Gas Fireplace to Wood Stove

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

TN Homesteader

New Member
Apr 8, 2018
7
East Tennessee
Greetings!

First time poster here.

Question:
What is the best way to install a Wood Stove into an existing Wood/Propane Chimney?
What is a good stove for our size and location?

Background:
Due to a flood at our house, we are doing a bunch of remodeling to our home. House was built in 2000. We've only been there 3 years. Our living room/dining room/kitchen area (about 900 square feet, 9 foot ceilings) has a brick fireplace with a gas insert. We believe the chimney was built initially for wood burning but was converted to a gas burning one at a later date. The fireplace hasn't been used for many years. The chimney is easily 25 feet tall, but likely close to 30 feet tall. There have been Chimney Swifts that have nested in there every year since we have been here.

We would like to place a wood stove into the firebox of the existing fireplace (see the attached image... something like this).

We are interested in the Jotul F 100 Nordic QT.

We have a few reasons:
- Ambiance (big reason)
- Heat (secondary, but important. All our heat is with propane now. We would like to be able to heat that area with wood instead of propane. We live in East TN. About 900 square feet heating space with our average low temps: Nov (34F), Dec (27F), Jan (24F), Feb (28F), Mar (33F))
- Resiliency (we have many acres of forest that we can use for wood instead of depending on propane)
- Cooking (not really needed, but if we could heat up a small pot or tea kettle or steamer, that would be great)

Our thought was to install the wood stove into the firebox and punch a hole in the back of the chimney (a few feet up) and install a new chimney from the wood stove and up through the existing chimney and then out the back of the existing chimney to vent to the outside.

I would love your expertise, experience, advice, and recommendations on this.
Thanks!
 

Attachments

  • StoveInFireplace.jpg
    StoveInFireplace.jpg
    239 KB · Views: 96
Last edited:

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,694
South Puget Sound, WA
Welcome. Can you post a picture of the current fireplace?

If this was a previous wood burning fireplace there may be no need for punching out the back of the chimney. It depends on what is currently installed. It needs to be determined if this is a true masonry fireplace with a full masonry chimney or a zero-clearance fireplace with a metal chimney. If this is a zero-clearance gas fireplace then it can not be converted to wood. If this is a wood ZC fireplace then it may be possible to insert a liner in the chimney. If if is a full masonry fireplace then an insulated liner with a blockoff plate will get the job done.

A tech rep from a good local stove dealer or a professional chimney sweep should be able to determine the options.
 

TN Homesteader

New Member
Apr 8, 2018
7
East Tennessee
I'll try to take a photo later today when I get back home.

I am wondering if it would still be worth it to have a shorter chimney... the 25-30 foot chimney already has birds' nests in it (we hear them landing each night in the Spring/Summer). We can get it cleaned out, but I wonder if we have a smaller chimney, then I can handle all the cleaning myself WAY easier than dealing with that tall chimney or having to routinely hire a sweep to do the work.

I am more interested in doing things right, even if it costs a bit more now, than trying to save money now, but cost more money or time in the long run.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,694
South Puget Sound, WA
If that is the goal then it may be better to choose another location. Understand that most stoves are designed and tested with 15 ft flues. Adding a couple 90º turns in the flue effectively reduces that height by about 4 ft due to increased draft resistance. Also, there are clearance requirements for a wood burner chimney that are much larger and specific than a gas or pellet burner.

First thing to do is determine what you have and whether it has potential for wood burning or not. If it does, one option might be bottom up cleaning which you could do yourself.
 
Last edited:

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,216
central pa
I'll try to take a photo later today when I get back home.

I am wondering if it would still be worth it to have a shorter chimney... the 25-30 foot chimney already has birds' nests in it (we hear them landing each night in the Spring/Summer). We can get it cleaned out, but I wonder if we have a smaller chimney, then I can handle all the cleaning myself WAY easier than dealing with that tall chimney or having to routinely hire a sweep to do the work.

I am more interested in doing things right, even if it costs a bit more now, than trying to save money now, but cost more money or time in the long run.
If you went through the existing chimney you would still need to run that chimney up to the top of the masonry chimney anyway. You cant just vent out beside your existing one. First thing is first though we need to figure out what you have it will determine what can be done and what makes the most sense.
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
11,062
Indiana
If you went through the existing chimney you would still need to run that chimney up to the top of the masonry chimney anyway. You cant just vent out beside your existing one. First thing is first though we need to figure out what you have it will determine what can be done and what makes the most sense.
This liner system will also prevent birds from being a nuisance any longer. Most often, the chimney liner can also be cleaned from inside, no real need to get on the roof most of the time.
 

TN Homesteader

New Member
Apr 8, 2018
7
East Tennessee
Great information bholler and begreen. Thank you.

If going up the existing chimney (if possible) is the best option, then that's what we will do.
But I'll take some photos later today and post them. Hopefully we can use the existing chimney.

If the 90-degree turns are an issue, is it better to use a top mounted chimney from the stove versus a rear mounted one?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,694
South Puget Sound, WA
If the 90-degree turns are an issue, is it better to use a top mounted chimney from the stove versus a rear mounted one?
It depends on the install and the size of the fireplace opening.
 

TN Homesteader

New Member
Apr 8, 2018
7
East Tennessee
Here are photos of the existing fireplace.

We removed the hearth in the process of repairing the floor from the flood... water seeped under the existing wood and needed to be dried out.
We will be putting a stone veneer over the brick fireplace on the interior.

The wood stove will sit in the existing firebox.
If we can use the existing chimney, that would be a lot simpler.

Let me know what you think!
Thanks!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_6128.JPG
    IMG_6128.JPG
    130.4 KB · Views: 103
  • IMG_6133.JPG
    IMG_6133.JPG
    108.7 KB · Views: 97
  • IMG_6134.JPG
    IMG_6134.JPG
    59.1 KB · Views: 116

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,694
South Puget Sound, WA
Looks like a true masonry fireplace. The best bet is to get the chimney cleaned, then drop and insulated liner down it. The gas line can be capped or removed.
 

TN Homesteader

New Member
Apr 8, 2018
7
East Tennessee
Begreen... what is the reason for the insulated liner? If the existing chimney is set for a wood fireplace, would that not still work? Does the liner keep the smoke from spilling back into the house?

Thanks for your help on this... I think your advice has already saved a bunch of money!
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
11,062
Indiana
The gas line will need to be removed, flexible gas line should not be used through the sidewall like that anyway.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,216
central pa
Begreen... what is the reason for the insulated liner? If the existing chimney is set for a wood fireplace, would that not still work? Does the liner keep the smoke from spilling back into the house?

Thanks for your help on this... I think your advice has already saved a bunch of money!
The existing chimney's clay liner is way too large for a stove. The flue gases would expand causing cooling which leads to creosote buildup. That is why you need a liner. You need insulation because the chimney probably doesnt have the required clearances to combustibles from the outside of the masonry structure to combustible materials. Very few do for an external chimney you need to have 1" of air space between the outside of the masonry for an internal one it is 2". And besides the performance gains are well worth the little extra money for insulation.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

edyit

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2014
838
Wilmington NY
what is the reason for the insulated liner

most chimneys are not built to code, 1" clearance to combustibles for external chimney, 2" clearance for internal. an insulated liner brings things to code, it also improves draft and keeps flue gasses warmer so there is less creosote and less chance of a chimney fire

edit: bholler types a little faster than i do :)
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,216
central pa
most chimneys are not built to code, 1" clearance to combustibles for external chimney, 2" clearance for internal. an insulated liner brings things to code, it also improves draft and keeps flue gasses warmer so there is less creosote and less chance of a chimney fire

edit: bholler types a little faster than i do :)
That is just because i type it so many times here my auto fill writes most of it for me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: webby3650