Drolet Escape 1800 insert install

Riteway

Member
Jul 27, 2020
46
Kitsap County, WA
I've learned a lot by reading the other install threads on here, so I thought I'd start my own. This is my first time installing an insert or stove, so advice/criticism would be appreciated. I'll be installing the insert and liner in an existing masonry fireplace/chimney, in a circa 1975 ranch home.

Drolet Escape 1800 insert and liner:

IMG_20200927_123416082.jpg


Here's the existing fireplace:

IMG_20200814_180636848.jpg


Since I got a good deal on the insert from Costco and will save a bunch of $ by doing the install myself, my wife and I decided to splurge and have a stone veneer and wood mantel installed on the fireplace. I have zero masonry experience and already have a big backlog of house projects, so we decided to hire a pro for this. He came over on Friday to do the prep work, starting with grinding off the existing mantel and decorative arch, and knocking the top row of brick off the hearth. The existing brick work is painted, which the veneer mortar won't adhere to. Solution was to affix a wire mesh and cover that with mortar. The mason will be back in about 3 weeks to finish the work, after our stone order comes in.

IMG_20200925_164744122.jpg


Started working on the install today...here's the existing damper. It's only about 4" wide, so it's gotta came out.

IMG_20200926_185527375.jpg


The angle grinder made pretty short work of it...came out much easier than I thought:

IMG_20200927_105936026.jpg


I may have gotten a little overzealous with smoke shelf brick removal, but I figured it's better to have too much clearance than too little.

IMG_20200927_113031468.jpg


View up the chimney...the interior dimensions of the flue are 11" x 11", so running the liner down should be easy (knock on wood). There was no rain cap on the chimney and it rained a bunch yesterday...pretty wet in there.

IMG_20200927_112337109.jpg


View of of chimney from up on the roof. Took some measurements to make sure it met the 3-2-10 requirement.

IMG_20200927_114206186.jpg


Measured exactly 12' from the top of the flue tile to the bottom of the hearth. The minimum chimney height (from the top of the insert to the top of the chimney) for the Drolet insert is 12', so so I need about 1.7' more height. I ordered an 18" flue extension from Rockford, and factoring in the few inches of height I'll get from the top plate and rain cap, I'll be at exactly 12' of chimney height from the top of the insert. Hopefully this will be adequate.

IMG_20200927_114242962.jpg


I'm pretty much of a stopping point for the time being; waiting for the insulation kit I ordered from Rockford to show up. Will probably work on fabricating the damper block off plate this week.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,399
NE Ohio
Bet that is gonna look great!
Just make sure he places the wood mantel high enough to be out of the stove CTC spec for mantels
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,151
07462
Looks like you got your bases covered here, throw some rock wool insulation above the block off plate if you can, some people avoid doing that because you dont need a lot of insulation, yet you have to buy the big bag of it, so it feels kind of wasteful, but the benefits of it out weigh the bad imo, also dont forget the liner itself is directional, so make sure you install it the right way, or the little grooves will be susceptible to soot build up.
Whats the firewood looking like? the insert will want splits below 20% range
 

Riteway

Member
Jul 27, 2020
46
Kitsap County, WA
Bet that is gonna look great!
Just make sure he places the wood mantel high enough to be out of the stove CTC spec for mantels
Thanks! I'm going to do the mantel myself, once the stone work is done. Planning on sourcing a reclaimed old growth Doug fir beam. I'll definitely check the stove clearance specs before installing.

Looks like you got your bases covered here, throw some rock wool insulation above the block off plate if you can, some people avoid doing that because you dont need a lot of insulation, yet you have to buy the big bag of it, so it feels kind of wasteful, but the benefits of it out weigh the bad imo, also dont forget the liner itself is directional, so make sure you install it the right way, or the little grooves will be susceptible to soot build up.
Whats the firewood looking like? the insert will want splits below 20% range
Thanks for the advice...I do indeed have a big bag of Roxul. I might also line the old firebox behind the insert, since the fireplace is on an exterior wall.

Firewood situation is pretty decent...I've got a couple cords of well-seasoned cherry, madrona, and alder. Earlier in the year, I split and stacked some old windthrow trees that had been down for a few years. I plan on buying a moisture meter to check, though.
 

Riteway

Member
Jul 27, 2020
46
Kitsap County, WA
Made a little more progress this weekend. Fabricated the damper block-off plate, using this procedure.

Started off making a cardboard template:

IMG_20201005_202424460.jpg


Traced the shape onto a piece of 26-gauge steel sheet metal, and added 1.5" inches around the perimeter for the fold-down tabs. Used a couple 2x4's and a vice as a sheet metal brake:

IMG_20200930_203822646.jpg


The finished product. Probably won't win any awards at the County fair, but should work fine from a practical point of view. I'm going to wait until I run the liner down before cutting the hole and installing the plate with tapcons.

IMG_20201005_202454713.jpg


The chimney looked very clean when I inspected it--I'm guessing that the previous owner of our house had it swept before putting the house on the market. We've only had one fire in the fireplace since we bought the house a year ago, but I figured it's probably worth sweeping the chimney before installing the liner, just to be on the safe side. My chimney sweep isn't CSIA-certified, but since chimney sweeps in industrial revolution-era Britain were typically children, I thought it would be OK. The price was right--only cost me 3 shillings and a bowl of thin gruel.

IMG_20201004_143817739.jpg


I was right about the chimney already being clean...the only things that came out were a couple small pieces of loose mortar and some spider webs. Not really any soot to speak of.

All the remaining parts I needed for the insert install got delivered yesterday, so the next steps are to install the liner insulation kit, run the liner down the chimney, and install the block-off plate. After that, I'm pretty much in a holding pattern until our fireplace stone comes in and the mason comes back to finish his work.
 

Riteway

Member
Jul 27, 2020
46
Kitsap County, WA
Progress continues on the world's slowest insert install. Installed the insulation on the flexible chimney liner, using the procedure in this video. I used a insulation kit I got from Rockford Chimney, it came with all of the supplies and was a piece of cake to install.

IMG_20201010_102302944.jpg


Up on the roof...my flue is 11"x11" and is a straight shot, so it took all of about 20 seconds to drop the insulated liner down.

IMG_20201010_145929339_HDR.jpg


Attached a 30 degree elbow and Drolet liner hook-up adapter to the end of the liner, then stuffed the smoke shelf area with "Safe and Sound" Rockwool.

IMG_20201011_111957389_BURST006.jpg


Next, installed the damper block off plate with Tapcons. I ended up cutting a big hole for the liner in the block off plate, which will give me plenty of wiggle-room when it comes time to install the insert. After the insert goes in, I'll cut a patch piece and use some rope gasket to seal around the liner. I figured cutting a big hole would end up being easier in the long run, instead of potentially having to lift the insert on and off the raised hearth multiple times to do test fittings.


IMG_20201011_163928593.jpg


Here's a close-up of the Drolet liner attachment fitting I ordered. I have very little excess vertical clearance to install the L brackets at the top of the insert, so I figured this was well worth the money. The steel cross bar installs inside the insert right above the baffle, and screws down to secure the liner to the stove.

IMG_20201011_164006168.jpg


I'm starting to see the finish line...last steps are to lift the insert in then install the top plate and cap up on the chimney. Oh yeah, I also need to apply some silicon around the block off plate. I'm back in a holding pattern until the stone work on the fireplace is done, though. Still waiting on the stone to come in, should be another week or so.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,325
South Puget Sound, WA
You're doing well so far. A big chimney throat does make life easier.
 
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moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,285
Iowa
Any update?
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,151
07462
Hold off on the silicone around the block off plate, there will be no real draft in there since there's a block off plate and anchor plate on top of the chimney holding the liner, silicone might stink if the stove gets really warm.
 

Riteway

Member
Jul 27, 2020
46
Kitsap County, WA
Any update?
Not yet...the stone mason is here right now to install the stone veneer on the fireplace, so I should be able to get everything buttoned up later today. Hoping to have the first break-in fire tonight.

Hold off on the silicone around the block off plate, there will be no real draft in there since there's a block off plate and anchor plate on top of the chimney holding the liner, silicone might stink if the stove gets really warm.
Ah crud, I put the silicone around the block off plate last night. Not sure if there's a difference between brands...I used the Rutland stuff (good to 500 degrees). Guess I'll just see (or rather smell) what happens when I fire the stove up.
 
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Riteway

Member
Jul 27, 2020
46
Kitsap County, WA
And the saga continues...

I had originally bought the wrong type of Rockwool ('Comfortboard') by mistake, and couldn't return it because it was a special order return at Lowe's and on mega-sale. It's not really suitable for stuffing up the damper because it's rigid and just crumbles into pieces. I ended up using it to insulate the firebox, since the fireplace is on an exterior wall. I used the extra HVAC tape that came with my liner insultation kit to tape up the seams. If the insulation ends up making the insert too hot, it will be pretty easy to tear it out. I'll just see how it goes.


IMG_20201019_193242033.jpg


The stone masons were over today to install the fireplace veneer and hearthstone. They also helped me lift the insert in...turns out 3 people are pretty ideal for this task (2 lifting on the side and 1 in front). We laid down some strips of metal flashing on the hearth to protect the stone while sliding the unit in.


IMG_20201020_143129247.jpg


After watching these guys work, I'm REALLY glad I decided not to take on the stone work myself. These guys are real pros. They'll be back tomorrow to finish laying the stone veneer.

IMG_20201020_154751575.jpg
...

This stone veneer is pretty cool...it's 'cultured' (aka synthetic) stone. We also looked at some real stone veneer, but we actually liked this stuff better.

IMG_20201020_154815140.jpg


Here's a shot of the inside of the stove, with the liner fastened using the Drolet accessory adapter. Really glad I didn't have to mess around with angle brackets, considering the tight vertical fit I was dealing with. Got a very secure, tight fit.


IMG_20201020_160003366.jpg


Up on the roof...I trimmed the liner insulation down to a couple inches below the top of the clay flue tile, packed Rockwool around the liner, then ran a bead of silicone along the top of the tile.

IMG_20201020_143758109.jpg


Chimney top plate installed, and then I cut off the excess liner with an angle grinder. Tightened the clamp on the top plate that secures the liner.

IMG_20201020_164435079.jpg


Next, installed an 18" flue extension (to hit the 12' minimum chimney height requirement) and the rain cap. Not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing chimney...but oh well!

IMG_20201020_165758383.jpg


I'll be curious to see if I end up having any draft issues. I'm right at the 12' minimum chimney height requirement, and there's a big cedar tree near the house; the closest branches are within approximately 10' of the chimney top. On the plus side, the liner is insulated, and other than a 30 degree angle connector at the top of the insert, the flue is pretty much a straight shot upward.

IMG_20201020_165746667.jpg


Almost there! The masons will be back in the morning to finish the stone work. Assuming all goes well, I'll be able to spark my first break-in fire after work tomorrow.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,285
Iowa
You will like that stone work. See my av . Good stuff.
 
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BsFire

Member
Mar 12, 2015
111
Ohio
Great write up and great timing! I'm looking to do my own install really soon. Pretty sure I'm going with the Drolet 1800 freestanding stove vs the insert that you have.

I might of missed it, but why did you have to use the 30 degree angle connector? I'm curious because my flue isn't directly above the stove. It's offset to the right, so will probably need a similar angle connector. Do you have any pics with it connected and any chance you can provide a link to the connector you purchased?

The install will be a first for me and will definitely being using your post as a guide - so thanks!
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
22,181
central pa
Great write up and great timing! I'm looking to do my own install really soon. Pretty sure I'm going with the Drolet 1800 freestanding stove vs the insert that you have.

I might of missed it, but why did you have to use the 30 degree angle connector? I'm curious because my flue isn't directly above the stove. It's offset to the right, so will probably need a similar angle connector. Do you have any pics with it connected and any chance you can provide a link to the connector you purchased?

The install will be a first for me and will definitely being using your post as a guide - so thanks!
We always take an assortment of straight and angled adapters because you really can't know until it is in place
 

Riteway

Member
Jul 27, 2020
46
Kitsap County, WA
Great write up and great timing! I'm looking to do my own install really soon. Pretty sure I'm going with the Drolet 1800 freestanding stove vs the insert that you have.

I might of missed it, but why did you have to use the 30 degree angle connector? I'm curious because my flue isn't directly above the stove. It's offset to the right, so will probably need a similar angle connector. Do you have any pics with it connected and any chance you can provide a link to the connector you purchased?

The install will be a first for me and will definitely being using your post as a guide - so thanks!
Thanks! I'm not sure if this is the right product to use for a freestanding stove install (will you be using a flexible liner?), but here's the elbow I used: https://www.rockfordchimneysupply.com/316ti-liner-components/round-liner-components/fixed-elbow-for-flexible-liners.php

Like bholler says, I didn't realize I needed an elbow until after I ran the flexible liner down the chimney. While the liner is "flexible" to some degree, I needed that 30 degree bend in a fairly tight area (between the smoke shelf and the upper front part of the brick fireplace); the liner isn't flexible enough to accomplish that. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture. After I realized that I needed some type of elbow, I measured in the fireplace where the stove collar would be, and used a protractor to estimate the angle I needed between the color and the liner. Came out to pretty much exactly 30 degrees. I ordered the part from Rockford, and it was on my door in 3 days. Rockford also makes flexible elbows, but I read in an earlier post from bholler that using a fixed elbow is preferable. They also have a 15 degree fixed elbow.
 

Riteway

Member
Jul 27, 2020
46
Kitsap County, WA
The fireplace stone work got finished up yesterday, my wife and I are really happy with the way it turned out.

IMG_20201021_145240402.jpg


I've got a reclaimed cedar beam I'm going to use as a mantel, hoping to get that installed in the next couple weeks.

First fire last night! I've been looking forward to this moment for a long time. The manual says to have 2 to 3 small fires at first, to let the paint cure. After getting a fire started with newspaper and kindling, I put on a few 2"-3" splits and let those burn out over the next couple hours. There was no smoke spillage out the door while starting the fire or when adding the splits, so fingers-crossed I don't have any draft issues. It was only 52 degrees outside when I started the fire. Paint fume smell wasn't too bad...opening some windows and setting up a fan in the window helped air out the house pretty well.

I'll do a couple more small fires over the next couple days, then I'll let 'er rip when I'm home all day on Saturday. Temps in Western Washington (at sea level) are just starting to get into the '30s at night, so it's great timing to have the insert up-and-running.

IMG_20201021_173728817.jpg


Big thanks to all the regular contributors on this forum...I learned a ton by reading through old posts. I'm really glad I decided to DIY the install, it was a fun project.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,681
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Thanks! I'm not sure if this is the right product to use for a freestanding stove install (will you be using a flexible liner?), but here's the elbow I used: https://www.rockfordchimneysupply.com/316ti-liner-components/round-liner-components/fixed-elbow-for-flexible-liners.php

Like bholler says, I didn't realize I needed an elbow until after I ran the flexible liner down the chimney. While the liner is "flexible" to some degree, I needed that 30 degree bend in a fairly tight area (between the smoke shelf and the upper front part of the brick fireplace); the liner isn't flexible enough to accomplish that. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture. After I realized that I needed some type of elbow, I measured in the fireplace where the stove collar would be, and used a protractor to estimate the angle I needed between the color and the liner. Came out to pretty much exactly 30 degrees. I ordered the part from Rockford, and it was on my door in 3 days. Rockford also makes flexible elbows, but I read in an earlier post from bholler that using a fixed elbow is preferable. They also have a 15 degree fixed elbow.
I do believe it is a rule that you can't just use some off the shelf steel stove pipe elbow. It has to be stainless because of the lack of accessibility and of course, so it can properly attach to the liner.

When I have my old masonry chimney lined they had to use a 30 degree elbow as well. For the same reason. At first the professionals installed this hokey offset box deal but I had them replace it with a bend that would allow sweeping. into the stove. I've ripped all that out and torn down that chimney now but it worked fine.
 

BsFire

Member
Mar 12, 2015
111
Ohio
Thanks! I'm not sure if this is the right product to use for a freestanding stove install (will you be using a flexible liner?), but here's the elbow I used: https://www.rockfordchimneysupply.com/316ti-liner-components/round-liner-components/fixed-elbow-for-flexible-liners.php

Like bholler says, I didn't realize I needed an elbow until after I ran the flexible liner down the chimney. While the liner is "flexible" to some degree, I needed that 30 degree bend in a fairly tight area (between the smoke shelf and the upper front part of the brick fireplace); the liner isn't flexible enough to accomplish that. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture. After I realized that I needed some type of elbow, I measured in the fireplace where the stove collar would be, and used a protractor to estimate the angle I needed between the color and the liner. Came out to pretty much exactly 30 degrees. I ordered the part from Rockford, and it was on my door in 3 days. Rockford also makes flexible elbows, but I read in an earlier post from bholler that using a fixed elbow is preferable. They also have a 15 degree fixed elbow.
Got it - thanks! Really appreciate the explanation! I am going with a flexible liner. The space is fairly wide open with no damper and I might actually use a piece of corrugated pipe as a test run to see if the 30 will work (guessing that's what I'll need). I also plan to order from Rockford. Good to know that I can get something pretty quick from them if need be.

Your setup looks awesome by the way! Hell of an improvement and much for functional. Great job and thanks again for sharing!!
 
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BsFire

Member
Mar 12, 2015
111
Ohio
I do believe it is a rule that you can't just use some off the shelf steel stove pipe elbow. It has to be stainless because of the lack of accessibility and of course, so it can properly attach to the liner.

When I have my old masonry chimney lined they had to use a 30 degree elbow as well. For the same reason. At first the professionals installed this hokey offset box deal but I had them replace it with a bend that would allow sweeping. into the stove. I've ripped all that out and torn down that chimney now but it worked fine.
Ok, cool! Thanks for the info.