A wood stove is an excellent substitute for a fireplace, which is used by many people in USA and Canada. An important part of its installation is the stove pipe, which takes care of the smoke created through combustion.
Attempting this project on your own, will save some money and reduce the installation cost substantially. However, the job is not that simple, and go ahead only if you are confident of pulling it off. Of course, you will have to plan the whole project quite thoroughly before you go ahead.
A wood stove, being a heating system, is a radiant source of heat. There are local codes and regulations that need to be followed during its installation. These precautions and codes are put in place, to prevent a fire hazard from occurring. A knowledge of these rules and recommended precautionary measures is necessary before you go ahead. Obtain information about these fire safety codes from local authorities.
The pipe is only a connector between the stove and the chimney. It should not be used as chimney lining in the house interior and exterior. Some people do opt for an arrangement where the stove pipe is connected to a hole in the wall, instead of a chimney, as smoke exhaust. This is an option for homes, which do not have a traditionally built chimney in place. However, it is best to have the pipe connected to a vertical chimney shaft, as it vents the combustive smoke more effectively.
Planning the Installation
The foremost issue is the location of the wood stove, as you will need to plan the installation route of the pipe accordingly. Decide the location of the stove, taking the recommended safety regulations into consideration.
The regulation specifies a minimum distance that needs to be maintained between the stove and house interiors, as well as combustible items. There needs to be a non-flammable pad under the stove and a perimeter around it needs to be cleared of combustible items. Place it as centrally as possible in the house and close to the chimney.
Once you decide on the location, you have to plan the shortest route between the stove and the chimney, that the pipe should take. Measure the distance between chimney and stove before installation, as that will determine the length of the pipe, which you might require. Plan out the path of the pipe in such a way, that it covers most of the house interior walls, to spread the heat and utilize it efficiently.
A measurement of the set path for the stove pipe, will give you an idea of the length of pipe to buy. You can either order a custom-built pipe, according to your requirements or purchase elbows, pipes, and snap them together with sheet metal screws.
A certain length of pipe is lost due to overlapping if you go for assembling, instead of buying prefabricated ones. Manufacturers usually recommend a 24 gauge pipe for wood stoves. You must make sure that the pipe has been given the right pitch, that will ensure faster upward movement of exhaust gases. The pipes come in two varieties, that include single-wall and double-wall pipes. They should be of the same diameter as the stove's exhaust.
Due to the difficult nature of the installation and many regulations that need to be followed, personally, I would recommend that this job is best left to professionals. Still, I provide a basic overview of the installation procedure.
Begin with the installation of the pipe, after your wood stove installation is done. First connect the pipe with the stove, according to manufacturer's instructions and go on fitting the pipes till the chimney outlet, by fixing pieces together using sheet metal screws.
Ensure that while connecting, the male or crimped ends of the pipes are pointing towards the stove, in the downward direction. This prevents creosote from accumulating in the pipes and finding its way back to the stove, without leaking out.
Take care that the clearance of the pipe from combustibles (including combustible walls and ceiling) is more than 16", if it's a single wall one, and 8" if it's a double-walled one. You will need a special 24 gauge chimney connector to make the final connection at the chimney end.
This concludes the brief overview of the installation. However, it is not as simple as it sounds and it's advisable that you leave the job to a professional, unless you know what you are doing.