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.

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.

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

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.

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