7 Things I Learned Installing an Off-Grid Woodstove


| 12/1/2016 11:17:00 AM


Tags: wood heat, home heating, off grid living, cabins, mountain living, Jamie Leahy, New Hampshire,

Snow. A fresh coat snow coated the ground at the homestead, as those familiar New Hampshire winds screeched through the trees. I took a sip from my French press — woodstove-made coffee in my tiny house — and took in a moment of reflection. “This is the most terrible coffee I have ever had,” I murmured to myself as I watch it fly out the door. It was time to finish the last of the details on the woodstove install. A project that should have gone smoothly, or so I thought.

With a recent run to the local big-box store, we came back with all the gadgets ones heart desires. Triple-wall chimney pipe, single-wall stovepipe, through-the-wall kit, and elbows galore. I quickly tore open the boxes like a child on Christmas morning. It was a fine day at the homestead, indeed.

Challenges Installing a Chimney Kit

I knew before we even picked up the chimney there were going to be some challenges. One of them being the large overhangs I put all around the cabin. The kits at the local stores only carry a chimney kit that is made to be mounted directly on the exterior wall. That would mean cutting a hole through the roof overhang — in mountain climbing lingo, we call that a “No-Go”. So I picked up a extra couple pieces of metal strapping and a pop rivet gun, which is totally my new favorite thing.

I began to install the stove pipe on the chimney before I cut the dreaded hole out through the wall. As I worked my way towards the wall, I placed the wall thimble in the appropriate spot and traced around it. I grabbed my trusty recip saw and began to cut the hole. As the sawdust flew, I thought to myself, “ damn I’m good.” Just as the saw finished it’s cut, the piece dropped out of the wall. There, staring me in the face, was my roof overhang. I spent the next 5 minutes or so throwing a hissy fit like a child in a toy store.

cobbersgrove
12/8/2016 10:31:53 AM

Thanks for sharing your tips. I will be installing a rocket mass heater in my pole barn next summer and this information will help me out when installing it.


jamiecleahy
12/8/2016 8:05:48 AM

Hi Reelguy, I am aware of all of the benefits to having a chimney as much on the inside as possible. In this case, a inside stovepipe was not an option. The elbows are actually super easy to clean, there is a clean out on the bottom of the chimney were you can get a brush in from the bottom. You can also easily take out the elbows for cleaning. The snow and ice on the roof is not a concern for the chimney, the roof is 13/12 and the snow had never built up more then 2 inches before sliding,and the metal roof isn't on it yet. Thanks for reading. -Jamie


jamiecleahy
12/8/2016 7:55:28 AM

Hi Reelguy and homelessguy, The chimney couldn't go anywhere other then the outside wall. I am aware of the cost savings, and the better draft and heat of having a stove in the middle of the house. However, we couldn't put it anywhere else as a net loft would have stovepipe running through it. Also, the pipe is super easy to clean from any 6 ft ladder, there is a cleanout on the bottom you can use instead of going from the top. The snow I'm not worried about, it's a 13/12 pitch roof and I have never seen more then 2 inches accumulate before sliding off. Thanks for reading guys.


jamiecleahy
12/8/2016 7:51:10 AM

Hi Reelguy, I am aware of all of the benefits to having a chimney as much on the inside as possible. In this case, a inside stovepipe was not an option. The elbows are actually super easy to clean, there is a clean out on the bottom of the chimney were you can get a brush in from the bottom. You can also easily take out the elbows for cleaning. The snow and ice on the roof is not a concern for the chimney, the roof is 13/12 and the snow had never built up more then 2 inches before sliding,and the metal roof isn't on it yet. Thanks for reading. -Jamie


reelguy
12/7/2016 12:30:29 PM

Wood stoves should be placed in the middle of a house to heat he house evenly. Efficiency is lost by having triple wall pipe outside the house when you could have used less expensive single wall piping inside the house which will help heat it. This would also eliminate the elbows and how are you going to clean out those elbows? You thought it was dangerous to put up that ugly outside pipe but did you ever consider how dangerous it is going to be to get to the top so you can run a chimney brush down that pipe many times for years to come? This could have all been eliminated by placing the wood stove on an interior wall where it belongs instead of an exterior wall where all of these problems were created.


thehomelessguy
12/7/2016 10:12:39 AM

I can't tell by the picture but if your roof is metal or a material that will hold the snow/ice that will form during the winter, but, if not; the first big sheet of winter's ice to slide off of the roof will take your entire chimney to the ground. It will also cause a great deal of damage when the flimsy stainless chimney hits he ground with the ice on top of it. The weight of the snow/ice will rip those support brackets right out of the roof (he said, speaking from experience). You should consider an ice diverter on your roof. They are custom made-go through a roofer- and expensive (several hundred dollars for one the size you need) but will save you from having to replace your entire chimney system every winter. That is one reason that chimneys exit through the roof as near to the peak as possible. Good luck!


thehomelessguy
12/7/2016 10:12:30 AM

I can't tell by the picture but if your roof is metal or a material that will hold the snow/ice that will form during the winter, but, if not; the first big sheet of winter's ice to slide off of the roof will take your entire chimney to the ground. It will also cause a great deal of damage when the flimsy stainless chimney hits he ground with the ice on top of it. The weight of the snow/ice will rip those support brackets right out of the roof (he said, speaking from experience). You should consider an ice diverter on your roof. They are custom made-go through a roofer- and expensive (several hundred dollars for one the size you need) but will save you from having to replace your entire chimney system every winter. That is one reason that chimneys exit through the roof as near to the peak as possible. Good luck!





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