How to Install a Wood Burning Stove

wood burning stove installation

Installing a wood burning stove can be very simple, and can be done in no time at all. All it takes is a few easy to follow steps to get your stove up and running flawlessly. Though it can be a pretty straightforward task, if you don't have the proper infrastructure in place (hearth, venting, etc.) it can be a fairly daunting task requiring a large time investment. Read on for more information about how to install a wood burning stove.

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Find a Proper Location for Your Stove

This step is actually very important. You not only want to find a place in your home where your stove will look good, but you have more to mind than that. Here are some things to consider while you are looking for a proper location for your wood burning stove.

  • Is it a Convenient Place to Haul Wood? When you are looking for a spot to install your stove you need to keep in mind how far you will have to haul the wood. You want to avoid placing it somewhere that will force you to haul wood throughout your entire house. Pick a location that you can easily access from outside.
  • Does it Meet Code? If you have never installed a wood burning stove before you will need to read up on the applicable building codes. Keeping up to code typically requires certain measures, like spacing your stove a certain distance from the wall. You will also need to put consider potential fire hazards. Make sure you read up on the building codes before installing your stove.
  • Is it a Smart Location? Did you know that warm air rises?  If you are looking to heat your entire house with your stove it would be smart to place your stove in a location that is in a basement or on a main level. This will help the hot air to rise and heat your house properly. Also, a central location is recommended. If you cannot place your wood burning stove in a central location, you may want to consider a blower or fan attachment to your stove. This will help with air circulation and help to push that warm air into the rest of the home.
  • Infrastructure? Another thing to consider is a hearth of some kind. Wood burning stoves create ash and sometimes sparks that are a leading cause of house fires. Installing a hearth under your fireplace will help to reduce the risk by removing the flammable carpet or vinyl under and around the stove and replace it with non flammable pad. You can pick up an easy solution for around $200 on-line that wouldn’t require any masonry installation experience.

Venting Your Wood Burning Stove

You cannot install a wood burning stove in your home without a chimney. It has to be a chimney that meets building code requirements as well. You can't just install a stove with metal piping going out the window. You have to use a UL approved Stainless Steel Class "A" insulated chimney, or a sound masonry chimney. Here are some of the ways you can install a chimney in your home.

a selection of stove pipe

There are 2 basic ways to vent a wood burning stove, (1) straight up and out the ceiling or (2) out the wall and along the side of the house. There are pros and cons to either choice. But there are some common denominators to both.

  • You will need a ceiling box. This is a Metal fitting that will transition from your stove pipe to the triple wall pipe needed outside the home.
  • You will also need, in both instances, Black single wall stove pipe and a damper.

Because a large amount heat goes up the chimney, using single wall stove pipe (to the ceiling box) and a damper is the best way to channel this heat.

Straight Venting Configuration

Venting a Chimney Straight up through the ceiling is the quickest route to vent your stove and may be the least expensive. Once you vent your stove pipe up to the ceiling box, you need to start using triple wall pipe to finish the chimney. The triple wall pipe is designed for wood stoves. It comes in different lengths that are measured in 1 foot increments. It can vent through the roof with the least amount of clearance possible. Check your local code, but most locations only require 1-2 inches of clearance between triple wall pipe and any flammable material. This means smaller holes to cut and more surface to utilize with your roof jack. Your roof jack is the next part of your Chimney. This part is tricky and you might want to talk to a roofer for tips, but it is essential. A roof jack keeps water out of your house, helps to hold the chimney pipe upright and helps to support the pipe during windstorms.

Finally, you will need a vent top. Once you have vented your triple wall chimney pipe to the proper length (again check your local code but typically 4’ away from your roof. You’ll need to compensate for your roof pitch to double check the distance), you’ll need to top it off with a vent top. Vent tops are designed to keep the bigger sparks from blowing into the air and to keep moisture and critters from getting in. If you are using wood with a lot of pitch in it you will need to keep an eye on the screen surrounding your vent top. It has a tendency to clog up with creosote. If this happens it will not vent the smoke properly and also becomes a fire hazard.

Side Venting Configuration

If you decide not to mess with cutting holes in your ceiling and roof, your other option is to vent your stove out the side. In this case, once you have vented your black stove pipe out the side of your home and into your transition box you can do one of two things. Triple wall pipe up the side of your home, or a masonry chimney out of brick. The masonry chimney gives a classic look and feel to your home, and if you know how to lay it, can be relatively inexpensive. If brick laying is not your thing you will probably want to stick with the triple wall pipe idea. It can be boxed in and then sided or stuccoed to match your current exterior. It is fairly simple to run triple wall pipe but at around $80 a foot can be quite expensive. As mentioned before you will need to pipe above the roof and use a vent top so don’t forget to factor those things in as well. Wall straps are also required for installing triple wall outside your home. These clamp on to the pipe to hold it fast and screw to the wall of the house for stability. A typical wall strap for 8 “ triple wall pipe runs about $20 on line and should be installed about every 5 feet or so.

It might sound daunting to contemplate all this, but once it is installed, a wood burning stove could be your saving grace if you ever lose power on those cold winter nights and the security you will feel when you are done will be worth all the work and effort you spend. Building a chimney is a very important process when installing a wood burning stove. If your home doesn't already have a chimney built in for your wood burning stove make sure you know all the regulations about installing a chimney before you start your process. This is wise, not only for legal, but insurance reasons.

Installing Your Wood Burning Stove in Place

Once you have identified a proper location, and made sure your chimney is up to code, you can then install your wood burning stove. This particular step is pretty simple, though arduous because you are dealing with heavy object. All you have to do is place your stove in the location you want it, and make sure all the metal heating tubes are connected correctly. Be sure to follow your owner's manual which comes with the stove to make sure you aren't missing any steps. Once you have done this, you are then ready to use your new stove.

Keeping Your Family Safe from Fire Hazard

A wood burning stove can be a lot of fun. It brings warmth and comfort to a home on a cold winter's night, and is a great place to gather as a family. By doing your part to install your stove correctly, you are taking the steps needed to keep you and your loved ones safe and out of harm's way. Always double check to make sure your wood burning stove meets construction code requirements and is installed properly. Thank you for reading how to install a wood burning stove.

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