Certification & Installation
Understanding Canadian Wood Stove Certification & Installation Requirements.
A decision to purchase a wood stove in Canada requires understanding of Canadian laws and regulations relating to wood stoves in general and wood cooking stoves in particular. We have found that many professionals in the wood stove business are not proficient in the installation laws, especially when it comes to uncertified stoves, so please read our guide below for a thorough explanation of the factors involved. Like most stoves in use in Canada today our stoves (except Regina) are NOT UL or CSA certified. This guide is meant only as a reference, we invite you to do your own due diligence and research the laws as they apply in your locality. We also recommend discussing installation with your installer prior to purchasing a stove.
1) EPA Certification
This is a US wood stove certification which regulates smoke emission levels, not safety, and a) doesn't apply in most of Canada, b) does not apply to cook stoves even in USA. This is true even for British Columbia and Quebec which do require EPA certification for regular (non-cooking) wood stoves: even these provinces exempt wood stoves which are used for cooking.
Proof that a wood cook stove is exempt from BC's Solid Fuel Burning Regulation (see Section 5): BC Solid Fuel Regulation
The same for Quebec, Environment Quality Act (see the last paragraph): EQA
Nova Scotia: Energy Efficient Appliances Regulation (see item 45 in the table)
To sum up: if you are getting a La Nordica or a similar cooking stove you can usually forget about EPA.
2) Safety Certification (UL, CSA, Intertek etc)
There are 2 types of wood burning appliances: certified and uncertified and both are completely legal in Canada. "Certified" or "uncertified" refers to whether a stove has been tested by an independent lab and then stamped with their mark of approval. A classic example of an uncertified stove is any antique stove, most antique stoves preceded current certification rules & bodies. Please check your local building code and city by-laws whether or not they have any restrictions on uncertified stoves. Uncertified stoves were never tested to Canadian safety standards by one of the labs accredited by CSA or ULC. This doesn't make the stove illegal but stricter installation rules are applied to uncertified stoves: in practice this means higher clearances between the stove and combustible materials (drywall, wood studs etc). You can greatly reduce this distance by using heat shields to cover your walls. Remember that these clearances apply only to combustibles, if the wall is not considered combustible by the Building Code, and there are no other combustibles within the distance specified by the Code then you can put your stove even flush against the wall.
You can find the clearances and other info for installing an uncertified stove in Canada: here
You may also want to check with your home insurance company first. Insurance companies are private (or public) businesses and have their own requirements. Many of them will require a wood fired appliance to be certified, however make sure to ask exactly which certification they need:
If they need the stove itself to be ULC or CSA certified then you need to either change the insurance company or go with a certified stove, such as our Regina model.
Quite often they will require only certification of proper installation, in other words: WETT. A WETT certificate can be provided by a WETT-certified installer which you can find in the directory in the link above. A WETT installer can install both certified and uncertified stoves, though the clearance requirements for them will be different, as follows:
A CSA or ULC certified stove will come with its own clearances specified on the label (typically 12" to 16") on the rear and two sides.
A non-certified stove will rely on the clearances in the local building code which are usually 48". However, these clearances can be greatly reduced if you use heat shields to cover your walls. Even a simple sheet of steel of correct size and gauge will qualify as a heat shield and will reduce the clearances by 66%. You can even go a step further and get ULC-certified heat shields which will reduce the clearance by a whole 88%! In other words, they will reduce the required clearances for an uncertified stove from 48" down to only approx. 6". Furhtermore, all of the above applies only to combustibles. If your walls are solid block or brick (without drywall, wooden studs, or any other combustibles) then the stove can literally touch the walls!
Once again, the material above is provided purely for reference, it is not professional advice. The exact details of your installation may be different than discussed above. Please consult with your installer regarding the proper installation of your stove.