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Wood Stove Installation

In today’s environment of escalating fuel cost, and increasing awareness of becoming more environmentally green, many homeowners have been turning to using wood fuel to heat their homes. If you are planning on purchasing a wood stove there are some planning that can help you make the decision right the first time.

Let’s analyze what is needed before you actually go to the hearth stove and invest in that wood stove. The main factors that will need consideration are the hearth pad (the floor protection the stove will sit on), the vent system, the stove itself, and choosing the dealer and contractor to install the wood stove.

It is best to decide on where you will position the stove before you start the purchasing process. This is because the location of the stove will dictate the size of the hearth pad and the vent kit required. The factors that should be taken into considerations are:

The size of the stove you would want for your home is a very important consideration. This would affect the amount of heat being produced and the amount of work you would need to put in. A small stove requires a smaller space. So if space is an issue for you, you may not have much choice here. A small stove would also require cutting the wood into smaller sticks just fit into the stove. The amount of wood that would fit in a small firebox is limited as well. Most small stove will not hold enough fuel to stay fired for 8 hours. As such an overnight burn, which is something a lot of homeowners look for will be difficult on a small stove. On the other hand, using a large stove to heat a small space is not necessarily a good choice. When you have a large wood stove in a smaller room, the tendency is to build a smaller flame. This results in a “cooler” fire being burned in the stove in relation to the size of the stove. This produces an excessive amount of creosote to build up in the chimney, because cooler fires do not burn as clean as a hot fire. The excess creosote in the chimney often is the cause of the dangerous chimney fire that we hear about. Therefore, the best size stove will be the size that will fit your heating needs while producing an efficient burn.

The wood stove manufacturers specify the required clearances to combustibles that your chosen stove requires. These required clearance will be detailed in the Owners’ Manuel These must be followed in order for the wood stove to function correctly and most importantly safely. Having this information, you would be able to start positioning the stove in your home. The next thing to consider would be the hearth pad which the stove would sit on. A wood stove needs to be placed on a noncombustible surface. This prevents the heat of the stove from transferring to the floor. This also provides protection from the embers that might inadvertently fall from the stove during refueling. As with the clearances to combustibles, the required thickness for each stove is specified in the stove’s Owners’ Manual. Most of the time following the requirements stated in the Owners’ Manual would be adequate.

However certain municipalities have more stringent requirements. If this were the case, you would need to make sure the requirements of the municipality where the stove will be located are followed. The exact size of the hearth pad is determined by the positioning of the stove i.e. is it in the middle of a room or in a corner of the room. The most common requirement would be at least 8 inches on the sides from the stove and at least 16 inches from the front of the door. In addition, most stoves require the hearth pad it would sit on to be between 3\8 inch and 1 inch thick.

The chimney is the last piece of the installation puzzle. Many consumers already have an exiting chimney. If you do have one, make sure you have the chimney inspected and cleaned prior to installing the new stove. Many older brick chimney may have deteriorated to the point they may need to be relined or even demolished and replaced with a new chimney. If a new chimney were to be installed, the best installation would be straight up through your roof on the inside of your home. This is normally cheaper and is preferable to one that would be outside of your home. This is because cold air outside of the house will cool the flue gases; this causes more creosote to form in the chimney. This also causes poor draws making it hard to ignite the wood in the stove since cold air is very and prevents the lighter hot air to go up the chimney, another effect of this is smoke leaking back into the home until the cold air blockage is removed.

Another important factor to consider is your installer and the dealer you are buying from. All installer are required to be licensed and bonded before they are to become a contractor. So make sure you check to see if the installer you have chosen is licensed. A good rule of thumb would be to ask them to provide you with their license number. Most insurance companies and permits, want that number so that they can trace that individual in case something goes wrong. To check to see if your dealer has a good reputation, you could check with your local Better Business Bureau or go online. There are many websites now that provide consumer feedback on local retailers. Another good source of information would be the website of the Hearth, Patio and BBQ Association that provides a listing of professionals in the field. The more research you do on your chosen installer and dealer the more you can be assured that you are in good hands. The purchase of a wood stove can be a great experience. You will be able to enjoy an economical source of heat for many years to come. Paying attention to a few details will definitely help enhance the experience.