If you're in the market for a wood stove, you need to know which parts are important for making the product work. One of those parts is a major component of the ventilation system - the piping! Without stovepipe, you'd be venting exhaust directly into your home.
In this article, we dive into what you need to know when searching for the right wood stove pipe for your wood stove. We'll also tell you the difference between stove pipe and chimney pipe. Some other areas we cover include top brands, installation parts, and maintenance tips.
What is Stove Pipe?
A wood stove pipe moves exhaust fumes and particulates from your wood burning stove to the exterior of your home. Often called a chimney connector or black stove pipe, your can choose between single or double walled stove pipe to vent your wood stove. Either option can bridge the gap between your appliance and the chimney pipe system.
So, when is stove pipe needed? If you have a wood burning stove, you'll need stove pipe as well. It's just that simple. Most stoves do not come with stove vent pipe unless noted otherwise. You'll almost always need to buy the stovepipe separately.
Things to Consider Before You Buy Stove Pipe
Before you purchase stovepipe, you will need to learn which type of pipe works best for your stove and your home. There are two primary types of stovepipes - single wall and double wall stove pipe. There are different reasons for using one over the other, and we'll go over that in this next section.
In many instances, you'll often see or hear the terms stovepipe and chimney pipe used interchangeably. But, they are different products with different uses and should never be confused as the same product.
Stovepipe is only used inside the room where the stove is located. Stovepipe is designed to be run between the flue collar on the stove and the ceiling or outside wall. From that point, you'll need a class-A chimney pipe system to go through that wall or ceiling.
You'll also find occasional reference to triple wall stove pipe. However, this term is actually exclusive to chimney pipe and not related to the types of stovepipe available.
When deciding on which variety of stovepipe you need, here's one quick way to figure out the one that's right for you. Answer this question: With your stove installed, how close will your pipe be to a combustible wall? If you've got more than 18 inches of space, a single wall stovepipe will work for you. But, if your pipe will be closer than 18 inches to combustible material and you don't plan on installing wall protection, you need a double wall stove pipe. These only need 6 inches of clearance due to the air space between the walls in the flue pipe.
Also, if there's a long distance from your stove to your wall or ceiling, a double-wall stovepipe will be the best option. Double wall stovepipes have grown quite popular with the prevalence of high-efficiency stoves. These modern stoves produce lower flue gas temperatures. This is due to their effective recirculation systems.
Using a single wall stove pipe for a long run with a modern stove will result in a lot of lost heat. This is because the heat radiates through the pipe wall. The loss of radiant heat can lead to increased creosote buildup which is caused by lower flue gas temperatures creating condensation in the pipe. This can even lead to a total loss of stove drafting, causing the stove not to work at all. Double wall stove pipe ensure your stove operates correctly, and they also prevent excessive heat loss.
Top 5 Brands and Manufacturers
Many manufacturers out there offer their own brands of black stove pipe. So, how will you know which ones are worthy of your trust? We've got you covered! In this section, we feature some of the best brands in the industry for you.
Heat-fab — A leading manufacturer of venting systems for more than 20 years, Heat-Fab makes most of their products in North America. Their stoves feature adjustable height constructions. They are made from 22-gauge steel with laser welded seams. All Heat-Fab products are compatible with each other and fit most decor. They also come in a variety of lengths and diameters to fit any installation.
Imperial — Known for their single-walled, Snap-Lock stovepipe, Imperial transformed the industry. They pioneered technology to "snap" the seams of pipes together. Their connection system makes every seal easy to put together without sacrificing reliability. Snap-Lock comes in several diameters to fit your installation. They also have a great supply of reducers, couplers, and other parts to make installation easier.
Duravent — With over 50 years experience, DuraVent makes some of the most dependable and long-lasting stovepipes out there. There are two kinds of Duravent pipe - DVL and Dura-Black. DVL is their double-wall stovepipe, and Dura-Black is the single-wall version. The pipes are made from 24-gauge steel with spot-welded seams. These stovepipes come in three lengths, and the black finish goes well with nearly any system. You can also connect any DVL to other DVL products; the same goes for Dura-Black products.
Selkirk — Selkirk understands the cost of construction and maintenance. They make products that are dependable. With 90 years under their belt, they make stovepipes and produce all the accessories you need. Most of their pipes are double-wall varieties and come in both 6-inch and 8-inch diameters.
Security — This Canadian company has been making chimney products for more than 50 years. They offer both single or double-wall pipes. They're made from 24-gauge steel and available in 6, 7, and 8-inch diameters. Most of Security's pipes come in black to blend with any home aesthetic.
Stove Pipe Varieties
When searching through brands, you'll find different classifications of pipes. There are snap-lock or snap-seam pipes, rolled-seam pipes, and continuously-welded pipes. Let's go over what all this technical information means.
Snap-Lock or Snap Seam — This kind of stovepipe ships in one flat sheet. The edges of the sheet are rolled together in the shape of a pipe and pushed until the pipe snaps in place. Modern snap-lock pipes work much better than older versions. They prevent all smoke leakage from the seams. This type of pipe is usually only available in painted black steel and is a 26 gauge thickness. For reference, the higher the gauge number, the thinner the metal.
Seamed Pipe — Many consider the rolled-seam pipe a step up from the snap lock. This pipe does not come in a flat sheet; instead, it comes fully assembled and ready to install. The pipe is 22 or 24-gauge steel. Its name hints to the way it's manufactured. The seam is machine-rolled to create a very tight and secure connection.
Some manufacturers also clinch or tack-weld the seam for longevity. This is a significant advantage of the rolled-pipe system. It even has flared ends which make for a smooth and tight connection that doesn't need sealant. This type of pipe is available in both black painted steel and stainless steel varieties.
Continuously-Welded Pipe — This vent system will give you the longest-lasting pipe but at the highest cost. It's also not very common. It's made from 22 or 24-gauge steel on a pipe that has no visible seam. The pipe is TIG welded. And, it's available in both manufacturer-specific and non-manufacturer-specific varieties. Continuously-welded pipes are most common in a stainless steel finish.
Double-Wall Stovepipe — Like the name suggests, this pipe has two walls - an inner wall and an outer wall. The inner wall of a double-wall pipe is made of 304 or 430-grade stainless steel with either a rolled or welded seam.
Insulating air space fills the gap between it and the outer wall. This type of stovepipe is larger in diameter than the single-wall type for obvious reasons. It has two pipes instead of one. Because of this, the dimensions can be misleading.
For example, single-wall stovepipes with an advertised 6-inch diameter have a true inner or outer diameter of 6 inches. But, a double-wall pipe with a 6-inch inner diameter does not include the dimensions of the outer wall. This means it will likely be 7 inches or more in diameter overall when accounting for the outer wall.
The outer wall consists of 24 or 26-gauge galvanized steel. The inner and outer walls connect with a fixed collar that is pressed and riveted to the ends. This fixed collar has evenly spaced air holes that allow for cooling air to move freely along the entire system length. Double-wall stovepipes do cost more than single-wall pipes, but with the right care, they can last a lifetime.
How To Install Wood Stove Pipe
If installing a stovepipe system yourself, you'll need some essential parts to create a proper connection. It depends on the way you plan to vent the exhaust, of course. For a vertical installation, place the stove in a spot where the pipe will maintain the proper clearance to combustibles. If impossible, you'll need a noncombustible wall shield for safety.
Please note that modern designs of vertical stove piping systems assume the chimney is already in position. So, from here on, we'll assume you have an existing chimney.
Now, let's take a look at what components you'll need to make a functional link between the stove and chimney.
Vertical Installation Components
Vertical installations are relatively straightforward compared to horizontal installations. A marginally assembled vertical joint of a stovepipe is not likely to leak. But, this is not the case for horizontal installations.
Horizontal connections must be tight and square to prevent condensation drips. With horizontal installations, there is a greater chance of you placing the stovepipe too close to a combustible surface. To avoid a dangerous situation, be sure to measure for proper clearances carefully.
Appliance Adapter — Also known as a stove adapter, this little connector attaches to the flue collar of the stove. It has a crimped and tapered bottom that holds it in place when inserted into the stove collar. You use these adapters for pipes that are unable to connect to the stove directly due to slight diameter differences.
A good example is rolled and welded-seam stovepipes. These products do not connect directly to the stove. Because of this, you'll need an appliance adapter to compensate for the size variances.
Appliance Adapter Damper Section — It's much like the appliance adapter just mentioned, but it has a damper. A damper helps regulate the flow of the flue gases inside the pipe. This type of adapter is essential for wood stoves built prior to Tier 1 EPA standards, meaning that they use ceramic baffles or a catalytic combustor in place of a damper.
Older wood burning stoves do not have an internal damper or baffle. Instead, they rely on an external damper to control the stove burn rate.
Piping — Rigid lengths of pipe make up the majority of the venting you will run. We recommend you get the longest length available from the manufacturer. The goal is to avoid having to make so many connections, which is time-consuming and leaves more chances for smoke leaks during a downdraft of blockage.
You must secure each connection with self-tapping sheet metal screws. Most manufacturers recommend a total of 3 #12 stainless steel screws at each connection. This will ensure a secure fit and a rigid pipe system.
Elbows — Elbows are angled piping components that allow you to maneuver the venting system. Some installations will require an elbow to align the pipe with the chimney system. Elbows come in handy if you have an HVAC duct or a framing member that you can't move. They also help if you need to adjust the location of your stove.
Do not use 90-degree elbows in a vertical installation. Instead, use a pair of 45-degree elbows to jog the pipe into position. You may also find that a short length of pipe can be used between the elbows to gain additional offset if needed. While they are convenient, try to avoid using an elbow i