Wood burning stoves are timeless and functional. Their use dates to as early as the 1500s in Europe, and they are still necessary for many households. Modern wood stoves are easy to install and pretty safe compared to older designs that could easily set up your place on fire or choke everyone in smoke. Moreover, modern wood stoves come in overwhelming varieties to match different tastes, preferences, budgets, and house designs. While a favorite option is purely an aesthetic choice, it will help if you install a wood stove that reflects your money’s value.
Many reasons other than warming up your living space could prompt you to install a wood stove. These stoves are dependable, provided you don’t run out of logs. You can use seasoned or fried kiln logs. Wood stoves emit low carbon, promoting a greener living environment that enhances humans and wildlife’s natural processes. Most importantly, they cut energy costs while enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your living space.
How do you install a wood stove in your home? We highlighted the procedure and answers to the commonly asked questions about wood-burning stove installations.
Wood-Burning Stove Installation Process
1. Choose a Perfect Location for Your Wood Stove
Choosing a suitable location is the most delicate process of installing a wood stove. If you depend on it as the primary heat source during winter, you’d want a central location where everyone can enjoy the warmth. If it’s a secondary heat source, you’d also want to install it where it doesn’t interfere with other heating structures. Most importantly, it will help if you choose a location that doesn’t pose any danger to other combustible items like furniture, carpets, wooden floors, and even walls. Well-dried woods release sparks when burning, which can quickly result in house fires.
It is essential to consider comfort when choosing a wood stove location. The heat produced by these stoves is cozy, but you don’t want to be too close to the source. If you live in a story building, you’ll want the stove on the first floor, where you probably spend the most time. You can also opt for a space with maximum insulation to enhance efficiency. Thus, avoid spots situated next to big windows.
2. Prepare Firewood Storage Area
The main hassle that comes with wood stoves is feeding firewood, especially when warming your place for long hours. You can have two firewood storage areas, one inside the house close to the stove and the other outside or in your basement. The indoor storage area will limit your trips outside, giving you an easy time when it’s raining or late in the night. The outdoor storage area will ensure that you don’t run out of firewood supplies in the long haul. If you don’t have indoor storage space, you’d want to install the stove next to the entrance for easy work.
3. Construct Safe Flooring
A wooden floor will not be ideal for wood stove installation as it can easily catch fire. Similarly, you’d also want to maintain your concrete or tiled floor’s aesthetic appearance even with the wood-burning stove in place. In that case, you’d want to install non-combustible floor pods on the intended installation spot. Non-combustible pads will ensure that sparks don’t come into contact with flammable floor finishing. Durable pads include ceramic tiles, bricks, or sturdy concrete finishing. Also, note that some local governments may also have requirements for non-combustible pads. This may include installing them 18 inches (about 45cm ) from the stove door. The spaces on the sides may require a surrounding dimension of 8 inches.
4. Protect the Walls Around the Stove
You’ll need heat shield protection around walls. This will prevent combustible finishing from catching fire or damaging the interior décor. You can go for sheet metal since it is relatively affordable and easy to install, stainless steel will last a long time. You may also need permission to install a heat shield around the wall because it will affect the woodstove’s clearance requirements.
5. Choose a Certified Wood Stove
The choice for a certified wood stove is purely aesthetic and will vary from one homeowner to another. You can opt for a freestanding or a fireplace wood stove, depending on your preference. Another essential factor to consider is the size. A bigger living space with many people will require a sizeable wood stove compared to a single-person household. The stove size will also determine the amount of wood needed per heating session. Other factors to consider include efficiency, whether catalytic or non-catalytic and EPA standards compliance.
6. Notify the Local Officials
Installing a wood stove is like any other house building or remodeling project that needs local government authorities to ensure safety standards regulation. Some towns may even issue permits for standard wood stove installation lest the homeowner gets fined and the structure brought down. Even so, the laws and requirements surrounding building projects may vary from town to town. Visit the website of your local building or planning department to find what is legal or illegal about your intended wood-burning stove project. If there are any required permits, this department will be in a position to issue one.
Other local officials that you may need to notify depending on your locality include:
- Local fire marshal: Some localities will require professional inspection by the fire department before using a wood-burning stove in your home. They would want to ensure that the stove doesn’t pose any danger to the homes around yours.
- Insurance service provider: Depending on the terms of your homeowner’s insurance policy coverage, you may need your liability may change with every remodeled or upgraded project. Moreover, a wood-burning stove means your home is at a higher risk of catching accidental fires than before.
7. Call Professionals to Install the Stove in Position
Once you complete the above steps, it is wise to contact a professional with vast experience to complete the installation job. In that case, choose a company that sends a Certified Chimney Technician who will review your preparation processes to see whether the spot is safe for wood stove use. The thumb rule for a functional wood-burning stove is proper installation. You can read positive online reviews from other homeowners to discern whether you can trust a specific technician. Direct recommendations from friends and close family members will also point you to the right technician.
8. Wood Stoves May Need a Chimney
A chimney is a must-have component if you want to get the most out of your wood-burning stove. However, you may not need one if you install the stove next to an existing chimney structure. Chimneys channel smoke and sediments to a safe space outside the house, similar to how it works when lighting a fireplace, making your living room ambiance habitable. Otherwise, you’ll experience a gloomy, smoky space prone to respiratory complications. This can be dangerous to children and older adults, especially those managing asthmatic conditions.
Don’t make the mistake of using a stovepipe in place of a chimney structure. Professionally constructed chimneys feature insulated walls that enhance longevity and your overall experience. It will also help if you opt for taller and straighter chimneys for the smoke to travel horizontally at a relatively faster speed.
9. Make a Plan for the Ashes
It will help if you plan for the ashes before installing a wood-burning stove because they produce a lot of ash depending on how frequently you warm your place. Moreover, ash can be dangerous hygiene-wise if not handled properly. Besides polluting your indoor air and triggering allergic reactions, pets and kids can also swallow ash, mistaking it for something edible, say glucose. Your plan for ash should include a safe disposal or recycling method. Remember, your ash doesn’t have to end up in landfills if you have a garden or compost heap.
You need to be cautious when handling wood stove ash. Ash will still be hot and flammable for even up to two days after the fire. In that case, storing ash waste in non-combustible containers sounds like a good plan for preventing accidental fires.
10. Prepare for Regular Maintenance
Lastly, you’ll need to prepare for regular maintenance to ensure that your wood stove is functional throughout the year. A high-quality installation will attract fewer maintenance costs and needs. Spending a sizeable investment now could translate to zero repair costs for the coming years. Even so, you’ll eventually need a few repairs as recommended by an expert technician. Inspection periods can vary, but annual plans sound good to avoid costly future repairs. Your chimney will also need cleaning from time to time. That way, you can tell whether you experience water damage.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can I Install My Wood Burning Stove?
It can be tempting to install a wood-burning stove yourself, but the result may not be functional and aesthetically pleasing as when done by professionals. Homeowners in Europe did it in the 1500s but no longer do it. Besides creating a unique design that will emit less smoke towards the sitting area, you’d also want a wood-burning stove that doesn’t jeopardize your pets’ and other family members’ safety. Briefly, doing a DIY installation for your wood-burning stove is a risky venture that could result in untenable losses.
Instead, hire professionals who ensure that you enjoy a luxurious wood stove without risking your valuables or the lives of your loved ones.
2. What Is the Average Cost of Installing a Wood Burning Stove?
A regular wood stove will cost you between $1,200 and $4,500 for a complete installation. However, the prices may vary from one homeowner to another. It can even go up to $7,000, depending on your needs and aesthetic preferences. Also, note that the higher your wood stove’s quality, the more you’ll likely pay for the installation. Even so, this will reflect your money’s value when you want to resell the home as a wood stove increases a property’s value by about $1000 or $2000. Other factors that will affect the average installation costs include:
- Labor and designing costs
- Chimney or ventilation costs
- Type of stove pipe and hearth
- Exterior wall protection
- Converting gas stove into wood
You can choose to source the materials individually to access discounted prices. However, using professionals can significantly cut costs because they have more bargaining power at the company level. Professionals also know different material suppliers for every budget. Reach out to your favorite company for a free estimate and compare it with yours to see which one looks more affordable.
3. What Do I Need To Install a Wood Burning Stove?
Installing a wood-burning stove has never been easier than now. There are multiple varieties to match your taste and budget needs. For a typical installation, you’ll need a high-quality wood stove, ventilation system like a chimney on a fireplace, wood storage area, local permits, and a certified professional to complete the project. Converting your current gas stove into a wood stove may be more affordable than a new installation. Similarly, the installation process will be faster if you have an existing chimney structure. You can access all the materials needed from online and physical stores. Even so, remember that a DIY solution poses expensive risks that you don’t want to experience.
It will also help if you conduct a professional chimney sweep before the first use. This process may help identify and rectify any installation mistakes lest they turn disastrous in the long haul.
4. Do You Need Permission to Install a Wood Burning Stove?
You don’t necessarily need any permission to install a wood-burning stove in your home. However, you may need to comply with the local building and construction guidelines. Some states anchor this requirement in law, and most professional installers will need a copy of your permit before commencing the job. Thus, it helps if you notify the local relevant authorities before starting your project. The Home Owners Association may also have concerns, especially if you plan to install a protruding chimney. Talk to your experts to determine which authorities may need to know about your wood-burning stove in that specific area.
Wrapping It Up
Installing a wood-burning stove is the best thing that could happen to any home. Besides creating a cozy ambiance that improves a living space’s functionality, you’ll warm your living room in a quick, cheaper way than electricity and propane. Wood stoves also pose fewer risks if installed properly. For instance, you don’t have to worry about electrocution in the event of water damage. You also eliminate the dangers of a gas leak, which can lead to an explosion. Even so, some wood stoves may also support electricity use. Some safety tips for wood-burning stoves include ensuring enough clearance between the stove and combustible materials.