Heat Shielding for the Cottage Wood Stove

By , January 11, 2019

After we incorporated homemade heat shielding into our water heater install (see An Alarming Debut) we turned our attention to another problem on the homestead: the wood stove in the cottage.

We’ve made fires in the cottage wood stove for years without thinking much about the stove’s proximity to the adjacent wall. I confess, we installed a new stove in place of an older one, matching the proximity to the wall, and didn’t worry much about the difference.

wall damaged by wood stove heat

Before: We obviously had a problem. Note: holes in wall come from the toredo worm wood used as decorative paneling (Photo: Sarah A. Zeiger).

This changed on Christmas Eve, when we went over there to warm the place up, and saw that the wooden paneling behind the stove had toasted. I can’t say when this might have happened; it may have been as long ago as 2007, when my father visited the homestead. He’s a big fan of wood heat, and made fires (in August) that damaged the chimney I’d installed to match the new stove! However, I imagine we would have noticed the roasted wood long before now.

Whatever the cause, we needed to make sure it didn’t happen again.

Aly and I installed heat shielding using the same methods we’d used to shield the ceiling in the main cabin. We’re pretty happy with the results.

wood stove shielding

After: ugly but functional homemade shielding (Photo: Sarah A. Zeiger).

We used two 20″ strips of aluminum flashing. We folded over the top and bottom corners, and dulled the cut edges with a file. We installed it with spaced machine screws, stopping each at about 1 1/2″ from the wall. Done!

The aluminum sheeting dissipates the stove’s heat amazingly! After the install, we built a big fire in the stove, and continually monitored the temperature of the shield. It never got more than warm, as the stove heated the building nicely.

Now, we can warm the building safely, with much less worry. The new shielding isn’t attractive, but it does reflect light into the room somewhat, which doesn’t hurt at all.

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