6 Rules For Safely Installing A Wood Stove In A Mobile Home

Life in the country certainly has its challenges, but living on dozens of wooded acres can drastically cut your heating bills if you're handy with a chainsaw. Of course, you need an efficient and modern wood stove before you get any warmth out of the fire wood. Make sure you handle installation correctly when you live in a mobile home to avoid serious fire risks or running afoul of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requirements.

Talk to Your Insurance Provider

Before you start shopping around or spend your money on a particular model, talk to the company providing your homeowner's insurance. They have to approve your new heating appliance and verify it won't violate your policy. Each company can set a different set of rules for safe installation or forbid wood stoves all together. If your company doesn't approve your idea or warns it might void your insurance coverage, find an alternative heat source they're willing to approve rather than running the risk of being labeled a violator.

Use Insulated Pipe

Buy the more costly double- or triple-walled stove pipe for the interior part of the venting. Multiple layers of metal with air gaps between them prevent heat from radiating and baking the walls as the smoke passes through. Even the best triple-walled materials don't rule out the need for at least 36 inches of clearance between all parts of the stove and nearby unprotected combustible materials, including the pipe.

Install Combustion Protection

Generously sized triple-wide mobile homes might have a den big enough to accommodate 36-inch clearances on all four sides, but most smaller units leave little extra room for this kind of installation. Putting up the right combustion protection lets you move the stove as close as 12 inches to the walls and other fixtures. However, you'll have to run this idea past your insurance company too before assuming it's allowed. Your options for preventing heat transfer include:

  • Ceramic tiles installed over fire rated cement backing board
  • Brick and stone slabs with spacers between the individual pieces
  • Sheet metal held about an inch away from the wall behind it with a spacer that won't conduct heat
  • Freestanding metal heat shields that stand around the back and sides of the stove

Buy an Approved Model

Don't just pick up the cheapest or smallest wood stove you find when shopping around. You must invest in a model already tested and approved for use specifically in mobile homes. While that might sound limiting, almost all manufacturers offer at least one model that will work or adapter kits that make every model appropriate for using in this way.

Bring in Outdoor Air

In a stick-built house on a solid foundation, it's fine to let the wood stove draw warm indoor air into itself to fuel the fire. This is strictly forbidden by the U.S. HUD rules for mobile homes because the smaller size of these houses make it more likely that oxygen levels could drop dangerously low. You'll need a model that connects to a separate vent pipe to deliver fresh air right into the fire-box.

Tie the Unit Down

Finally, invest in a set of metal strapping pieces to anchor the legs of the wood stove to the floor joists under your flooring and subfloor. It's required to prevent the stove from tipping over if the mobile home is moved, but even stationary houses need this extra precaution to follow all the federal laws.

It's a lot more complicated to get the installation right when you're adding a wood stove to a mobile home. Spend the extra money for professional installation to make sure your unit works properly for years to come and doesn't get you in trouble with your insurance agency or HUD inspectors. Look at sites like http://www.aquarec.com for more information about wood stoves.