Pellet stoves work much like wood burning stoves in that fresh air must be supplied to the fire and waste air sufficiently vented from a home in order for them to work safely and efficiently.
Wood stoves are often found installed within existing open masonry fireplaces utilizing the chimney as a way to vent waste air from a home, but do pellet stoves need a chimney?
Pellet stoves do not necessarily need a chimney, but will need a form of flue to be installed to safely remove waste air from a home. A pellet stove can either be installed within an open fireplace and utilize an existing chimney with a flue liner, or can be vented out an external wall of a home.
Although we have an open fireplace with chimney located in our living room, pellet stoves don’t necessarily require a chimney in order to be installed in a home and so we didn’t have to choose a pellet stove based on the dimensions of the existing fireplace opening.
There are other ways in which to vent a pellet stove and so we’ve explained in more detail below using our own pellet stove as an example:
- How a chimney can be used for a pellet stove.
- Whether you can install a pellet stove without a chimney.
- How we’ve installed our own pellet stove without a chimney.
Do Pellet Stoves Need a Chimney?
Pellet stoves are a form of stove in that they burn fuel to generate heat for a home, but have a number of differences compared to wood burning stoves with the main one being that pellet stoves are electrical appliances.
We’ve explained exactly what pellet stoves are in another article, but much like wood burning stoves, waste air from the combustion chamber inside a pellet stove must be removed from a home in a sufficient manner.
Pellet stoves don’t necessarily need the use of a chimney in order for this to be achieved.
However, installing any form of stove within an existing open fireplace has its benefits because an associated chimney provides an existing means in which to exhaust waste air from a home, without needing to have anything further installed (apart from a flue liner if the chimney isn’t already lined with a suitable one).
We’ve had our own wood burning and multi fuel stoves installed within existing open fireplaces, and simply needed to be connected up to a new stainless steel chimney flue liner in order to conform with local building regulations.
Pellet stoves can be installed and used with a chimney if required.
For example, we could have installed our own pellet stove within a masonry fireplace. The instruction manual for our own particular model of pellet stove states that it can be installed within an open fireplace as long as the fireplace conforms to a standard suitable for burning solid fuels.
If we were to install our pellet stove in a masonry fireplace with an existing masonry chimney that was wider than a certain diameter, then a stainless steel flue liner of a certain size would need to be installed the full length of the chimney in order to facilitate installation of the pellet stove.
The user manual for our pellet stove states:
“If the chimney has a size larger than 150mm diameter, a stainless steel flue liner must be installed along its entire length with a diameter of 150mm.”Victoria-05
Furthermore, the requirements for installing our own particular model of pellet stove in a fireplace for use with a masonry chimney includes:
- The flue liner must remain isolated by the surrounding masonry chimney.
- All parts of the chimney should remain free for inspection.
- An opening must be provided at the base of the chimney for inspection and cleaning every year.
- A chimney cowl must be installed for wind protection in line with local guidance.
Although pellet stoves can be installed within masonry fireplaces and use a chimney for venting, we were unable to install our own pellet stove in our open fireplace due to the differences in size.
Our pellet stove is much taller compared to the opening of our masonry fireplace and so we would have needed to open up the firebox of the existing fireplace for the chimney to be used.
However, as pellet stoves don’t necessarily need to use an existing chimney in order to facilitate their installation, there are other ways than using in an existing chimney in which a pellet stove can be vented.
Can You Install A Pellet Stove Without A Chimney?
Pellet stoves can be installed in a home without the use of chimney. Even if a home has an existing chimney, a pellet stove can be vented out of an external wall of a home and a flue installed up the outside of an external wall to above the eaves, or a flue can be installed internally and through the roof.
A pellet stove can be installed in a home that doesn’t have an existing chimney and a new masonry chimney doesn’t need to be installed in order to have a pellet stove in a home.
Although we have an open fireplace and an existing chimney in which we could use for a pellet stove, we’ve chosen to vent our pellet stove another way.
If you don’t have an existing chimney there are typically two options you can go with:
- Installing a flue internally within the house vertically through the roof.
- Installing a flue through an external wall of a home and then vertically up an outside wall to above the eaves.
As installing a flue for a pellet stove within a home and up through the roof can become very expensive depending on the situation, we’ve had the flue for our own pellet stove installed externally on the side of the house.
In the case of our pellet stove, and with many other models, there’s a flue socket located at the back of the stove.
Waste air from the combustion chamber of the pellet stove is fed out of this flue socket and up the flue.
As our pellet stove is located next to an external wall within our living room (and also next to an electrical outlet so that it can be plugged into the mains electricity), the flue from this connection extends horizontally through the external wall.
The flue for our pellet stove then travels vertically up the exterior wall of the house to above the eaves.
The chimney flue for a pellet stove cannot simply just be extended horizontally through an external wall of a building.
The flue for a pellet stove must be installed in line with your local building codes and regulations, with the flue typically extending a certain distance above the roofline.
If you’re looking to install a flue internally for a pellet stove, then it should also be done in line with your regional building codes and regulations.
What Kind Of Chimney Do You Need For A Pellet Stove?
If installing a pellet stove within a masonry fireplace, a stainless steel liner is typically required for use with a masonry chimney. An internal or external pellet stove flue must be used and installed in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines and local building codes.
If you’re planning on installing a pellet stove within a masonry fireplace to utilize an existing chimney then the following may be required:
- A flue liner, typically stainless steel.
- A suitable chimney cowl for wind protection.
- A register plate at the base of the chimney.
The requirements for flues for pellet stoves not using a chimney will differ between each model, but in the case of our own pellet stove with the flue extending up the outside wall of our home the following was required:
- Connection to stainless steel flue from the back of the pellet stove.
- A flue that supports a connection to the 80mm diameter flue socket on the pellet stove.
- T-fitting at the beginning of the vertical section of the flue recommended.
- Hermetically sealed flue with materials highly resistant to high temperatures.
- Horizontal flue section of no more than 2m.
- No more than two 90-degree bends within the horizontal flue section.
A pellet stove, including flue, must be installed in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines and any relevant building regulations and codes for your particular area of residence.