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Insurance vs Codes

 
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This is prob a sly a dumb question but I’m asking it anyway. I don’t totally understand what regulatory issues related to RMH come from building codes, vs insurance. We are starting building a house this spring and want to put an RMH in it. There are NO CODES where we live. But we would like to insure our house. In this case, is it just up to the insurance company to decide if they approve of the RMH or not? Or is there regulation within the whole insurance industry that would determine this? The simple answer would be to call the insurance co and ask them, but we don’t yet have homeowners insurance because we don’t own a home. If it’s up to the company themselves, it would be nice to “shop” based on which company would be most likely to approve the stove.

So I guess my question is, if building codes are not a concern, how does one go about understanding the insurance issue?
Thanks!
-Eloise
 
pollinator
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Others more knowledgeable will chime in, but I think Insurance likes Code because it gives them a lazy cookie-cutter window on risk and they don't have to think too hard. This one's a number six  with fries and Coke!

Individual insurers vary, and they will consult their underwriters to cover their tails. Masonry heaters are a known entity, even though they are custom built. If you can show a reasonable setback from flammables and a Code-friendly roof jack and chimney, you may get a green light. They certainly aren't more hazardous than a dumb-box wood stove. If they balk, shop around. My 2c.

 
rocket scientist
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Hi Eloise;
To start only use the words Rocket Mass Heater while talking on Permies.
Always talk about your European style masonry heater to any insurance people.
There are insurance codes that apply.
Here is a post I wrote about it.  https://permies.com/t/241332/RMH-Rocket-Masonry-Heater#2242015
And here is a post of a double wall 6" Batchbox currently under construction https://permies.com/t/238503/Batch-Rocket-Build




 
Eloise Rock
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These were helpful responses, Thank you!

Thomas, in the post you linked to, you summarize: "My take on what I read, is that Montana allows home-built masonry stoves  (Rocket Masonry Heater) as long as they follow the international building code."

Where can I read the IBC for masonry heaters? or is what you provided in that post all there is? It just doesnt seem to communicate much. Just defines what a masonry heater is. I assume they have some guidlines regarding set backs, materials, chimneys etc. Does anyone know where to find this info?

Thanks again,
Eloise
 
gardener
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Hi Eloise,
When I talked to my insurance agent the answer was "make sure it's installed according to the manufacturers instructions". When I said it was custom built, they said follow the standard codes. I haven't found everything, but I did find some info for the state of Maine. I would imagine it would be similar, but you would want to check your state's recommendations. I have had good luck reaching out to a local fire department and asking them where to find the codes. They are the ones who are going to be putting out the fire if its wrong, so they should know.
Filename: standardsfor_solidfuel_stoves.pdf
File size: 199 Kbytes
 
pioneer
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Masonry Heater Association Reference Manual
 
pollinator
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When I put in a wood cook stove, I documented all the changes I made, especially how I replaced the wood studs and drywall with steel studs and cement board. I made sure my clearance to combustibles was more than needed and I had the receipts and spec sheets for the chimney components.  And fort chimney cleaning gear.

The key was it couldn’t be “primary” heat, so have a furnace of some kind even if you never plan to use it. I know several people with baseboard electric heater or a blue flame gas heater in the living room that has been used once.

 
thomas rubino
rocket scientist
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IBC code
https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IBC2021P2/chapter-21-masonry#IBC2021P2_Ch21_Sec2112
 
pollinator
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For insurance, I would call it a "wood stove" and then also install a regular heating system and just never turn it on, unless the temp gets down to 50F so that it prevents the pipes from bursting.
 
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