Chimney connection for a wood stove

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cowboy joe, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    I typically burn wood in an old fireplace during the daytime & use the furnace only at night. With heating oil prices up over 50% in our area this year, it makes sense to invest some money in an efficient wood stove or fireplace insert rather than using the fireplace. I have enough wood cut & seasoned to last the winter and much more on the property to cut for years to come.

    My question is this...I've spoken with some of the specialty fireplace shops in the area and they keep trying to sell me a replacement liner (big buck, stainless steel liner) for the existing chimney. I know that stainless lasts far longer and is the way to go but they haven't inspected the chimney and I can't see spending almost a $1000 on something that I may not need. The existing chimney was cleaned last year and no damage was found. (yes, it needs to be cleaned again...it's on my to do list). I believe that there must be a way to connect the stove or insert directly to the existing chimney. I could probably have a stainless steel plate & collar made up by a local welder but would rather find something off the shelf that has been proven to work. I'm still in the planning stages and need to see what options I have. Any suggestions are welcome
     
  2. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

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    I would invest the money to be safe. Some woods just burn toooo hot for those old chimmneys.
     

  3. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    One problem that you might have would be that the old chimney would be too large for the stove to draw properly. For instance, our stove specified that it required a 6 inch chimney & the man at the store where we bought it said that it wouldn't draw righht if an 8 inch chimney was used.
     
  4. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Whatever you do, if you have homeowner's fire insurance, run it by your insurance agent. They have become very, very picky at what the insure and you may find them unwilling to renew your policy.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  5. TexasRanger

    TexasRanger New Member

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    Know the BTU Content of the wood you're burning and have a feel for the its moisture content when you go to the wood pile. Cast iron stoves/inserts, heat-a-lators, etc. can be damaged and even fail if the fire box overtemps. Otherwise, my experience has been that retrofits never perform to the advertisements. Unfortunatly, there are damn few stone masons left in the country that can really put a fire place & chimney back in shape.
     
  6. Mel-

    Mel- Well-Known Member

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    I have an old fireplace that I have covered at the moment as it is unsafe to use. I was wanting to get a fireplace insert for it and thought I could just use stove pipe and run up the chimney. no way am I going to spend 1k ! can I not do that?

    tia,

    mel-
     
  7. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    Mel - from what I have read & been told, the black stove pipe that they sell won't work as a chimney liner. The metal will rot after a year or two depending upon how much wood you burn. Some of the pipes are too thin or use substandard materials and may melt with the heat.

    Thanks to everyone for their advice & for helping getting me past the sticker shock. Back to the drawing board with these things in mind...probably time to find someone who does this for a living & have the chimney properly assessed.
     
  8. TheBlueOne

    TheBlueOne Well-Known Member

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    Is your existing chimney internal (runs up the center) to the house or outside? This will make a big difference on draft. Is your existing chimney lined with clay tile?
    Check out http://hearth.com/what/specific.html for some good information about burning wood, chimneys, etc.
     
  9. Bret F

    Bret F Well-Known Member

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    Years ago my Dad put a piece of sheet metal into the fireplace opening. It had a hole cut into it to fit an 8" stove pipe. He then set a free-standing wood stove in front of the fireplace with a short section of stove pipe going from the stove into the center of the fireplace. It utilized the existing chimney with no other alterations.

    He heated the house with that for about ten years. When the weather warmed up, we would pack the stove back outside until fall. I don't recall it ever damaging the stove pipe, but if it did, it doesn't cost much for a new section. His stove would keep fire all night, but on the rare occasion it needed started he had to stuff crumpled newspaper through the stove pipe and into the fire place and light it to get the smoke draw started before starting the actual fire.

    He has since cut the legs off the stove and put it into the fireplace. He altered the exhaust to go up instead of out the back. He cut 1/4" plate steel to seal off the remainder of the opening, with openings for a forced air system. He made an additional jacket directly around the stove and put a fan inside the fireplace area to force the heat from the jacket out into the house.
     
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  10. 1farmgirl

    1farmgirl Well-Known Member

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    Cowboy Joe-if your liner is the stainless type with the lifetime warranty and insulated, that's a pretty good price. The lifetime warranty is transferable should you decide to sell your home. Did you inspect your chimney last year (or have a trained chimney sweep check it out)? Have you ever had a chimney fire to your knowledge? Sometimes flue fires happen and the owners aren't even aware. Every flue fire can cause cracks to open/reopen in the clay/brick liners. These cracks get built up with creosote that can't be cleaned with brushing. A spark in the right place and you could end up with a fire in your attic, etc. Also the older chimneys (and some new ones we are finding!) aren't necessarily built "to code". This is probably why you are getting the recommendation for relining. The fireplace people have to cover themselves (what if they said just line it with regular stovepipe and your house burnt?) Also, I'm sure you know that "old fireplaces" aren't the most efficient way of heating. OD is also right. Improperly sized appliances and/or flues cause problems. One big problem we find is flues too big for the appliance. This causes a tarry creosote build-up that is next to impossible to remove. It burns very hot when it catches on fire.

    Bret F.-We just had a customer that we took care of back in the spring that had a similar set-up with the stove piped into his fireplace. He just had it hooked into the FP opening, had a sheet of metal covering the opening and that was it. He had a heavy concrete slab on bricks on the top for a cap. He had I think about two flue fires at different times. This last time, he had us check it out and there was a hole blown out of his liner the size of a saucer. This was near the top. He had cracks as well the whole length. He had creosote build-up everywhere that I think was caused by letting the fire "smolder". Not good. We ended up relining his with the stainless pipe. Because it was cause from a flue fire, his insurance paid for it.

    Kathy