couple years ago; off grid, up a mountain not too far from me. All done with permits... but, soon as that was all sorted, this guy installed a huge outdoor boiler and plumbed it up to the indoor hydronic floors. Think the official heat source was a propane boiler, but it was never seeing use.

He builds & sellers these boilers, made out of two nested chunks of pipe. Maybe 30 and 36" diameter?


He figured he was safe insurance-wise because it was not in the insured building... hm.
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