LESLIE: Jim in Texas needs some help with a fireplace. What can we do for you?
JIM: I’ve got a log home with a fireplace with three flues in it.
TOM: OK. Is it one chimney, Jim, with three flues?
JIM: The middle flue goes down into the basement and they put it too close to a beam.
JIM: What can I insulate a stovepipe with that would be sufficient to protect the heat?
TOM: Alright, Jim, stop right there. Is it a metal stovepipe or is it a masonry chimney?
JIM: No, well, it’s – the flue is masonry but it will be a metal stovepipe.
TOM: So the metal stovepipe goes from where to where?
JIM: The metal stovepipe goes just from – through the wall into the flue.
TOM: OK. And the beam is near the top of this stovepipe? And it’s off a wood stove or what’s the stovepipe from?
JIM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. Woodstove. Near the ceiling. So I’ve got to – if I put a stove there at all, I’ve got to protect it.
TOM: Mm. I’ve got to tell you, that’s a very, very important thing that you’re asking us about here because if that pipe is going to get super-hot and if it’s too close it could definitely be a fire hazard. I mean there are ways to put heat shields between the stovepipe and the wood surface but you have to follow the National Fire Protection Association’s standards with that. You know this is something that you should refer to the code books on.
I can tell you that there are a couple of ways they do this. In the best scenario, they keep the pipes away from the beams by three feet.
TOM: If they’re closer, they put heat shields on it, which is – there are different ways to do it. You can wrap the beams with metal. You can have a shield that stands off of the wall or the beam that has like air space behind it, which helps cool it. But you really need to work with the wood stove installer, if you’re working with one, or with your local fire inspector to make sure you follow the NFPA guidelines. If you don’t, it’s going to be very dangerous.