Stove Envy

I’ve been helping Jas on and off with the installation of a new wood-burning stove. He finally got the thing cooking this week, so it’s time to report on the process.

To set the stage, let me invoke Captain Obvious for a moment. Stoves are hot. When wood gets hot, it catches on fire. Jas lives in a house made of wood. (A log cabin, in fact.) Several recent incidents in my area prove that houses still do catch fire sometimes and burn to the ground. So the main concern with installing the stove was protecting Jas’s house.

It’s not just the stove itself, of course: there’s also a chimney. The manufacturer gave guidelines for how far each length of pipe must be from a wall, with different minimum values for single pipe, double pipe, and insulated pipe, as well as reductions if the wall is shielded with another piece of metal. The manufacturer also specified the number of S-bends allowed and the final height we needed to reach above the house. Our path of least resistance goes through the exterior wall a few feet above the stove, jogs around a second-floor window, then travels straight up through the roof overhang to the peak.

Once we determined where the chimney should pass through the wall, Jas grabbed his chainsaw and began slicing a 10-inch diameter hole to fit an 8-inch diameter pipe surrounded by 1 inch of insulation. It wasn’t easy even for a chainsaw – his walls are almost a foot thick at the thickest part of the log. Once he roughed out an opening, I shaped it into a circle using a sawzall with a new blade.

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The transition stovepipe slides snugly into the hole.

In general we needed double-wall stovepipe inside the house and single-wall stovepipe outside the house. I installed the transition piece through the wall, and we sketched out the remaining sections of pipe we’d need. Jas installed them all, patched the openings, crossed his fingers, and lit a fire. Boy does it ever keep his house warm!

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Jas’s cat warmed up to the new stove right away.

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