Wood burning stove: Starting fron scratch

fmart322December 3, 2007

Hello everyone, I'm new to this section and I need some help. I've never had a fire place or a wood stove and I've always wanted one. I have a family room that's about 12x14 and I want to install a wood burning stove. It get's chilly in that room because it has a slab floor and it's also a 1 story addition. Where do I start? I do know that because it's a small room that I want a wood stove over a fire place. Other then that I'm a little lost. Can anyone here give me some advice as to what steps I should do 1st to things I should factor in, plus give some mistakes you made when you did it so I don't make the same mistakes.

*I'd like to be able to look at the fire.

*I'd like to be able to feel secure that when I go to sleep it will be safe (of course)

*I'd like to be able to burn at both low temp and high temps.

*I really didn't want to spend a fortune on it.

*I'm pretty handy so I'd like to do it myself but I'm not opposed to letting a contractor do it either.

*Do I need a brick or tile base and brick or tiled walls?

Thanks and I hope I hear from some of you seasoned pro's for help. If not, Merry Christmas anyway. :-)

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just a few thoughts...I operate a fireplace store ...we get alot of questions like yours...most wood stoves have a glass door and are extremely effecient and use freindly.Cost is going to be determined by the stove you choose.All but the made in china stuff are UL listed and tested and are very safe when installed correctly to manufacturers specs.Most installations can be done by anyone who can read and follow instructions and has basic construction tools but a much faster installation is done by a seasoned pro.Definitely non combustable floor surface is required and wall can be just drywall if all manufacturer clearances are met.Most stove installations cost between 2k and 3k depending on stove and pipe needed.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 7:32AM
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Our Regency F1100 stove (www.regency-fire.com) cost about $2200 complete with installation. My advice is to let a pro do the installation as the homeowner's insurance company prefers that. I have seen far too many house fires resulting from a DIY installation. Besides, the job can be completed from start to finish in under a couple hours when done by a pro.

The size of the stove is omportant too. If you're just gonna heat the small area, go for a small stove. I have the smallest Regency and I use it to heat my 1300 sq ft home. I have it in the living room and it heats the parts of the house I wanna heat. But the bedrooms stay cool.

Mt stove has heat shields so the clearances are much tighter to the drywall . It's in the corner of the room and the stove is 6 inches from the wall. It has a ceramic ("glass") door and I like to view the fire in the evening. As a matter of fact, the fire is more entertaining than most of what's on TV!

So go to your stove shop, or a couple of stove shops, and tell them what you want to do. Have a stove sized to your needs and location. (It gets colder here in VT than it does in VA for instance.) Be prepared for the work involved in a wood appliance. (Buying, stacking, splitting, carrying in the wood, etc.) But the fact you can turn down that OPEC addiction is well worth it!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 7:54AM
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You need to get a basic idea of how much clearance you need around the stove so you'll have an idea on where to place it. If you'll go to one of the mfg website's they have owners manuals available for download that have all the required clearances listed, both for the stove and the stovepipe.

Also, when considering placement of the stove, consider the height of the chimney. Most of the stove specs I've looked at require a minimum of 13 feet of pipe from the top of the stove to the top of the chimney. This means if you locate on an outside wall, you'll have a very tall chimney above the roof. If you locate closer to the peak of the roof, you'll have less exposed chimney but more in the attic. Hope this makes sense.

When choosing the stove size, I've found its best to rely on an experienced stove dealer rather than the mfg btu ratings. If you're only heating the one 12x24 room, the smallest stove size will probably be more than adequate. In fact this is one place where buying bigger is not a good idea.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 8:09AM
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Thanks firedana, christopherh, turnage. You guys or gals helped me out some with your answers. The part about the insurance really hit home, I never thought about that aspect of it. I'm glad to see that it won't cost as much as some people were saying and I really love the idea of screwing OPEC. I can get as much free wood from a pallet factory and none of the wook is treated with any chemicals, so it's safe. The part about having a minimum of 13" of stove pipe might be a factor but I'm sure I can make it work. I'm going to check out some stores this week or so and when I see what they say I'll come back here for some more chat.

Thanks again

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 4:39PM
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If you're gonna burn pallets do NOT get a stove with a catalytic converter. Get one that has secondary burn technology. The dry pallet wood will destroy the cat. Tell the dealer you're gonna burn pallets.

But you should also just burn kiln dried wood occasionally. It burns HOT because it's so dry and an overfire is possible. Get seasoned cordwod from a dealer for this year and next year either get cordwood again or go into the woods and cut your own.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 7:59AM
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