Wood Burning Fireplace

Wood burning fireplace must use chimney for venting.

1. If there is a masonry chimney, a stainless steel liner has to be installed and connect to fireplace. The typical structure looks like picture below

2. If there is NO masonry chimney, a stainless steel insulated chimney must be installed shown as below

This will give you flexibility in terms of the location of fireplace. Typically there are 3 kind of installation types, shown below

The very first step is always to decide where the fireplace is installed and how big area you can give to this fireplace. This will help you rule out models that don't fit the fireplaces that fits the space.


The most important factors to be considered when buying a wood burning fireplace

1. EPA (Environment Protection Agency) approved

  • All woodburning fireplace has to be EPA approved.

  • This is to certify that fireplace meets particulate emission guidelines.

2. Heating capacity

  • It's related to the size of firebox. The bigger firebox, the more heat is generated.

  • The quality of log being burned will greatly affect the heat output.

3. Blower

  • Usually woodburning fireplace is equipped with a blower

  • Blower needs electricity to run and is on 110 V

Factors related to installation

1. 18" front clearance

  • A wood burning fireplace requires 18" of clearance in the front because the high temperatures or sparks can ignite nearby flammable objects.

2. Framing

  • It's always better to install fireplace first then do framing around it.

  • Use non-conbustible material like steel stud and cement board in the area around fireplace.

3. Stainless steel insulated chimney

  • A stainless steel insulated chimney must be installed if there is no masonry chimney present

  • There are two typical methods of installing stainless steel insulated chimney, shown below:

  • thru-roof installation will save material cost on stainless steel chimney since components are quite expensive. But the pipe running inside the house will take up space inside plus roof patch will become a concern

  • side-wall installation needs more stainless steel components. But the installation is quite simple and there is no pipe to take away precious indoor space. Your choice will depend on the layout of your house.

Further factors to be considered:

1.  Heat distribution system

  • Woodburning fireplace can produce lots of heat. 

  • You may need heat distribution kit to deliver heat to other rooms.

  • Typical heat distribution kit consists of a register with fan and 4" flexible duct.


2. Operation of woodburning fireplace

  • Keep air pressure in balance before light fire like open window for a few minutes.
  • Woodburning fireplace consumes indoor oxygen while in use. This easily creates negative air pressure that can propel smoke into the house. 

  •  At the beginning of burning, chimney is not hot therefore fume doesn't have strong momentum to rise. Negative air pressure will create back draft that brings some smoke into the room. To deter this, a flaming log or torch can be held up the chimney in order to create an updraft and draw smoke out of the home while keeping window open for a while. Once chimney is hot then you can close the window.


3.  Inspection from house insurance

  • In order to pass the inspection performed by house insurance company, woodburning fireplace must be EPA approved

  • Installation of woodburning fireplace has to be performed by WETT certified installer.