I finally got my pellet stove installed and operational and learned a few things along the way. 1) DIY vs Contractors Luckily the building inspector in my town is a pretty nice guy and was helpful when I pulled the permit to tell me the things he's looking for. He defers to manufacturer's installation instructions but to be safe I exceeded those recommendations. He also said he inspects DIY jobs all the time but they're no worse than the contractors. He told me just the other day that some contractor (didn't say who) installed a wood stove with NO hearth on a hardwood floor. He of course failed the inspection and advised the contractor that if they'd like to continue working in the town they'll do the installs right the first time. 2) Draft draft draft I ordered my chimney pipe online (Simpson-DuraVent PVP) but the order came in two shipments. Just to test things out (and because my wife was so anxious to have heat in the room) I fired the thing up with only 3 feet vertical pipe (out the wall 2 feet into tee, up three feet with cap) while I waited on the remainder of the order. Everything went fine until I shut the stove off. Moments later the smoke came pouring into the room. Cough cough. Although it looks a bit silly, if the manufacturer requires 12 feet vertical venting you install 12 feet vertical venting. My lungs and those of my two young boys are thankful for following manufacturer's specifications. 3) Warning: keep ash can away from combustibles I have a galvanized steel can in which I collect ashes. Sometimes pellets miss the burn pot and fall into the ash pan, which is then dumped into the can. I empty the ash pan every morning to stay on top of things. Just this morning my 3yo says, "come look, there's steam." I came into the room and sure enough smoke was slowly but increasingly starting to escape out of the ash can. I took the can outside and opened the lid - the rush of oxygen brought the smoldering ashes and unburned pellets (not to mention the pellet dust that often skips the burn pot and falls directly into the pan) to light. I'm sure I'll learn more lessons as the season progresses. Hopefully they will be just as benign as the lessons I've already learned. The lesson I didn't need to learn was to have an ABC extinguisher near each entrance/exit to the room and a smoke/CO detector on the wall. That much seemed common sense: you're lighting things on fire inside of your house and should be able to put out that fire in an emergency. Oh, one more lesson: While filling the hopper take care not to let the plastic bag touch the stove. When the plastic bag touches the hot stove, it will melt and will no longer be a bag, with the concomitant result being that the pellets will no longer be contained. My advice is to store the pellets in a second metal container and just scoop them in.