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Outdoor Wood Furnace Insurance Requirements - What You Should Know


A lot of insurance companies will insure an outdoor wood boiler as a part of your property, but there are often safety rules surrounding their use as a heat source. In this post, I will go over some requirements you may run into with your insurance company. When installing an outdoor wood furnace, please check with YOUR insurance company to make sure your installation complies with any rules they may have. Without further adieu, here are several rules insurance companies often put on wood boiler use.

1. Distance From Buildings - Many, if not most, insurance companies have a rule regulating how far your furnace can be from a building. This is for a number of reasons, but typically it is to reduce the risk that sparks in the furnace's exhaust could ignite an insured building or that of a neighbor. Following is an example of such a rule as listed on the website of Wisconsin's own Rural Mutual Insurance company:

Keep outdoor wood boilers at least 25 feet from the nearest building and 500 feet from the nearest building on neighboring property. - Rural Mutual Insurance Company

2. Distance From Wood Storage - Another common rule relates to how far from the outdoor wood boiler your firewood must be stored. Again, this rule is to mitigate a potential fire hazard from sparks. Following is an example of what such a rule might look like:

Store wood at least 20 feet from the wood furnace, and do not store wood between the unit and nearby buildings. -Rural Mutual Insurance Company

3. Ash Removal And Storage - Ashes can contain live embers which can cause a fire hazard if they are improperly disposed of. Thus, insurance companies often want to have rules insuring that you are properly disposing of them. For example, take this rule which, again, we've borrowed from Wisconsin's own Rural Mutual Insurance Company:

Clean out ashes regularly, place in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid and keep the container away from combustible materials until disposal. - Rural Mutual Insurance Company

4. Outdoor Boiler Maintenance - Some insurance companies may also regulate how often their policyholders must have their boilers professionally maintained or inspected. Following is an exerpt from a bulletin on outdoor wood boilers sent out by the Wisconsin Reinsurrance Corporation in 2010.

Determine if regular maintenance is done. Fires commonly occur when creosote accumulates inside. Burning wet a.k.a. “green” wood causes creosote to accumulate. Is creosote visible on the chimney? What type of wood is burned? How often is the unit professionally cleaned?...

Those are a few things your insurance company considers when you tell them you are installing an outdoor wood fired boiler on your property. Please do reach out to them and make sure you are not jeopardizing your policy by adding a wood boiler without notifying them. I hope this article has been useful. If you are from Minnesota or the Northwestern Wisconsin area and looking for a boiler, please get in contact! Pineview Woodstoves would be happy to serve you.

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