Sticker shock -- large wood insert quote

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soundofsilence

New Member
Mar 28, 2022
30
Chicagoland
Looking to put a wood insert into our fireplace, went to a reputable dealer in the area who recommended the model below:

Large Flush Wood NexGen-Fyre™ Arch

Our home is about 2900 sq ft, so I like the large size of this unit ... although if we wanted the igniter option we'd have to drop down to the medium size unit (2.2 vs 3.0 cubic feet). Regardless, I was a bit surprised at the quote: $8900 installed for the large, or $8500 for the medium. And that's with me getting the electrical ready. They said $2000 for the install, so the rest is the unit and the liner for a two-story chimney and whatever else is required. It looks like the unit itself has been in the $5000 range recently (not sure if that's pre-covid or what).

Is this reasonable, or should I keep looking? We aren't married to this particular model, but we do prefer a larger unit. Here are our measurements:

Front width: 38.5"
Rear width: 32.0"
Front height: 31.0"
Rear height: 22.0"
Top depth: 18.0"
Bottom depth: 21.5"
 

EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
What is the chimney like? Any bends in the flue? Do they have to break out any tiles? Height?
 

EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
Access to the top of the chimney may play a part too. Steep roof pitches, roof material, ground sloping away, their backlog, it all plays a part in the quote
 

soundofsilence

New Member
Mar 28, 2022
30
Chicagoland
Access to the top of the chimney may play a part too. Steep roof pitches, roof material, ground sloping away, their backlog, it all plays a part in the quote
We have a 1.5 story ranch, so pretty straightforward in terms of access. They haven't even been out here to take a look at the situation, only quoted based on pics of the fireplace.

I guess I'm wondering if it's more like, "a unit of this size should be closer to $7500 installed" or "$8900 is pretty much what you'll pay for any large unit installed" right now.

I'm totally in the dark, and don't want to insult the dealer if they're being reasonable.
 

rwh63

Feeling the Heat
Nov 12, 2019
384
MA
We have a 1.5 story ranch, so pretty straightforward in terms of access. They haven't even been out here to take a look at the situation, only quoted based on pics of the fireplace.

I guess I'm wondering if it's more like, "a unit of this size should be closer to $7500 installed" or "$8900 is pretty much what you'll pay for any large unit installed" right now.

I'm totally in the dark, and don't want to insult the dealer if they're being reasonable.
you should never be concerned about "insulting" the dealer. you are the customer, and they should provide you with education and honesty. it's a learning experience.
 

EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
In my business, a well informed customer is easier to work with compared to an uninformed one. Ask questions.
 
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EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
I don't know how they could quote without looking at the job. Best case scenario is they were pre qualifying you by throwing that price out. Odds are they're busy.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,176
South Puget Sound, WA
$2000 for just the physical install? not including the liner? Did they explain that?
Does it have to be a flush insert, or will an insert that projects a bit out onto the hearth be ok? If so, that opens up possibilities for a big Osburn 3500, PE Summit, etc. If it needs to be flush then look into the Regency i2700 and Osburn Matrix2700. The Osburn 3500 insert installed by a certified sweep should drop that down closer to $6000.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,153
Long Island NY
Maybe not the liner materials but the install of the insert and liner?
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
2,001
Northern Maine
How does one quote a job without seeing it??

It’s pure magic I say!

Please quote the next excavation job for ledge. 😂
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,505
NE Ohio
I don't know how they could quote without looking at the job
Easy, quote high...chances are good that you will either make some money, or make a lot of money.
 
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ejbailey

New Member
Feb 19, 2022
7
Monroe, CT
When I got my insert put they determined the price of the install on the length of the insert (25ft or less I believe). They never came out to look at the fireplace or the roof.

As for your specific price call around and ask other shops. You might also want to weight in hopes supply and inventory gets better. We ordered ours at the start of November and it came at the end of February.
 
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AstroBoy

New Member
Feb 9, 2022
23
Philadelphia suburbs
Thanks for starting this thread. I was recently quoted $3250 for the installation of a Regency insert. Looking at the quote, that includes the liner for my 30‘ (straight) chimney. But even with that, this seems high to me, too. Adding in electrical work, a large backing plate, and the insert itself, the total quote was $9700. Oof. I didn’t buy it, but I still need to get myself going to get some other quotes - that one sort of killed my momentum on moving forward with this. It will be interesting to see what other quotes look like.
 

AstroBoy

New Member
Feb 9, 2022
23
Philadelphia suburbs
In my business, a well informed customer is easier to work with compared to an uninformed one. Ask questions.
Out of curiosity, what kinds of questions would be appropriate here? “Why is your price so high?” doesn't seem like a good opener… 😀

Seriously, I’ve found this hard to navigate since so little price information is available. No dealers are advertising prices on the units themselves, and I don’t have any past experience about installation costs for this sort of work, either. So I feel like I’m flying blind.
 

EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thats a perfect opener. I'd then ask how long he expects it to take. Time is going to be the major cost in the job. Each person is going to have a per hour cost for the contractor. This is going to be a multiple person job and you don't want them to rush it. You want them to take the precautions to do the job right and make sure that the floor isn't dinged, hearth isn't scraped up, liner is installed properly, and they do it safely.
 

kborndale

Feeling the Heat
Oct 9, 2008
463
LI
It isn't just stove installs, anything you get a quote for will be quite expensive right now, that's just the world we live in right now. Try getting a quote for home remolding right now and the same thing is happening. Try and buy a car right now, buy groceries etc etc.
 
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soundofsilence

New Member
Mar 28, 2022
30
Chicagoland
I don't know how they could quote without looking at the job. Best case scenario is they were pre qualifying you by throwing that price out. Odds are they're busy.
Thanks for your replies. I do think they are busy. I asked how long the job should take and they said it should take about a day. Assuming two men working all day, $2000 still seems high ... but I realize the market has likely driven the price way up over the past year or two. Which is fine, that's capitalism at work. I don't make $1000/day, but I don't have the skills or experience these guys do.
 

soundofsilence

New Member
Mar 28, 2022
30
Chicagoland
$2000 for just the physical install? not including the liner? Did they explain that?
Does it have to be a flush insert, or will an insert that projects a bit out onto the hearth be ok? If so, that opens up possibilities for a big Osburn 3500, PE Summit, etc. If it needs to be flush then look into the Regency i2700 and Osburn Matrix2700. The Osburn 3500 insert installed by a certified sweep should drop that down closer to $6000.
This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for, so thanks. We are definitely open to an insert that projects onto the hearth. I'll look into these models. I'm guessing if installation costs have gone up in our area (Chicagoland) any certified installer is going to charge similar, but it's definitely worth looking into, so thanks.
 

soundofsilence

New Member
Mar 28, 2022
30
Chicagoland
Thanks for starting this thread. I was recently quoted $3250 for the installation of a Regency insert. Looking at the quote, that includes the liner for my 30‘ (straight) chimney. But even with that, this seems high to me, too. Adding in electrical work, a large backing plate, and the insert itself, the total quote was $9700. Oof. I didn’t buy it, but I still need to get myself going to get some other quotes - that one sort of killed my momentum on moving forward with this. It will be interesting to see what other quotes look like.
Also, I'm wondering if the 26% tax credit (https://welovefire.com/stoves/the-2...ood-and-pellet-stoves-can-save-you-over-1000/) has also driven up the cost. If I'm an installer who used to quote $8k for a job (unit, materials, labor) and now I realize the buyer is going to get $2500 of that money back at tax time maybe I just up the quote to $9k.

I'm self employed myself, so I'm very much aware of how costs impact business and how those can be passed on to the customer. If 26% of the cost (including labor) is being offered to buyers of these units, there's no way some of that $ isn't being worked into the quote so these installers can capture some of that value.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,784
WI, Leroy
insulated flue, external to my home, roughly 30 ft $3500 that was last fall.
 

soundofsilence

New Member
Mar 28, 2022
30
Chicagoland
One thing I've been thinking about is how much a wood insert can save us over time. Here is a graph showing our monthly gas bills (average over the past two years). Annually it's about $3k ($250/month). Here's an article which quotes an industry association suggesting an annual energy bill savings of 40% (https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/save-money-with-fireplace-insert/). For me that's $1200 in annual savings. Subtract the cost of firewood ($600 for 1 cord of oak), and I'm left with $600/year in savings.

After the cost of annual servicing, I'm down to $500/year in savings. That doesn't seem like much, and I don't know how reliable these numbers are.

How long does an insert last? I've seen various sources say that a well-maintained unit should last 20 years. So to summarize:

Price of unit installed: $8,900 - $2,314 (tax rebate) = $6,586
Annual energy savings: $500
Total energy savings over the life of the unit (20 years): $10,000

If anyone here has any feedback on my math here, please do share! :)

house gas bills two years.png
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,153
Long Island NY
Thanks for your replies. I do think they are busy. I asked how long the job should take and they said it should take about a day. Assuming two men working all day, $2000 still seems high ... but I realize the market has likely driven the price way up over the past year or two. Which is fine, that's capitalism at work. I don't make $1000/day, but I don't have the skills or experience these guys do.
The cost of $1000 per person per day does not result in them making $1000 per person per day...
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,153
Long Island NY
A simple calculator here
Fuel Cost Calculator-Biomass Fuel Cost Calculator -

Don't forget that buying wood that is likely still way too wet, you also need to build drying capability (a shed or something less fancy). That costs too.

In fact, get wood 2 or 3 seasons worth of wood put up (split, stacked, top covered) *now*, as soon as possible. Soft woods may be good to go by next season, but hard woods most probably not.
 
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BKVP

Minister of Fire
You might ask the dealer "What all is involved in the installation process? At times, clay liners have to be removed to accommodate an insulated liner. Or there are offsets that can be problematic and require more time in order to accommodate the liner into the masonry chimney. The install might include a solid sweeping of the chimney. It may include a block-off plate, which most agree is advisable. I read that the dealer may not have even see you application, so perhaps they are just "ball-parking" based upon their experience with home/chimneys and possible requirements.

I just attended the NCSG chimney sweep Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. I am always impressed by the level of and commitment to education by the CSIA members. If the dealer has such a person on their staff, they would have extensive knowledge and training, which the dealer paid for.

As for the liner, we always advocate for an insulated liner. There are different types and each carries a price tag for the amount of materials and design embodied in the design. Personally, we have had great such with the insulated liners that have two layers of stainless with the insulating material between the two pieces of stainless.

I think you need to ask the dealer to visit your home and give you a firm installation price with an itemization of what will be done or needed.

As BeGreen noted, there are many inserts that could resolve the price point issue. Also, consider those that qualify for the 25D Biomass Tax Credit. The 26% credit helps to reduce tax liability and applies to "anything needed to complete the installation".

BKVP
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,176
South Puget Sound, WA
This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for, so thanks. We are definitely open to an insert that projects onto the hearth. I'll look into these models. I'm guessing if installation costs have gone up in our area (Chicagoland) any certified installer is going to charge similar, but it's definitely worth looking into, so thanks.
Even if it costs $3,000 for an insulated liner and stove install you will be well ahead. If this is an exterior chimney, ask for an insulated block-off plate to be installed to the damper area.