General Requirements

Solid fuel-burning appliances include: factory-built fireplaces, coal-burning appliances, wood stoves, wood pellet stoves, corn and nut shell-burning pellet stoves, wood-fired boilers and any other solid fuel-burning appliance intended to provide heat to a building or space within a building, as well as certain ancillary components such as factory-built chimneys, vent piping and certain specialized installation components for some products.

In general, solid fuel-burning appliances utilized within the dwelling must be :

I. Listed as tested in accordance with National Safety Standards and labeled for the intended use. Wood burning boilers must be constructed and stamped in accordance with the A.S.M.E. code.

II. Placed a safe and established distance from combustible materials such as wood, draperies, furniture, carpets, wood flooring, etc..

III. Properly vented to the outside of the building.

IV. Installed and operated in accordance with all applicable Building and Boiler Code requirements and those of the appliance manufacturer.

V. Maintained in accordance with the appliance manufacturer's requirements.

*** It is recommended that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms be installed prior to use - note that the State Building Code (780 CMR) and the State Fire Code (527 CMR) have requirements for when and where smoke alarms and CO alarms are required and State law and the Fire Code have required CO detectors retro-fit installed by March 31, 2006 in most residential occupancies.

I. Listed and Labeled for the Intended Use

(See 780 CMR 6007 - 6008, inclusive and the Appliance label)

For safety purposes, solid fuel-burning appliances are tested to recognized National Standards and listed as satisfying such tests. The Building Code requires that the listed information is printed on a label permanently attached to the heating appliance. The Massachusetts Boiler Regulation requires that all boilers be constructed and stamped in accordance with the A.S.M.E. Code.

As a minimum, such labeling is required to identify the Manufacturer, Make and Model Appliance, Testing Laboratory name, Date tested, Clearances to combustibles, Floor Protection Requirements, National Test Standard and Label Serial Number. If the heating appliance is a central heating appliance (as opposed to a room heater/stove), the label will also identify whether the appliance is a boiler or warm air furnace . Boilers must be stamped with the A.S.M.E. code symbol stamp (see figure 1).

Please note that while new solid fuel burning products without proper listing information may be sold in Massachusetts or New England generally, the installation of these unlisted or improperly listed new products is prohibited by the Building Code . The Building Code does provide an exemption for those products, except boilers, which pre-date the labeling requirement in 1982, however only if these older products are already installed.

Listings include:

Underwriters Laboratory Standard ( UL) 127, UL 1482, UL 737, UL 103.

UL 1777

American Society for Testing Materials ASTM-E 1509.

II. Installed with a Building Permit and in Acceptable Locations

(See 780 CMR, Sections 108.3.5, 110, 111, 6007 - 6008 and Regulations R5 and R6 and the Appliance Manufacturer's Installation Manual)

Prior to the installation of any solid fuel-burning appliance, you MUST obtain a building permit through your local Municipal Building Department.

Additionally, except for homeowner installation for one-and two-family "stand alone" dwellings, the contractor who is installing the solid fuel-burning appliance must be licensed as a Construction Supervisor in accordance with 780 CMR. You may obtain the license status of individual contractors by making a written request to the Department of Public Safety (the Department) for this information.

Further, in addition to the requirement for the Construction Supervisor License, if the installation is intended for an existing residential building which has 1-4 units and is owner-occupied, the person with whom the homeowner is contracting for the installation MUST hold a Home Improvement Contractor Registration.

This Registration is issued by the Department. You may obtain the Registration status of individuals by making a written request to the Department for this information.

II. Installed with a Building Permit and in Acceptable Locations (continued)

(See 780 CMR Sections 6007 - 6008)

Solid fuel burning appliances must be installed where there is sufficient air to properly support safe, efficient combustion of the solid fuel. The appliance should not be installed where flammable vapors or dust or combustible fibers would be expected. A small, tight, enclosed space is not a good place to locate a fuel-burning appliance as inefficient combustion may increase the production of dangerous carbon monoxide gas which could lead to serious injury or death.

III. Placed a Safe and Established Distance from Combustible Materials

(See 780 CMR 3610.6.8, inclusive and the Appliance Manufacturer's installation requirements)

Solid fuel-burning appliances manufactured after about 1982 are required to list safe and appropriate clearance distances from combustibles on a permanently attached label and in the Manufacturer's Installation/User's Manuals. The fuel-burning appliance must be installed in accordance with the Manufacturer's specifications and you should never allow a solid fuel-burning appliance to be installed too close to combustible materials.

IV. Properly Vented to the Outside of the Building

(See 780 CMR 6007 inclusive as well as adhering to the Appliance Manufacturer's installation and labeling requirements)

Solid fuel-burning appliances produce very hot exhaust gases and noxious products of combustion. It is imperative that these appliances be properly vented to the outside of the building.

In general, the solid fuel-burning appliance venting system must be appropriate for the specific appliance being vented (properly sized, properly supported and made of the appropriate metal material for the fuel being burned) and be properly isolated from any combustible building structure or draperies and combustible finishes.

The Building Code has requirements for the clearances to combustibles of the connector pipe connecting the heating appliance to a chimney; for the venting of solid fuel-burning appliances through chimney flues; and for certain appliances to be installed in, and vented through, a masonry fireplace. The Building Code also recognizes "through-the-sidewall" venting of devices such as pellet stoves.

Please refer to the Building Code (780 CMR) for these specific requirements.

Installation techniques involving special thimbles and multi-walled piping which create physical clearances from the vent piping to combustible wall/roof construction must be employed when a vent system passes from the inside of the building to the outside of the building either through the exterior wall or roof/ceiling of the building.

MULTIPLE FLUE CONNECTIONS - For safety reasons, the State Building Code (780 CMR), as well as the Fuel Gas and Plumbing Code (248 CMR) and the State Fire Code (527 CMR) typically do not allow a solid fuel-burning appliance to vent through a flue used by another appliance.

Similarly, most solid fuel-burning appliance manufacturers do not allow shared flue venting with another appliance. However, even if a solid fuel-burning appliance is allowed by the manufacturer to share a common flue with another appliance, this may still be prohibited by law in Massachusetts. Therefore, it is imperative to consult with your local building official before making such flue connections

V. Installed and Operated in Accordance with Building Code Requirements and the Requirements of the Appliance Manufacturer.

(See 780 CMR 3610, inclusive and the Appliance Manufacturer's installation, operation and maintenance requirements)

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FLOOR PROTECTION, HEARTH-LIKE STRUCTURES AND HEARTH RUGS, HEARTH MATS, TILE-BOARD AND SIMLAR FLOOR PROTECTORS