Can you Install a Wood Stove in a Garage?

Whether you should or can installing a wood burning stove in a garage is a very confusing.   There are a number of  reasons that installers will take different stands on the acceptability of garage installations, and most of them are due to differences in how to interpret CSA Standards B365-10 Installation Code for Solid-Fuel-Burning Appliances and Equipment.  As with all code books, B365-10 is written in a legal manner to protect from lawsuits and liabilities.  This manner of rule enforcement sometimes even confuses the professionals and the home owner is just left shaking his head in bewilderment.

According to B365-10 Section 4.3 Hazardous Locations –  You can providing, the following:

An appliance shall not be installed in a location where a corrosive atmosphere, flammable gas or vapour, combustible dust, or combustible fibres may be present. An appliance may be installed in a

(a) storage or residential garage, provided that the appliance is

mounted at least 450 mm (18 in) above floor level and protected

against physical damage; . . .

Protection against Physical Damage would typically be Steel or Concrete bollards installed in front of wood burning appliance to protect against accidental collision with vehicle.

garage wood heater

One of the WETT past presidents has come out against installation in garages, saying, “No. It’s about common sense. The presence of  gasoline alone should be reason enough for concern. This stuff  is really quite dangerous. Any fuel that leaks or gets spilled quickly evaporates, and these vapors are heavier than air, so they spread out at the floor level or pool in confined spaces.  Then, all it takes is a single spark to ignite a flash fire.  If  oily rags or solvents are present, things can turn nasty in a hurry.” this is based on the belief that there really should be no confusion in the interpretation of  B365. To him, the wording clearly prohibits a solid-fuel-burning appliance within a garage that is being used for what would be traditional vehicle storage purposes.  It is for this same reason that some insurance companies will not provide coverage if  a solid-fuel-burning stove is installed within a garage. This view is also held by the National Fireplace Protection Agency  in the United States. The NFPA specifically prohibits solid-fuel-burning appliances within a residential garage.

Clearances to Combustibles has to be maintained in a/w installation manual and applicable codes.  Chimneys and flue pipes have to meet Installation Requirements.

As for measuring the height required from floor to bottom of the stove,  there was a change in wording in 2011 that addressed this issue.  Language dealing with the installation height of appliances has been clarified. The wording now reads, “Any component representing a source of ignition, such as a blower or the bottom of the firebox, is at least 450 mm (18 inches) above floor level.” The old wording was open to much interpretation. It stipulated that the “appliance” must be mounted 18 inches above floor level. To be sure, the height of the appliance’s pedestal or legs was being factored in as part of the appliance. This resulted in platforms that were taller than they needed to be to satisfy the intent. Even with the revision, installers will still need to check with their local-authority-having jurisdiction as to what they want to see to satisfy the requirement for protection against physical damage.

The “Authority Having Jurisdiction” is the ultimate governing authority.   You would be wise to check with both your insurance company and local building department prior to installing your wood burning appliance in a garage with fuels and vehicles.

Installing your Flue Pipe and Chimney will be governed by the Manufactures Installation instructions and the Wood Stove Manufactures Instructions for either Single Wall or Double Wall flue pipe.  Most experienced wood burning experts always recommend you have as much of chimney in the interior of your building as possible.  This prevents the cold exterior air from prematurely cooling flue gases and creating creosote buildup.  If this is not an option then more frequent chimney cleaning would be recommended.   Most ardent wood burning enthusiasts have their own chimney cleaning equipment which enables them to frequently clean their chimney without incurring added costs.