Drolet Escape 1800 insert install

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Solarguy3500

Member
Dec 3, 2020
194
Western MA
Thank you for this excellent write up. Your project came out beautiful. This thread is one of the ones that most inspired me to tackle my own insert install.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
Yes, this should be pinned or whatever is done to keep this one separate and eternal.

And I'm serious, SBI (Drolet) should link to this from all the company sites that sell the stove to homeowners. I bought mine from myfireplaceproducts.com, which appears to be SBI's retail outlet (outstanding, by the way, at least it was a few years ago), and it would have been a tremendous help. Generally speaking, the videos on retail websites are pretty useless.
 

JohnWW

Member
Jul 8, 2019
61
63119
Good write up and convenient because that is the exact insert + liner kit that I want to buy. Also a similar installation minus the stone work. Couple of questions: 1 - is the flex liner double-walled and if so, why is insulation required? 2- What was the approx outside diameter of the liner plus insulation? Thanks.
 

Riteway

Member
Jul 27, 2020
125
Kitsap County, WA
I don't believe the liner is double-walled...if you want to do some research, the official name of it is "Vortex Stainless Flex Liner." Seemed like a quality product to me.

With the insulation blanket installed, I'd say the approximate outside diameter was something like 7.5 inches. As for why it's required...there's lot of previous posts that could probably explain that a lot better than I could. I think the number one reason is safety (insulation is required by code, unless you can verify that you have at least 2" of clearance between the outside of your chimney and any combustibles), followed by minimizing creosote buildup.
 
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Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
I don't believe the liner is double-walled...if you want to do some research, the official name of it is "Vortex Stainless Flex Liner." Seemed like a quality product to me.

With the insulation blanket installed, I'd say the approximate outside diameter was something like 7.5 inches. As for why it's required...there's lot of previous posts that could probably explain that a lot better than I could. I think the number one reason is safety (insulation is required by code, unless you can verify that you have at least 2" of clearance between the outside of your chimney and any combustibles), followed by minimizing creosote buildup.
I have the same liner, vortex. Seems like it's SBI's liner brand, don't know if they manufacture it or outsource. It's light wall, which I wouldn't have bought if I had bought separate, but as part of the kit, I went with it. It's not double walled.

Seemed like fine quality to me, and once insulated, is doing the trick. There's no comparison on price as part of the kit, practically thrown in for free. The only thing missing is the insulation, and in my case, the option for an adapter with a 30° bend. I'm a big fan of this product and SBI as a company.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,662
South Puget Sound, WA
I have the same liner, vortex. Seems like it's SBI's liner brand, don't know if they manufacture it or outsource. It's light wall, which I wouldn't have bought if I had bought separate, but as part of the kit, I went with it. It's not double walled.

Seemed like fine quality to me, and once insulated, is doing the trick. There's no comparison on price as part of the kit, practically thrown in for free. The only thing missing is the insulation, and in my case, the option for an adapter with a 30° bend. I'm a big fan of this product and SBI as a company.
SBI has a controlling share of Ventis, so it's possible that is the manufacturer.
 
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Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
SBI has a controlling share of Ventis, so it's possible that is the manufacturer.
That's the missing piece! It seems like they throw the liner and components in practically for free with their "trio" kits (more likely at cost) to get their utility grade stoves into folks homes and installed correctly. Again, except for the insulation.

I read that they are a family owned business, but must be pretty big. In any case, I've been impressed with them as a company, and I'm pretty critical generally. Only in Canada could this have happened!

Good, economical stoves.

They do need to get thermostatic controls onto their stoves though. Just reverse engineer the bimetallic thermostatic controls on the 80's vintage VC stoves. It'd be a vast improvement and only add a little to the cost.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,662
South Puget Sound, WA
Ventis or vortex?
Vortex is their branding. This is from the company history. It may be just the Canadian product line?

In 2013, SBI began building chimneys for the first time in its history. This new production line was made possible due to a 2012 joint venture with U.S-based Olympia Chimney Supply Inc. SBI owns 75% of the operation, which gave rise to the new Olympia Chimney of Canada division. SBI then went on to create its own range of chimney products, releasing the Vortex brand in 2013.

Olympia Chimney was acquired the year before by Argosy Private Equity.
 
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JohnWW

Member
Jul 8, 2019
61
63119
Thanks that clears up the insulation question (except why it's not in the kit or mentioned as a requirement). I am all set to pull the trigger on this. I was wondering where the 12 ft chimney min requirement came from as it is not mentioned in the manual. Also would someone explain to me why the manual might strongly recommend an extra 12" piece of rigid flue pipe? In my case, terminating at the top of the chimney gives me at least 15 ft and all the required clearances, so what advantage would I get from the 12" extra?
 

Riteway

Member
Jul 27, 2020
125
Kitsap County, WA
Thanks that clears up the insulation question (except why it's not in the kit or mentioned as a requirement). I am all set to pull the trigger on this. I was wondering where the 12 ft chimney min requirement came from as it is not mentioned in the manual. Also would someone explain to me why the manual might strongly recommend an extra 12" piece of rigid flue pipe? In my case, terminating at the top of the chimney gives me at least 15 ft and all the required clearances, so what advantage would I get from the 12" extra?

I found the 12' minimum chimney height requirement on their website somewhere, probably in a FAQ section. Kind of weird that they don't specify that in the manual.

I did ask here on the forum about that 12" rigid flue pipe recommendation, and nobody had heard of that before. The manual says its recommended to ensure "optimal draft." I needed an extension anyway to hit the 12' minimum, since my chimney is so short. Might be worth a call to SBI if you're curious. But with 15'+ of chimney, I really doubt the extension would be needed in your case. You could always add it later if you find your draft to be lacking. It's not a safety issue
 

JohnWW

Member
Jul 8, 2019
61
63119
I found the 12' minimum chimney height requirement on their website somewhere, probably in a FAQ section. Kind of weird that they don't specify that in the manual.

I did ask here on the forum about that 12" rigid flue pipe recommendation, and nobody had heard of that before. The manual says its recommended to ensure "optimal draft." I needed an extension anyway to hit the 12' minimum, since my chimney is so short. Might be worth a call to SBI if you're curious. But with 15'+ of chimney, I really doubt the extension would be needed in your case. You could always add it later if you find your draft to be lacking. It's not a safety issue
Thanks. Well I pulled the trigger on one of these and the girlfriend is happy to have a Costco membership. Looking at those insulation kits. Did Rockford offer the best deal on the kit? Their website seems to be down right now and through Amazon only the 25' is available.
 

Riteway

Member
Jul 27, 2020
125
Kitsap County, WA
Thanks. Well I pulled the trigger on one of these and the girlfriend is happy to have a Costco membership. Looking at those insulation kits. Did Rockford offer the best deal on the kit? Their website seems to be down right now and through Amazon only the 25' is available.

I didn't shop around much for the insulation kit, so there might be better deals around there. Rockford has good reviews and you can call them up and chat directly with a certified sweep for install advice (for free), so that's why I went with them. I bet the identical kits are available from different vendors, though.
 

JohnWW

Member
Jul 8, 2019
61
63119
So I did shop around and it turns out that Rockford has by far the best deals.
So I had this idea of, in addition to the insulation kit, wiring on strips of rockwool batt around the circumference around the liner every say 3 or 4 feet or so to keep the liner away from sides of the chimney and reducing convective cooling of the liner by effectively making smaller pockets of air. Is this a stupid idea or not up to code somehow? I thought it might be easy and not have any downside even if they came loose.
 

Mech e

Feeling the Heat
Feb 26, 2019
385
NorCal
www.dtengineer.com
So I did shop around and it turns out that Rockford has by far the best deals.
So I had this idea of, in addition to the insulation kit, wiring on strips of rockwool batt around the circumference around the liner every say 3 or 4 feet or so to keep the liner away from sides of the chimney and reducing convective cooling of the liner by effectively making smaller pockets of air. Is this a stupid idea or not up to code somehow? I thought it might be easy and not have any downside even if they came loose.
With most types of insulation, the trapped air in the insulation is the thermal insulator. Decreasing the size of the air pockets will reduce the effectiveness of the insulation.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,200
central pa
So I did shop around and it turns out that Rockford has by far the best deals.
So I had this idea of, in addition to the insulation kit, wiring on strips of rockwool batt around the circumference around the liner every say 3 or 4 feet or so to keep the liner away from sides of the chimney and reducing convective cooling of the liner by effectively making smaller pockets of air. Is this a stupid idea or not up to code somehow? I thought it might be easy and not have any downside even if they came loose.
Why wouldn't you just use an insulation kit designed and tested for the purpose?
 

JohnWW

Member
Jul 8, 2019
61
63119
Why wouldn't you just use an insulation kit designed and tested for the purpose?
I am. Just had the idea of supplemental baffles to improve draft by reducing surrounding air pocket height and eliminating or reducing direct contact of half inch wrap with chimney walls.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,200
central pa
I am. Just had the idea of supplemental baffles to improve draft by reducing surrounding air pocket height and eliminating or reducing direct contact of half inch wrap with chimney walls.
Ahh ok. I don't see much point but who knows it might help
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
I am. Just had the idea of supplemental baffles to improve draft by reducing surrounding air pocket height and eliminating or reducing direct contact of half inch wrap with chimney walls.
Put some rock wool at the bottom above your block off plate and at the top under the top plate, after the liner is already down. That'll be sufficient to create a dead air space in the chimney, and avoid draft outside of the liner. Anything around the middle might make it very tough to get it down.

I understand your thoughts, but the ceramic insulation is pretty remarkable stuff and will keep the liner plenty warm for drafting purposes and it'll be safe.
 

JohnWW

Member
Jul 8, 2019
61
63119
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.

View attachment 264621

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.

View attachment 264622

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.

View attachment 264623

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.


View attachment 264624

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.

View attachment 264625

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.
How much excess vertical clearance do you think would be required to fit the L-Brackets easily?
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
Never mind. I ordered the internal attachment kit anyway.
I think you will be happy with your decision. I have almost 8" of clearance, and it was still an enormous hassle to use the L brackets. I'd get the kit if I had to do it again.

Where did you order it from, and what was the cost?
 

JohnWW

Member
Jul 8, 2019
61
63119
I think you will be happy with your decision. I have almost 8" of clearance, and it was still an enormous hassle to use the L brackets. I'd get the kit if I had to do it again.

Where did you order it from, and what was the cost?
EFireplacestore. 63 plus 12 shipping. Arrives EST Weds or Thurs. It was a buck or two cheaper from Drolet but there was no est shipping time given when in the Drolet cart.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
EFireplacestore. 63 plus 12 shipping. Arrives EST Weds or Thurs. It was a buck or two cheaper from Drolet but there was no est shipping time given when in the Drolet cart.
Yep, pretty expensive for what it is, but I can tell you, it's so worth it after doing it the other way. I think they really should just include it with the stove and add the cost.

If I'd had that, and a 30° appliance adaptor, the whole experience would have been so much easier and less stressful.
 

Riteway

Member
Jul 27, 2020
125
Kitsap County, WA
EFireplacestore. 63 plus 12 shipping. Arrives EST Weds or Thurs. It was a buck or two cheaper from Drolet but there was no est shipping time given when in the Drolet cart.

Might be worth trying the L brackets, then returning the adapter if you don't need it. I didn't even attempt using the L brackets. I'm generally a pretty thrifty guy, but paying $80 to avoid a couple hours of pain and frustration working in a cramped spot seemed like a pretty good trade off!