Sticker shock -- large wood insert quote

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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,407
SE North Carolina
1000$ per day for a two person crew was always my guesstimate pre Covid. Local factors should be considered. So labor cost may be a bit high but right now it’s what ever the local market is.

4 years ago I paid almost 6k for an enameled jotul (not the most expensive one) and 15’ of insulated liner, for a professional to install on a very easy roof. It was a 5-6 hour job. Easy enough that I just installed my second woodstove myself.

I don’t think I will ever save money. Even with free firewood (it’s not that cold here I bet I save 150-200$ a year). If you want to save money insulate, insulate, air seal and add a heatpump. Consider this even if you get a woodstove. Heatpump wood stove combo is nice.

Thinking ahead you could easily burn 2-3 cords of wood (8x4x4 ). And you should have room for 3 winters worth of wood. Hardly anyone sells truly seasoned ready to burn firewood (maybe at 600$ / cord it could be but I doubt it). Add the annual visit from the chimney sweep (or do it your self to save 200$ A year).
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
1000$ per day for a two person crew was always my guesstimate pre Covid. Local factors should be considered. So labor cost may be a bit high but right now it’s what ever the local market is.

4 years ago I paid almost 6k for an enameled jotul (not the most expensive one) and 15’ of insulated liner, for a professional to install on a very easy roof. It was a 5-6 hour job. Easy enough that I just installed my second woodstove myself.

I don’t think I will ever save money. Even with free firewood (it’s not that cold here I bet I save 150-200$ a year). If you want to save money insulate, insulate, air seal and add a heatpump. Consider this even if you get a woodstove. Heatpump wood stove combo is nice.

Thinking ahead you could easily burn 2-3 cords of wood (8x4x4 ). And you should have room for 3 winters worth of wood. Hardly anyone sells truly seasoned ready to burn firewood (maybe at 600$ / cord it could be but I doubt it). Add the annual visit from the chimney sweep (or do it your self to save 200$ A year).
Agree 100%, for those of us fortunate enough to purchase cord permits $5 each and go cut in the National Forest, wood burning can save a ton over the ever increasing natural gas prices. But having the space and willingness to stock-up a 3+ year supply, is also very gratifying.

As my buddy Jeff says looking over his left shoulder at his 200 gallon propane tank, grinding his teeth..."argh"!

Then he look to the right at his full wood shed. His chest inflates, blisters on hand pop as he grips a cold Summer Shandy and utters "now that's a thing of beauty".
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,407
SE North Carolina
Agree 100%, for those of us fortunate enough to purchase cord permits $5 each and go cut in the National Forest, wood burning can save a ton
I still have a good stack of hurricane Florence wood. I’m not calling that fortunate.

But if the whole point is to save money by installing a stove/insert and burning wood, paying 600$ per cord is probably costing more than it would cost to run a heatpump. If my HVAC was 10 years old or older that’s what I’d be spending money on.

There is a thread on here somewhere where a member used the price of heating fuels (wood, propane and electricity for his heatpump (and the temp dependent COP) to find what was cheaper and the temp at which to turn off the heatpump. Electricity prices in most markets are much less volatile than natural gas or propane.

Just my thoughts. (I’d have a wood shed built already if just thinking built anything)
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
I still have a good stack of hurricane Florence wood. I’m not calling that fortunate.

But if the whole point is to save money by installing a stove/insert and burning wood, paying 600$ per cord is probably costing more than it would cost to run a heatpump. If my HVAC was 10 years old or older that’s what I’d be spending money on.

There is a thread on here somewhere where a member used the price of heating fuels (wood, propane and electricity for his heatpump (and the temp dependent COP) to find what was cheaper and the temp at which to turn off the heatpump. Electricity prices in most markets are much less volatile than natural gas or propane.

Just my thoughts. (I’d have a wood shed built already if just thinking built anything)
Yes, you are correct. I travel 250+ days a year. I spend 5 more cutting wood and the remaining 110 days listening to the better-half complaining I'm gone too frequently.

In the years when I burned "valley wood" meaning provided to me by arborists, costs could range from $300-$400 a load. (About 4 cords per load) Now that I cut once again the NF, diesel, saw, chains etc. I'm still way ahead versus NG.

On the OP observations on Sticker Price, I can fully appreciate those numbers. First off, there are all different types of wood stoves, shape, size, combustion technology etc. But we all use steel!

Let me share a few observations as a manufacturer. Steel prices are insane. Not based solely upon price per ton, but availability! We have providers of steel that have increased prices to unprecedented levels. But even more insane is the costs tp get freight lines to bring it to us.

We have a warehouse. We ship stoves there all the time...for years. One year ago, a full trailer would run us $2,800 to TN. Now, we call companies and they say $8,000 "if we can get you a trailer". Then we call and ask where is the trailer, to which they respond "We had someone agree to pay $9,000 for the same trailer to haul something else. Now before you suggest to look at other carriers, this is universally being applied due to limited transportation.

As a manufacturer, we must maintain a prescribed margin. That's hard to do these days. And guess where a huge amount of the palladium used in combustors comes from? Yup. We are waiting for that shoe to drop.....
 

soundofsilence

New Member
Mar 28, 2022
25
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.
Thank you, again. I just visited an Osburn dealer, although it will take me a little more time to get a quote. I am actually not super impressed with the 3500, the way the blower kind of just sits in front of the unit kind of looks funky (IMO). Kind of a shame, because I love the size of that model. The Matrix 2700 might be a good fit, that's the one I'm going to get quoted. It's a bit smaller than the Lopi (2.5 cu ft vs 3.0 cu ft), and the quoted heating area is also smaller (2200 sq ft vs 2500 sq ft), but if it's considerably less expensive it might be worth stepping down to the Osburn.

Whether the Matrix 2700 would fit is a question. It would be tight, and I'll have to remeasure to make sure there is enough clearance for the very back of the unit. I guess we'll start with getting a quote and go from there.
 

soundofsilence

New Member
Mar 28, 2022
25
Chicagoland
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.
What's the advantage of an insulated liner? One dealer I spoke to said they wrap the liner, but it didn't sound like it was a double liner with insulation inbetween ... but he isn't an installer, so he wasn't sure. It seems like preinsulated would be quite a bit more expensive, but I assume there are benefits.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,441
central pa
What's the advantage of an insulated liner? One dealer I spoke to said they wrap the liner, but it didn't sound like it was a double liner with insulation inbetween ... but he isn't an installer, so he wasn't sure. It seems like preinsulated would be quite a bit more expensive, but I assume there are benefits.
It doesn't have to be double wall at all. Wrapped is just as good.

The benifits are faster heat up of the liner. Less heat loss out of the liner to the chimney. All of that means you can burn at lower exhaust temps without creosote buildup. It is also probably required by code for safety reasons unless your chimney has 1" clearance to combustibles from the outside of the masonry structure.
 
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soundofsilence

New Member
Mar 28, 2022
25
Chicagoland
But if the whole point is to save money by installing a stove/insert and burning wood, paying 600$ per cord is probably costing more than it would cost to run a heatpump.
Good point. Saving money actually isn't the whole point of this project -- we have a beautiful fireplace in the middle of our dream house, and we'd love to use it one way or another. It's not safe to use now (rusted firebox liner), so either way it's going to be thousands to get it working again ... and as I've researched our options it seems like a super efficient insert is the best choice with the added benefit of helping to heat our home.

Now, as far as wood, the $600/cord estimate is after briefly checking a couple of sellers in my area. I might be able to do better. And I don't think a heat pump is an option for the Chicago area.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
We recommend insulated liners for all our inserts and also for freestanding stoves that use a masonry chimney. To bhollers point, NFPA 211 specifies as part of the safety standard, a 1" clearance on an exterior wall chimney and 2" clearance on an interior wall chimney to combustibles.

If you are unwilling to tear into the structure to make certain the home builder maintained those clearances (and believe me they often do not), the insulated liner will buy you piece of mind. Also, CSIA sweeps will also often provide a digital inspection of the interior of a chimney. The camera at times will show voids or vacancies in the mortar or cement between bricks. Again, peace of mind knowing that you have the best protection!

Insulated liners are mandatory in Canada. I am in favor of them being mandatory in the USA as well. When wood stoves are less efficient, safety aside, there is generally enough stack loss to overcome challenges to draft. However, with inserts that are more efficient, the insulating nature of the liner hold stack temps and improves performance. If you purchase an insert with high efficiency (73%HHV or higher) you'll need that added performance enhancement.

BKVP
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,441
central pa
We recommend insulated liners for all our inserts and also for freestanding stoves that use a masonry chimney. To bhollers point, NFPA 211 specifies as part of the safety standard, a 1" clearance on an exterior wall chimney and 2" clearance on an interior wall chimney to combustibles.

If you are unwilling to tear into the structure to make certain the home builder maintained those clearances (and believe me they often do not), the insulated liner will buy you piece of mind. Also, CSIA sweeps will also often provide a digital inspection of the interior of a chimney. The camera at times will show voids or vacancies in the mortar or cement between bricks. Again, peace of mind knowing that you have the best protection!

Insulated liners are mandatory in Canada. I am in favor of them being mandatory in the USA as well. When wood stoves are less efficient, safety aside, there is generally enough stack loss to overcome challenges to draft. However, with inserts that are more efficient, the insulating nature of the liner hold stack temps and improves performance. If you purchase an insert with high efficiency (73%HHV or higher) you'll need that added performance enhancement.

BKVP
Well said
 

soundofsilence

New Member
Mar 28, 2022
25
Chicagoland
We recommend insulated liners for all our inserts and also for freestanding stoves that use a masonry chimney. To bhollers point, NFPA 211 specifies as part of the safety standard, a 1" clearance on an exterior wall chimney and 2" clearance on an interior wall chimney to combustibles.

If you are unwilling to tear into the structure to make certain the home builder maintained those clearances (and believe me they often do not), the insulated liner will buy you piece of mind. Also, CSIA sweeps will also often provide a digital inspection of the interior of a chimney. The camera at times will show voids or vacancies in the mortar or cement between bricks. Again, peace of mind knowing that you have the best protection!

Insulated liners are mandatory in Canada. I am in favor of them being mandatory in the USA as well. When wood stoves are less efficient, safety aside, there is generally enough stack loss to overcome challenges to draft. However, with inserts that are more efficient, the insulating nature of the liner hold stack temps and improves performance. If you purchase an insert with high efficiency (73%HHV or higher) you'll need that added performance enhancement.

BKVP
As a newbie here, I'm really impressed with the quality of information posted here by multiple members, my thanks to everyone!
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,407
SE North Carolina
Good point. Saving money actually isn't the whole point of this project -- we have a beautiful fireplace in the middle of our dream house, and we'd love to use it one way or another. It's not safe to use now (rusted firebox liner), so either way it's going to be thousands to get it working again ... and as I've researched our options it seems like a super efficient insert is the best choice with the added benefit of helping to heat our home.

Now, as far as wood, the $600/cord estimate is after briefly checking a couple of sellers in my area. I might be able to do better. And I don't think a heat pump is an option for the Chicago area.
I think an insert is a good solution to fix an old unusable fireplace. Don’t under estimate what a heatpump can do. It’s not going to cover 100% but think all but the coldest 20 days a year.
 
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kborndale

Feeling the Heat
Oct 9, 2008
378
LI
Good point. Saving money actually isn't the whole point of this project -- we have a beautiful fireplace in the middle of our dream house, and we'd love to use it one way or another. It's not safe to use now (rusted firebox liner), so either way it's going to be thousands to get it working again ... and as I've researched our options it seems like a super efficient insert is the best choice with the added benefit of helping to heat our home.

Now, as far as wood, the $600/cord estimate is after briefly checking a couple of sellers in my area. I might be able to do better. And I don't think a heat pump is an option for the Chicago area.

At $600 a cord it would be cheaper to burn oil! Why wouldn't a heat pump be an option in Chicago? They make cold climate heat pumps that work well until you hit single digits.
 

soundofsilence

New Member
Mar 28, 2022
25
Chicagoland
I think an insert is a good solution to fix an old unusable fireplace. Don’t under estimate what a heatpump can do. It’s not going to cover 100% but think all but the coldest 20 days a year.
I put a Mr Cool 24k mini split in our separate 3 car garage last year. It performed great, until the air compressor went out in the dead of winter and then we had to run space heaters to protect some equipment we had our there. 😕

It was covered under warranty, which is good, but I still have to find time to reinstall the outdoor unit (hoping I can reuse the original lineset and indoor unit.

We have an addition to the house set on a slab that our furnace (on the other end of the house) doesn't heat very well ... so I may end up installing a mini split to heat the part of the house over a slab.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
While you figure out the stove situation, can you improve the air sealing and insulation of the house? That'll give a return regardless of the fuel source and, maybe more importantly, increase comfort.
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,407
SE North Carolina
Can't believe no one else picked up on this. Reminds me of how the US got Titanium from RU for building the SR-71, you might have to do the same @BKVP ;lol
It got “yep that’s about right” from me as a shake my head. I tried to buy cupcakes for my kindergarteners birthday. Sams club employees informed me that all they had was cream filled because there is a cupcake shortage due to a big fire. (Walmart distribution center? I don’t know?? ). So yeah everything from palladium to cupcakes. 2022 is shaping up to be another adventure.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
There was a huge distribution center fire last week. One of the other boards I'm on had a bunch of pics as the poster lived near it.
 

TradEddie

Minister of Fire
Jan 24, 2012
953
SE PA
I paid about $2000 for install materials and labor several years ago, I considered a DIY install but when I saw the problems that experienced installers with the correct tools had, I was happy I'd made the right choice!

TE
 

soundofsilence

New Member
Mar 28, 2022
25
Chicagoland
While you figure out the stove situation, can you improve the air sealing and insulation of the house? That'll give a return regardless of the fuel source and, maybe more importantly, increase comfort.
I definitely should look into this. I'm sure there are tools or some way to identify leaks in your house. Ours was build in the 50s, and was vacant for several years before we purchased. It's an amazing home in a great location with a large lot size and a separate guest house (that we're currently renovating). Lots of projects.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
And guess where a huge amount of the palladium used in combustors comes from? Yup. We are waiting for that shoe to drop.....

Glad I just bought my spare cat :)
Only 3000 hrs or so on mine, but I prefer to be rather safe than sorry.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,407
SE North Carolina
I definitely should look into this. I'm sure there are tools or some way to identify leaks in your house. Ours was build in the 50s, and was vacant for several years before we purchased. It's an amazing home in a great location with a large lot size and a separate guest house (that we're currently renovating). Lots of projects.
I got one of these. It’s fun. Probably not super necessary. Really any time there is a corner or a hole it’s possible for air to leak.
FLIR ONE Gen 3 - iOS - Thermal Camera for Smart Phones - with MSX Image Enhancement Technology Amazon product
 
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mellow

Resident Stove Connoisseur
Jan 19, 2008
5,373
Salisbury, MD
I definitely should look into this. I'm sure there are tools or some way to identify leaks in your house. Ours was build in the 50s, and was vacant for several years before we purchased. It's an amazing home in a great location with a large lot size and a separate guest house (that we're currently renovating). Lots of projects.
Check with your power company, they might subsidize home efficiency audits. Mine paid for my blower door test to find quite a few leaks in my older house, they also paid for them to be fixed.