Wood burning stoves and log burners add a lot of character to a home. There's no denying that. But without a chimney, it might feel like an impossibility for many.
In today's post, we'll take a look at whether you need a chimney to install a wood burning stove or log burner, and talk about the best way to enjoy these at home with or without an existing chimney!
So, can you install a log burner or stove without a chimney?
Although it's easier to install a log burner in a chimney that's already there (and it will therefore cost less money to install it), it's still possible to have a wood burning stove without a chimney. Below we'll take a look at how!
In order to deal with the potentially harmful byproducts that wood burners inevitably give off because of the open fires, you'll need to install something known as twin wall flue systems.
Although it is additional work, a wood burning stove requires it in homes with no chimney at all, or a false chimney, as this will keep your home safe and insure the wood burner in your home is ok to use.
Your twin wall flue system is a series of connectable stainless steel pipes that basically does the same job as a brick chimney: that is, it carries the fumes from your wood burner stove outside, where it's no longer a danger to you and your household.
In order to do its job effectively, a twin wall flue pipe or stove pipe is just a stainless steel pipe that's wrapped in thick insulation and then wrapped again in an outer tube.
The flue system needs the pipe to be so heavily insulated because it keeps the temperature inside the flue warm enough to carry the byproducts through the network to be released outside the home.
Clearly, safety is an important factor when considering installing a wood burning stove in your home with no chimney.
But that's where the flue liner comes in. This insulation is vital in controlling the fumes, because if the pipe isn't hot enough, they won't rise, potentially causing safety concerns.
By installing a flue system with appropriate flue liners, though, the system is able to work in exactly the same way as any chimney.
In fact, a chimney relies on its chimney liner to do exactly the same job to release any harmful byproducts of the fire a safe distance from your house. By keeping the series of pipes (or a chimney) warm, the harmful byproducts will rise through the system, and be deposited outdoors.
When installing the system in a home with no chimney, you have two options.
When installed externally, the main stove pipe will connect to both the stove itself, and then to another pipe on your external wall. The pipe will need to be installed through the brickwork, and will travel up the outside wall of your home until it reaches the roof, where the fire byproducts can be released.
If you opt to install it internally, then the flue pipe will simply head through the ceilings in your home until it reaches the roof, where it will release the byproducts again.
If you're unsure whether an internal or external installation is best, then speak with your HETAS registered engineer or qualified professional carrying out the work, who may be able to advise on a solution that's best for your home.
Otherwise, in most cases, it will come down to what you prefer. Will you feel a steel pipe on the outside of your home ruins the external aesthetics? Do you have the space indoors to create holes in the ceiling for the pipework and not feel as though you're losing space in your room?
Really, the decision is yours. So long as the installation is safe and the wood burning stove or log burner works as it should, then it doesn't matter if the flue is on the inside or outside of your home.
If you are self installing a wood burner at home without a chimney, then you will need to have everything checked by a professional anyway, and building control will ultimately need to sign off on the work to say everything is as it should be.
Because of the complexities involved in installing stoves and burners in your house or building, we'd recommend hiring a professional unless you're 100% confident in the work that needs to be done.
This is not an easy DIY task.
Although we wouldn't recommend doing the work yourself, knowing what to expect can be helpful, and you might be wondering what your money will be spent on. Below, we'll talk about everything you'll need for a stove or burner installation at home:
Stove - obviously you'll need to pick out a stove that fits your room, and one that is appropriate for your area. Sometimes, if you live in a smoke control area, you'll need to look for a specific type of stove too, so check before you pick one out.
Hearth - believe it or not, you will still need a hearth even if you don't have a chimney for a wood burner. It must be 12mm thick, noncombustible, and be at least 840mm x 8440mm, with 225mm of room between the stove door and the edge of the hearth. This is to prevent accidental fire and to control the heat of the stove itself.
Stove pipe - this is the main pipe that will connect to the system outdoors or indoors, and must be the right size for your stove.
Flue system - of course, this system is essential and you'll need to think about how large it needs to be (remembering the bends in the system too).
Again, we don't recommend a DIY job here unless you're already a skilled professional, but knowing the regulations may also come in handy when having conversations with your stove installer.
The main concern is the number of bends in the system - they must not exceed four and must not be sharper than a 45 degree angle, or else the pipes may get cold easier, and the fumes may not be able to leave your home effectively. The stove pipe itself may be set at a 90 degree angle to connect it effectively, but all others must not be greater than 45 degrees.
Installing a wood burning stove or log burner in a building without a chimney is certainly possible, but it's a job that's best left to the professionals.
When done right, though, the additional work involved will seem all worthwhile as the finished result can transform your home.
So, if you're thinking of purchasing a log burner for your home, reach out to a professional to have it installed to be safe!