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Wood stove installation - placement questions

Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:44 pm
by mdnagel
I have pressures and incentives to install a wood stove in my MH: have lots of available fuel- standing timber. This is one project that won't be DIY (well, I could do it, but I don't want to leave any OUT for my insurance company ).

I've got a pretty open floor plan (see picture). Trouble is is that there are really only a couple of places where I'd like to put a stove. One, I'm afraid, is too close to an existing duct, not to mention one of the center rails/beam (double-wide). The other location (just across the room) is also dangerously close to a center rail/beam. Issue/concern is having to deal with an air intake.

First question:
What is the best way to identify where a rail may lie? Can I, from outside of the home and on one of the ends, pop open an access cover and just measure from the marriage line to the edge of the beam? and then take this measurement into the house and measure from the marriage line. Where do the fresh air intakes generally protrude from the bottom of stoves, front, middle or rear?

Second question:
Is locating toward the center line (with a cathedral ceiling) a good idea? I'm figuring that I'd have less pipe protruding from the roof.

Third question:
Is the stove pipe (double wall I'm assuming) cheaper for inside than outside? I'm thinking that outside requires stainless, which is more expensive. My thought is that being toward the center (line) of the house would not only be better for heating, but it would also be cheaper in parts.

Fourth question:
Has anyone installed a wood stove whose back is open to another room (rather than against a wall)? It's possible that I have an option (depending on the stove) of orienting it in two different directions, one of which would have the back facing the kitchen (might need a shield still?). This all depends on where the air intake is positioned, whether it will miss one of the center rails/beams. It would look better if its back were against this narrow wall, but I'm not certain that the clearances are sufficient (this might require a long and narrow box stove). On the other hand if the stove's side is toward the wall I'd be able to locate a wood carrier next to it... decisions!

Fifth question:
All my flooring is (well, will be! [nearing completion]) floating. Any problems/concerns about having a stove+hearth on top of such a floor? I think that I'd read comments elsewhere on this site about weight not likely being an issue (weight per square inch equivalent to that of a fridge). If weight's not a concern (floors are structurally sound), what about the ability of the laminate flooring to "float?"

Sixth question:
Can anyone recommend an efficient stove for a floor space of about 1,400 sf? I'm in a fairly low-demand heating environment (PNW): low threat of freezing water pipes, in the home (pump house is a different story). I'd like to have an option of going with a long and narrow box in case clearances are tight: to one side would be a path to/from a bedroom, to the other would be open kitchen (for now).

Seventh question:
Are any stoves better than others for cooking off of? Anything thing that I should be looking for? In my ideal world I'd have a wood cook stove (with water coils to pre-heat the hot water!), but for now I'm just wanting to have basic functions (backup system).


Re: Wood stove installation - placement questions

Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:28 am
by Jim from Canada
Most of the info you are looking for can be found in your building code and the manufacturers instructions. For a start, you will be limited to selecting a woodstove that is Mobile Home rated. This means it will have a provision, that must be used, to draw air into the stove from the outside. With that in mind, being close to an exterior wall for this duct makes life easier.

The position of your stove will be determined by the clearance needs cited by the manufacturer. Anywhere that is needed for clearance, you will need a non flamable floor (I installed slate tile). All will need 18" in front to accomodate loading wood and removing ashes, the side and back clearance will vary by stove from 8" to 24", BUT, there is clearance needs for the chimney too. If you have a stove that only needs 8" of clearance from the wall, but the stove pipe needs 12", you MUST make sure both minimum dimensions are met. If, for instance, you put the stove in the middle of a large room, code is met (so yes, you can have the back open to another room, might be ugly though, and then you have to run the fresh air intake down through the floor, through all the insulation and bellywrap, weave it under the steel beams to the skirting. This is sure to cause low spots somewhere where moisture can accumulate....good place to grow mold), but the back of the stove and the duct is ugly. IMHO, the back of the stove goes to an exterior wall.

Stove pipe is used inside (yes, you want double wall, I don't even think single wall is legal for inside a home). Get the best you can find. I used Secure Temp ASHD+ for the chimney and their DL line of stovepipe. They are rated to 2100° F. It probably wont matter where you put it through the roof for height difference of the chimney. It will have to be 2' above anything within 10' (CHECK YOUR LOCAL CODE ON THIS!!). That being said, if you can go a bit higher, the chimney will draw better (and passes code with flying colours also). Make sure to get the cathedral ceiling adapter. The chimney goes above the adapter, the stove pipe below it.

DO NOT sit the stove on laminate floor, you can get "floor pad" thingies that you can put on the floor to sit the stove on. They are fireproof and can be bought in sizes to accomidate the needed clearance. My opinion again, but these things suck. Do it right, strip your woodstove area needed to the sub floor and install a proper floor under the stove. This will mean you will be adding another piece of plywood in this area as per the flooring installation instructions. I needed a layer of 5/8" on top of my sub floor, glued and screwed, then installed slate tiles. My be different if you go for ceramic, or something else. Don't skimp on the floor under the stove. Do it right and make it safe. Don't worry about the weight. My floor is 6' x 6' of 12" slate tile, installed per directions, and it has not moved, sagged or cracked in 5 years.

I used a Drolet brand stove, I would buy one again. Go find the brands available in your area and do some internet window shopping for the one that meets all your criteria. Mobile Home rated, clearances, looks.

Yes, you can get cookstoves, but they are a different beast altogether. I doubt you will find a MH rated one, athough the possibility exists. They are really big and heavy (how big is your door?). A woodstove (box type) will not be great for cooking on, but will do if you like stews or other slow cooked meals. You can boil water for coffee, etc. but the unit will get pretty gross after a while if you start frying up bacon and pork chops and steaks I would think (even using a We keep a cast iron kettle on ours and need a steel trivit under it to keep it from boiling. This humidifies the air, making the heat more effective in our cold, dry, Canadian winters. It gets really gross too, over a heating season, with constantly being topped up with our crappy tap water being very hard and full of minerals.

This job can be a DIY project. I have guided a friend with his install too. The inspector now knows my work by sight. I overbuild and overclearance, he likes it a lot. Just break it down into small steps. Once you have selected the stove and location, design from there. Use the clearances listed, give yourself a bit extra. We had a big section of slate floor for a while with nothing on it. That way it does not get over wheming. Take a weekend, do a flooring job. Sit the stove there an "live" with it for a while, making minor placement adjustments within the area. Once exact placement is set ( I lined mine up so the chimney went straight up between 2 roof joists. Remember this!!!! It makes life a lot easier, and a straight chimey draws better and is easier to maintain). Once you get the hole cut through the roof, a bit of framing, and the cathedral ceiling adapter in, you are very near done. The chimney installs easily.

Hope this helps, good luck! There is nothing quite as nice as the heat from a woodstove on a cold winter day.


Re: Wood stove installation - placement questions

Posted: Thu May 12, 2011 7:06 pm
by mdnagel
Jim, many thanks for your thorough reply. I've been a bit busy and had forgot to check back here...

You stated that you wouldn't put a stove on top of laminates. Does this apply to putting down a hearth on top of the laminates as well (which was really the intent of my question)? I'd like to not have to cut the stuff up now that I've gotten it all down. I suppose that adding a section of extra flooring couldn't hurt, it would raise things up a bit. The floor in the area that I have an interest in is right next to one of the center rails, which I'd figure would be pretty good.

I was aware of the fresh air intake, but I wasn't aware that just pulling from underneath (past the belly wrap) wasn't sufficient.

Up to now I haven't had the desire to make this a DIY project, because, well... because I don't want there to be ANY insurance issues in the future.

The one place I have in mind for locating a stove is about the only real viable location (unless I just plop one down in the middle of a room, something that I'm not really looking to do). If it can't work there because of code then I might not bother installing one (though my wife is all bent on having one).

Re: Wood stove installation - placement questions

Posted: Fri May 13, 2011 4:55 am
by DaveyB
Just an odd thought here, on the subject of the air intake.

Since the provision requires an outside air source for the stove, and an exterior wall isn't available in the picture, what about bringing in the air from roof level instead of through the belly?

For example, a broad duct with the chimney running up the center of it. This would reduce the heat emission from the chimney (reducing the fire hazard created by heat transfer to flammable building materials), provide heat to the inlet air (eliminating mould and moisture) and allow for decorative facing of the duct to disguise both it and the hidden chimney. On the roof end, simply extend the chimney high enough that the smoke isn't pulled back into the intake vents and everything should be good!

Since you have to cut a hole in the ceiling anyway to accommodate the chimney, just cut a bigger one and be done with it! On the other hand, this would also allow for incorporation of a manually operated valve which could close the chimney, sending the burnt gases directly into the inlet for the fire, effectively choking the fire and putting it out very quickly when needed.

Bear in mind, I live in Arizona, and haven't played with fires for over a quarter of a century, but I hope the ideas are of some use!


Re: Wood stove installation - placement questions

Posted: Fri May 13, 2011 7:19 am
by Jim from Canada
I really do not like the idea of putting the air intake through the roof, and I am not sure it would be passed that way either. As far as putting anything on top of laminate floor to put the stove on, I suppose it could be done, but over time I am sure that moisture and spills would start to rot and mold the floor there. Then you would have to tear everything out to get to it.

Re: Wood stove installation - placement questions

Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:29 pm
by francisscott22
I'm sorry if I don't have the answer to your question but I really want to say that you got a very a very good place to install a wood stove. That is something that most people don't have. :) Post pics if you have them on already.

Re: Wood stove installation - placement questions

Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:06 am
by mdnagel
Well... as they say, life is about compromises...

We ended up having the wood stove installed in the corner of the front room. We did this after carefully measuring and assessing how it would appear there. The original location would have placed a pad in proximity to too high of a traffic area, not to mention not providing good space for kindling and tools.

The plus with the selected location is that it's easier to haul wood to (we can actually open a window and pull in wood from outside on the deck! load wood into a cart and pull it up on the deck :-)), it allows us to sit around it and have a view of outside, and, the chimney is shorter- less to keep clean.

I talked to the folks at the stove shop and they (all sales folks have been installers) said that there's no issue with installing on top of a laminate floor. (grr! I've got more issues with pet accidents and laminates by a long-shot!) Moisture issues in this location of the house is lowest given that it's got ample southern exposure: nothing like having the sun streaming in on winter solstice :-)

Because my project meter was pegged for the year, and that I didn't want any issues with insurance (though I did ample research), we went ahead and paid for the installation. The installers were from the same store where we purchased the stove, and they were excellent (an odd case where both folks were "lead" installers)! Not too many instances in which I can say that I'd have no reservations about recommending someone!

My wife loves the stove (oddly, she likes splitting wood!), she's now got hot water all the time for tea. She also has been using it to heat up food.

I'm attaching the only picture that I have.

We went with a stove that's manufactured locally- a Lopi Republic 1750. Of the few choices that we had available this one was the only one that hinged on the right, something that allows us to open the door and shovel wood directly into it from outside (through the window) :-) The stove is rated very low emissions-wise, so I figured it would be more efficient as well.

Re: Wood stove installation - placement questions

Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:40 pm
by Jim from Canada
Congratulations, it looks nice and snug in that corner.