Installation 101: How to Install a Pellet Stove Through a Chimney

Josh Miller

Josh is a contributing writer to the site and former HVAC specialist.

Last Updated on June 9, 2021

A pellet stove is an ingenious way to heat your home. These stoves burn compressed pellets made of sawdust and are more efficient than a regular wood-burning stove.

A pellet stove has high combustion and doesn’t create a lot of air pollution, making it one of the cleanest, most efficient residential heating systems out there. Of course, it does produce gases upon combustion that need to be vented out.

If you have a fireplace in your home and would like to take advantage of this ventilation to install a pellet stove, you need to make sure your chimney is in tip-top shape and provide a chimney liner. 

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Table of Contents

Types of Pellet Stoves

There are two types of designs when it comes to pellet stoves – freestanding or inserts. A freestanding pellet stove needs a lot of space and must sit a foot in front of the chimney or exhaust system and the walls.

If you’re considering how to install a pellet stove through a chimney, you will want to consider a pellet stove insert instead of a free-standing model. Inserts tuck into your existing hearth and, using a chimney liner, vent smoke out the flue.

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Steps for Installation

Once you’ve selected the type of pellet stove you want in your home, you’re ready to begin the installation process.

Step 1: Inspect Your Chimney

Chimney fires are a legitimate threat any time a heat source vents through a flue out of a building. Before you hook a pellet stove up to an adaptor and vent it through your chimney, make sure that you get your chimney inspected. Fixing issues later on in the process will be more costly and burdensome.

Have a professional clean the creosote buildup from the inside of your chimney, and have them inspect your chimney’s structure, looking for any potential issues.

While you’re at it, you may want to check local building bylaws to ensure your county supports the type of insert you’re using. Specifically, check with your local fire marshal about a pellet stove installation inspection or permit.

Step 2: Measure Your Chimney

There are two measurements to consider for your new chimney liner, which will vent the smoke from your pellet stove out of your existing masonry chimney. You need to know the length and the diameter of the flue.

  • Length

Another detail to note about the liners is how far up the chimney they go. In some pellet stove installations, the liner only goes halfway up the chimney, making it difficult to clean. If the liner only goes halfway up, you have to remove the stove entirely to clean it.

  • Diameter

Both types of liners come in various diameter sizes up to 10”. You want your liner no less than 1/10” away from the inside of the flue.

It’s essential to be precise in these measurements as if you pick a chimney insert with a diameter that’s too narrow, your pellet fire won’t draw well, which results in smoky rooms and frustrating sputtery fires. If you overshoot and buy a liner that’s too wide, it won’t fit in your chimney at all.

chimney-liner

Step 3: Pick the Right Chimney Liner

A chimney liner extends from your pellet stove, usually from an adaptor, to above your chimney, reaching a suitable clearance level of a couple of inches.

There are two different types of chimney liners: rigid and smooth or corrugated and flexible. Although the rigid liner’s smooth surfaces make it easier to clean, you can only install them in straight chimneys. If your chimney has any crooks in it, then you need a flexible one.

Step 4: Wrap Liner in Insulation

The smoke from wood pellets contains substances that turn solid and clog your chimney with creosote as they cool down. To make sure that your flue doesn’t build up creosote, wrap the liner in insulation.

When you wrap your liner in insulation (or have a professional do it for you), the smoke vented through the chimney doesn’t cool down on its way out, so it doesn’t become creosote. Once you’ve installed and wrapped your liner, you’ll need to cap it at either end and weatherize the top portion

Step 5: Connect Pellet Stove Adaptor

Once the liner is clamped to an adapter, you have to seal it to make sure that creosote falls into the stove and not around it, which would create a fire hazard.

There are two reasons to hire a professional if you’re wondering how to install a pellet stove through a chimney and aren’t confident in the process yourself. The first is to ensure each seal is foolproof, and the second is to confirm you’re abiding by all local codes.

A professional will also know how far to set your pellet stove out of the fireplace so that the heat doesn’t scorch the walls or surrounding environs. They will also know the ins and outs of the local regulations, and any pellet stove permits you may need to complete your project.

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Step 6: Seal Plates and Vent Caps

With any type of vent, you need to make sure soot, smoke, and water doesn’t drip through it into your house or that cold air doesn’t come back down your chimney, reducing the heating effects of your pellet stove.

The liner extends out the top of the chimney by about a foot, and a vent cap is a necessary topper to prevent moisture damage. The vent cap itself also requires a cover to keep the weather out.

A seal plate is positioned on the other end of the chimney and helps to seal your house off from the cold outside environment. To keep soot, smoke, and moisture from re-entering your home, seal the liner above the fireplace damper.

After you seal the chimney liner to the adapter and the rest of the flue with a seal plate, you’ll put a chimney cap (with cover) at the top. Then you’re ready to fire up your pellet stove.

Wrapping Up

If your house already has a chimney, a pellet stove insert is a great way to save money, produce minimal exhaust, and upgrade your heating system. After careful cleaning and inspection, a chimney liner will vent smoke from the pellet stove adapter, up the chimney, and out the vent cap.

Pellet stoves provide the efficiency and affordability you crave. Still, it provides the warmth and congeniality of a flickering fire in your hearth. Install your pellet stove correctly, using your existing chimney to vent the smoke.

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