Almost exactly one year ago I lit the first fire in my new Wood burning stove. After nearly a year of research, I selected the Englander 30-NC from England’s Stove Works. With the help of my father, and the patience of my wife, I tackled the installation myself. The project ended up taking two months, but it was well worth it. This is the diary of my installation.
Nov 30, 2007 (Morning)
I’ve decided not to put a wood burning insert into my factory built Majestic WMC42 fireplace. I’m back to looking at freestanding stoves. Becky is happier about that, since a free standing stove on the mid level of the house was what she wanted originally anyway.
I’ve had my eye on the Quadra-Fire 3100 step top, but I’ve come to grips with the fact that while I have wine tastes, I am still on a beer budget. The other stove that I’ve been considering is the Englander 30-NC. It is significantly less expensive, but has a solid reputation.
I found an Englander 30-NC on Craigslist this morning. I’m waiting to hear back if it’s still available. The guy is asking $550 for it. It’s new, still has the plastic wrap on it, and is still on the shipping pallet. Regular retail for this stove is a little over $1000, so it’s a good deal.
Nov 30, 2007 (Evening)
I just talked to the gentleman on the phone. The stove is still available.
I’m going to be picking it up on Sunday. Not a bad score!
Dec 2, 2007
I bought the stove!
Becky and I managed to talk my parents into coming with us to pick up our stove this morning. We bought them breakfast at McDonalds in return.
Craigslist for the win!!! It turned out that the guy that was selling it only lived about 10 minutes from me, just on the other side of the state park!
My dad has a little trailer that we used this morning to haul the stove. It was much easier rolling the dolly up the ramp on the trailer than trying to lift the stove into the bed of my pickup truck. That beast is heavy!
I’m excited! Now that I have the stove, I can start planning my chimney and hearth.
Dec 3, 2007
I’m putting together my plans for building the hearth pad for my new 30-NC. I called the county to inquire about building codes. They instructed me to install the stove according to the manufacturer’s Instructions. They confirmed that they do not have any codes that override the manufacturer’s instructions.
We set the stove down in the corner where we are going to install it. I took some towels and laid them on the floor to approximate the footprint of the hearth pad so that Becky and I could get a feel for how it will look (the hearth pad will go all the way back to the corner). The photo looks very flat (almost no depth perception) but everything is sitting according to the clearances as I understood them to be.
Dec 4, 2007
I just got off the phone with the building department. They told me what I need to do in order to get a permit. Total cost of the permit will be about $75. The application fee is $25, and the permit fee is $50.
They want two copies of the stove manual, two copies of the chimney kit installation manual, two copies of drawings of my hearth pad design, and two copies of drawings of any framing that I need to do in the attic.
Looks like I’m going to be spending some time taking measurements and drawing up plans
I’m going through the ceiling directly above the stove into a very small attic space, and then straight up out the roof above. It should be a pretty easy run. The roof pitch is not steep. I have felt pretty comfortable walking on it before when I was working on my TV antenna, so working up there won’t be too bad. One of the things I’m going to need to do is try and take some sort of measurement of the pitch just to make sure. I also need to figure out where my rafters are to make sure that my stove will work there where I want it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Dec 7, 2007
TSC didn’t have the right ceiling support kit in stock. I happened to be at Lowes tonight and checked to see what they had. They didn’t stock the right kit for vaulted ceilings either. I went ahead and ordered the kit from Lowes while I was there.
I found the PDF of the manual online, so I can at least print it up and get started on my permit application before the kit actually arrives.
I’m getting antsy to start building something. I have to keep telling myself to be patient. Hopefully I can get my permit application done on Monday morning.
Dec 14, 2007
I stopped at the Delaware County Building Department on the way in to work this morning to apply for my permit.
To be honest, they didn’t have any idea what to do with me and my wood burning stove. The gal at the desk went to find somebody else to ask.
I finally said “So, I guess most people don’t bother to pull a permit for these things?”
Their response was “Yeah, most folks just go ahead and install them.” I couldn’t believe it!
The gentleman that she brought over looked over my drawings, asked a few questions and decided that I only needed to get a “mechanical” permit for the stove, as I wasn’t really doing any framing work that needed a building permit. He said that since my pad was so simple, it wasn’t necessary, and that the building permits are for people who are building a chimney chase.
They got it figured out, but I was pretty shocked that so few people get permits for their wood burning stoves that the building department wasn’t very familiar with the application process for them!
Dec 19, 2007
I picked up my permit this morning! Planning to start building my hearth pad this weekend. The chimney kit for my vaulted ceiling is supposed to be in at Lowes on the 27th. If all goes well, I’ll be burning within the next few weeks!
Dec 21, 2007
Lowes called me last night and let me know that my cathedral ceiling chimney kit that I ordered is in a week early! I have my permit in hand, and I’m ready to start.
I talked to the inspector yesterday morning. He doesn’t want me to put the Durock over the metal studs until he has a chance to look at it. I figured as much, but it was good to get a confirmation. I wouldn’t want to box something in that he will need to see!
Dec 23, 2007
My parents came over last night and my dad and I started the install!
The chimney support box is in! I spent some quality time in my attic last night (there isn’t much room up there). It really looks great. So far, I’m very happy.
We started building the steel stud skeleton that will be the structure underneath my hearth pad as well. We’ll probably get that finished tonight, I hope.
I picked up some ceramic tile on sale at Lowe’s for $.79 per square foot, and the best part was, when I got home, Becky approved it without any argument!
We ran into one little snag. While I was up in my attic, I made the discovery that the peak of the ceiling inside the house does not line up with the peak of the roof. My stainless steel chimney pipe is going to go straight up almost dead center though the peak of my roof. I’m going to have to talk to somebody to have a custom roof flashing fabricated for my chimney.
Dec 24, 2007
Everybody that I have talked to has told me that I will be guaranteed to have leaks if I run my chimney right through the peak of my roof. The other option is to use a pair of “offset elbows” to offset Class-A chimney pipe so that I penetrate the roof to the side of the peak.
I’ll need to take another trip up to Menard’s and see what they have. They had considerably more selection than Lowes did. I need to pick up the attic insulation shield and the roof flashing still, in addition to the elbows for an offset.
Hopefully I’ll be able to find those parts locally.
The metal stud framing is in place. I need to pick up another pack of sheet metal screws. I came up about 10 screws short.
So far, so good!
Dec 27, 2007
The inspector came out this morning and approved what I have so far. He said to call back and schedule my final inspection when I’m all finished and ready to burn.
I found an offset chart in the SuperVent manual that I have. I need to run up to Menards (they carry the exact same line that Lowes does, and I like their store a whole lot more) and pick up the rest of the stuff that I’ll need for my chimney install. I think the 15 degree offset elbow kit that they have will be sufficient, and they have it in stock. It’s going to be tough to tell exactly how the dimensions will work out until I have the parts and see how they all fit together.
I want to have everything ready to go and return what I don’t need so that I spend as little time as possible up in the attic.
Instead of using a factory wall support bracket designed to mount outside the house, my plan is to take a couple 2×4’s and a little bit of plywood to build a support platform between the roof trusses. I’ll use a support box for a flat ceiling and mount it into the hole that I cut into the plywood platform. Doing this will ensure that my offsets do not have to bear any load. As long as I continue to meet/exceed the proper specs for distance to combustibles, it should work and be very easy to construct to fit my application exactly.
Dec 30, 2007
I ended up buying another vaulted ceiling support box. The way it’s designed, it will work for what I need. The only problem is that it’s a little bit too tall (the 2nd box will not be installed in an angled ceiling), so I’ll trim the height down and be good to go.
My dad came over again tonight and we were able to get the Durock down. We’ll be putting the tile down tomorrow. He’s going to bring over his wet saw to cut the angles.
I made a trip to Menard’s last night and picked up everything else that I will need. I picked up a few extra parts, since I’m not sure exactly what I’ll use. I’ll end up returning some of them.
Dec 31, 2007
Tonight we got all of the full tiles put down, and took measurements for the tiles that will need to be cut for the vertical perimeter and the angles back into the corner. Dad is going to cut them with his wet saw and bring them back so we can put them in. We didn’t see a point in moving the whole saw to my place for less than a dozen tiles.
Everything is coming together nicely! We might be able to tackle the chimney on new years day, if things go well.
January 1, 2008
No work on the chimney today after all. Oh well. We’ve made great progress though in the last couple days! Maybe by the end of the week I’ll have it up and running.
I should be able to get the inspector to come out on Thursday or Friday if I’m ready by then.
I think I’m going to use some “dirt colored” grout so that it won’t be too hard to keep clean.
Jan 2, 2008
The last of the tiles went down this morning. We’re hoping to do the grout tomorrow night.
We ran into some issues with the chimney situation. The 15 degree offset kit that I bought won’t allow me to gain enough offset before I run out of height in my attic. I’ll have to get my hands on a pair of 30 degree elbows. I have less room to work up there than I thought. I have 40″ from the top of the ceiling rafters to the underside of the plywood at the peak of the roof. I’m hoping that the 30 degree elbows will give me enough offset and still work within the height available.
I’m having a heck of a time finding anybody that stocks the SuperVent products locally, and the ones I found don’t carry the 30 degree offset kit. I thought about buying another 15 degree kit and putting two elbows at each end, but I need the offset to be as compact as possible, and I would gain too much height from the elbows that way. I’m also not wild about the idea of adding more joints than I absolutely have to have in my chimney system.
Menard’s and Lowe’s are both telling me that it will be 3 weeks for them to special order the kit for me!! Ouch! I want this thing up and running! I’m tired of heating with liquid gold!
Jan 3rd, 2008
At least we got the tile down the other night, and the grout went in tonight. I Still need to clean up a little more grout residue, but the pad is pretty much done. I’m just waiting on the chimney. We’ll set the stove in place sometime this weekend maybe. I want to give it plenty of time for the thinset to cure before setting the stove on it.
Ordering my offsets tomorrow and waiting 3 weeks for them to arrive.
Jan 8, 2008
We were able to get the room put back together last night.
We set the stove up onto the hearth pad and put away a lot of the boxes and tools and moved around some of the bookshelves adjusted the placement of the couches slightly.
Becky seems to be pretty happy with the way it looks, so that’s good. I’m really excited. The pad turned out really nice and the stove looks great on it.
Jan 25, 2008
Lowes called!! My elbows are ready to pick up!
I’ll be heading up there as soon as Becky gets home. We’ll combine the trip with dinner while we’re out (it’s how I bribed her to go, since she usually wants to relax at home after work).
Jan 28, 2008
We were able to get my black stove pipe cut to length and put together, the first section of class-A is in with the stove pipe adapter on it. I very carefully cleaned up the furnace cement that oozed out, so it looks great. In the living room, the installation looks complete.
As for up in the attic…
The 30 degree elbows will give me enough offset with a 24″ section of pipe between them, but the return elbow returns me to vertical less than an inch below the roof deck. This means that supporting the offset and the final couple pieces of chimney that penetrate the roof is going to be interesting, since I don’t have much room.
My original plan was to use another vaulted ceiling support box, with the height cut down. I might still be able to, but I’m not sure. I’ll have to see if there will be enough of the sides left to put screws through and into some 2×4’s once I cut the angles to fit along the bottom of the roof deck.
I’m working on trying to engineer a solution that will not only meet code, but also meet my approval. Sometimes it’s hard being this fussy.
Jan 30, 2008
Looks like my best bet is the Selkirk roof support bracket. Luckily this part is the same for SuperVent and SuperPro. I found a chimney sweep nearby that can order one from a wholesaler in town and have it for me tomorrow or Friday.
If the weather cooperates, I might have it up and running this weekend. If Saturday doesn’t pan out, Sunday is supposed to be about 40F. A good day to be on the roof.
If I can get it inspected Monday or Tuesday, I’ll be one happy guy.
Jan 31, 2008
I’m glad that I was able to find the part locally. Lowes and Menard’s were both telling me it would be another three weeks to order it!!
Between 3 different jobs, I usually end up working seven days a week. By some miracle, I actually have this weekend off to complete the install!
Feb 1, 2008
Well, I dodged a major bullet with the weather. The winter storm that was supposed to bring us 3 inches of freezing rain and snow ended up only bringing us rain and a little slush. If my luck holds, my roof won’t be slippery tomorrow and I’ll be able to work on the roof!!!
The sweep that I ordered my roof support bracket from called back… turns out he ordered the wrong part. He ordered the kit for the Metalbestos line. I called Selkirk to see if I could use it, but they said that I needed the SuperVent part in order to maintain the listings. Too bad, because the one he ordered is a better part that I would prefer to use.
He called his wholesaler back and figured out the right part. Luckily Dad works a few minutes from the wholesaler’s warehouse. We’ve arranged for him to pick up the correct roof support assembly this evening after work.
That was a close one!
Feb 3, 2008
The smell and the smoke from breaking in the stove curing the paint isn’t as bad as I expected it to be. I haven’t had to open any windows yet.
The stove is absolutely beautiful. The secondary combustion system is amazing! It turns out that the spousal approval rating is quite high. I can tell that I’m going to like this.