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Wood Stove Connected to Fireplace

barrettles's picture

I have a client who wants me to install his wood stove in front of his heatilator.  Rather than running the stovepipe from the wood stove to the inside of the heatilator and then up the heatilator stack, he wants to put a metal cover on the front of the heatilator and then connect the stovepipe to that.

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I can’t see any way that this could be safe.  Any ideas?  I have agreed to run the stovepipe into the heatilator stove pipe if he wants me to.  He had it hooked up this way before for three years without a problem.  I would appreciate your views on that method also.


This person is an elderly gentleman with very strong opinions and I have not been able to convince him that the CO that gathers in the fireplace will not necessarily be sucked out of the heatilator if there is a cover on the front and that it might escape into the room.  His goal is to prevent warm air from being sucked out of the room and into the fireplace.  I told him this was the one thing that keeps the CO from getting into the room.


Thanks in advance for your opinion and possibly for some logic I can use to convince him of the folly of his idea.
Les Barrett Quality Construction


(post #111445, reply #1 of 4)

I can’t see any way that this could be safe.  Any ideas?

A safer idea would be to pour diesel fuel all over the living room and lighting it. That way, everyone would know the house was on fire and could evacuate. The way your customer wants to do it could possibly start the house on fire when the occupants are sleeping.

Heatilator is a brand and I don't know if you're using the term generically or not, but get the brand and model # off the unit and do a web search. There are approved stoves for certain pre-fab units with very specific installation instructions. Never, ever install a plate on the front of those things. They depend on airflow around the firebox to acheive the "zero-clearance" rating (which is a misnomer). Dumping cool woodstove smoke into the firebox of a prefab f/p is asking for a chimney fire.

I invented the chimney cleaning log

(post #111445, reply #2 of 4)

This is a Heatilator Mark 123, which is no longer produced.  It has pipe sections which are 9" in diameter in the middle surrounded by rock wool and a 14" outer sleeve diameter.  Parts and information are no longer available for this unit.

Les Barrett Quality Construction


(post #111445, reply #3 of 4)

There is the CO problem which you have correctly identified.

Wood fires (especially at slow burns with restricted air) can produce HUGE amounts of CO.

You are absolutely right and he is absolutely wrong (and potentially dead wrong) in the way he wants to do it.

Also, his proposed route is likely to create significant amounts of creosote in the fire box and smoke chamber which is a fire hazard.

If you give in to his wishes, you will be accepting potential liability.

Remember the tennis star who was killed a few years ago from CO from a pool heater?

The tech who had serviced it was brought up on criminal charges for negligent homicide.

He beat the rap.

But why take the chance?

I give these opinions as (i) a certified Carbon Monoxide Analyst and (ii) former attorney (in recovery)

The key to forgiving others is to quit focusing on what they did to you, and start focusing on what God did for you. Max Lucado

Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace

Edited 11/4/2004 4:37 pm ET by Bob Walker

======================================== "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." Reinhold Niebuhr: 'The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness' ========================================

(post #111445, reply #4 of 4)

Thanks to both of you.  I will print these out and show them to him.  They may carry more weight than my opinion.  If anyone else wants to chime in, I would be happy to have more opinions.


Les Barrett Quality Construction