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Excel chimney worth the cost?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by TomInNH, Aug 18, 2011.

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  1. TomInNH

    TomInNH New Member

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    I'm getting an Jotul Oslo 500 soon and have no chimney yet. I had a professional installer come out today to give me a quote, they only do fireplaces and chimneys and seem to have a very good reputation and skillset. They want to use ICC's Excel chimey pipe, which is a brand I had not looked at yet (been looking at Duraplus and Selkirk mostly). The price they quoted for the Excel parts is really high (~$2850) compared to about $1500 for Duraplus and $1900 for Selkirk. He sung a nice song about how the Excel chimney pipe is the best available etc., but I knew to ask here for honest opinions. Is Excel pipe really worth the extra expense? I see it is rated to withstand longer chimney fires, but is that overkill?

    Also does $500 for labor sound correct for thru the wall chimney installation? (I'm building my own hearth pad and putting the stove in place myself)

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Welcome Tom. It's good pipe, but I'm surprised it would cost almost 100% more. Is it 100% better? Faced with the same choice I opted for DuraTech and have not regretted getting the Simpson pipe at all.
  3. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Best reputation amongst the local installers here. I just bought an Excel for my new stove. I'll let you know how I like it once it's installed.

    Figured spending a little x-tra on the chimney would be better than worrying when I'm not at home and all the inconvenience of dealing with the insurance company after my house is a pile of ashes.
  4. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    They all have to meet minimum standards, though I think Excel goes beyond that. Properly installed, they're all going to get the job done.
  5. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    +1. I've never seen an "I bought the cheap stainless pipe and it melted/cracked/failed" thread. Not quoting any statistics, but it is my impression that the horror stories that induce the throwing of $$$ at the chimney are the result of bad installation or user error, burning wet wood and not cleaning the creosote out of the flue. I understand that ICC is built and tested to a higher standard, but the only practical value I see is that it is tested for use after multiple chimney fires, whereas some lesser pipe is supposed to be replaced after one chimney fire. Again though, the chimney fire is the result of bad wood / user error, not bad pipe. I'd take that extra $1k, buy 7-8 cords of wood, and stack it up to dry for a few years. Do that and check/clean your flue periodically, and you won't have anything to worry about, assuming everything is installed properly. BTW, the $500 install fee sounds pretty reasonable. Typical labor figure I see on here = $800-1200. A lot of folks DIY too.
  6. mhrischuk

    mhrischuk Guest

    If they gave out a prize for looks, ICC would win hands down. I bought it because I tend to go premium with most everything I do that I know I will be looking at and using for years to come.

    I did some pricing research and compared the 8" x 48" chimney pipe section.

    Duratech $211
    Selkirk $235
    ICC $299

    With the three sections I purchased it was $186 more than Selkirk. For me that one time outlay was for knowing I had the best you can buy. I got all of my ICC product for my Equinox install at discounted pricing off list and free shipping. A straight up chimney with double wall stove pipe and three 48" sections with all accessories cost me $1850 shipped.

    [​IMG]
  7. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I'm very happy with the ICC Excel pipe . . . but I suspect that any of the other Class A chimneys would work just as well.
  8. 98dingo

    98dingo New Member

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    All the Class A pieces are going thru the same UL testing. I can rarely justify installing a more expensive product unless its at the request of my customers. Other wise Selkirk or Simpson do the job for my installs.
  9. mhrischuk

    mhrischuk Guest

    I think the Excel product will hold up better from a cosmetic point of view with every piece being stainless steel, inside and out. The only part not stainless are the support bars and they are quite beefy and heavily galvanized. From an installer point of view I can see your point. You like to provide value for the customer and help with the sale by providing more reasonable pricing. As far as passing the UL test, that's great but they could build it out of the crappiest materials and still pass.
  10. TomInNH

    TomInNH New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. This sure is an active forum!

    Unfortunately, my chimney has to be at least 25 feet high so the price of pipe is far outweighing the cost of the stove!

    The top will be about 40 feet off the ground, so doing it myself is out.

    I am getting a wood stove to save money*, but this is really adding up :(

    *also I've had a woodstove as primary heat before and it's wonderful
  11. porkie

    porkie Member

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  12. 98dingo

    98dingo New Member

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    All my products I use are stainless steel inner and outer. I doubt big companies are gonna take a risk using a bad quality materials. Its a huge liability they are taking by building these products and I would firmly believe they will use quality materials.
  13. porkie

    porkie Member

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    I have about 30 or more of my old customers useing excel chimney pipe some are 15 or more years old some have had 1 or more fires in them with no damage after inspection the pipe is very simple to install i think your dealer price is quite high i would check with other dealers check with excel for other dealers in your area( best feature is that the insulation is a blanket not poured in and will not settle
  14. mhrischuk

    mhrischuk Guest

    Looks to me like Roxul in there.
  15. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Seems to be a misconception that the other brands of pipes are not SS inside and out but they are, you can buy galv. outside in some brands but no way would I do that.
  16. mhrischuk

    mhrischuk Guest

    So the question is is it worth the extra cost? Maybe not. Most likely the other brands that are made with similar materials at lower cost perform just as well and will last as long. As long as the parts quality is good and the chimney goes together as designed without issues than maybe paying extra for perceived superiority is just a waste of money. I've been guilty of this before.
  17. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    It's good stuff no doubt, cant go wrong with it at all, if yu are on a budget and want to save a little money the other brands will last just as long IMHO. The flashing on the excel is SS which I really like, mine is galv but most flashings are galv.
  18. mhrischuk

    mhrischuk Guest

    LOL it cost me alot to get that flashing.
  19. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Hey, if you've got it, spend it. :) Average it with the cost of your liner on the other end of the house for a better "household solid fuel venting cost." :)
  20. Creature

    Creature Member

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    I'm no expert, installer, or someone in the industry. Just your average first year burner, from Canada.

    The ICC Excel chimney is tested to Canadian standards.

    USA standard requires the chimney to withstand three 10-minute 2100°F chimney fires. The Canadian standard requires the chimney to withstand three 30-minute chimney fires. Note that Canadian installations of ICC Excel chimney require additional parts to meet code, see the manual for more information.

    For a comparison to the Simpson line, you should request a quote on the DuraPlus HTC line.

    For Selkirk products, I believe the UltraTemp line is the only one that supports all fuel and passes both Canadian and US standards, so that would be a fair comparison.

    I bought ICC Excel, and that is my only experience with manufacured chimney. My installer said he typically installs the Simpson chimney, but prefers the ICC Excel. He said he believes it is engineered better, and he likes that it uses fasteners to hold the sections together (not twist-lock).
  21. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    Tom,

    If you are doing this to save some money, get a different installer to give you a quote on a regular chimney. $1500 sounds about right for your sizing - maybe a bit more if you do some insulation too.

    Save the $1200 and use $100 a year to get your chimney professionally cleaned out, and you'll never notice the difference or risk your house catching on fire.

    Those pipes are gorgeous, but c'mon. I'm surprised the installer didn't ask you what you were burning for (save money) and recommend the cheaper option.

    Any good installer, or provider of products or services, should stand there and represent their products fairly. If he doesn't believe in the cheaper option, he shouldn't be offering it. If he does believe in it, he should explain to you why he believes it's worth a near 100% price increase to a price conscious guy to get the more expensive pipe. If he hasn't done either of those things, find another installer.
  22. mhrischuk

    mhrischuk Guest

    100%? I posted a comparison earlier and it's not even close to double the price. I do agree if you are tight on cash or just don't have to have the Cadillac of pipes you can't go wrong with the other good name brands as others have said. Good doesn't necessarily mean expensive in all cases.

    But Tom's quote seems real high.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I think the point being that the installer seems to be asking for blood for a pipe that should be just a little more expensive. Functionally, the difference is minor.
  24. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser Feeling the Heat

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    Just as another data point, with 20ft worth of chimney the Excel system we chose was $200 US more than the MetalFab system that the stove shop typically installs. Not sure how MetalFab SS Interior + SS Exterior compares in its price point to some of the other makes mentioned here (MetalFab also makes another "economy" chimney with SS Interior and Galvalum or Galvanized Exterior)?

    Interestingly, when I was trying to decide between the many chimney makes available around here, I called the tech lines to them all and asked all sorts of questions. They universally were polite, professional and knowledgeable. Then I called the tech line at Regency Fireplace Products and asked them. They told me that any 6" Class A Chimney system would work. They also told me that in their opinion ICC Excel is "the best of the best". But they then again reminded that really any 6" Class A Chimney system would work.

    Now, here's the kicker to all those answers ... right in my installation manual it specifically states that the stove "must be connected to a factory-built chimney conforming to ULC S-629" So, technically nothing that I was interested in OTHER THAN the Excel product would have met that mandate! I'm sure it all would have worked but technically the Excel was the only option.

    BTW, in the hope it helps, here's a thread that I started sorta mid stream in my research:

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/76075/
  25. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    I guess that means that you live in the Canadian Rockies, Turbocruiser. As mentioned earlier in this thread, Simpson and Selkirk both make pipe that meets Canadian standards, but it costs more. You Canucks must be pretty slack with your chimney cleaning to need such super fire-resistant pipe, eh? :) :lol:
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