How to Heat a Tiny Space with a Wood Stove

Heating a Tiny Space with a Wood Stove

I'd like to start by going through all the posts linked from this page, and doing some editing.  Some of them are articles I wrote recently for this project, some of them are older articles that Nick wrote years ago.  You might want to prioritize by which posts will be most useful to have completed, either for Pinterest, or for another use.  In all cases, we need:

  • Editing/formatting
    • Posts should look good and be easy to read
    • I think the standard H1 and H2 headings render too large, but you can change the text size manually without changing the heading type.  While keywords in headings aren't the strong SEO signal they used to be 5-10 years ago, it's important to help search engines understand our content and for human usability to keep the H1, H2, H3 etc headings organized in a hierarchy.
    • Some of the text in these articles may not be very polished.  I'm trying to get as much content up as quickly as I can, but the text itself may need some editing.  I'll be making a few more passes on the text in these articles as we go, but feel free to make edits yourself.
  • Pictures and Diagrams
    • Every post needs at least one picture on the page.  It would be nice if it were relevant to the post, but it doesn't necessarily have to be.
    • Every post/page needs a "Featured Image" set in the back-end so that a photo shows up in our on-site search results.  I like to use the "Disable featured image" checkbox so that the image doesn't actually show up on the page.
    • Some of these posts would benefit from diagrams/infographics, and we should make as many of them as we can.  Elizabeth is working on diagrams, and there's a document in the Drive called "Diagram Priorities" where I'm listing the diagrams we need for her to work on.  Aside from helping to illustrate concepts clearly:
      • Diagrams/infographics are great for SEO, since people click on them if they're helpful
      • They're good content for Pinterest
      • People also steal diagrams and infographics to post on their own website, which can be a useful tool for creating backlinks and generally mining traffic from third parties
  • Internal links.
    • Aside from linking to content from this page to make articles easy to find, we'll want to link from one article to the other where it's relevant.  As you're reading through articles, if it makes sense to link a sentence to another article, feel free to do so.  Use descriptive anchor text to help with SEO.
  • Backend Stuff
    • Posts should put into a category.
    • All the Yoast SEO stuff needs to be filled out for each post, and double-check the "readability" analysis and tweak as necessary.

A wood stove provides unmatched warmth and ambiance that can make any small space feel more like home.  It has no moving parts, requires no electricity, and burns fuel that can be obtained anywhere for cheap or free.  Wood is an ideal fuel source for heating and cooking off-grid, or to supplement on-grid appliances, and for emergency use.

Our family has been heating our home with a small wood stove ever since we sold most of our possessions and moved into a vintage Airstream in 2012.  Since then, we've raised our family, traveled, and built our lives and a small business around a philosophy of simple, intentional living.

Our current home is an off-grid tiny house near Cour d'Alene, Idaho.  Our Tiny Wood Stove team consists of other like-minded people also living small (and heating with wood).  Read more about our journey and the tiny wood stove team here.

This page is an index of resources to help you move forward with your tiny living project, no matter what stage you're on.  No guide could ever replace personal service from someone who has seen it all, so feel free to drop us an email at with any questions you have along the way.

Planning Your Wood Stove Project

How to choose a heat source for a small space

Wood vs. Propane Heat

Wood vs. Electric Heat

Wood Stove Safety

Are wood stoves safe?

What’s best for you?

          • Reasons to choose wood
          • Drawbacks of wood you’re OK with
          • Combination of methods?

How to Incorporate a Wood Stove into a Tiny Space Design

Choosing the right stove for your tiny home

      • Types of Wood Stoves
        • Outdoor Stoves
          • Do not use an outdoor stove indoors.  Galvanized stoves meant for outdoor use with 3.375” chimneys, not safe to use indoors.
        • Tent Stoves
          • Ultra-portable, meant to pack in/pack out.  Not very efficient or durable, meant for very short-term occasional use
        • Indoor Recreational Stoves
          • Most small wood stoves are in this category
          • Not certified for residential use
          • Great for heating small spaces
        • Residential Wood Stoves
          • Certified for residential use
          • Typically sized for much larger structures
          • Small residential wood stoves can sometimes be a good fit for small spaces in colder climates and with a larger than usual footprint.
      • How will you use your wood stove?
      • What features and accessories to look for in a wood stove?  In progress:
      • Wood Stove Thermal Mass
      • How to Compare Small Wood Stove Efficiency
    • Sizing a wood stove for your space

      How do I choose a Stove Size?

      • Tiny Homes and Cabins
        • Building codes - can I install a recreational stove in my house?
      • Buses and RVs
      • Vans
      • Boats
      • Workshops
        • Wood shop vs. art studio, required room temp may vary depending on the activity
      • BTU Calculator
    • Small Wood Stove Comparisons

    • Planning Your Wood Stove Installation

    • Location/Placement
      • Radiant heat - the room will be warmest in the immediate area of the stove, so you may want to install it in front of a seating area
      • Fire Viewing - many people enjoy cozy evenings at home watching the fire.  Installing the stove in a location where the fire is easily viewed, and at a height that facilitates viewing is a good idea
      • Hearth size/clearances, heat shields - corner placement or flat against the wall?
      • Ember protection - if an ember falls out of the stove, where will it land?  Do not install a wall mount stove above a couch, for example
      • Heat Distribution
      • Cooking?
    • Accessories
      • Stand/Tall Legs or custom platform
      • Direct Air
      • Enamel Door, Custom Paint
      • Water Boiler
    • Flue System
      • Theory of natural draft flue system design
      • The 3-2-10 Rule: How high above my roof should my chimney extend?
      • Available flue configurations
        • Roof Exit
          • 45 degree offsets
        • Wall Exit
          • Vertical inside
            • Top Exit
            • Rear Exit
          • Rear exit straight through the wall
        • All Insulated vs Single-wall connector pipe
        • Detachable chimneys for spaces that move
      • Flue Parts Calculator
      • Connecting Tiny Stove to Larger Flue System
      • Flue Systems for Third Party Stoves
        • Godin Stoves
          • Rear exit only, needs to be cut for female end facing the stove
        • Salamander Hobbit
          • Top/Rear Exit
          • Direct air fits 3” single-wall
        • Cubic Mini Stoves
        • Woodsman Stove
          • Some don’t have a flue flange.  Get the model with the flue flange if possible.  Otherwise, you might need to add some stove gasket material at the joint to get it to seal properly.  Without a flue flange, there isn't anything substantial tfor the cement to seal to, so it tends to crack and fail quickly.
          • Mind your clearances.  Add heat shields where needed.
      • Do I need UL listed pipe?
        • Building Codes - will vary by location


Installing a Wood Stove in a Tiny Space

Can I DIY My Wood Stove Install?

Checklist for DIY

Should I Hire a Contractor?

Checklist for hiring a contractor

How to Build a Wood Stove Hearth

  • Refer to stove manufacturer for requirements
  • If you need stove board under your stove (provide links)
  • Tiling technique
  • For spaces that move, avoid thin large format tile since it can crack.  Avoid tiling over joints in the subfloor (i.e. backer plywood should all be one piece.

What are Clearances, and How to Reduce Them Safely

    • Standard clearances
      • What are clearances and why are they important
      • What is a combustible material?
      • Radiant heater, line of sight
      • Dowel method for measuring clearances
    • Building heat shields- “How to build wood stove heat shields
      • Attaching heat shields directly to the stove/stovepipe

How to Build a Flue System

Heating a Tiny Space with a Wood Stove

Getting Started with a New Tiny Wood Stove

The Best Fuel for a Small Wood Stove

Sourcing Fuel

Fuel for Tiny Stoves

      • Cutting/Splitting wood

    • Recommended tools
      • On-Grid
      • Off-Grid

Wood Stove Maintenance

Wood Stove Maintenance

    • Before each fire

      • Cleaning ash pan
      • Cleaning Glass
      • Checking around your hearth for safety
    • Inspecting/Cleaning your Flue System

      • Schedule
        • Will vary
          • Every flue system is different
          • Fuel types
          • Burn habits
        • Inspect your flue system regularly until you establish a schedule
          • Sweep any time there is 1/4" or more deposit
      • Sweeping your chimney
        • Tools
          • Rotary Chimney Cleaner
          • Creosote remover as an amendment, not a substitute
          • Tools required to remove cleanout cap or chimney cap
          • PPE/Drop Cloths/Ash Vacuum
        • Sweeping from the top vs bottom
        • Safety
    • Firebricks
      • Normal Life
      • Ways to prevent premature failure
        • Avoid regularly over-firing your stove
        • Avoid impacts
        • Check firebrick retaining bolt periodically to ensure brick is secure
      • Repair
        • Glue it back to together with stove cement
      • Replacement
        • Contact your stove manufacturer for replacement parts
        • Link to replacements for Dwarf stoves

Wood Stove Troubleshooting

  • Poor Draft
    • New Installations
    • Installations that have previously worked well
  • Water in the flue system
    • Driving rain.  Shielded cap, or wind directional cap.
    • Cold pipe.
      • Fuel water content.  Residual heat of wood, combustion products of hydrocarbon fuel
      • Ensure flue temps are adequate.  Get a flue thermometer.
      • Eliminate any single-wall pipe outside (should only use insulated or triple wall pipe outside).
  • Insufficient Heat
    • Air Settings
      • Get a flue thermometer to make sure you're burning your stove hot enough
    • Cold drafts
      • Direct Air
    • Fuel Selection
      • Fuel water content
        • Wet wood has a drastically lower BTU content than dry.  Get a moisture meter.
      • Fuel BTU content
    • Stove too small for the space
      • Can get a bit more heat out of a small stove by using some single-wall pipe
      • Improve the insulation of your structure
      • May need a larger stove or supplemental heater.  Run your space through the BTU calculator.
        • Stove size is a compromise between having enough power on the coldest Winter day, and ease of control on milder days.  May be difficult to size a single heater for very cold climates that works ideally in all situations.
        • Cold temps beyond design considerations may mean the stove has trouble keeping up.
  • Lingering chemical odor
    • Paint is insufficiently cured, and off-gassing ever time it reaches a new high temperature.  Solution is to cure the stove at a temperature above where you'd normally use it.
    • You're going to intentionally over-fire your stove, so it's a good idea to make sure your chimney is clean before you start. Inspect your chimney and sweep it if there is significant (more than 1/8") deposit.
    • Use a magnetic stove thermometer or infrared thermometer to monitor temps.  Get your entire stove body up to 650 degrees or slightly higher and hold it there for at least 30 minutes.
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