Adding a stove pipe, also known as a flue pipe, to your new wood burner is crucial to ensure safe and efficient operation. This guide will take you through the entire process, from understanding why a flue pipe is necessary, choosing the right materials, preparing for installation, step-by-step flue pipe fitting, finishing touches, and testing for leaks. Read on for professional advice so you can confidently DIY your stove pipe.
Why a Proper Stove Pipe is Essential
Without the correct stove pipe, smoke and combustion gases can spill from your wood burner into the room, creating a dangerous situation. Flue pipes provide an outside route for these by-products. Key reasons a stove pipe is essential are as follows:
- Ventilation: A flue pipe provides a safe exit route for smoke and gases..
- Safety: Incorrect or missing flue pipes allow carbon monoxide to leak into living spaces. This odourless gas is highly toxic.
- Efficiency: A sound flue system enables better stove performance. Substandard pipes can cause backdraughting.
- Building regulations: Flue regulations exist for safety. DIY installations must follow Building Regulations or local council exemptions.
Choosing Suitable Stove Pipe Materials
For a single wall installation, the most common stove pipe materials are:
- Vitreous enamel steel: Durable and resistant to heat damage or corrosion. This cost-effective option is available in matt black or gloss finishes.
- Stainless steel: Withstands high temperatures and resists corrosion. However, it’s worth remembering that it’s prone to discolouration over time.
Taking accurate measurements is crucial for a safe and functional installation. Consider:
- Diameter: Flue pipe diameter must match the stove outlet size. Building Regulations prohibit smaller diameter pipework.
- Length: Measure from stovetop to register plate. Add 150mm to this allowance to go through the register plate. You can order longer lengths and cut to size if unsure.
- Positioning: The flue pipe must sit at least three times its diameter from combustible materials. For 150mm pipe, allow 450mm clearance.
- Elbow angles: No more than 4 x 45-degree elbow angles are allowed, with each 90-degree bend counting as two 45-degree angles.
Carrying out these checks beforehand avoids issues later:
- Review stove manufacturer instructions for hearth size and clearance to combustibles. Follow guidelines precisely.
- Ensure the flue pipe route has 450mm clearance from wooden lintels or beams. If concerned, a twin wall flue system may be more suitable.
- Confirm the position allows 1.5 metres maximum uninsulated flue pipe. Contact local Building Control regarding insulated pipe if exceeded.
- Check the chimney breast masonry along the entire flue route. Repair cracks or damage to prevent leaks.
Tools and Materials Checklist
Use high-quality materials installed securely to manufacturer guidelines for safety and efficiency. Equipment required:
- Vitreous enamel steel flue pipe and compatible elbow angles as measured
- Fire rope sealant
- Fire cement
- Heat-resistant silicone (optional alternative sealant)
- Hand tools – spirit level, screwdrivers, Allen keys for stove collar
- Power tools – angle grinder to cut pipes
- Smoke pellets for leak testing
- Fire blankets and fire extinguishers
Step-by-Step Installation Guide
With preparation complete, let’s walk through the stove pipe installation process:
Installing the Flue Collar
The removable flue collar connects your flue pipe to the stove. Most models include a separate collar needing fitting.
Twist-off collars simply twist into place. Alternately, attached collars fix via bolts/screws in pre-drilled holes. Re-use bolts if removing a rear collar for top exit conversion.
Blank off unused holes cleanly to prevent leakage. Fire cement or high-temperature silicone squeezes easily into gaps.
Connecting Flue Pipe Sections – Tips
- Add pipes male end downwards
- Fire cement seals are not always required but can be useful
- Support horizontal flue runs with brackets
For straight vertical runs:
Cut your calculated flue pipe length. Insert the male end into the collar. Fill any gaps with fire rope, then seal with fire cement or fire-rated silicone for a smooth, professional finish.
For elbow angles:
Allow 300mm pipe before the first 90- or 45-degree elbow fitting. Slot elbow into pipe end below. Bracket horizontal sections to avoid sagging and excess weight on the stove.
For rear exit runs:
A maximum of 150mm horizontal flue is permitted before reverting to vertical. Attach a 90-degree bend/T-piece to the exit collar. Support well with bracket. Add vertical pipe, then elbow angles as needed.
Measure the diameters carefully before cutting. Mark the cutting line with pen/tape. Use an angle grinder to cut enamel flue pipes. Wear goggles, and consider working outdoors to limit dust.
Position male ends down throughout assembly. Frequently check and double-check alignments.
- Double-check the flue pipe protrudes the chimney register plate by at least 150mm.
- If connecting to a flexible flue liner, ensure the correct adaptor is used.
- Seal register plate gap around the pipe with fire rope and cement.
- Smooth all sealant for a neat appearance.
- Allow proper drying time before smoke leak testing.
And now you can sit back and relax! Your stove pipe is fully installed.
Smoke Testing for Leaks
This vital step identifies any dangerous installation issues or breaches.
Important: Conduct testing before lighting any fires in your stove.
Follow these steps:
- Place smoke pellet/matches inside the unlit stove. Close doors/air vents.
- Check for smoke escaping seals, pipes, or the stove itself.
- Inspect rooms and loft for signs of leakage.
- Smoke should only exit from the chimney pot top.
If smoke is detected indoors, the installation will need to be redone. Get professional assistance if problems persist. Consider environmental factors like strong winds, too.
With smoke testing passed, your wood-burning stove is ready for action! Please keep these fire safety essentials in mind:
- Always follow manufacturer operating guidelines.
- Keep combustibles like furnishings away from the stove.
- Use a fireguard placed one metre from the front.
- Store fuels at a safe distance.
- Clean the flue pipe regularly.
- Install CO and smoke alarms.
- Keep an extinguisher and fire blanket handy.
And there you have it! We hope this guide has given you the knowledge to install a stove pipe on a wood-burning stove successfully. A systematic approach and following best practices at every stage leads to safe, effective results.
Still looking for the right stove flue pipe for your installation? Take a look at our huge selection here.
Our top tip? If in any doubt, seek assistance from a qualified specialist. Stay safe, and enjoy your new stove!