LESLIE: Now we’re heading over to Georgia where J.W. has a question about heating. What can we do for you?
J.W.: I paid some people to come out and clean my chimney. And they asked me what did I want to do. I said, “Well, I’ll put a wood-burning stove there.” But I have a coal-burning chimney and they said I couldn’t do it. And I want to know, can I put a wood burner where my old burner is set and use the same chimney?
TOM: It might be that the chimney is too small for wood burning.
TOM: So it may be a physical space issue with the size of the chimney itself, J.W. Not so much that you can’t physically do it but the venting may not be correct if the chimney isn’t – is too small. Or the chimney may not be lined. I don’t know how old your house is but it sounds to me like there’s a safety issue.
J.W.: Ah, so I’d be better off just to do it as they suggested: to cut a hole in the roof to get that special insulated – what is it, aluminum?
TOM: I rarely agree with chimney sweeps because they give people bad advice a lot. But in this case, I tend to agree with them. If you were to start clean and just put in a regular wood-burning stove, you’re going to be able to get, first of all, a wood-burning stove that’s very, very efficient, as opposed to a fireplace insert, which would be less efficient. And you’ll have complete control over the venting and you’ll be able to do it in a very, very safe and reliable way.
J.W.: OK. Now, is there a special place where I should put a wood-burning stove? It’s a six-room house.
TOM: You could pretty much put it anywhere you want as long as you do it safely. There are standards that are established for how to install a wood stove in a safe location. It has to do with clearance to combustibles and that sort of thing.
Look, J.W., it’s not a do-it-yourself job. If you’re asking those kinds of questions, it’s definitely not the kind of project you want to do on your own. I would get a pro to help you with.