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Why Wood-Burning Stoves Need to Be Professionally Installed

Want to save money on your heating bills this winter? Convert your traditional fireplace into an efficient heating appliance with a wood-burning stove. Many people think that they need to switch fuel types to gas to heat more efficiently, but newer technology allows stove manufacturers to create wood-burning units that are even approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, problems can quickly arise to the point of hazardous situations if the stove has not been installed by professional fireplace and chimney technicians, like our staff at All Seasons Chimney. We would like to tell you more about why wood-burning stoves need to be professionally installed to guarantee proper and safe operation.

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Why exactly is professional installation so important for wood-burning stoves?

The main installation issue that occurs when installing a new stove into a masonry fireplace deals with the difference between the sizes of the chimney’s flue and the stove’s vent. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), wood stoves operate at their safest and most efficient when attached to a chimney whose flue size most closely matches the size of the vent pipe that connects the stove to the chimney. The chimney professionals at All Seasons Chimney can ensure this by installing a stainless steel liner from the top of the stove to the top of the chimney.

Are there building codes concerning wood-burning stove installation?

Yes, since 1984, national building codes and standards have required that the connector vent pipe extend from its outlet on the stove, up through the fireplace damper, and to the first flue tile of a masonry chimney. Today, it is recommended to install a stainless steel liner that extends the length of the chimney, from the stove to the top of the chimney.

What kind of problems arise when the flue is not the right size for the stove?

Most often, the flue of a masonry chimney will be much larger than the wood-burning stove. This causes cooler temperatures in the upper walls of the chimney, which sets up the perfect environment for the rapid production of creosote. Occurring naturally as part of the process of burning wood, creosote is highly hazardous and flammable. It can accumulate into dangerously large deposits when the upper walls of the chimney are cool. Cooler chimney walls means more condensation, which means more creosote. This increase in moisture can also leak into the bricks and mortar of the chimney where it can cause expensive damage. A stainless steel liner not only reduces the amount of creosote, but it can also prolong the life of your chimney by protecting it from heat deterioration and corrosion.

You can save a lot of money with a new wood-burning stove, but to save this money, you need to have it professionally installed. Contact us at All Seasons Chimney to learn how we can help you heat your home more efficiently this winter.

Old Wood Stoves Need Replacement by Safer, More Cost-Effective Stoves

A wood stove, also known as a free-standing stove, serves as a heat source for many homes. The steel unit stands freely in the middle of a room and features a flue that vents directly out through the roof. Used for many years as a convenient way to heat a room or home, these stoves require a continuous source of wood to maintain the fire that provides heat. Wood stoves serve similar purposes as a fireplace, but there are some important differences. Specifically, older wood stoves can pose more health risks than open fireplaces, so replacing an outdated wood stove with an EPA-certified stove can drastically improve your quality of life.

How is my Wood Stove Dangerous?

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Many people view wood stoves as more energy efficient than traditional fireplaces, because the stoves burn wood more slowly and produce comparable heat. The wood stoves burn wood more slowly due to the restricted air flow to the fire. When the wood burns with less air, the production of a compound called creosote increases. Creosote is a tar-like material composed of a variety of chemicals and has been known to cause serious health issues.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the danger of creosote  includes a wide range of devastating health effects. Creosote can float through the air in the home when the wood stove burns, and this can result in issues such as eye damage, bronchitis, lung cancer and skin cancer. When creosote settles on food or food preparation areas, the compound can be ingested. This has been known to cause liver and kidney damage, chemical burns in the mouth and throat, convulsions and even death. Creosote also passes through the placenta of pregnant women and has caused birth defects such as a cleft palate.

All in all, creosote is a dangerous compound you don’t want in your home. Older wood stoves are less efficient and produce more creosote, so the EPA has revamped wood stove codes and recommends replacing your wood stove with a newer, safer model.

What is Different About the New Wood Stoves?

The risk involved with continuing to use an outdated wood stove in your home is impossible to ignore. By replacing your wood stove with a new, EPA-certified wood stove, you will receive a safer-burning unit that can even save you money.

Every EPA-certified wood stove burns cleaner than non-certified wood stoves. These new stoves utilize improved insulation and air flow, so the wood burns more thoroughly inside the unit, less creosote forms and the health risks drop dramatically. In a properly installed certified wood stove, significantly less smoke seeps into the home and the flue emissions are generally invisible, meaning they are cleaner.

EPA-certified wood stoves can also save you money compared to the cost of running your old stove. Expect to use up to one-third less wood in an updated stove. When the smoke from your old stove leaves your home with a black or gray color, that indicates wasted energy. In the new stoves, most of the particles that cause the smoke to have a color are burned instead to produce more energy and heat. For this reason, newer stoves produce almost no visible emissions.

How Can I Get a New Stove?

If you live in New Windsor, New York or the surrounding area, contact All Seasons Chimney for a professional consultation. Your new stove will also require regular inspections to ensure safety, which All Seasons Chimney can provide more information on.