Sand dunes dominate the landscape in the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area.
Timber Crater wilderness study area Cow grazing near a stand of  Juniper trees Pit River Campground Cold Springs prescribed burn Fitzhugh Creek
BLM>California>Alturas>Wood Heating Tips - Proper Stove Installation
Print Page
Alturas Field Office

Proper Wood Stove Installation


1.  New installations should comply with local fire and building codes.

2. Consult with your insurance company before purchasing a wood stove and before installing the stove or flue. They may have special instructions that must be followed before the policy will cover your home.

3. Install only stove or chimney materials approved by the State Fire Marshal or Underwriter's Laboratories (UL listed). Never use home-made stoves.

4. Installations must meet or exceed the manufacturer's instructions and all applicable building and fire codes.


CLEARANCE - This is the most overlooked aspect of fire prevention in the home. Without proper clearance, charring begins to develop. It may take years before enough charring develops to ignite but the results are disastrous. Always follow the manufacturer's recommended clearance distances. Also consult your local building department. Remember your chimney requires clearance too!

drawing of woodstove installationInstallations must
meet or exceed the
manufacturer's instructions
and all applicable building
and fire codes.




NOTE: Brick or stones provide little or no protection because they are good conductors of heat. To be effective, a dead air space of one inch should be between the bricks/stones and the combustible wall. Gypsum wallboard over studs is considered a combustible wall and heat can be transmitted directly to the wood studs beneath. Use only approved noncombustible materials to protect walls and floors. The material used to protect the floor should extend at least 18" beyond the stove on all sides. If in doubt on the non-combustibility of a product, contact your local fire department.


The chimney should extend at least 3 feet above a flat roof.  On pitched roofs the chimney top should be at least 2 feet higher than any point on the roof within 10 feet of the chimney. Ensure that the stove pipe and chimney is adequate for the wood stove desired. The chimney must be flue-lined. All metal pipes must be fastened together with rust-proof screws. Follow all manufacturer's safety specifications. A spark arrestor of ½-inch spaced 12-gauge wire screen is required over the chimney cap when a house is located in the wildland. Also remove any tree limb within 10 feet of the chimney (Public Resources Code 4291 c & f).


The best situation for supplying combustion air to a wood stove is to use outside air. The benefits in this system are both safety and efficiency. For mobile homes this is a requirement by law. Also, using only inside air, especially in newer air-tight homes may create health problems. This may result in much lower inside relative humidities and a reduction in oxygen. Using combustion air from within the house causes air flow throughout the house from all leaks around doors and windows. This creates a cool draft near the floor. Using outside air reduces these problems. Contact your local building department for suggestions on how to properly vent your wood stove to the outside.

Next:  Wood: Comparison to Other Heat Sources