According to The Wood Heat Organization, a good chimney is necessary for any wood-burning stove, fireplace or furnace to operate correctly. When properly designed, the chimney system makes it easier to light fires without filling a room with smoke. In addition, a properly constructed chimney prevents cold air and foul odors from entering the room through a stove that is not in use.
The lack of an existing chimney in a home does not preclude installation of a wood stove, however. The San Francisco Gate says it is possible to install a chimney at the same time as the stove. In some cases, this is advantageous as the chimney size needs to match that of the opening of the stove. Trying to use an existing chimney with a smaller opening often leads to stove operational problems.
Stove pipe attaches the stove to the chimney; however, Nationwide advises that stovepipe is not appropriate for use as a chimney. Stovepipe should never pass through walls or ceilings. When exposed to the elements, stove pipe rusts. If it is essential for exhaust to pass through an exterior wall to an adjacent chimney, Nationwide recommends using a thimble designed for this purpose and following all local building codes.