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Adapting Oil Burner Type A chimney for use with wood stove?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by nancywt, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. nancywt

    nancywt New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    Canada
    Hi All,

    Thank you for being here!

    I am trying to solve multiple problems in our new old home.

    7000 sq foot 3 story old inn built in 1889
    Insulation not bad and have improved it since we've been here
    Building is L shaped with each leg of the L about the same length.
    2 lower floors are about the same size and 3rd floor smaller as it is built into the eaves.
    So maybe 2500 sq feet 1st and second floors each, and 1000 sq feet 3rd floor.

    It was heated with oil burner hot water base boards with previous owner who let the building freeze
    Pipes were damaged before we bought it...took them all out and replaced with direct vent propane heaters in each room with their own thermostat.
    This is working but don't like the propane bill (and the electric bill running the fans)
    This system will work without the fans in a power outage but less effective.

    We want to add wood or pellet stoves (one or two) into the mix to save money and to get further off the grid.
    We've noted that the heat rises quite nicely from floor to floor (bottom floor boots and coat, third floor bare feet)
    We are not sure if we can spread ground floor heat to both legs of the L so may get a second stove.
    One of the arms of the L is dominated by a 1000 sq ft great room so we plan to put the stove in there.

    Problem we are trying to avoid...putting in very high (and expensive) chimney.
    Can't use the fireplace which has a very old chimney.

    About 10 feet away from one wall of our great room is a Type A stainless steel chimney that was installed to work with the now de-commissioned oil burner. Right now it leads into the basement (have to access basement --crawl space actually--from outside). It looks in excellent condition (we know the oil furnace was only a few years old). and goes up to some feet above the highest point on the roof of the building. (Over 40 feet?)

    We could access or enter this chimney part way up and quite high up so any turns in the chimney or stove pipe leading to it from a new stove could go up on a 45 degree angle (approx). 90 degree angle may not be required.

    Assuming the chimney is in good health, is this doable?

    Other questions: Should we instead go with pellet stove that may not require such "high" venting and is more efficient and less polluting? I am concerned about surviving off-grid and therefore not keen on being dependent upon pellet manufacturers...have found material on making one's own pellets from various materials but noted they require electricity or gas to function.

    What sized stove is best? Should we go for the largest...3,000 sq foot stoves for instance?

    Goals are to
    1) be warm without spending a fortune in propane bills
    2) Be able to be warm when power goes out or availability of fuel is limited
    3) Save time and money in installation (not putting in another chimney for instance)

    Any suggestions?
    Thanks so much!

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  2. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    If you find that your stainless chimney is rated for wood burning, inspect it at full length to make sure it was installed correctly. Mine was put in for an oil furnace and was so poorly installed it came apart in the chase when I tried to clean it with a brush. The chimney was rated but the install wasn't. Depending upon where the supports are ( if any) you may have to put some in just above where you intend to enter the chimney before you remove sections from the bottom. Check clearances and make sure each section is twisted together and screwed. Mine was simply stacked from the base and not even twisted together!

    Ehouse
  3. nancywt

    nancywt New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Canada
    Thanks very much for the tip! We will check for that!
  4. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Also, My Pipe (Security Chimneys international) has a different rating in Canada than in the US, so a call to the manufacturer might be wise.

    Ehouse
  5. nancywt

    nancywt New Member

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    Okay--thanks!
  6. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Welcome. Sounds like an interesting place. Feel free to put up some pics :) . Where in Canada are you?
    Too bad the hydronic system is gone. It sounds like a good candidate for a gasification boiler. As for wood vs pellets, I guess it depends on you. Do you have access to wood, cutting your own or buying it? You'll most likely need more than one stove. Maybe one of each? Don't forget, pellet stoves still need electricity to run.
    I would be looking at the biggest stove you can get. You want to look at firebox size, not necessarily btu or sq ft ratings. 4+ cu ft is good, but depends on your existing chimney, and if it's useable. Most stoves that big need an 8" pipe. There's a couple of big Buck stoves, Country Flame, Blaze King, to name a few. If it's a 6" pipe, look at Englander, Napoleon, Osburn, Enerzone. Steel stoves are going to be most affordable.
    Check out the Pellet Room part of this forum. You'll learn all you'll want to know about pellet stoves.
  7. nancywt

    nancywt New Member

    Joined:
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    Canada
    Hi there,

    Thanks! Will keep an eye on the firebox size.

    We are in Huntsville Ontario...trying to upload an image. We would buy our wood but in a pinch could access our own..5 acres with partial woods.
    One of two things I don't like about the Pellet stove is the need for electricity. We want to be prepared for anything. It gets very cold up here for some weeks each winter.
    Thanks!

    Attached Files:

  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Get a WETT certified installer/chimney sweep to give you the ruling on that chimney. You are going to have to have a WETT certified sign-off on the installation in Canada anyway.
  9. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Also keep in mind that a pellet stove will need service at some point. They are machines with augers or conveyors of some kind to move fuel from the hopper to the burnpot, combustion and convection blowers, control boards and temp limit switches, etc. Something will go wrong at some point, and you'll have to fix it or pay someone else to do it. Wood stoves will also need service, but it is usually planned maintenance that is often done in the off season.
    If you're buying wood, I don't know what the cost difference will be. But you should already have a supply, because truly seasoned, dry wood is awfully hard to buy. Most of the people I know who sell wood don't have a clue what dry wood really is. To them, if the tree was dead, or if the logs have been cut for six months, it must be perfect.
  10. nancywt

    nancywt New Member

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    Loc:
    Canada
    Yes that is one of my concerns about the Pellet stove. RE the wood we had ordered some last year for our fire place ...will try to get the right kind of wood. Thanks Brother Bart for the suggestion re WETT certified come out...it has been hard to get people out so I thought I would see what my alternatives were on my own, as much as possible. Also, we have gotten varied reports from various tradespeople so like to be somewhat educated when getting them in. Thanks again to all for the input.
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Posting floor plans would be best. Is this inn a functioning inn with guests? If it is that would change my answer.
  12. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    [quote author="BrowningBAR" date="1317110853"
    Posting floor plans would be best. Is this inn a functioning inn with guests? If it is that would change my answer.[/quote]

    Full bar? Road trip!
  13. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Full bar? Road trip![/quote]


    Complimentary liquor? Moving there.
  14. nancywt

    nancywt New Member

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    Posting floor plans would be best. Is this inn a functioning inn with guests? If it is that would change my answer.[/quote]

    Will see if I can pull that off...basically 3 story L shaped building with both arms of the L approximately the same size.
    Smaller 3rd floor due to attic etc.

    It is a 2 room bed and breakfast and we offer it for functions (donation) to various groups.
  15. nancywt

    nancywt New Member

    Joined:
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    Canada

    Complimentary liquor? Moving there.[/quote]

    Unfortunately no...but you are welcome anyway!!

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