Where do I locate my fireplace?

In new construction or renovation, locating a fireplace in the primary living space such as family room, living room, dining room or kitchen is most common. An open-concept plan allows an efficient fireplace to provide most of the heat in the living space, creating a zoning effect. Installation inside the home’s building envelope (that’s the physical separator between the inside and the outside) is best and ideally located on an exterior wall for simplicity in venting configuration.


What type of fireplace do I choose for my application?

Zero clearance fireplaces are used where there is no existing fireplace. Also referred to as factory-built fireplaces, they must be framed in and finished. These fireplaces are available in both wood and gas.

Inserts are used to convert existing wood-burning masonry fireplaces to either wood or gas. A stainless-steel liner is used for wood inserts. Two aluminum liners are used for gas inserts to line the existing chimney.


What type of chimney/venting do I choose for my application?

This depends on the type of fireplace, stove or insert you’re choosing.

Zero clearance, direct-vent gas fireplaces & freestanding stoves use co-axial venting systems. The outer pipe brings combustion air in from outside while the inner pipe exhausts flue gases.

Direct vent gas inserts use co-linear venting systems. This system uses two separate aluminum liners that are run through the existing chimney system. One brings combustion air from outside while the other exhausts flue gases.

Zero clearance wood burning fireplaces use an insulated stainless-steel chimney system. Type, size and brand of chimney is determined by the fireplace manufacturer and listed in the appliance manual.

Wood-burning inserts use a stainless-steel liner system, which lines the existing chimney system.

Free-standing wood stoves use a combination of smoke pipe and stainless-steel chimney system.  All wood stoves require a stainless-steel chimney that is tested to 2100º F. Size & brand is determined by the fireplace manufacturer and listed in the appliance manual.

All fireplaces & stoves are tested and approved as a complete system with their appropriate chimney or venting system. Approved chimney & venting brands & sizes are always listed in the appliance manuals.


Do I need a permit?

A permit is required for all wood-burning appliance installations. Whether installing a new wood-burning fireplace or stove, replacing an existing wood-burning fireplace with a new wood-burning fireplace or installing a wood insert into an existing masonry wood-burning fireplace, a permit is required.

Permits are not required for installation of gas-burning fireplaces, stoves or inserts.


Why is my wood fireplace difficult to light, or smoke back into the house?

This is usually due to downdrafts, which can be caused by any obstacle that affects airflow around the chimney, such as trees, buildings and adjacent roof lines. Sometimes, adding extra chimney to increase the stack height can help to prevent downdrafts. And some specialty chimney caps can help to prevent downdrafts.

Wood-burning appliances on the lowest level of a home can sometimes be affected by stack or chimney effect. This is when a draft is created in the house due to the difference between inside and outside temperatures that creates uneven air pressure in various levels of the house with a neutral point between them. Wood-burning appliances below this neutral point work against this low or negative pressure while ones above the neutral point are aided by the higher or positive pressure.

Opening a window or having a dedicated outside air connection to your wood-burning appliance might reverse stack effect. You might also consider a residential ventilation system or HRV system to aid in the reversing of stack effect.


Does my fireplace require any maintenance?

Gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts should receive an annual inspection and cleaning from your licensed technician. It’s recommended to have the company/individual who installed the appliance perform any service or maintenance as they are familiar with your product and the installation and will have access to any potential parts that may be required.

Wood fireplaces, stoves and inserts should also be inspected annually along with at least one chimney sweep a season. A WETT-certified sweep/inspector is your best resource for a thorough annual inspection and cleaning. (WETT stands for Wood Energy Technology Transfer and is a non-profit education and training association.)