The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Ceiling support kit components

Supervent Ceiling Support Kit componentsWe've been guilty of somewhat ramshackle construction around our wood stove in the past --- permissable since it was an exterior wood furnace.  But since we're going to be putting our new darling in the trailer (or at least in a tiny addition on the side of the trailer), we decided to pay the extra money and toe the line.

It probably goes without saying, but I highly recommend that you not buy your chimney setup from the wood stove store.  The prices they quoted us on getting smoke from the stove to the outside air were about twice what we later found for the same products at Lowes (where Mark snagged a 10% discount as former military.)  Instead, start with the Supervent Ceiling Support Kit and you'll just need to add in black stovepipe, a damper, and a bit of sealant between the stove and the ceiling and a double-walled chimney pipe to extend three feet above the local roof (and two feet above the highest point within 10 feet on the roof.)  Total cost for the chimney assemblage, done the right way, was $261.

Chimney height above the roofThis year, one of our financial goals is to sink any extra cash into long term farm infrastructure which will make our bills lower in the long run and which will (hopefully) last for many years to come.  If that hadn't been our goal for the year, I might have been tempted to cobble together some of the elements in the ceiling support kit from cheaper components.  For example, you can reproduce the double-walled chimney pipe ($62) by sliding your six inch chimney pipe inside an eight inch chimney pipe of the same length and filling the gap with a non-flammable insulation like ceramic strand insulation or a welding blanket.  The attic insulation shield (part of the $158 kit) can be made just as easily by cobbling together a box two inches away from your double-walled pipe out of basic lumber.  But for amateurs like us, the extra cash was worth it since it's helping us piece together the proper way to build a chimney out of pipes.

Simplify your chicken-keeping routine with our homemade chicken waterer.

TrailersteadingEdited to add:

I summed up everything I learned about installing a wood stove in a mobile home in Trailersteading, which is now available for $1.99 on Amazon.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Do you have fire insurance? If so, I could imagine that a thrown-together DIY chimney would be an excuse for an insurer to deny any claims.
Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Nov 15 12:27:39 2010
Nope, no fire insurance. Since our trailer is literally worthless, it doesn't seem worthwhile. :-) But you're totally right that putting in a wood stove to code is essential if you want to get insurance of any sort.
Comment by anna Mon Nov 15 12:52:30 2010

Now that you are moving the stove indoors, there are two additional things you should invest in;

  • A good fire extinguisher. Dry chemical types work best, but their powders tend to be very corrosive. Foam works better than water and isn't corrosive like chemicals. CO₂ works very well but is not suited for small spaces. All in all foam is a good compromise.
  • A battery-powered CO detector.
Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Nov 15 12:55:19 2010
Mark got us a little fire extinguisher when we first moved in. It lives by the electric stove, which means it'll be right by the wood stove. Good call on the Carbon Monoxide detector!
Comment by anna Mon Nov 15 13:04:20 2010
As long as we're talking bout a little tutorial about building a fire in your new fireplace. My mom has the same stove and model in her cabin and seems to NEED store bought firestarters to build a fire. I have no experience and can't really help, I'm still trying to figure out our new pellet stove. :)
Comment by Fostermamas Tue Nov 16 01:54:51 2010
I wish I could be helpful, but it turns out that Mark's a fan of those storebought firestarters too. I hate the idea, but our furnace was so hard to get started that they seemed necessary. However, I have high hopes that our new wood stove will be better since I've read that cold air around your stovepipe (the norm with an exterior wood furnace) makes it much harder to light the stove. Maybe your mom should consider her chimney --- if it's got bends in it or goes outside, that will make the fire much harder to start than if it goes straight up through warm air in the house.
Comment by anna Tue Nov 16 09:11:59 2010


Have you looked at the Jotun website? They have manuals for all stoves in PDF format. As Anna says, the draft in the chimney is very important. If you twist a piece of newspaper, put it in the empty and cold stove and light it, does the smoke go into the chimney? If not, there's not enough draft.


I was browsing around at the instructables website (looking at this wood-frame bicycle) when I found this DIY gasifier stove.

Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Nov 16 14:00:12 2010
Can you explain a bit more about gasifier stoves (or send me a link to some basic info)? Is this basically a cook stove, like a rocket stove?
Comment by anna Tue Nov 16 15:21:12 2010

Basically it is a wood stove for cooking with forced ventilation and an afterburner to burn the particles in the smoke.

The construction of a rocket stove is mostly meant to create a strong draft.

Have you even been to a blacksmith, and seen how hot a fire with forced ventilation through the bottom can get? That is what the holes in the bottom of the inner pot are for. This is the primary air.

Wood fires tend to give smoke under certain circumstances, which are really unburnt hydrocarbons evaporating from the wood. Generating a fire that evaporates the hydrocarbons quickly and then adding extra oxygen (secondary air, through the holes around the top of the inner) makes sure the smoke burns completely, giving a cleaner and more efficient fire.

This stove does more or less what a gasifier does; generate flammable gas by incomplete combustion of wood. Of course in a "real" gasifier you'd use less primary air to generate as much "wood gas"/syngas as possible, and you don't burn it off immediately like in a stove.

For more details, check the gasification article on wikipedia.

Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Nov 16 16:43:45 2010

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