What have peoples experience been getting fire insurance for their house with a RMH? I had a hard time getting insurance for my house because I heat exclusively with wood but with a conventional stove. I would guess it would be nearly impossible to get fire insurance with a home made RMH when most inusrance brokers have neevr even heard of it. I'd like to build an RMH but not having house insurance is a deal breaker.
The sun's a light bulb and the moon is a mirror-- Gord Downie
there's a few methods around this. (I am still trying to figure this out too before I build one)
1. obviously you can-build your own house in an area that has lax building codes
2. contact your insurance company and provide them a detailed design plan, including actual exhaust temps (you'll still probably have to use triple wall insulated pipe to exit the house) and see what they think.
3. the devious thing to do: make it quasi-portable (not a mass heater, just a rocket) so you can just move it easily.
What do people with Rumford type fireplaces do? What do historical sites with, say, wood fired ovens do? What do commercial sites using various high temp applications so (read restaurants, pottery studios, etc.).
Here's a few things I've found about insurance companies, though note: I'm not in the biz - just had to deal after a fire in my parent's home.
Sometimes insurance companies take into account (or require) stuff like 1) Fire alarms connected to a service agency which calls in the FD if they get a signal and don't get a "cancel" from you w/in 3 minutes. 2) Fire sprinklers installed. In all or part of the house; rules vary. 3) Type of building, type of construction of the building. 4) Number of people using the building. 5) Type of construction in/around the room with the suspect appliance (2-hour firewalls and doors, stuff like that). 6) The type of room in which the appliance is installed. 7) Number of floors of habitable living space; floor level of the appliance. The material used for the appliance itself. Some materials are less offensive to insurance companies than others.
Just some variables to run by agents when seeking out options. It's usually necessary to have required work done by licensed contractors and inspected by the the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction).
Shop around... A lot. The policies are quite intricate and difficult to puzzle out and they can vary considerably. You really want to find a cooperative agent or three who will take the trouble to understand your issues in detail and then take the trouble to put together a path through their official maze of requirements. I believe often there is such a path, but it takes somebody familiar with the "rules" to and willing put it together. Companies often have very specific keys which they use to flag or pass particular issues but just as often have generic rules which will meet their requirements. The major one being the previous para, having a project done "officially" and professionally. They need to see things in terms they understand, such as "wood burning fireplace, brick construction, stainless steel flue, professionally installed per local codes, permanently installed in room of non-combustible construction with two ADA Compliant Egress Paths". Stuff like that. But you do need to clearly disclose the correct name of the unit because otherwise any claims you might have to make later could be disallowed (regardless of whether they had anything at all to do with fire). Note, though, that there are often several correct names and some may be much better for your purposes than others.
Often it boils down to a people thing. Search for the right people who know their business and can and will make the effort for you. In this case, the guy 30+ years in the business is a better bet than the young and eager fellow no matter how compatible he might be. But attitude counts, of course. <g>
> 2) contact your insurance company and provide them...
I most strongly disagree.
Generally I have found that to be pointless or worse - at least to the "company". A large "company" is not a person but a filter which requires certain specific and exact inputs to get a certain output. Anything outside of the predefined "acceptable input" causes a denial letter to be issued. You do not want to have one of those on your record if you can avoid it.
You do need to explain in detail to your chosen agent(s) and (s)he will (hopefully) figure out how to word your application and what you need to do to file it acceptably with the company. Generally speaking you don't have the inside knowledge to able to put the application together - you need an experienced agent who is willing to work on your side. The only explanation a "company" is interested in is the stamp of a currently active CE (Civil Engineer).
I'm really interested in putting something like this in our basement and in our shop and I know when we put in our Vermont bun baker on the main floor the insurance required that we have a fireman check it for safety and fill out some paperwork so they would continue to insure our home.
We've had so much bad luck with insurance that I have the sinking feeling that if you would just put it in and something were to happen in the home, even if it wasn't related to the RHM, and the insurance came to inspect they would find reason to NOT pay.
talk to your agent. we have lots of examples of folks who just showed the agent the plans or the RMH book and the agent gave his blessing. usually with the normal stipulations of a mechanical inspection and a structural and things like a proper 5/8ths fire wall.
on our plans for the 8 inch systems and the portland 6 inch system we have all the clearances to code for not only masonry but wood stoves.
Need more info?
Ernie and Erica
Wood burning stoves, Rocket Mass Heaters, DIY,
Stove plans, Boat plans, General permiculture information, Arts and crafts, Fire science, Find it at www.ernieanderica.info