Pellet stoves are like traditional wood-burning stoves in that they use the combustion of wooden pellets to generate heat for your home or space. With fire comes smoke, naturally, so a big question you may have if you’re thinking about installing a stove or if you already have one is about adequate ventilation.
Pellet stoves are installed differently from traditional fireplaces, so thus their ventilation might be very different as well, and you have quite a few options that you can choose from. However, for the most part, if you are burning wood pellets, you must provide ventilation for your stove.
The smoke from furnaces and stoves contains more than just gray smog, there are dangerous chemicals in smoke like carbon monoxide, so ventilation is key to keeping your home and health safe.
When installing your stove, make sure to keep with your local and state guidelines and requirements.
Do Pellet Stoves need to be Vented?
By their very nature, Pellet stoves are required to have proper ventilation and that the exhaust must be vented to the outside. By not correctly venting your pellet stove, you may endanger your life through dangerous fumes or create a fire hazard.
If your pellet stove is installed outside, like a patio stove, then make sure that the vent is installed so it will not point to your house or bystanders as it’s being used. You don’t need to worry about drywall or roofing in this case, but make sure that your stove is under an awning or overhang, as it could damage those things.
You could vent the stove through such patio furniture, but make sure you follow the same guidelines about your house.
What are the Different Pellet Stove Venting Options?
There are three main ways to vent your pellet stove, and it mostly depends on how exactly you want and need to vent your stove. First, you will need to install whatever ventilation system will fit your stove and ensure no leaks or faults in your flue.
When installing your pellet stove, you should have a fresh air intake to feed your stove and the exit flue where all the waste air will flow out of your stove.
1. Vertically Through the Roof
One of the cheapest and easiest ways to install your vertical venting is to install your flue outside and up your external wall. By doing this, you don’t have to tear through your inside walls or install up through your roof and deal with all the mess or damage that can cause.
The stove vent pipe will need to be adequately supported about every four feet or so with a bracket attached to the outside wall. Keep the pipe at least three inches away from any plastic gutters as it approaches the roof.
You may need to run it through the roof if there’s a significant overhang to your roof, or you could make slight bends (at 45-degree angles) to your pipe around the overhang.
If you want to run the pipe from your stove inside the walls, you must create a path for the pipe to go. Locate any obstacles to the run of the pipe in your wall, like joists and rafters, as you do not want to damage them.
You must keep the flue pipe at least three inches away from anything combustible, which is also your joists and rafters. As the pipe goes through the ceiling, a firestop spacer or heat-loss spacer with clamps to support the pipe as you need to. You may also need a support box with a clamp to go through the roof and hold the pipe in place if necessary.
2. Horizontally Through Wall
Another simple and cheap way to vent exhaust from your pellet stove is by running the pipe out through a wall. Your vent pipe can be connected to an adaptor pipe in the back of the pellet stove and run out an adaptor plate to at least half a foot from your exterior wall.
The plate wall protector will help prevent exhaust gases from damaging the wall. Your vent cap must also be half a foot or more away from the wall it’s connecting to and three feet (36 inches) above an inlet pipe that’s within at least ten feet.
The outlet vent cannot be within three feet of any combustibles and seven feet above any paths or walkways.
Check with your local regulations if you need to install these outlets near windows or doors. The good idea is to keep them to the side of any inlets or at least four feet from.
One thing you could do is install a small rise for your pipe. It aids in removing gases from the pipe through heat convection in the case of shutdown of your stove (through mechanical or electrical failure or a lack of fuel).
Gases could seep back into your house without a rise, and you can install the rise either inside or outside your house. Install a wall protector plate outside your house to prevent exterior damage, discoloring, and prevent fire hazards.
3.Using an Existing Chimney
You can install your pellet stove into an existing chimney, if you have one, and vent all your exhaust out of the traditional flue.
First, though, check the condition of your chimney. Hire a service to clean it or sweep it out yourself. You can look up your chimney directly, or you could use a flashlight and a hand mirror to angle it up the chimney to get a good look.
The things that you’re looking for are obstructions, combustible deposits, and cracked brickwork that is out of alignment. If a lot of brick or masonry falls out as you clean your chimney, you will need a liner for your chimney or a full-length stove pipe.
If your chimney is in good condition, you can use a short length of stove pipe through a metal blanking plate. However, most pellet stove makers do not recommend doing this without a chimney liner as it is harder to clean once you get the pellet stove installed.
Your chimney may already have a liner, so make sure that it fits your stovepipe, and make sure that your chimney has a rainproof cap at the top.
Using a full-length vent is your best bet for chimney vent installation, as it won’t matter what condition your chimney is in. Measure your vent pipe so that it protrudes at least 14 inches above the top of the masonry of your chimney.
Can a Pellet Stove be Vented Out a Window?
Stoves cannot be vented through windows, as the stove pipe that vents out exhaust can become extremely hot, even though it may be insulated. The pipe and its connectors can melt or damage your windowpanes, the windowsill and even start fires.
Can you Vent a Pellet Stove Through a Basement Window?
No, you should not use a window for any of your stove venting. If your stove is installed in the basement, it can be tricky to run the pipe straight up through your house.
You may need to add more insulation around your pipe as it could go up through the basement ceiling and the drywall of higher levels.
If you have a dryer vent that you are no longer attaching a dryer to, you can use the gap left by the dryer vent to fit with the new stove pipe. However, do not use the dryer pipe, as there are combustible elements, and the lining will not withstand the stove’s heat.
Can you Vent a Pellet Stove Straight Out a Wall?
Theoretically, yes. You must still ensure all safety procedures and correct installation steps as is above. Use protector plates and keep the pipe away from exterior siding like any other installation.
It is highly recommended to follow the correct installation procedures, as the pellet stove is still a heat source. Try not to employ too much creative engineering when installing your vent pipe.
Three-Inch or Four-Inch Venting?
In most cases, four-inch venting is recommended.
If you are at an altitude of 2,500 feet above sea level, four-inch venting is an absolute must. This is because the oxygen levels are lower at this altitude, and the stove must work harder to push exhaust air out.
Even if you are at a lower altitude, the four-inch has more benefits than the three-inch. Four-inch is almost standard, and you can find many adapters for this size. Four-inch is also slightly more efficient at heat dispersal, and in many cases, it’s recommended to use the four-inch if you’re in doubt.
If you’re looking for a way to vent your pellet stove, then you have several options that can work for you.
Depending on where your stove is installed, you’ll have to find the best venting options for you. Be sure of your local regulations and ensure the safety of your ventilation system so that you can enjoy your pellet stove throughout its whole life.