Wood Burning Stove Venting Options (*Top 4 Choices*)

If you are thinking about getting a wood-burning stove or already have one and you want to hook it up, you might think that venting it outside isn’t very important. Unfortunately, venting is often overlooked, but it is an essential part of the wood stove working properly.

In most cases, manufacturers will let you know how they recommend that you vent your wood stove, but there are multiple different ways that you can adequately vent it. Likewise, there are several different things you need to consider for the best performance possible from your stove.

You can vent the wood stove through the roof, through a wall, through your ceiling, or an existing fireplace. You can choose the best option for you, but you will also need to consider what the manufacturer suggests.

Do Wood Burning Stoves have to be Vented Outside?

Wood-burning stoves will sometimes need to be vented outside. This is because fire is a chemical reaction between oxygen and fuel. Without either, the fire will start to go out. When you vent a wood stove outside, fresh air gets pulled into the stove to keep the reaction going.

You might be wondering if you are legally required to vent your wood stove or if you need to do it for performance reasons. Some regulations need to be followed, and they all depend on air permeability in your house. The air permeability is basically how airtight your house is.

If your home is more airtight, the air will be less permeable. If it is less airtight, the air will be more permeable. You are not required to vent a wood stove outside if your home has a 5 m3/hm2 or higher permeability. If the permeability is less than 5 m3/hm2, it is required to vent the wood stove outside.

What are the Different Wood Burning Stove Venting Options?

There are many different ways you can vent a wood-burning stove. For example, you can vent through the wall, through the roof, ceiling, or an existing fireplace. We will talk about each and more detail and discuss which one will be the best option.

1. Through the Roof

It is likely going to be the best option to vent your wood stove through your roof. First, you will want to find where the vent center will sit when the stove is installed. Keep in mind that the stove will need to be kept away from the wall, so don’t apply the vent against the wall.

Once you find where the vent center will be, mark the ceiling not to forget where it is. Next, cut a hole with a Sawzall for the support box. It should come with two brackets that will mount to the joists in the ceiling.

When you have the support box appropriately attached, you will need to cut a hole in the roof. The best way to do this is by using a long screw and drilling it until it sticks out of the roof. This will let you know where you need to cut when you get onto the roof, so you don’t have to guess and miss.

Take the roof flashing and center it over the screw that you drilled through the ceiling. Mark the hole you are going to need to cut. To make things easy, you can spray the roof on the inside of the flashing with spray paint. Use the Sawzall to cut the hole in the roof.

Cut the shingles around the hole back about two inches so you can slide the roof flashing underneath. Apply plenty of silicone to the bottom of the flashing and slide it under the shingles. Screw the flashing to the roof. Attach the vent pipe, storm collar, and rain cap to the vent pipe, and you’re done.

2. Through the Wall

There are two different ways to vent a wood-burning stove through a wall. You can do it through an interior wall or an exterior wall. When the air warms up in your home, it rises. This means the lower parts of your home will have lower pressure, and the upper parts have a higher pressure, which is called the stack effect.

When you install a vent through the interior wall, it will defeat the stack effect because the chimney will stay at the same temperature as the house. It will usually stick out taller than your home and will warm your house quicker with less wood.

You can also vent the wood stove through an exterior wall. However, you might end up with an unpleasant odor in your home and backdrafts. This is because the draft created within the chimney is at a different temperature and will not work to defeat the stack effect. If you do choose the outside wall, be sure to insulate it as much as possible. 

3. Through the Ceiling

If you don’t want to cut a hole in your roof, you can vent through the ceiling. This can prevent birds from making their home inside your roof flashing and vent pipes, which negatively impacts how your wood stove works.

When you vent through the ceiling, the vent will usually come out of the side of your home instead of out through the roof. This will allow you to have an almost flat vent sticking to the side of your house instead of a large one sticking out of your roof.

4. Through a Fireplace

If you have an existing fireplace, you can also vent your wood stove through it without needing to add any extra holes to your ceiling, roof, or walls. There are two ways you can vent your wood stove through a fireplace. You can insert it above the damper or insert it through the damper. 

If you want to install the vent above the damper, you will need to cut a hole through the masonry above the throat. This will allow you to make sure the damper is tightly sealed, preventing any smoke from entering back into your home. You can also install the vent through the damper. You can either leave the damper open or remove it altogether.

When you install the vent through the fireplace, you still need to respect proper clearance requirements. Don’t put the wood stove right up against the fireplace. You will need to give it plenty of room for air to move around it.

FAQ About Wood Stoves Venting

Can You Vent a Wood Stove Horizontally?

You should not vent your wood stove horizontally. It would be best if you only vented it vertically, allowing for proper ventilation and better fire. If you have no choice but to vent it horizontally, you can do so, but it is recommended to avoid horizontal venting if possible.

Can You Vent a Wood Stove into a Chimney?

It is possible to vent a wood stove through an existing chimney if you have one. There are two ways you can do it. You can either install the vent above the damper or through the damper. If you choose to install it above the damper, you will need to cut a hole in the masonry. If you install it through the damper, you won’t need to cut any extra holes.

Can You Vent a Wood Burning Stove Through a Wall?

It is possible to vent a wood-burning stove through a wall. If possible, you should vent it through an interior wall and up to the attic. If you can’t place the wood stove by an interior wall, an exterior wall will also work. However, you might not have as good of an outcome with an exterior wall.

When you use an interior wall, the vent will always be the same temperature as your house. The temperature of the vent in an exterior wall can fluctuate depending on the temperature outside, which can cause the vent not to work as effectively.

Should a Wood Stove Pipe Go Through a Wall or the Roof?

It is highly recommended to install a wood stove pipe through the roof instead of through a wall. Installing the stove pipe through the ceiling will give your stove a larger amount of fresh air and increase the size and efficiency of the fire.

Conclusion

If you have a wood-burning stove or are planning on getting one, it is important to understand the requirements for venting it properly. You might not be legally required to install a vent if the air permeability in your house is just right. However, it can still be beneficial for you to add a vent.

While there are several different ways that you can vent a wood stove, it is highly recommended to do so through your room. This will give you the best efficiency because it will add the freshest air to your burning fire. The fresh air will make the fire burn hotter and increase the heat in your home.