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FAQ - Common Venting Pipe Problems

Common Problems

Connection Issues

Have you purchased brand new pipe to replace the old, only to find out that it won’t connect to the existing stuff? We understand your dilemma, and are here to help.

There are a few main reasons the new pipe might not connect to your stove, or what you currently have:

Different manufacturer

Different brands are not compatible with each other 99% of the time. Most local code offices require that you use the same brand throughout the installation. Keep in mind that even if you get the pipe to fit together, it still could be unsafe. Check for a UL listing on compatibility to find out if brand X will work with brand Y .

Double-Wall Vs. Triple-Wall

You might have purchased double-wall and are trying to connect to existing triple-wall (or vice versa.) Because of the difference between the Inside and Outside diameters, the connection cannot physically mate.

Old Vs. New

Let’s say you purchased the old pipe 25 years ago, and a single piece went bad. You bought the exact same manufacturer, but they won’t match! Luckily this is the rarest type of incompatibility but it can happen. In some specific cases the manufacturer might find a flaw in their product, or an engineer might have a brilliant idea that for whatever reason requires physically changing the makeup of that piece. If this is the case, engineering changes will prevent any of the newer stuff from working with what you might have. The only solution is to either get an adapter from Old > New, or to replace the entire system with the new engineered specifications.

Ooops, wrong type!

It happens to all of us, with a million other things happening at once it’s easy to forget the details. You might have purchased the completely wrong product for your application. For example, purchased class A when you have a gas stove. The easiest way to fix this is to return the incorrect product and ask for some assistance in selecting the correct type.

Missing Adapter

If you have the right pipe, the right manufacturer, and the right diameter, there’s no reason your pipe shouldn’t connect….yet it doesn’t. In 99% of the cases an adapter is required to go from your stove collar to the first section of pipe. If this doesn’t work your product might be defective.

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Draft Problems

Smoke pouring into the room, a slow-starting fire, heavy creosote build-up, abnormally high maintenance. These many different symptoms are usually overlooked as flukes, but draft problems are the core issue with your chimney system.

What is Draft?

Pertaining to drawing or pulling relating to a current of air” In laymans terms: Draft is what causes the smoke to be pulled from your fireplace to the outside of your home.

Poor Draft

What to look for

“Lazy Fire”

Poor draft can prevent the correct amount of fresh air from entering the fireplace/stove. This prevents the fire from getting the oxygen needed for combustion, causing a slow-starting fire.

"Smokey Fire "

If smoke is pouring into your home, you probably have an inefficient or restricted system. Smoke is constantly produced, and the fire does not reach the proper temperature to ensure a hot fire and plenty of draw. Systems that have a high number of turns/bends or angles are more likely to have poor draft.

Poor draft is normally caused by

Incorrect Pipe Diameter/Never decrease, always increase

It is important to select the proper diameter of pipe for your system. If you reduce the size due to dimensional restrictions, you could be causing severe flow restrictions.

Too many restrictions/angles:

Although angles are useful to bypass slight obstructions, it is rarely recommended to have more than 3 90° bends in any given system (this can sometimes change if your unit is blower-assisted.)

In rare cases you might have smoke blowing through the pipe joints due to abnormal flow restriction. Too many angles or an extremely dirty chimney might be the cause. Remember to clean your chimney annually.

Heat rises, and doesn’t like to go sideways. Any angle no matter how slight is a restriction to natural draft. The best system is always a straight shot vertically.

Possible Solution: Re-think your installation. Rarely will you require more than 3 90° angles in a given system. If you are having trouble planning your system, please give us a call and allow us to assist you.

Too much Draft

What to look for

Loss of internal heat.

Is your fire roaring but you’re still freezing? You might have too large of an opening for your fireplace/appliance. If this is the case, the majority of the heat is sucked outside before it even has a chance to warm your house.

Heavy maintenance

If you have to clean your chimney more than once or twice a year, you could have too much draft for your system.

Possible Solutions

Masonry: Research has found masonry chimneys to be horribly inefficient. The large stone blocks absorb critical heat, and take an extremely long time to get up to temperature (nearly 45 minutes). Installing a metal relining kit may solve this issue of inefficiency. By keeping the hot flue gasses contained, the temperature can be controlled to create proper draft for your system.

Install a damper: A damper is a moveable valve within the pipe that allows minute regulation of draft. This will allow you to restrict the flow of your system, cooling it down to the point where the heat no longer completely escapes your system, but helps to heat your home.

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Bigger stove, smaller existing pipe

Due to manufacturer and local code restrictions it might not be possible to reduce the diameter of your pipe to match your existing.
Please refer to the manufacturer installation instructions for your appliance to see if this is possible.

Why you should not reduce

If your appliance has a blower to assist with draft (most of the newer units do) you definitely want to reconsider reducing your pipe diameter.

When your appliance tries to push 35 Cubic Feet of air through an opening that was only designed to move 20 cubic feet, you are immediately faced with a problem. As most stoves are designed to solely to vent exhaust gases, this reduction in flue size forces the motor to act not as a blower, but as a compressor. As most integral motors are not designed for this function, you will experience severe wear and tear on all moving and stationary parts, often voiding your warranty and requiring early replacement of the unit.

Keep in mind that most manufacturers of pipe do not even fabricate or produce any type of reduction collar for these reasons

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Cracked or Damaged Brick/Masonry Chimney

Damaged masonry is not only a safety hazard to your family and home, it can also be a major annoyance with how much additional work it may cause for you.

The large cracks and fissures that can be caused by movement or shifting with your homes foundation create a great amount of drag on any smoke/flue gasses that are exiting your chimney. This reduction of flow causes the gasses to cool down. After this happens, the gasses start condensing, and get attached to the cracks/fissures within the chimney.

This not only makes the chimney extremely hard to clean, it can exponentially get worse and worse. This can turn into a chimney sweeps worst nightmare.

Possible Solutions

Install a flexible relining kit

A pre-fabricated metal chimney liner is a great way to increase burn efficiency, draft, and better yet decrease required chimney maintenance/cleaning. These one-piece installations can bypass the poor draft of your chimney completely, providing a quick answer for a major issue.

Repair existing masonry

There are many different ways to repair the cracks/fissures within your existing brick/masonry chimney. Most require hiring a professional to fix the issues, however there are some do-it-yourself repair kits out there.

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Dealing with Eaves or Obstructions

Eaves are a very common obstruction for through the wall installations. Because of the limited support pieces available, you will have trouble extending the entire system away from your wall to bypass the eave completely.

There are normally two solutions for any eave/overhang.


By using two elbows in combination with a rigid length, you are able to offset the run of your pipe temporarily. It is recommended to offset the pipe directly after a support band.

  • Elbow-Strap Required
  • Rigid-Lengths Required
  • 2 Elbows

Vertical Cut

If you are unable to offset your installation, you may cut a hole through the eave/overhang and pass the pipe thru.

  • Remember clearances when cutting your hole!
  • Flashing Required
  • Storm Collar Required
  • Vertical Cap Required
  • Support Bracket Required

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