Many homeowners decide to install their own fireplaces and stoves every year. This is likely due the supposed cost savings; however, they may end up spending more than they bargained for. Improperly installed chimney and fireplace equipment can have disastrous results such as house fires and even death. The National Fire Protection Agency reported that in 2011, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 53,600 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 400 civilian deaths, 1,520 civilian injuries, and $893 million in direct property damage. In my experience, the most common improperly installed piece of equipment is the stove pipe when it passes through a wall.
Stove Pipes and Wall Pass Throughs
There are a lot of code requirements to consider when installing a stove. With the new trend of “do-it yourself” many homeowners are attempting to tackle projects that used to be left to professionals. Installing a stove pipe, especially when it is running through a wall, is one of the most poorly/improperly installed pieces of equipment. In fact, 80% of fires associated with wood burning stoves are due to an improperly installed wall pass-through thimble. A thimble is a protectant (made from steel or clay) that allows the pipe to pass through a wall safely. Other issues with installation can also be present that may cause serious danger to the home. For example, a stove pipe that is exiting the home horizontally must have a certain slope. Also, if the stove pipe is exiting through an unprotected, flammable wall it must have a certain amount of clearance and be a Underwriter’s Laboratories listed stove pipe. Confusing, huh? And that’s only just a few code requirements pertaining to stove pipes.
Advantages of Using Professionals
There are many advantages of using CSIA Certified chimney professionals when installing your stove. While in some cases cutting corners to save money can be advantageous, doing so with your chimney has too high of a risk compared to the reward. One advantage of using a Certified professional to install your stove is that they know the manufacturer’s requirements. All stoves are different and require different equipment and installation techniques. Another advantage is that Certified professionals know all of the code requirements for your area. It is part of their job to know the code requirements for the areas they service, so they can be sure that your stove is up to code. Not only is this useful for protecting your home and potentially your life, but also if you ever sell the home. If you fail a home inspection because of an improperly installed stove, you may have to spend money fixing it. Additionally, fixing an improperly installed stove could end up costing you more than having it professionally installed in the first place.
As you can see, DIYing your stoves installation just isn’t worth the risk or headache it could cause in the future. If you are in market to buy a new stove or already have one that just needs to be installed, give us a call. Let the CSIA Certified professionals at Brickliners Custom Masonry & Chimney Services handle your stove installation!