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Do I need to insulate my chimney liner?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by WestVirginian, Dec 19, 2005.

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  1. WestVirginian

    WestVirginian New Member

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    Nov 27, 2005
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    Hi everyone--

    Just had a chimney inspection by the local chimney sweep, and was told that I need to have a liner installed before getting a woodstove. Not surprising, given that the chimney is 80 years old, and doesn't even have a tile liner.

    So now I'm trying to decide if I should attempt to install a liner myself, or pay the chimney sweep to do it. The chimney sweep would install an insulated liner, but if I did it myself then realistically I'd probably not insulate it.

    So my question is, does the insulation make that much of a difference? As far as my chimney goes, it's inside the house, and about 25 feet tall. So I think that I have those two things going for me. I'm looking to buy an efficient woodstove (e.g., Jotul or Vermont Castings), and I've heard they're a little harder to get a good draft for.

    Any opinions? Would I be okay installing a liner that wasn't insulated?

    Also, I'm sure this has been addressed before, but how easy of a do-it-yourself job is installing a flexible chimney liner? I'm moderately handy, and it appears to be a fairly straightforward installation (e.g., no damper). The do-it-yourself kits don't seem like rocket science, but I'm just wondering...

    Thanks in advance. Ian

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  2. Jfigliuolo

    Jfigliuolo New Member

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    I'm no expert... I work part time w/a sweep and have done a few liners with him. They range from insanely simple... measure, cut, drop, connect, to damn near impossible. The latter is where experience comes in. As far as insulating, it's not that hard at all. If I was going through the trouble of droping a liner myself, I would take the time to insulate it w/wrap. IF you have enough clearance in the existing flue, w/no obstructions, and don't mind heights, it's not that bad of a job. As usual make sure your in code and all that other important safety stuff.
  3. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    Nov 18, 2005
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    Yes, you need a liner.

    Insulated is better, but you're probably right that a 25' interior chimney will draft reasonably well either way.

    ONe thing to look at are the instructions for the different liners. Some require insulation to meet their UL spec. You want the UL spec because your homeowners insurance wants the UL spec. Ditto the tile. Might need insulation to protect the house as much as to deal with the draft.

    INstall isn't too bad, assuming 1) you can get to the top of the chimney without too much danger, and 2) you're reasonably husky. You'll be at the top of a ladder swinging around a 25' piece of pipe that weighs anywhere between 30 and 100 pounds, depending on what set of pieces you get. A friend on the ground is also helpful. But no, it's not rocket science.

    Steve
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I think you'll be Ok with the liner uninsulated. My experience with VC and Jotuls is that they aren't hard to get going with a reasonable draft. If you have 25 ft. interior chimney, straight up, it should draw just fine. Are you thinking insert or free-standing stove?
  5. WestVirginian

    WestVirginian New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
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    Thanks for all the great info.

    I'm planning to get a freestanding stove (if I can afford it then first choice would be Jotul Oslo 500).
  6. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Rome, NY, USA
    HI WVer,

    Can afford it? The best stove in the world? Sure you can!!!!

    No, just kidding. It is a really good stove that kicks out serious heat. I saw it at the local dealer and they used it to heat the showroom. Nice big doors, lots of heat, beautiful slow flames. Too bad my room is too small for it (I got a castine).

    Carpniels

    PS. I have seem one recently for 2300 on Ebay. Do some good searches on the internet, you might get lucky.

    PS. I also saw a Quadrafire Isle Royale in another dealers showroom. Take a look at that one too. Same size, same flames, serious heat, but it has top loading (really convenient for stacking the stove before you go to bed. Again, did not fit the room. Well worth looking at before you buy. It is cheaper too and might be available more often than you Oslo.
  7. lime4x4

    lime4x4 Member

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    Loc:
    Northeast Pa
    i installed a 40 foot ss liner in my chimney.Didn't need to insulate cause my chimney is located in the center and inside of my house.it was pretty easy till about 20 feet in it kept snagging on a peice of concrete the held the brick together. after 30 min of pulling it up some then pulling it down while twisting and trying to reposition the liner it finally went..Was getting ready to rip a couple of bricks out at where it was hitting...lol..From what i heard that's pretty common that the pro's do that if the chimney is accessible they will take a couple of bricks out to help the liner along..
  8. hugehuggo

    hugehuggo New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
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    I just installed an insert an liner. It went pretty well. My big issue was connecting the liner to the flue. The deal said to use a collar, but the manual said I could connect either a fleixible or rigid connect. I had only about two inches between the insert and the top of the fireplace. It took forever. I did not insulate partially because I did not realize that I should. I have about 13 feet of liner installed and the insert (Avalon) seems to be working great.

    One thing that was difficult for me to adjust to was the lack of a perfect fit between the line and the flue. Even the collar they supplied had probably a pencil size gap when pushed to one side. They said that was normal and that the draw would prevent any smoke from coming out. I think they may have been right, I have had not smoke and no excess CO2.

    The liners are a pain to handle though. I had a slightly less than 6 inch damper which made working with the pipe very difficult. Good luck
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sounds good, Jotul makes good stoves. If you have the room, the Harmon Oakwood is also getting good reviews.
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