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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Wood Stoves

Q: I have a fireplace insert. The doors came with a fireproof rope-type insulating seal. the rope is coming loose. What kind of glue should I use.
A: You should use a gasket cement made especially for this purpose. Rutland part number 77E is one of the best.

Q: We have painted our wood stove with some "stove paint" to make it look nice again, and now when it gets above 200 degrees a terrible chemical smell emanates from it. I have had about 8 fires in this stove getting up to about 500 degrees, and the smell hasn't ceased.
A: The paint will continue to "cure" as you reach higher temperatures on your stove. I recommend this. Clean your chimney before building larger fires if it has not been done recently. Open windows (nice day I hope!). Build hot fire. Cure the paint. The paint can go to a temperature of 1200 degrees.

Q: During a new home inspection, the inspector told me that fireplaces are not made to handle the heat an insert produces and that it damages your fireplace. Is this true?
A: If your fireplace is masonry (bricks), then your insert should work in it just fine as is. If your fireplace is pre-fab (metal), then your fireplace insert may not be safe. Look on the inside of the firebox (usually on the side above the side brick and close to the front) for the fireplace manufacturer and serial number. Then call the manufacturer of the fireplace insert and see if it is approved in your model of fireplace.

Q: I have a fireplace insert in my fireplace. The problem is that even with the flue closed, the insert still allows some drafts to come through in various places, making the room cold. Any suggestions on how to avoid these drafts?
A: To find the place(s) of cold air infiltration.  Build a fire and take a cigarette or similar smoke producing object and hold it between fireplace insert and surround and between the surround and fireplace profile. Be sure to check under the stove. Seal all found leaks. Other problems these leaks cause: Hard to start a fire, low heat output, fire sometimes goes out, glass never stays clean.

Q: My question is: What do I use to "seal all found leaks"? Is there a preferred compound for this purpose?
A: Most leaks are small. If holes, use fiberglass insulation (bat type, no paper backing). If you have a gap running under the stove, fiberglass gasket material like what is used to seal the doors is easier to work with. Just continue until there is no smoke drawn in with the unit in operation. This better seal will, make unit produce more heat, make the glass stay cleaner, make the fire easier to start. You will be pleasantly surprised at you results of sealing your unit off. Note: RTV (high temp) silicone can also be used.

Q: I plan to have on the first floor a small airtight wood stove and in the basement a larger non-airtight unit in the same chimney. Is this possible?
A: Two chimneys would be needed. They can run up the same brickwork, but must have two different flues (holes).

Q: I want to install a wood stove as close to a wall as possible. Where do I find information as to how I should modify the wall to do this? And what sources of heat shield materials would you recommend?
A: Check the installation manual of the stove you wish to install. The minimum clearances are different for each stove and depends on the safety testing. You can usually lower the clearances usually by adding a stove board to your wall.

Q: I have a prefab fireplace in the living room. I want to remove it, open up an alcove into the chase where it was and put in a freestanding wood stove. Space will be tight but sufficient. What can I use to "fireproof" the walls and ceiling of the chase? I do not suspect heavy drywall is enough. Most brick would physically be too bulky and esthetically would overwhelm the room.
A: You are correct, drywall will not do. Look into Wonder Board by Durock. It is normally used behind ceramic tile in bathrooms, but has UL approval for use to reduce clearances behind wood stoves. Be sure to follow the stove manufacturers instructions regarding alcoves. If not open all the way to the ceiling, ventilation in the upper area will probably be needed to keep the temperatures down. If the stove manufacturer does not address alcoves, either pick another or contact their technical support for addendum instructions. Do not do this without proper precautions against a house fire.

Q: Does anyone know the specs on how far from the wall, etc. for free-standing wood stoves?
A: The code for an unlisted wood stove is 36" to the sides and rear of the stove. Almost every stove manufactured today has less clearances, some down to 3". This would depend on the testing lab results and is required to be on a metal plate attached to the stove, usually on the rear. Your choice of stove will determine the clearances needed.

Q: On our first floor is a large stone fireplace that has been sealed up, and a free standing stove installed. The previous owner used this as his primary heat source. Our problem relates to "draft control". The chimney produces a very strong draft, and even with the stove closed up as much as possible, we are unable to regulate the fire. Any suggestions?
A: Check the gasket seal on the doors. To do this, insert a dollar bill halfway in the door, close the door, pull out the bill. There should be a fair amount of resistance. Go around all sides (including the hinge side) of the doors checking this, replace the gasket if the bill does not have resistance.

Q: I'm looking at putting a wood-burning insert in my fireplace, and my local code requires a stainless liner. My problem is the damper plate assembly between the fireplace and the flue. Is there a simple way of removing this without having to demolish the whole fireplace in the process?
A: IMO, this is not a good do-it-yourself job. With that said, the top course or two of brick need to be removed from the back wall of the firebox and back side of the damper will need to be removed in order to make room for the liner. The "trick" to it is an automotive bumper jack. Remove the brick as needed using a chisel leaving the damper above. Put jack under damper in rear center. As it is cast iron, it will break rather than bend. Now repair any damage caused by this process. Now the liner will have a hole to go through. I close by stating that I think you should have a certified chimney sweep do the installation.

 

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