Installing a wood stove chimney through wall can provide an excellent source of heat for your home, but their installation can sometimes be a bit tricky. This article will guide you through each step of the setup process, ensuring you can reap the rewards of wood-based heating without any hassles!
Setting up a wood stove chimney through the wall may not be as hard as it seems. Your initial task would be to ensure that your fireplace or stove has been correctly set up and vented for natural gas, propane, or oil. Following this, ascertain if the chimney requires an extension kit and decide on the kind of venting system to be employed: direct vent (for gas), sealed combustion (for propane), or airtight (for oil). If none of these ventilation systems are compatible with your specific setup, don’t fret! There is a myriad of alternative solutions available, such as incorporating a damper door to regulate airflow around the firebox opening.
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What is a Chimney and how does it work?
A chimney is a conduit or structure designed to transport the byproducts of combustion from heating appliances out into the open air. The term ‘chimney’ originates from the Latin word ‘caminus’, meaning hearth, and shares its roots with the Italian word ‘camino’, meaning road. Chimneys are common features in buildings where fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, boilers, or stoves are used. They can also function as structures for expelling harmful gases produced from activities like welding.
The operation of a chimney is based on buoyancy: the heat and gases generated by combustion are lighter than the surrounding air, causing them to ascend. In this sense, a fireplace can be seen as a regulated form of leakage as it inefficiently transforms the chemical energy produced during the burning of wood or embers (typically around 20%) into heat radiation, rather than retaining most of it for heating.
Chimneys also play a role in other applications such as oil furnaces or rocket engines, where gaseous byproducts need to be expelled under high pressure. These chimneys are often more complex in design compared to those intended for building ventilation, but they operate based on the same fundamental principles.
Install a Wood Stove Chimney Through Wall
A Wood Stove Chimney Pipe can be positioned anywhere on the wall where it facilitates optimal draft. Often, this spot is near the floor level to minimize the amount of pipe protruding above the ceiling height. Although there are no strict regulations concerning chimneys, most individuals prefer shorter stovepipes for ease of installation (since lengthier ones cost more) and to avoid an unsightly length of pipe visible in their home. Ideally, your woodstove chimney should be entirely contained within an exterior wall cavity rather than passing through stud bays or extending into the attic – unless you intend to install waterproof flashing around its top.
Before you start, ensure all loose boards are secured to create a safe and tidy workspace for the task ahead. It’s crucial to maintain everything level as you install this wood stove chimney through the wall pipe. It can be quite unsettling if a piece of inverted flashing unexpectedly drops on your head!
To install a wood stove chimney through a wall, you will need the following materials:
- Socket wrench with an extension cord
- Drill and drill bits suitable for brick and masonry
- Leveling tool
- Wood stove chimney pipe
- Chimney flashing kit
Additionally, if your wall is constructed with bricks or concrete blocks, it may be necessary to enlist the help of a professional. This is also an opportunity to have them inspect your existing installation.
- Wood stove with a house chimney connection
- Stove pipe connector
- Tape measure
- Pencil and level
- Level or plumb line tool.
- Always ensure you take the necessary safety precautions when working with tools and installations.
- Use appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves, glasses, and earplugs, based on your comfort level and state laws.
- Consult a professional before modifying the flue pipe of your stove. Before attempting self-installation of a chimney kit, wood burning stove, or fireplace, carefully read and follow all manufacturer’s instructions. If you lack confidence in your abilities, it is advisable to hire an expert for assistance. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides comprehensive guidelines for the proper installation and use of these types of appliances:
- NFPA 211: Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances
- NFPA 2112: Standard for Venting Systems for Gas and Oil Fired Central Heating Equipment
- NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC), 2017 Edition
- Additional helpful resources for ensuring the safety of wood stove chimney installation through the wall are listed below. Do not hesitate to take all necessary precautions and seek expert assistance in case of doubt or emergencies.
The Installation Process Considerations
It’s essential to understand how your fireplace functions. If unsure, inspect the inside of the firebox to identify where smoke exits. It’s likely to be at the front or back of the opening where hot air is propelled in by a fan, blower, or bellows if present. Remember that some chimneys have multiple openings for both push and pull systems.
Ensure that the flue pipe’s dimensions align with those needed for a Wood Stove Chimney through Wall installation. Purchasing an incorrect model could be expensive if they don’t fit properly and you’re unable to return them immediately. For instance, while the standard diameter for metal stove ducts is usually 100 mm, if your unit only requires an 80mm flue pipe, it might be more cost-effective to opt for a cheaper 90mm model.
There are two types of wood stove installation Chimney through Wall: ‘Up’ and ‘Down’ systems, with ‘down’ indicating that the exit point is lower than the entry. Both systems are effective when installed correctly: the ‘up’ system is suitable if your ceiling is high enough to prevent smoke from descending into the living area, while the ‘down’ system offers added safety as there’s no direct route from the firebox to the living space. However, both methods might necessitate additional components like an electric blower or fan.
If your fireplace is too narrow for your wood stove or has dents that impede proper installation, consult with the manufacturer for any available additional accessories (like a special adapter to increase width). Depending on the material of your pre-conversion fireplace, you might want to consider lining its interior with brick or stone panels.
Post-Installation Tips and Suggestions
Once your chimney installation is complete, we advise you to check out the National Fire Protection Association’s website. This site offers a thorough set of guidelines and advice on preventing fires. The NFPA also provides links to local codes and regulations specific to each state. According to these guidelines, chimneys should project at least three feet above the highest point where they penetrate any roof. Furthermore, they should stand two feet taller than anything within a ten-foot radius below their top end, especially when installed on buildings that exceed one story in height.
Environmental Protection Agency
According to the EPA, it is crucial to have a well-installed and properly maintained vent system to ensure appropriate air circulation. A poorly designed or inadequately serviced chimney can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which is lethal! If your home uses a combustion appliance, it’s essential to install a suitable ventilation system to safeguard against harmful gases such as CO (Carbon Monoxide) escaping from your devices.
Incomplete burning in the stove or fireplace that leads to indoor wood smoke is extremely hazardous. This could occur due to various reasons like insufficient draft, damp fuel, or dirty glass on stoves, among others. In some instances, local laws prohibit the construction of new fireplaces, and they can’t be legally used without an approved exhaust flue – but that’s a separate discussion.
To begin installing a wood stove chimney through the wall, ensure there are no blockages in the path between your appliance and an exterior wall (where the exhaust can exit). The flue should be a minimum of 12 inches away from combustible materials such as walls or ceilings, preventing heat damage if it’s not approved for indoor use! Ensure all connections are secure before relining. If everything seems fine, you can start sealing necessary areas with high-temperature silicone sealant (or similar) after cleaning any surfaces beforehand. To minimize air leaks into the system – which could cause issues – make sure joints are thoroughly filled by carefully applying fire cement mortar.
Lastly, align your wood stove chimney installation through the wall using an adjustable rain cap to cover any gaps where you haven’t finished off with sealant! The EPA advises that these are typically installed at least 18 inches above the roof-line and should extend out from the roof for 30 inches (or more) to prevent ice dams or snow accumulation. You’ll also need a screen mesh covering extending down into the flue pipe itself – this is placed over it before installing liner sections to protect against animals, insects, etc. If there’s snow buildup on the metal cap during winter months, ensure the access doors underneath are closed; otherwise, heat may escape too rapidly.
- When working with chimney components, avoid over-tightening them. Excessive force can damage the materials and make it difficult to remove fixtures during installation or cleaning.
- Ensure that you have enough open space to work comfortably. Avoid blocking your path in case of unexpected incidents while installing a wood stove chimney through a wall.
- Use protective gloves when handling sharp objects like metal screws. If this is not possible, exercise extra caution to prevent accidental injuries caused by clumsy movements or slips during the installation process.
How To Install a Wood Burning Stove Chimney Through a Wall (External)
One of the most common mistakes when installing a wood-burning stove chimney through a wall is thinking that the chimney can exit directly from the back of the stove and run horizontally through the wall to the outside. This is incorrect because there should be no horizontal runs exceeding 150mm in length in a flue system or 90° (right angle) turns. This is due to the fact that hot gases need to rise, and forcing them to travel horizontally will cause them to lose heat, deposit soot in the pipe, and hit the right-angle turn like a barrier, causing them to slump back down the system.
According to building regulations, a 90° Tee Piece (or elbow) can only be used directly in the rear outlet of the stove and absolutely nowhere else in the system. All bends must be no greater than 45° to allow the gases to continue rising freely. You are limited to a maximum of four turns per system.
To safely pass your system through an external wall, you need four Twin Wall components: a 45° Wall Sleeve, two Finish Plates, and a Fixed or Adjustable length of Twin Wall pipe long enough to clear the wall while rising at a 45° angle. The Sleeve protects both the pipe and the wall material from the thermal expansion of the pipe, and the Plates tidy everything up inside and out. This is only applicable for passing through standard, non-combustible cavity walls. If the wall consists of combustible materials (e.g., a wooden structure), you must allow for a safe clearance around the flue of 60mm, although this can vary depending on the brand of Twin Wall used.
Once your Twin Wall system has successfully exited the property, we need to turn the system vertically, which can be easily achieved with a 135° Tee Piece & removable Cap or a 45° Elbow. The Tee Piece & Cap allows essential access to the external run of flue for cleaning and draining condensates and rainwater. The 45° Elbow does not offer this access.
For optimal draw on your stove and compliance with building regulations, the overall length of your flue system must reach a minimum length of 4.5m from stove outlet to Rain Cap. This is typically not an issue for chimneys on two-story homes but must be considered for shorter installs such as conservatories and summer houses.
When calculating the lengths of Twin Wall flue required to successfully (and legally) run the system up the outside of your property wall, consider the overall height of the finished flue and whether you need to navigate around any obstacles such as windows or overhanging soffits. Remember that building regulations only allow for a maximum of four turns in the entire chimney, and two have already been used (before and after passing through the wall), so you can only use two more elbows to create an offset around an obstacle, usually the gutters/soffits. If there are other obstructions, the chimney will need to be repositioned.
Typically, the only support required for an external Twin Wall system are Adjustable or Fixed Wall Brackets secured to the outside wall of the property, securing the flue system every 2m at the very most. For long external runs of 4m or more, it is highly recommended to secure an Adjustable Base Support at the bottom of the system as an extra anchor for the long run of Twin Wall above in addition to the Brackets. For supporting a flue past the roof line, there is a selection of Guy Wires, Stays, and Structural Locking bands.
How To Install a Wood Burning Stove Chimney Through a Roof (Internal)?
The configuration of an internal Twin Wall flue system starts similarly to an external system, originating from the stove collar to the Twin Wall Adapter as described above. However, instead of moving through a wall, the system progresses upwards through the building’s floors, ultimately exiting through the roof.
For each ceiling/joist the system passes through, three essential components are needed: two Ventilated Fire Stop Plates and a Joist Support. Often sold as a ‘Fire Stop Spacer,’ Ventilated Fire Stop Plates must be secured into the floor or ceiling wherever the system enters or exits a habitable space. Essentially, these plates are needed at every point except for the attic floor, although it is still recommended there. These ventilated plates allow cool air to circulate between floors, keeping the flue edges as cool as possible while delaying potential fire spread. Solid Fire Stop Plates are reserved for gas systems only. The Joist Support, as the name implies, attaches to each joist, forming a bracket for the system approximately every 2.5 meters. Thus, in a typical two-story home, you would need four Ventilated Fire Stop Plates and two Joist Supports.
Regardless of the system type installed, any pipe joints must be accessible and not concealed within walls or joists. The Twin Wall should be boxed or caged in on upper floors.
While a vertical, internal chimney is the most efficient flue system, up to four bends or turns are allowed within the system if you need to navigate around an obstacle using 45° Elbows (never 90°). A Roof Support should be used on the rafters for final support.
When it comes to passing the Twin Wall flue through the roof surface, there are three critical stages:
- Remember to maintain a safe clearance to combustible materials around all twin wall flues. So, a 6″ Twin Wall pipe would require a hole approximately 320mm across (60mm clearance + 200mm pipe outer diameter + 60mm clearance).
- Choosing the right Flashing for your roof is vital. The Flashing is a silicone or EPDM rubber cone sitting atop a base (traditionally lead, but more likely aluminum nowadays) that can be cut back to tightly fit around the flue, providing a weatherproof seal on the roof. Flashings essentially fall into two categories: suitable for a tiled/slate roof or not. Flashings for tiled roofs have a large base designed to be secured underneath the tiles, while Flashings for all other roof types (flat, corrugated, wooden, etc.) have a small base intended to be secured on top of the roof surface.
- Pair your Flashing with a Twin Wall Storm Collar, positioned approximately 100mm above the Flashing, to provide an additional layer of protection against the elements.
As mentioned before, you are free to use a few inches of water. However, always take precautions to ensure that your furniture and curtains are positioned at a safe distance to prevent any potential mishaps!
For applications like this, metal is often the material of choice. Options such as stainless steel, aluminum, and galvanized steel are all frequently recommended, and they typically come in diameters ranging from four inches to fourteen inches or more! If you’re willing to invest a little more in materials, copper is an excellent choice due to its durability and aesthetic appeal. Moreover, if your home is older and has metallic flues running through its walls without any insulation, consider using non-metallic tubes. These can help protect the exterior of your home from corrosion while also prolonging the functionality of the flues. Don’t forget to keep these tips in mind when installing your flue.
As defined previously, it’s an excellent metal option for this kind of purpose! It can last up to decades and resist corrosion which ensures that your home remains rust free while also not having any risk of the smell getting out into your house since its material has no pores or cracks like other metals do. This type of flue is usually cheaper than others but it might be more difficult to find high performing ones (and especially with certified safety certificates). You should look for models whose materials are produced by well-known brands because they will ensure quality over time rather than cheap products made in unknown.
As previously mentioned, this metal is a superior choice for such applications! It boasts longevity, often lasting decades, and its resistance to corrosion ensures your home remains free of rust. Additionally, there’s no risk of odors permeating your home as this material lacks the pores or cracks found in some other metals. Although this type of flue tends to be more affordable than others, finding high-performing ones (especially those with safety certifications) may be a bit challenging. Aim for models made from materials by reputable brands, as they guarantee quality over time, unlike cheaper products from lesser-known sources. You can find these options here.
In conclusion, wood stove chimneys make a wonderful addition to any home. They offer the convenience of heating your house from a single location that can be easily controlled and monitored, allowing you to avoid leaving it unattended. Moreover, they create a genuine sense of warmth, akin to gathering around a campfire, providing a cozy ambiance that adds to the overall comfort of your space.