Can I Put a Wood Stove in My Garage?
Most garages tend to be cold and chilly, especially during winter. And because the garage is where tools and other items are stored, it is important to make the space inhabitable when working on projects on chilly days.
Keep reading to learn how to install a wood stove in your garage safely.
Can I put a wood stove in my garage?
Yes. You can install a wood-burning stove in your garage. However, the wood stove must be installed on a fireproof surface. A concrete garage slab would be ideal. A single layer of bricks, concrete pavers, or ceramic tile can also be installed to create a fireproof surface.
Will adding a wood stove to the garage void my home insurance?
Your premiums will likely increase if you have a wood-burning or pellet stove, but the increase is usually insignificant. In some cases, your insurer may treat your wood stoves like a space heater or similar heating appliance. Having a wood stove may not increase your premiums if this is the case.
Before adjusting or approving the wood stove in the garage, your insurance provider will probably send an inspector to your property after informing the insurer about your wood-burning stove. If the insurer requires an inspection, it won’t cover you until you’ve passed.
Insurance inspectors will check that your stove’s connection to the chimney is clean, well-sealed, and aligns with your local fire codes. Inspectors may also check the chimney itself for cleanliness and a top cover before signing off on your stove.
Note: Your insurer may require annual or semiannual checks to ensure your home does not present an insurance risk. Most safety guidelines specify that you clear the 3 feet surrounding the fireplace or stove or fit the area with a screen to prevent sparks from spreading.
How to install a wood stove in the garage that is code compliant
Follow these steps to install a wood stove in the garage;
- Place the stove unit in the desired location in the garage to complete a preliminary measuring for the wall covering and chimney system’s ceiling and roof penetration.
- Refer to the manufacturer’s specifications for non-combustible wall clearances and make certain the stove position meets or exceeds these requirements.
- Mark a line on the ceiling for the chimney opening, using a plumb bob over the center of the chimney connection flange on the stove.
- Mark a circle to the diameter of the chimney sections that penetrate the ceiling and roof using a scribing compass.
- Add 4 inches to the hole diameter to allow for a typical minimum clearance to any combustible material, such as ceiling joists or the roof structure.
- Adjust the stove position or chimney configuration to keep the chimney’s roof penetration as close to centered between roof rafters and ceiling joists as possible.
- Cut through the ceiling sheetrock, if applicable, using a jab saw or utility knife.
- Cut the ceiling hole to accommodate the metal chimney collar.
- Cut the roof sheathing and roofing around the circle’s outline centered on the stove connection, using a jigsaw or reciprocating saw.
- Clear away the roofing around the opening.
- Prepare the roof and install the chimney collar flashing, following the chimney manufacturer’s instructions.
- Verify the hole’s correct location using a plumb bob lowered through the ceiling.
- Measure out a space on the concrete floor under the woodstove from the wall line behind the stove to a perpendicular point 18 inches beyond the front edge of the stove’s door opening.
- Use a framing square to align the tape measure.
- Move the stove unit away to access the rear wall.
- Cover an unfinished garage wall, one with no sheetrock installed, with a full sheet of fire-rated sheetrock, positioned horizontally and centered.
- Leave a minimum of 48 inches on each side from the centerline of the stove location.
- Attach to the garage wall with sheetrock screws and a screwdriver.
- For corner installations, extend the fire-rated sheetrock 48 inches each way from the corner behind the stove.
- Place a full sheet of cement backer board 36 inches high and centered horizontally with the centerline of the stove.
- Do not extend the cement backer board beyond the end of the fire-rated sheetrock.
- Attach to the wall framing with cement board screws and a screwdriver approximately 8 inches apart on each stud.
- Relocate the wood stove and use a tape measure to verify all the required clearances.
- Connect the chimney sections.
- Pass the joined chimney assembly through the roof opening and collar flashing, then slide the base of the chimney assembly over the chimney flange on the stovetop.
- Attach the chimney to the stove flange according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Attach the counter-flashing, called a “storm collar,” over the roof collar flashing.
- Run a continuous bead of silicone caulking around the perimeter gap between the storm collars inside the edge and the chimney’s vertical surface.
- Install the chimney cap.
- Make certain the cap snaps fully locked onto the top of the chimney assembly.
- You need a building permit before installing fireplaces, wood, pellet, or coal-burning stoves.
- The local building wood stove inspector must inspect new fireplaces, wood, pellet, or coal-burning stoves before they are used.
- Allow for at least 36 inches of clearance around the appliance to prevent combustibles from coming into contact with a heat source. This is the 3-foot circle of safety.
- Solid fuel heating appliances cannot share a common flue with chimney flues used by another solid fuel, fossil fuel, or gas fire appliance.
- A qualified mason should inspect the chimney and flue annually.
- Cracks in the flue or mortar joints can allow flames and heated gases to get into living spaces.
Do I need a permit to put a wood stove in my garage?
Yes. You need a permit to put a wood stove in your garage. You must also adhere to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) wood stove in garage code. The association recommends that wood stoves be placed at a safe distance from flammable walls and materials. In addition, your stove should be backed by and seated on a non-combustible surface, like stone, tile, or brick.
The wood stove must be installed on a fireproof surface, and a concrete garage slab is ideal. Additionally, your stove must be inspected by a qualified building inspector before using it.
Top safety tips to consider before putting a wood stove in the garage
Here are some safety tips to remember when it comes to using a wood stove safely in your garage;
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. An ABC, dry chemical type is best for wood fires. Make sure it’s pressurized and charged at all times.
- Don’t let the stovepipe get too hot to touch, especially if it’s exposed in an unheated space such as a garage where there might be some colder air coming in contact with the pipe. The insulation around your pipe should keep that from happening, but you can also buy heat tape to wrap around the pipe just in case.
- Keep a window open at least an inch or two up from the bottom of your stovepipe opening, especially if you have no insulation on that side of it. Wood stoves can pull air into themselves through their natural chimney effect, and this will help maintain airflow.
- Never burn green/freshly cut wood on your stove. It produces smoke and creosote, a flammable substance that can build up inside the pipe and cause it to overheat or burst if too much is allowed to accumulate. Wood with lots of pitch and sap may also produce unsafe gasses. Instead, burn only dry, well-seasoned hardwood to reduce creosote accumulation.
- Do not block the air holes on the side of your stove with things like bricks, rocks, or other materials that don’t allow enough room for clean airflow to pass through them.
- Proper equipment use and prevention – Many fireplace and wood-burning stove equipment pieces can stand right in front of one of these heat-generating. For example, you can go to your local fireplace store and purchase a shield such as a wire mesh or glass gate that would stop possible fire sparks from ever reaching the carpet, curtains, rugs, or even your clothes on your body.
- Don’t use lighter fluid to start a fire, as this could cause an explosion. Instead, only use dry wood and a mixture of small chunks and large chucks as the smaller one starts.
- Do not use charcoal to put inside your fireplace or wood-burning stove. Charcoal is made for barbecue grills and can also let off harmful carbon monoxide into your home. Breathing in this gas too long and undetected can cause death.
- Test smoke detectors in the garage and ensure you have a functioning fire detector. You should also install a carbon monoxide detector.
- Do not store your firewood in wet places as the wood will absorb a lot of its moisture. This will make the wood rot before you even get a chance to use it. Instead, store the firewood inside the
- Have your chimney flue cleaned before each heating season. Most chimney fires occur because of creosote build-up, a tarry byproduct of burning wood.
- Check that the damper is open before lighting the fire. A close damper will result in an accumulation of smoke and carbon monoxide in the home. Don’t close the damper until the fire is out and the embers are cold.
- Use a fireplace screen to prevent flying sparks and embers from falling onto the floor.
- Install and maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to protect your family.
- To prevent fires, ashes cleaned out from the stove or fireplace should be shoveled into a metal bucket with a metal lid and placed outside on the ground away from the building.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to warn of fire and deadly fumes from a faulty furnace, fireplace, oven flue, or other venting problem.
Note: Never have carpet installed directly in front of a fireplace or wood-burning stove as a spark could land on it and start a fire. The best flooring to install is said to be either linoleum or brick. Anything that’s not so combustible like carpet.
For proper equipment usage, especially for wood-burning stoves, always adjust the air vents before bed and before long vacation trips. Many fires originating from wood-burning stoves occur when these air vents are not monitored.