(WPRI) -- Trying to cut down on heating costs by buying a wood or pellet stove can seem like an attractive option, but unless you're buying one that's been tested, you could be putting yourself and your home at risk.
As the temperatures drop we begin to turn up the heat, and with oil and gas prices where they are, many of us turn to alternative heat sources.
"It may not be built to handle the heat that you are putting into it, and God forbid it could start a fire," said Barbara Vallente from Fireplace Showcase.
A lot of consumers are buying products from out-of-state vendors on the Internet, but what you may not know is that certain models may not be approved appliances. In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, wood stoves must have a UL approval number of 1482, and pellet stoves should have an Americans Standard testing method number 1509 on it. These numbers can usually be found in the owner's manual.
Those two numbers mean that the products have been put through stringent testing to make sure they're safe to operate in your home. In order to install a wood or pellet stove you must get a permit, and city and town building inspectors require the appliance have an approval number.
"It guarantees the safety of the product, and also that your insurance company will cover you," Vallente added.
If an unapproved pellet or wood stove causes property damage, chances are your homeowner's insurance will not cover your losses. Be sure to purchase yours from a reputable company that knows the law, and can put you in touch with professionals who know what they're doing.
Also, when hiring a contractor to install your stove, make sure they are licensed or registered. For more information, visit the RI Contractors' Registration and Licensing Board's website.
Copyright WPRI 12
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