Pre-Insulated vs. Non-insulated Price Differences

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foscho

New Member
Feb 21, 2018
2
Concord, MA
Hello Everyone,

Just ordered a Blaze King Ashford 25 Insert to install into our pre-existing masonry chimney.

It's an exterior chimney, probably about 20' tall or maybe a little less from the top of the firebox, and located in the greater Boston area. The cold down draft coming in from the fireplace is crazy even with the damper closed - literally felt like an air conditioner was on all winter if you put a hand up to the gaps in the closed fireplace doors. Very excited to seal this thing up and install an efficient catalytic wood burner!

I just had the installer come out to take a look, and he said our clay chimney liner is in great condition. I think he said it was about 8"X8" interior dimensions, and it's a straight shot up to the top of the chimney (can see all the gaps in my top cap damper that are allowing so much cold air into the house from the fireplace), so should be plenty of room for an insulated 6" stainless flex liner to fit inside, and no worries about crazy turns. May have to knock out a couple of bricks behind the metal fire shelf to fit a pre-insulated liner, but nothing the installer was worried about. Basically, the installer said an insulated liner would be a waste of money. He is planning on just insulating directly above the stove with Rockwool (no official block off plate), but no insulation at all at the top cap seal, or along the liner itself.

Through my research, I was seeing a few posts about how smokey the AF 25 could get in shoulder season without a great draft, so I decided to request an insulated liner, despite the installer and dealer's protestations. I figure I'd rather do it right now, and give myself the best chance at a good draft, rather than be upset with performance after installation is complete and I'm in the start of burning season.

The dealer quoted me an extra $500 for pre-insulated liner, and sent me the following link for Copperfield Pre-Insulated HomeSaver Pro:

https://www.copperfield.com/HomeSaver-UltraPro-Pre-Insulated

I know this is for installers only, but they literally say the price/ft is $18.75 ($468.75), and that for 25ft coil it's only $30 more than the non-insulated version. My dealer claims he's not making a dime more on this liner ($523) vs. the non-insulated ($999 I'm getting quoted, but the link he sent suggests otherwise. I'm all about giving fair profit to local businesses, and would be willing to pay 20% more than cost (which seems fair to me), but >100% profit seems a bit like extortion. I'm also paying full MSRP on the AF25 plus surround piece ($3600 total).

I'm a bit of a cheapskate, but am always willing to pay for quality (thus the Blaze King decision), and getting it done right. I was considering doing the install myself to save money, but figured this is a fire in my home, and I'd really rather rely on the pros and not put my warranty or home insurance in jeopardy. However, I'm a bit disappointed in my interactions with the dealer and installer on this issue, and feel they're trying to take advantage of me. Just want to get your opinions on if this is a fair price for a pre-insulated liner. I'd expect the install labor to be about the same amount of effort, given that they're not wrapping the liner themselves.

An alternative would be to purchase my own liner, insulate it myself, and have the installer drop it down into the chimney and hook it up.

I was looking at these pre-insulated liners for comparison, and they seem similar to the Homesaver Pro, but would love opinions on whether these will last as long/are of as high quality. The price difference wasn't tremendous, so I may just go with the dealer's quote, but figured I'd ask you guys if this was common! Also, to save more money, I could buy a non-insulated liner kit, wrap it myself, and have it ready to go for when the installer arrives. I figure this would even save him the labor of having to straighten the liner out, but not sure if they'd be willing to do that, yet.

https://www.rockfordchimneysupply.com/pre-insulated-flexible-stainless-steel-chimney-liner-kit.php

http://www.woodlanddirect.com/Chimn...n-Pre-Insulated-Easy-Flex-Chimney-Liner-Kit-6

Thanks for any insights!
 

double-d

Feeling the Heat
Feb 8, 2011
322
Northern Michigan - Mio
I would double check on the chimney flue opening. Usually if someone has an 8 x 8 Clay tile, that is an outside dimension and in the 6.75" - 6.5" inside opening...but they are all different. Pre-Insulated liners are about 7.25" on the outside, so you may need to knock out the clay tiles, if you don't have the room.
Insulating the liner yourself can be as much as 7.75", for 1/2" insulation, that's because the insulation overlaps itself adding an extra .5" to the diameter. A 6" liner is 6.25" on the OD
I've used the Rockford pre-insulated liner, had no problems with it.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,667
central pa
The chamion liner if from olympia chimney supply and it is a good quality liner with very good components. Definatly on par with the copperfeild liner. Honestly from the installers comments about insulation being a waste and the fact he doesnt do block off plates standard. I would be looking for a different installer. He obviously doesnt know why insulation is important for both performance and safety. Not to mention code compliance and ul listing. But because he doest do a plate he clearly is not concerned with giving you optimal performance.
 

foscho

New Member
Feb 21, 2018
2
Concord, MA
Thanks for the replies! Still need to measure the inner diameter of the flue, but I was just estimating. The installer looked at it and felt that there would be no issue fitting in a pre-insulated liner. That would probably be the best way to go, if I were to attempt a DIY install. I have no issue fabricating my own block-off plate, but am hesitant to feed the liner down the chimney. I can't reach the top of the chimney from the roof unfortunately (probably at least 8ft above where the roof contacts the chimney), and I'm worried about getting the liner into the chimney from the ladder - sounds like a real bad fall waiting to happen.

It sounds like I should just find a new installer and have them source the liner potentially. Olympia looks like another similar liner to the ones above, and a pro-only type of product.

Any installers local to the central/eastern MA on this forum willing to come over and give me a quote on a liner install?

Any opinions on the consumer-level liners, or on DIY?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,667
central pa
Thanks for the replies! Still need to measure the inner diameter of the flue, but I was just estimating. The installer looked at it and felt that there would be no issue fitting in a pre-insulated liner. That would probably be the best way to go, if I were to attempt a DIY install. I have no issue fabricating my own block-off plate, but am hesitant to feed the liner down the chimney. I can't reach the top of the chimney from the roof unfortunately (probably at least 8ft above where the roof contacts the chimney), and I'm worried about getting the liner into the chimney from the ladder - sounds like a real bad fall waiting to happen.

It sounds like I should just find a new installer and have them source the liner potentially. Olympia looks like another similar liner to the ones above, and a pro-only type of product.

Any installers local to the central/eastern MA on this forum willing to come over and give me a quote on a liner install?

Any opinions on the consumer-level liners, or on DIY?
Well one of the liners above (the champion one) is an olympia liner so yes it is exactly the same. There really is no consumer level liner versus pro liner. Olympia and copperfeild used to sell only to pros but both now sell to diyers.

There are several different types of liners available though. What you are looking at is the cheapest and thinnest type available. They are thin wall liners and are either .005" or .006". Then there is the 2ply smoothwall liners that are absolute junk and you should avoid. Next are mid weight liners which is what i would recomend for you. They are much smoother inside twice the thickness of lightwall and have an interlocking instead of crimped seam. Then there is heavy wall which is the same construction as the midweight but thicker still. It is by far the most durable flexible liner available and just about the same as rigid as far as durability. And then there are rigid liners which are a pain to install especially for an insert but they are very durable.