How to Convert a Fireplace to a Wood Burner

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Wood stove insert
Wood stove insert (Image: Ancient fireplace image by Sergey Galushko from Fotolia.com)

Many people decide to convert their standard fireplace to a wood-burning stove by adding a stove insert. You can install a stove insert into your fireplace so it will burn more efficiently and provide more heat in your home. It is important that you properly install the stovepipe that runs the smoke up and out of your chimney or smoke can reenter your house. You should rely on a professional to help you first install the stovepipe; it must be installed from the top of your chimney and is probably the most difficult part of the job. You can handle the rest on your own, although you may need to ask a strong friend to help you lift the insert.

Things You'll Need

  • Work gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Tape measure
  • Sheet metal
  • Masonry nails, 1 1/2-inch
  • Hammer
  • Tin snips
  • Screwdriver
  • Silicone sealant (heat resistant)

Take out the damper in the chimney. Remove the pin that holds the damper in place by simply unhooking it. Lift out the damper.

Measure the inside dimensions of your chimney 2 inches above the opening from the inside using the tape measure.

Cut a piece of sheet metal with the tin snips to these dimensions adding 1 inch to each side. Also cut a small notch with the tin snips about 1 inch in depth in each corner of the sheet metal so you can fold up the edges to make a pan.

Bend up the sides of the metal piece and make a flange on each side. Cut a hole in the center of the sheet metal with the tin snips the diameter of the stovepipe opening. Push the screwdriver in the center of the metal pan to start the hole, then use the tin snips to cut out the hole.

Insert the sheet metal pan into the opening of the chimney so it surrounds the stovepipe. Hammer masonry nails into the flanges on the pan and into the sides of the chimney using the hammer.

Apply the silicone caulk to the edges of the pan where it meets the masonry and the stovepipe to seal out any leaks.

Place your fireplace insert in the fireplace with the help of a friend. Connect the stove piping and apply a seal of silicone caulk to the pipe joints.

Tips & Warnings

  • Follow the manufacturer's specific directions for connecting the stove insert to the stove pipe.
  • Keep the chimney damper in storage in case you decide to remove the wood stove and stove pipe.
  • Wear work gloves and safety goggles when working on this project.

References

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