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Home Maintenance

Do Pellet Stoves Need A Chimney?

A roaring pellet stove in your home.

When it comes to heating the home, choosing the right fireplace can be important. In some cases, homeowners will choose an electric fireplace over a gas fireplace or even a traditional chimney-style fireplace. Pellet stoves work just as well, are nicely made, and are very affordable. The biggest concern with a pellet stove is determining if you need a chimney or a vent, or both. Do pellet stoves need a chimney? No, they do not need a chimney. However, they do need a vent. You can even use a vent that is in place.

Let’s take a look below at what’s involved.

What Is A Pellet Stove?

Pellet stoves are stoves that use recycled sawdust and wood shavings to burn and create heat. These wood shavings are very similar to what rabbit food looks like. They are in the shape of a pellet, similar to rabbit food. Additionally, the material is eco-friendly and has a low pollution rate. Also, pellet stoves are more efficient than natural gas, oil, coal, or propane stoves. However, they are less efficient than an electric stove or furnace. Pellet stoves can create as much heat as you like based on the number of pellets you use in the stove.

How Do I Install A Pellet Stove?

Installing a pellet stove will require a professional. Hire someone who has experience doing this project. They will need to understand how the pellet stove works and what type of ventilation system is needed for your home. Let’s take a look below at what the typical installation instructions look like.

  1. Hire a contractor – Since local building codes need to be followed, you will want to hire a professional contractor with experience installing pellet stoves. Pellet stove installation requires two people as the materials can be quite heavy.
  2. Install a vent – Create a plan with where to install the vent. Make sure the vent is installed through an exterior wall where no people would be present. Attempting to run the vent up through the roof could be problematic. Hiring the right professional to accomplish this properly and minimizing damages is key.
  3. Keep your distance – Installing a pellet stove requires one to two inches from the back wall. Also, it is ok to keep it a little further out from the wall if needed, to make room for the vent pipe.
  4. Install a hearth pad – Use a noncombustible hearth pad for your pellet stove. You can purchase them from your local pellet stove dealer.
  5. Read the manufacturer’s manual – Installing the vent pipe requires you to use a stud finder to locate your wall studs. Use a utility knife and cut the drywall so that you can see where the studs are located and you can avoid them when venting the unit.
Newly installed and vented pellet stove.
Newly installed and vented pellet stove

Do I Need A Chimney?

As stated above, you do not need a chimney for a pellet stove. However, you will need to install a venting system so that the smoke from the burning pellets has a place to go outside of your home. Typically, the contractor will vent the stove through the closest wall and run a pipe horizontally out through the wall to the exterior of the home. Let’s take a look below at some more detailed regulation information.

  • Always check the building codes – Typically, vents from stoves are required to be installed several feet from any doors or windows.
  • Keep in mind the smoke goes somewhere – Any horizontal vent pipe should be installed so that the exhaust or smoke is not blowing out near a sidewalk or any place people are located. Typically, a horizontal vent pipe is installed 7 feet above the ground.
  • Air intake or air inlet pipe – The exhaust vent should be 3 feet above any air intake or air inlet. This is to keep smoke from recirculating back into your home.
  • Protector plate – Using a protector plate will keep your interior walls from getting discolored. Additionally, the vent should extend 6 inches from the wall’s exterior.

When installing a pellet stove always remember that ventilation is required. Also, you can use a flue that is already installed in a masonry chimney as a means to connect your pellet stove. Additionally, a direct vent for fresh air is not typically required for a pellet stove.

How Much Do They Cost?

The average cost for a pellet stove ranges from $3,000 to $6,000. It all depends on the type and size of stove that you have selected. Most installation costs for a free-standing pellet stove can cost between $200 and $800. Additionally, a wall-mounted pellet stove installation will cost you between $500 and $1,200 depending on the style of stove and vent needed.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you have an idea of what a pellets stove is and how to vent it, you should consider if you can use other types of wood in the stove. In wood-burning fireplaces, there are certain types of wood that are good and bad for burning.

Next, keep in mind that your pellet stove will need maintenance. There are various recommended ways to clean a stove and stove fireplaces can be unique. While you are cleaning your stove this would be a great time to check your furnace filters. Keeping them clean will increase the longevity of your furnace.

Lastly, get an understanding of how you can safely put out a fire. Before you even attempt to light your pellets in your pellet stove it is a good idea to read up on how to safely put out a fire in a fireplace.

A burning pellet stove can do wonders to heat your room.

When Do I Call A Professional?

When it comes to installing a pellet stove it is highly recommended that you hire a professional. In some cases, the company that you purchased the pellet stove from might also offer installation services. If not, you might need to call a professional contractor. Also, consider calling your local home inspection team. They can come out and recommend the best placement for your pellet stove to be installed.


Installing a pellet stove with the proper venting is key. Understanding how a pellet stove works and where the vent should be placed will ease your mind. When you hire your local home inspection team to come out and inspect the best location for your pellet stove you can work together to make this determination. Reach out to ACE Preferred Inspections for a pellet stove and full home inspection in the low country of South Carolina.