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Discussion Starter #1
I am just starting to look at putting a woodstove in my house. It is a small, basement free home that looks like it was originally heated with one. There is a chimney in the center of the house with a hole above my head where a pipe could still be fitted. It doesn't have a very secure looking cover over it right now, but I haven't fiddled with it yet.

Is there an easy way for me to check the chimney to make sure it's still usable? Is that something I can clean myself (I'm assuming it would be best to do after sitting unused).

Any stove recommendations?
 

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All I can say is consult with someone knowledgeable in this area to make sure the chimney is safe. Wood stoves are wonderful to have but dangerous when not installed properly. I would guess a company that sold them would be glad to look at it for you just to try to make a sale.
 

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Fixer's advice is right on.It is extremely important to have a reputable, knowledgeable person install a chimney & the woodstove. there have been many fires because of faulty chimneys. I don't know a lot about the subject, but believe we have a triple wall chimney. It goes through 3 stories. It as well as the original woodstove was installed by a pro. We have it cleaned every year before the woodburning season starts again. the material on the outside of it through the top 2 floors gets warm, but not hot enough that you can't touch it.
It is great to have a wood fire, especially on damp spring days.

Hope you can get what you want, sounds like you already have it partly set up!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I did stop by a dealer tonight to talk to them and look at what they had. One thing I found out is that I can't used the chimney if they ended up venting the furnace or water heater through it. From the homes I walked through I know that's what they usually do. My water heater is built in and the chimney drywalled over so I can't see to be sure, but they are next to each other so I'm assuming that's what happened.

I got a quote for a sturdy wood burner I'd be able to cook on :) Since I'd need a new pipe run up it's more than I'm ready for right now, but I'll keep looking and maybe plan ahead for a fall install.
 

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Vig, my FIL has a freestanding woodstove. It's fantastic...it's not very big either. He also dismantales oak pallets and other scrap wood he finds and cuts it to fit in his stove...that's his summer job...his winter job is burning wood in the stove...he's a pyro bwhahahahah.

I would have my chimney professionally cleaned once a year.
 
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i dont know about where u are but here in alberta if a wood stove is not professionally installed and there is a fire your fire insurance is null and void also the insurance company has to be notified when you put it into the house so i would check first with them to see what they say
 

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Definitely check with your insurance company about it. They will more likely than not need to come out and inspect it. We burn wood as our major source of heat, but the wood burner is in the basement. There are actual liners you can get for your chimney, which is what we did. It helps prevent the creosote from sticking to the chimney walls, thus helping cut down on chances of fire. DH also cleans our chimney twice a year, once before the woodburning season starts and once again in January or so. Good luck ... as another Wisconsinite I know the winters can get mighty cold (as well as our spring this year!).
 

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We installed a pellet stove last winter.... A chimney liner can be installed down an old Masonary chimney. They are a lot safer then a wood sove... light themselves...shut themselves off when room gets to desired temperaure....
 

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You can install a woodstove yourself if you are handy

I suggest going to the hearth.com forums to look at stove reviews, and then find a well-reviewed stove on Craigslist, typically for a quarter of the new price. Get someone who knows stoves to help you inspect it prior to purchase for warps and overfiring damage, and know the stove's required clearances to combustibles so that you are SURE the stove will fit in the space you have. In my state (Massachusetts) there are codes and guidelines for wood stove and chimney installation. I got a permit from my building inspector, followed the guidelines precisely for my install, and got a signoff from the inspector confirming I have a safe and legal install. I was not able to use my existing masonry chimney and therefore installed an insulated chimney, Selkirk Metalbestos, purchased new through ace hardware outlet dot com -- the very best prices available, about 40% of (and I mean of, not off) the price of a typical stove shop. The installation guides on the Selkirk site are excellent. There's a lot of good advice on the hearth.com forums about chimney installs. Best to go straight up rather than out a wall and then up. Make the chimney taller than the highest finished living space in your home to ensure a good draft. A straight-up chimney is easy to clean and inspect yourself. Get a poly chimney brush (rather than a metal one) so you avoid scratching the stainless liner of the insulated chimney. Burn dry wood (2 years split) and you won't build creosote. Get a moisture meter ($25 on Amazon) and split the wood to confirm 20% moisture or drier on the interior -- you should also split and test any wood that you buy. There is no standard for "seasoned" -- so you need to validate with a moisture meter.
 

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We put in a Jotol 3 years ago and love it! We clean ours every year, it takes an hour or so. When we lost power last winter, the wood burner kept the house warm.
 

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