Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Reasoned Reaction to Irrational Regulations

If you think government regulations are bad, insurance industry regs can be pretty frustrating, too.

Take the case of the new Jøtul (pronounced Yodel) wood stove I installed last winter, replacing the Shenandoah we owned for a decade prior. A few weeks ago a nice inspector representing our home owners insurance came by to check to make sure the installation of this Norwegian-made heater met industry standards.

Let me be clear, I'm all for going the second mile to avoid even the remotest danger of having a house fire. After all, this is our home, and contains most of our earthly belongings.

But here are the issues I've been told need to be addressed:

1) The stove pipe needs to be six inches from the brick behind it instead of two inches. I would totally agree if this were a flammable wall, but this is solid brick against a solid concrete block basement wall (I know, because I laid up the brick myself). What kind of fire hazard does that represent?

2) The stove also needs a heat shield under it, I'm told, or we must buy an expensive fire proof mat. Our stove has an ash pan compartment underneath and is "mobile home approved", so it might pass. But again, for whatever it's worth, this highly efficient unit is on a solid brick hearth on a poured concrete floor. Could that possibly be a fire hazard?

Or am I the one being irrational?
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