Woodburning fireplace inserts such as these give new life to old fireplaces.
Woodburning fireplace inserts such as these give new life to old fireplaces.

Woodburning fireplace inserts are unique because they are not a free standing wood stove. A wood stove insert actually fits into your existing firebox which can save you space. These inserts can be cheaper than free standing wood stoves as well. Installing a woodburning fireplace insert can salvage an older fireplace or chimney that is in need of repair. If your firebox is in need of major overhaul then a fireplace insert basically replaces the firebox for you. Fireboxes that are old may have missing mortar joints or missing bricks. It is not safe to burn fires in a firebox which needs repaired.

Installing a woodburning fireplace insert must be done according to manufacturer instructions. There are technical specifications which must be met that may not be easy to attain without the aid of a professional. Make sure that the flue system of your existing chimney is large enough to fit a stainless steel chimney pipe that is the same size as the opening in the top of your insert. You will

Warmer chimney flues allow less creosote to condense inside of it, reducing creosote buildup in woodburning stove insert liners.
Warmer chimney flues allow less creosote to condense inside of it, reducing creosote buildup in woodburning stove insert liners.

want to be able to fit a half-inch of insulation around the stainless steel chimney pipe as well. An insulated chimney pipe is more efficient than a stainless steel chimney pipe that is unlined because the insulation helps the pipe stay warmer. A warmer chimney flue pipe is less conducive to allowing creosote to build up because more of the products of combustion which cause the actual creosote buildup stay hot enough to rise up and out of the chimney rather than condensing on the walls of the liner.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a woodburning fireplace insert. You will need to be careful about connecting the chimney liner pipe and the wood stove. Usually there will be three screws with which you attach your stainless steel liner and the wood stove pipe.  Another important area of installation is the termination kit. The termination kit is finishing off installation at the top of the chimney. You will have  a storm collar and a stainless steel chimney cap. Chimney liners come with termination kits, and some of the better chimney liners have top sealing dampers that act as stainless steel caps. These caps actually open and close with the damper handle. These top sealing dampers, or LockTop dampers save money on your energy bill.

Be sure that if you do not purchase your stainless steel chimney liner and your stove insert together that you have the correct type of pipe to vent a woodburning stove insert. Wood burning inserts put out more heat than a regular open fireplace. A chimney professional can help you evaluate your needs. If you choose to install the products by yourself you must follow all fire and building codes and it is recommended to have a professional come and check out the job after you are finished to ensure that things are installed safely.

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

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Clay Lamb

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