Any advice on installing a woodstove? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 05-03-2006, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's one of our major summer goals, to install a woodstove. We have a very old stove that has burners on the top in the chicken coop that we were talking about using.

Is this something that we can do ourselves or do we need Professionals (and, with that, Money)?

We would put it in the playroom, which has carpeting but underneath is cement (I would like to have wood flooring put down with or without a woodstove, the carpet doesn't have to stay). There is an old door leading outside but it hasn't been opened in, like, a dozen years. Our idea is to tear it out, lay bricks and a stovepipe leading outside where it was, and to lay bricks on the floor to set the stove on.

Is this feasible? Any advice? If we look into one of those corn-burning stoves what kind of start-up costs are we looking at? We're pretty broke so we'd like to do it used/ourselves/etc as much as possible.

TIA!

Homesteading Mama to homeschoolin' kiddos London (10) ; Alexander (8) :; Holden (5) :; and Sergei born at home 8/18/08
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#2 of 16 Old 05-03-2006, 11:41 PM
 
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At my hubbys home we put a wood stove in ourselves this last oct. We did it ourselves and it cost about 2500 said and done. It saved a ton of $$$$ on oil. we didn't even have to turn our heat on all winter. The pipes were more expensive than the stove we just got a heat resistant plate for under the stove and stainless steal over wood for the walls. but bricks work just as good. Hope it all works out for you!

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#3 of 16 Old 05-04-2006, 11:57 AM
 
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Just keep in mind that a LOT of insurance companies will raise your homeowners if you have a woodstove.

I live in Maine where the winters are cold and almost everyone has one, but it was the first question my insurance company asked when we bought our house up here. We actually had to taek the one out that was here (in the kitchen) becasue it was not installed properly and our HO would not cover loses. UGH.

We want to have one put in also, but will be paying someone as there are SO many restrictions about how high the vent is above the roof line, how much brick there has to be for an outside chimney, etc.

Also, you will want to have the old stove you want to use completely checked over, as they can have cracks and such that make them very dangerous.

HTH!!
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#4 of 16 Old 05-04-2006, 12:30 PM
 
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"Just keep in mind that a LOT of insurance companies will raise your homeowners if you have a woodstove."
In nY they just made a note on our policy about it. and our premium stayed the same. So I guess everystate is different.

They have new pipes that require not bricks on the in or outside of house and they work fabuosly!

"Also, you will want to have the old stove you want to use completely checked over, as they can have cracks and such that make them very dangerous."
ITA!!!

M,partner to D,mama to Sofia (6/01), Madeline(11/04), and Quin(2/08)  Hoping for a tubal reversal baby SOON after the proceduremakebabe.gif

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#5 of 16 Old 05-05-2006, 12:29 PM
 
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I just finished the chapter on heat sources in The Solar House: Passive Heating and Cooling by Daniel D. Chiras, and it talks about newer, "high efficiency" wood stoves that release very little smoke (polution) and burn all the chemicals & gases that run into creosote, significantly reducing the risk of fire. They create more heat with less wood and burn cleaner and safer than older stoves.

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#6 of 16 Old 05-06-2006, 07:51 PM
 
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Hey girl!

Here is what my Dad (who is a bit of a chronic worrier, so I do come by my worry tendencies honestly) says about it. He says not to do it yourself without first getting either the manual for the stove or going to a fireplace store and asking for advice, at the very least. He actually recommends getting professional help. When they come out this summer, though, I'm going to have him look at ours and see what he thinks. And remember my Dad's tendency towards worry.

Some local friends of ours were in the process of putting theirs in this winter but haven't yet hooked it up. Call me and I will give you their number or else you'll see her at my birth (don't let woodstove talk distract you from familiarizing yourself with the list )

I can also give a heads up as to where the fireplace store is as I want to go in there, too. Perhaps you can find the manual online? Of course we are wanting to put ours into our fireplace which is probably trickier than what you speak of.

This is Jo by the way.

Jo
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#7 of 16 Old 05-07-2006, 11:09 AM
 
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Definitely check with your insurance agent first. Not only will some companies raise your rates, but some outright will NOT insure you if you have a wood stove. FYI.
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#8 of 16 Old 05-07-2006, 11:22 AM
 
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The old ones really are inefficient - it's fine if you don't use them much, but if you do use them regularly, than you go through wood like it was toilet paper. It's not fun if you do your own firewood.

Second big problem is clearance. You need to put it a certain distance away from walls or anything flamable. What that means, in practice, that the stove needs to be maybe 18" away from a wall, less for new stoves that are better insulated. So think about this - the stove sits 18" (or more!) from the wall, takes up lots of space itself, needs to be on tile or stone which will probably be raised above the rest of the floor (toe stubbing!) and needs to exend past the front of the stove for at least a foot. Then add on a distance around _that_ where you can't let kids get too close, and suddenly, your room gets really tiny.

Please follow local building codes for a stove install - they're there for a reason, and it's not worth burning the house down just to stick it to the Man.

If the room is too small, or out of the way, the woodstove will heat that room to about 90 degrees, without actually warming the rest of the house.

(Can you tell I have personally had all these issues? :-)

We just installed an add-on wood furnace in our basement; it uses the existing heating ducts to route hot air into the house. Our gas prices have been exceeding the morgage lately, and I'm hoping this will work for us.
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#9 of 16 Old 05-07-2006, 12:33 PM
 
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I wouldnt put a stove on an outside wall or run the pipe up out side.

The pipes get cold being outside and you dont get a good draw with cold pipe.

With the stove being on an outside wall you loose heat.

We had a handymen friend put the holes in the ceiling and roof for us. We installed the rest.

We heat a 1000 sq ft home with a tiny stove in the living room. Our living room and kitchen are 80 dregrees and the rest of the house is 10 cooler.

I cut 7+ cords of wood last year and we had more than enough wood which is a wonderful feeling and as you can tell from the tempos in the house we didnt go easy on the wood our tralier holds 1.5 cords of wood which is really all we want to deal with in a days time. A wood permit for us is $5 a cord.
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#10 of 16 Old 05-07-2006, 03:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha_girl
We have a very old stove that has burners on the top...
TIA!
Reading this again, I wonder - is it actually a plain woodstove, or is it a _cookstove_, with an oven? How big is the firebox, where you put the wood? If it's a cookstove, you'll find that the woodbox is TINY, to give you good control over how hot the oven gets. The problem is that it will only burn for about half an hour or so - great for cooking, lousy for heating.

Some old woodstoves do have burners, though, without being cookstoves.
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#11 of 16 Old 05-10-2006, 10:01 PM
 
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#12 of 16 Old 05-10-2006, 11:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the good info!

Isaberg, it *is* an old cookstove. We tried lighting it in the chicken coop and got smoked out. Dangit.

Our house is really old and has been built onto several times, so the layout is kind of screwy. The living room is in the middle of the house and the other rooms are kind of spidered around it, if that makes any sense.

We're really hoping to find some sort of alternative heating arrangement for this winter...Not only are we trying to be more earth-friendly, but we can't afford the $350-400 a month gas bills.

Homesteading Mama to homeschoolin' kiddos London (10) ; Alexander (8) :; Holden (5) :; and Sergei born at home 8/18/08
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#13 of 16 Old 05-11-2006, 08:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha_girl
Our house is really old and has been built onto several times, so the layout is kind of screwy. The living room is in the middle of the house and the other rooms are kind of spidered around it, if that makes any sense.

We're really hoping to find some sort of alternative heating arrangement for this winter...Not only are we trying to be more earth-friendly, but we can't afford the $350-400 a month gas bills.
Depending on how many square feet you have, a high efficiency wood stove could be enough to heat your house. The ones I was looking at ran $900-$2000 (I think installation would be extra, but I didn't call for local quotes for that). I don't have time right now, but this evening, after the kids are in bed, I'll pull the links I have for wood stove information, comparrisons, etc.

Ulrike, mom to:
Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)
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#14 of 16 Old 05-12-2006, 12:09 AM
 
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The book I read was The Solar House: Passive Heating and Cooling by Daniel D Chiras. Chapter 4 is "Supplying Back-Up Heat Sustainably." He covers fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, masonry heaters, forced air, radiant flooring, base-board hot water, heat pumps, solar hot water, electric baseboards, and wall heaters. Cook stoves are not good options for heating houses, because of their design. For more info about wood stoves, check out:

Woodstove Buyer's Guide By John Gullland (Mother Earth News, Issue # 189 - December/January 2002)
The Good Woodcutter's Guide: Chain Saws, Woodlots, and Portable Sawmills by Dave Johnson
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association
Wood Heat Organization


Hope that helps!

Ulrike, mom to:
Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)
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#15 of 16 Old 05-13-2006, 12:23 AM
 
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I think you really should consider getting a newer stove. Those older stoves create SO much indoor air pollution, and can be dangerous for kids' lungs.

Also, you will be going through a ton of wood with an older stove, and you won't see much cost savings. You might be dooming yourself to think "it didn't work" when really, if you invested more in a better stove, you'd be thrilled and safe and be saving a thousand or so bucks a season. If you spend a thousand bucks on a new stove and do the install yourself... well, the math looks pretty good, doesn't it? You'd be coming out in the positive by the second year.

The way I did that math was figuring that if you spend 400 a month for the three worst winter months, then that's 1200. Two cords of wood, which many people with the new stoves get through the winter with (depends on your climate), will run you between 200-300, depending on who you get it from, or you could get it FREE if you keep your eyes on the paper, etc. So, your first winter with the stove you'd spend the same amount as you normally spend on heat, because of the cost of the stove. After that, it's all big time savings.

The new stoves are so efficient at burning that you can't even see smoke coming out of the chimney. They double-burn everything.

Here's a GREAT website that you really must read, no matter what you decide: http://www.woodheat.org/
SO much good info, and unbiased, on there.

Good luck to you! (can you tell I bought a new woodstove this year?)

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The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. - Albert Einstein

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#16 of 16 Old 05-13-2006, 01:49 AM
 
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If cost is an issue, I would personally avoid pellet stoves - it's a fabulous technology, but the infrastructure is having lots of problems lately, big problems with supplying pellets, and the shortages are projected to continue for a few years yet. Corn stoves can be really good, but the tech is still evolving, and they're pretty pricey. So unless you live in the middle of corn country and corn is easier to get than wood, skip it.

The other thing I thought of is that if you contact someone who installs woodstoves for a living, he/she might know of secondhand stoves for sale, or could keep an eye out for you. And having tried to get rid of a not-very-old and perfectly good woodstove a few years back, I know that there's not a real high demand for used-but-not-old stoves!
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