Ros Harrison wrote:Hi folks
I've got another thread going for the technical side of my rocket mass heater build, and while I did touch on the legal side, I don't want to get my hopes up in case the legality of an RMH in England is a big blocker. As the house shares a wall with the neighbors, I'd rather not risk doing anything which will invalidate my home insurance in the unlikely event the rocket does burn my house down, as it's not just my neck on the line!
I've seen various folks using rocket heaters in britain, but I've not come across any mentions of the interaction with Building Regulations. From a more general look around the internet, the main concern with any heating system that burns fuel is "Document J", and you can do the work yourself as long as the council's Building Control inspector agrees your stove or heater meets the requirements in the document. Masonry heaters, including bespoke ones, can be signed off, and there seem to be various companies building them.
Home insurers' opinions seem to range from "We won't insure you without a certificate from the council/the registered installer?" to "we won't ask about stove certificats directly, but in the small print it says any fire damage resulting from poor workmanship on a stove or other device using combustible fuel won't be covered". I don't recall having to discuss the existing gas boiler with my insurance when I originally took the policy out while buying the house, and my policy doesn't seem to reference it, so I suspect my insurance provider leans toward the latter end.
So how many of you folks using rocket heaters or similar setups around here have had the inspector in? And how many of you have talked to insurers about it?
Since I made the last post the builder confirmed what I suspected already, which is that the entire extension I'm planning to put the RMH in can't be effectively shored up, and has to come down and be rebuilt. While that completely scuppers any chance of having an RMH built before winter this year, it does offer me the chance to have the folks building the new one include a flue vent in the roof, as well as possibly an air intake point somewhere. The builder will already have building control in to sign off on the new extension, so I may get a chance to ask someone then. I might couch it in terms of a masonry heater, even if the internal section of the bell ends up being steel in my final design.
Thanks in advance!
thomas rubino wrote: It has been my personal observation over a lifetime that the insurance company papers always have some clause or another absolving them from paying out.