How do I safely try my wood stove?

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Oct 15, 2020
153
New Hampshire
So would it be ill advised to try using this stove just for testing purposes BEFORE replacing the catalytic combustor? Or just less efficient?

Again I have never run a wood stove before.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,906
Long Island NY
I believe it is not legal to run a cat stove without the cat. When the cat is there, but not working, that's a grey area...

However, if the cat is not working, you should not choke down the fire much, because if you do choke it down you'll have a creosote factory on your hands (that the cat is not cleaning up). I.e. with a non-working cat, one should run it hot enough in view of what you may be pumping into your chimney.

Regardless, I would not light up if your liner has holes in it.
 
Oct 15, 2020
153
New Hampshire
I believe it is not legal to run a cat stove without the cat. When the cat is there, but not working, that's a grey area...

However, if the cat is not working, you should not choke down the fire much, because if you do choke it down you'll have a creosote factory on your hands (that the cat is not cleaning up). I.e. with a non-working cat, one should run it hot enough in view of what you may be pumping into your chimney.

Regardless, I would not light up if your liner has holes in it.
Man I got 50% of people (locals who have been burning for years) who say use it anyhow(the liner). And then a bunch of you on here saying not to use it. I know why people are saying not to use it but the holes were so darn tiny, I have trouble seeing the risk for a fire or two?

As an educator though I know to listen to what I'm being told. I don't want to burn my house down but I also want to use a stove this year and see no way to do it financially unless I use the current liner and repair the current stove....maybe that's just not an option.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,906
Long Island NY
Man I got 50% of people (locals who have been burning for years) who say use it anyhow(the liner). And then a bunch of you on here saying not to use it. I know why people are saying not to use it but the holes were so darn tiny, I have trouble seeing the risk for a fire or two?

As an educator though I know to listen to what I'm being told. I don't want to burn my house down but I also want to use a stove this year and see no way to do it financially unless I use the current liner and repair the current stove....maybe that's just not an option.

You have trouble seeing the risk. In the end you came here for advice, suggesting that what "locals" say does not carry sufficient weight for you.

Risk and safety are not issues that are decided by some majority vote.

As a dad though, I know there are things I will not take risks on, in particular if I am not able to actually quantify the risk (a chance of 1 in 10,000 that you put your house on fire?). "darn tiny" is not good enough for me when an expert (and @bholler is one) suggests this is not safe and it is not just me on the line.

So, you can follow the crowd, or follow advice from an expert, that was given after you deemed it necessary to solicit said advice.


I do feel for cases where one needs to do something but financially it is not possible. I've seen too many situations like that. No criticism from me there. Life happens. So I get the conundrum - but then I cycle back to "As a dad...".
 
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Oct 15, 2020
153
New Hampshire
You have trouble seeing the risk. In the end you came here for advice, suggesting that what "locals" say does not carry sufficient weight for you.

Risk and safety are not issues that are decided by some majority vote.

As a dad though, I know there are things I will not take risks on, in particular if I am not able to actually quantify the risk (a chance of 1 in 10,000 that you put your house on fire?). "darn tiny" is not good enough for me when an expert (and @bholler is one) suggests this is not safe and it is not just me on the line.

So, you can follow the crowd, or follow advice from an expert, that was given after you deemed it necessary to solicit said advice.


I do feel for cases where one needs to do something but financially it is not possible. I've seen too many situations like that. No criticism from me there. Life happens. So I get the conundrum - but then I cycle back to "As a dad...".
Totally get it and appreciate what you're saying. Additionally I can say I'm probably more seeking an answer that fits what I want to hear...which isn't how to go about this.

While I'm not a Dad yet, I will be in the not so distant future and I don't want to endanger my family or home.

I guess letting it sit is the best and safest action. We have a pellet boiler so heat isn't an issue but for Power Outages and Cold Snaps....would be nice to have.

Ah well.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,480
South Puget Sound, WA
Man I got 50% of people (locals who have been burning for years) who say use it anyhow(the liner). And then a bunch of you on here saying not to use it. I know why people are saying not to use it but the holes were so darn tiny, I have trouble seeing the risk for a fire or two?

As an educator though I know to listen to what I'm being told. I don't want to burn my house down but I also want to use a stove this year and see no way to do it financially unless I use the current liner and repair the current stove....maybe that's just not an option.
If this was the case of a seasoned wood burner, familiar with burning in many different types of stoves including cat stoves, then a cautious experiment might be ok. However, in this circumstance, it would be foolhardy and potentially dangerous. There is a learning curve ahead, even if the stove was new and the wood was perfectly dry. With a dubious condition liner and a neglected, complicated stove, this could get out of hand quickly. At a minimum the insert needs a full $50 gasket kit and a $200 catalyst for starters. This presumes that all of the multiple parts in the stove are true and not warped or cracked. If they are warped, this can easily end up being a financial can of worms or a waste of money.
If the cost of a proper flue system and safe, correctly functional woodstove are not in the picture for this season, then it would be best to come up with a safer, alternative plan for this winter's backup heating.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,906
Long Island NY
Totally get it and appreciate what you're saying. Additionally I can say I'm probably more seeking an answer that fits what I want to hear...which isn't how to go about this.

While I'm not a Dad yet, I will be in the not so distant future and I don't want to endanger my family or home.

I guess letting it sit is the best and safest action. We have a pellet boiler so heat isn't an issue but for Power Outages and Cold Snaps....would be nice to have.

Ah well.

and congrats on what I understand to be a little one on the way! It'll be a ride :)
 
Oct 15, 2020
153
New Hampshire
Would it be bad practice to pull the insert and just have a 6" liner dropped down and just leave it until we can find an affordable stove or something used locally? We are considering a freestanding stove (much more used ones in our area) to put in the hearth. Of course it seems there's a ton of measurements I need to assure safe clearances first...which will be easier without the insert in there.

Just trying to get ahead of the game and start shopping even if we can't afford everything now...do what we can.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,906
Long Island NY
Would it be bad practice to pull the insert and just have a 6" liner dropped down and just leave it until we can find an affordable stove or something used locally? We are considering a freestanding stove (much more used ones in our area) to put in the hearth. Of course it seems there's a ton of measurements I need to assure safe clearances first...which will be easier without the insert in there.

Just trying to get ahead of the game and start shopping even if we can't afford everything now...do what we can.

To me that seems like a good approach. Take small steps. Do what's possible.
Make sure that you provisionally block airflow in the liner once it's in - don't want to have all your otherwise heated warm air exit via that nice tube. (And don't forget to take that plug out when you install your stove!)
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,906
Long Island NY
Well not quite yet. Obviously planning these things doesn't always go smoothly, however, we are going to start trying soon! My wife and I are both Elementary Educators so we sort of already have children, haha.
oops. Well, good luck.
And hats off to you for working in a school, in particular these last year and a half. Thank you!
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,480
South Puget Sound, WA
Would it be bad practice to pull the insert and just have a 6" liner dropped down and just leave it until we can find an affordable stove or something used locally? We are considering a freestanding stove (much more used ones in our area) to put in the hearth. Of course it seems there's a ton of measurements I need to assure safe clearances first...which will be easier without the insert in there.

Just trying to get ahead of the game and start shopping even if we can't afford everything now...do what we can.
Yes, that sounds reasonable. You might even be able to sell the old insert for $100-200 to someone wanting it for parts. Also, start collecting, splitting and stacking firewood. Most hardwood takes 1-2 yrs to season properly.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,458
SE North Carolina
Would it be bad practice to pull the insert and just have a 6" liner dropped down and just leave it until we can find an affordable stove or something used locally?
so the insert I got from Costco comes with a liner. New Liners are easy to get. I guess I don’t see a reason that just leaving a new 6” liner hanging by the top plate is better than no liner. Maybe pellet stove comes up for sale? They can run quite awhile on a battery or small generator. And you all ready have pellets. My dad installed. An outlet that just runs right outside that he can plug his generator into. It was fast to do. It doesn’t have any connections to any other circuit and is dead until he hills it up to the generator. I’d clear everything out and seal the chimney with a chimney ballon for now.
 
Oct 15, 2020
153
New Hampshire
so the insert I got from Costco comes with a liner. New Liners are easy to get. I guess I don’t see a reason that just leaving a new 6” liner hanging by the top plate is better than no liner. Maybe pellet stove comes up for sale? They can run quite awhile on a battery or small generator. And you all ready have pellets. My dad installed. An outlet that just runs right outside that he can plug his generator into. It was fast to do. It doesn’t have any connections to any other circuit and is dead until he hills it up to the generator. I’d clear everything out and seal the chimney with a chimney ballon for now.
That's actually the route I originally wanted to take; however, I'm afraid of heights and would rather not go on my roof...purely out of fear haha. I am more than mechanically capable to do the job...I think. Just hate heights.

As for why to line the chimney with no stove. I'd rather get the liner in now when installers have time and just wait until a used stove pops up that I can grab and just drop in. If we can get a stove under 2k it seems like a reasonably affordable job. The 7k we were quoted for a new stove and liner isn't doable. That's why I liked the Costco Drolet so much. Even buying a new liner would still have it cheaper than any other option I've seen.

I do like the dead generator outlet in regards to our pellet boiler. Definitely will be looking into that. Though we definitely want a wood stove versus more pellets just for the no power situations...even if we have a generator I know our pellet boiler does have many electrically automated processes including the vacuum to pull pellets into the hopper.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,480
South Puget Sound, WA
How tall is the chimney on this insert? If you can afford the Costco kit, then it probably would be another $5-900 to have the liner installed. This should come in well below $3000. Before ordering, the fireplace should be measured to make sure there are no issues with fitting.
 
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Oct 15, 2020
153
New Hampshire
How tall is the chimney on this insert? If you can afford the Costco kit, then it probably would be another $5-900 to have the liner installed. This should come in well below $3000. Before ordering, the fireplace should be measured to make sure there are no issues with fitting.
I’ll measure! I assume you mean from the floor of the hearth to the top of the chimney.

Are most sweeps willing to install a customer purchased liner?
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,458
SE North Carolina
While 2-3000$ Probably won’t get you an automatic transfer switching genset it probably could get a 6-8Kw portable generator and at least some of the wiring If not all of it. Do you have a well pump? We spent about 3 days without power in Milton in December once. Wood stove kept us warm down stairs and the upstairs bedrooms above freezing, but melting snow to flush a toilet was the limiting factor to how long we could have rode that one out. My wife was a senior in high school when the ice storm of ‘99 hit. They got power after 6 or 7 days. Rest of the community was about 3 weeks.

I found a couple a decent jotul F500s for sale the York/ Berwick area this summer. They looked in decent shape priced between 1000-1500$. It’s just too big for my raised hearth and the fireplace would have been tight. If you go that route know what you want and be ready to jump right on it and then walk away once you see it in person.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,480
South Puget Sound, WA
I’ll measure! I assume you mean from the floor of the hearth to the top of the chimney.

Are most sweeps willing to install a customer purchased liner?
That's correct.

It depends, call around and ask. Sweeps are getting very busy now.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,077
central pa
That's correct.

It depends, call around and ask. Sweeps are getting very busy now.
Yes very busy. And we get 2 or 3 calls a day if we can do a liner or install before the heating season.

Why don't people think of this at the end of the heating season?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,480
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes very busy. And we get 2 or 3 calls a day if we can do a liner or install before the heating season.

Why don't people think of this at the end of the heating season?
It's the grasshopper and the ant story. Many people don't think about cooler weather until it gets cooler.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,077
central pa
It's the grasshopper and the ant story. Many people don't think about cooler weather until it gets cooler.
And they get mad when we say we can do it on a Saturday but it will cost more.
 
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Hoytman

Feeling the Heat
Jan 6, 2020
360
Ohio
Even with experience no stove, new or otherwise, goes into my house until I first burn it outside for safety reasons. If for nothing else, assuming a new stove should function properly, burning outside allows the paint to cure or burn off outside, not in my home.

I’m sure lots of people inspect a stove and move it right in. I can do that as well. I choose not to. The satisfaction and trust gained in a properly running stove is high. There is no price on peace-of-mind...least not for me.
 
Oct 15, 2020
153
New Hampshire
Thankfully I’m in no critical rush. We live on the main road so we get power back first; however, there’s no problem with being prepared.

Our last liner was installed mid January in a snowstorm. I give an incredible amount of credit to those of you who do this for a living.
 
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