What to Know when Installing a Wood Burning Stove in an Existing Home

Are you thinking of installing a wood burning stove into your home?

Before you jump straight into the deep end, it’s important to consider the practical implications and what’s actually involved in installation into an existing home.

Let’s dig into the details below…

What to Know when Installing a Wood Burning Stove in an Existing Home

Chimney or External Flue Required:

When you burn wood, it creates all sorts of dangerous gasses. For example, smoke, carbon dioxide, or even worse, carbon monoxide.

These gasses are incredibly dangerous if you breathe them in. They can lead to many health issues, including lung problems, brain damage, and in the worst-case scenario, even death.

So then, why are wood burning stoves so popular? The answer is simple. As long as you allow the gasses to escape outside, they cannot harm you. It’s vital that if your home doesn’t already have a chimney, you get an external flue installed.

It needs to be large enough to handle the amount of gas that will come from your stove and kept clear, so nothing bellows back into the room.

Stove Size:

Before installing a stove into any room, you must ensure that it’s neither too big nor too small.

If your stove is too small, you will be unable to heat the entire room. You will find that you cannot burn enough wood to generate enough energy to create the heat required. Essentially, any heat that you do produce will be wasted.

On the other hand, if a stove is too big, you will not get the right amount of airflow, preventing the flames from getting enough oxygen to keep going. Not to mention, it will most likely be impractical.

Find out more about stove sizes here.

Property Suitability:

Although a wood burning stove can be fantastic for some homes, it can also be terrible for others. Here are some homes in which a wood stove might not be suitable for:

Rented Homes

If you do not own your home, you might not be able to install things such as flues, hearths, or other essential infrastructure. Always check with your landlord before installing anything.

Fuel Access

To use a wood burning stove, you need a ready wood supply. This might seem like common sense, but remember that if you live in a warmer state there may simply be fewer wood suppliers readily available.

On a slightly different note, large quantities of wood require space as well as strength to manage. Ensure you have enough of both to fully maintain your stove supply.

Neighbourhood Regulations

Some local government regulators might not let you have a wood burning stove. This could be for a number of reasons. External flues could be banned for aesthetic reasons, whilst the burning of wood might be banned in built-up areas. Whatever the reason, be sure to check with your local council before moving forward.


Unfortunately wood burning stoves simply aren’t practical in most apartments.

Stove Hearths:

Before installing your stove, you need to ensure that you have some form of hearth installed. A hearth will serve two purposes.

Firstly, the hearth elevates the stove, so the heat becomes more evenly distributed throughout the room. Secondly, it serves as a safety feature preventing the floor from burning or damage when the fire gets too hot.

Usually, your hearth will be made of stone, slate, or concrete. But it can be made from any material that will neither melt (like plastic), burn (like wood), or become unsafely hot (like metal).

Stove Costs:

One of the most overlooked parts of buying a wood burning stove is simply the purchase itself. There are all sorts of costs you need to factor in when you buy your stove.

Firstly, we obviously have the cost of the stove itself. Depending on the model and size, this can vary from $100 to $1000. But you may also need additional items, such as a flue pipe or hearth, if your home doesn’t have it already.

Additionally, you also need to consider installation costs. Hiring a professional to install a stove can add a lot to your final bill.

You can expect to pay between $100 and $6000 for your stove before you can finally use it. And even then, if you don’t have access to low cost wood supplies, you will need to pay for your fuel.

Stove Safety:

When you’re dealing with fire, safety is vital.

Make sure your stove isn’t installed anywhere near anything flammable. This could all manner of materials.

Use a heat shield to prevent your curtains or walls from burning.

Smoke is also another considerable safety hazard. Make sure the room your stove is in is well ventilated. If something goes wrong, you need to be able to open a window to let the smoke out. Also, ensure you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in case something goes wrong when you’re not in the room. We also recommend having a fire extinguisher on standby, just in case.

Stove Maintenance:

One of the final considerations is simply the maintenance required to own and maintain a working stove.

Every stove will require regular cleaning, annual or bi-annual maintenance checkups, and of course a steady source of fuel.

Professional Installation:

When installing a stove, you have two options: hire a professional or do it yourself.

Naturally we recommend hiring a professional if you do not have the appropriate training. These guys not only know what they’re doing but also the local codes, so you don’t break the law accidentally.

The only downside of not doing it yourself is that it increases the total cost. But, the way we see it, if you can afford a stove, you can afford the extra money to install it properly.

We hope this helps, and for everything else home heating stick with CosyWarmer.com