Getting a Fair Deal on a New Flue Install w/New Stove

CreosoteCowboy

New Member
Jun 1, 2019
25
MN
Short version: I'm looking for suggestions on how to get the best value on having a new flue and wood stove installed, with a set of constraints described below.

Longer version: Last fall we bought a two story house with a steeply pitched roofline. The existing chimney is currently used to vent the gas furnace and water heater, and isn't in a suitable location to vent a stove anyway.

Last fall I talked with my local fireplace shop about getting a Jotul F400 installed in the living room. They were great to deal with, but their estimate padded the bill in every conceivable way. Most significantly, they only wanted to use Excel stove pipe, and their prices for the pieces were at least 3x the street price I found with a quick Google. I don't mind paying a fair price for a good job, but I'm not paying $2000 for stove pipe when I can have the same exact stuff delivered to my doorstep for <$600. I felt like I was getting played for a fool and put the project off.

Fast forward six months, and I'm realizing now is probably the best time to get a decent deal on a stove, and I should take some action. I'm looking for the best way to get this stove installed in a safe manner for the least amount of money. I don't know how long we'll have this house, so I'm fine with using pipe that could need replacement in 10 or 15 years.

The kicker is that my city will not allow a DIY install. You absolutely have to have a licensed installer do it.

My thought is to call around and find the best deal on the stove now and buy it, then call around and get quotes from independent sweeps on the install, with the specification that I'm fine using Menards/Home Depot pipe.

Is this a bad idea? Are there better ways to go about getting the job done?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,568
South Puget Sound, WA
Excel stove pipe is a premium brand. Can't fault the shop for wanting to install a good product. That leads to long term customer satisfaction. It is not fair to compare the cheapest with the best.
 

mar13

Member
Nov 5, 2018
161
Humboldt coast, California
Thursday was my install. Taking out the old stove and putting in the new stove was the easy part. The two workers busted their butts on moderately steep roof and tall ladder almost all day to replace my old 8 inch with new 6 inch. They certainly earned my respect and made me wonder how a first timer DIYer could do a decent job
 

CreosoteCowboy

New Member
Jun 1, 2019
25
MN
@mar13 I’m entirely fine with paying for skilled labor. The shop quoted $1000 labor, which didn’t strike me as crazy. People need to get paid.

I’m just looking for an alternative to getting gouged on the ultra premium pipe on top of paying a very healthy rate for labor.
 
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Reactions: mar13

CreosoteCowboy

New Member
Jun 1, 2019
25
MN
Excel stove pipe is a premium brand. Can't fault the shop for wanting to install a good product. That leads to long term customer satisfaction. It is not fair to compare the cheapest with the best.
I understand the desire to use a primo product, but I get sour quickly when the installer casually slips in a quote for 3x the actual street retail price of the product.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
18,615
central pa
I understand the desire to use a primo product, but I get sour quickly when the installer casually slips in a quote for 3x the actual street retail price of the product.
Are you saying you can get your complete system out of Excel chimney and all the required components to your door for 600?
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
902
Iowa
Were abouts in MN are you located?
 

CreosoteCowboy

New Member
Jun 1, 2019
25
MN
Are you saying you can get your complete system out of Excel chimney and all the required components to your door for 600?
I just looked back at the invoice, having not checked it since last fall. My numbers were a bit off.

Total cost quoted for the pipe was just shy of $2800, plus $1300 for the install (not including the hearth pad or any hardware).

I can't find a quote for Excel online, so I must have been looking at DuraVent Double Wall Class A and figured it was the closest alternative. Using Woodland Direct's calculator, it was around $900/delivered, so about 1/3 of the Excel from the stove shop. Not exactly apples to apples on the pipe, but at a $1900 savings I'd be fine with it.

Were abouts in MN are you located?
Minneapolis proper, thus the need for a city-licensed installer.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,568
South Puget Sound, WA
If you use Duravent pipe get DuraTech chimney, not DuraPlus.
 

Ludlow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2018
1,080
PA
Ventis is also branded as Rock-Vent, Champion, and Nexvent Class A chimney pipe. There are different grades so your installer may have been quoting the best grade. You can save money if you go with the Galvalume outer pipe option and then switch to SS outer pipe above the roofline.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
18,615
central pa
Ventis is also branded as Rock-Vent, Champion, and Nexvent Class A chimney pipe. There are different grades so your installer may have been quoting the best grade. You can save money if you go with the Galvalume outer pipe option and then switch to SS outer pipe above the roofline.
His installer quoted Excel not ventis. And I don't think either of them offer galvalume exterior. But you can get different alloys of stainless inside and out. For wood 304 inner and 430 outer is all you need. Oil or gas you need to go up to 316 inner 430 outer. Coal needs 316 inside and out.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,568
South Puget Sound, WA
The galvalume option would apply to DuraTech chimney. It does save some bucks.
 

Ludlow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2018
1,080
PA

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
18,615
central pa
Im sorry. Excel and Ventis are indeed different. Rockford says their brand is compatible with Ventis and it is available in galvalume. I do get the brands mixed up with each other sometimes.
https://www.rockfordchimneysupply.com/chimney-pipes/class-a-insulated-chimney-pipes/rock-vent-class-a-chimney-systems

QUOTE:

"Compatible with Rock-Vent, Ventis, Champion, and Nexvent Class A chimney pipe."
I will have to ask my rep about that. They repeatedly told us they would never make that because it is a compromise in quality. But it sure looks like they do
 

Ludlow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2018
1,080
PA
I will have to ask my rep about that. They repeatedly told us they would never make that because it is a compromise in quality. But it sure looks like they do
Perhaps they do not offer Galv under the Ventis branding. I dont know. Manufacturers sell their products under so many private labels its hard to keep track.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
18,615
central pa
Perhaps they do not offer Galv under the Ventis branding. I dont know. Manufacturers sell their products under so many private labels its hard to keep track.
Yes that is another thing they promised us pros they would never do.
 

Ludlow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2018
1,080
PA
Well, the Ventis pro brand may very well be the better made product. Like Supervent and Superpro. They are completely compatible but the Superpro is a superior pro grade and the Supervent is a home store grade that is cheaper. Superpro is available in 4' lengths and Superpro is not. I wouldnt automatically assume that Ventis and Rock Vent and Champion are exactly the same even though you can snap them all together interchangeably.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,568
South Puget Sound, WA
It's nice for the company to provide a more cost-effective solution for interior chimney applications. A galvanized jacket chimney is not necessarily an inferior product when used in an interior or chased area. FWIW, we have 7 yr old galvalume DuraTech outdoors on the greenhouse install and it still looks good.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
18,615
central pa
It's nice for the company to provide a more cost-effective solution for interior chimney applications. A galvanized jacket chimney is not necessarily an inferior product when used in an interior or chased area. FWIW, we have 7 yr old galvalume DuraTech outdoors on the greenhouse install and it still looks good.
To be clear I have no issue at all with them making it. My problem is with them lying to us pros who made them what they are.
 

Mike M.

Feeling the Heat
Mar 18, 2012
295
Green Bay, WI
The city doesn't allow a DIY install? How would they know? To me its more of a concern with your insurance provider. Is your insurance okay with the DIY install? What do they require?

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,035
Schenectady, NY
Yeah, seems to me the question would be, "Is it installed to code?"

I've seen some pretty iffy work done by "professionals."
 

CreosoteCowboy

New Member
Jun 1, 2019
25
MN
The city doesn't allow a DIY install? How would they know? To me its more of a concern with your insurance provider. Is your insurance okay with the DIY install? What do they require?

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
Good questions. Even if the city was none the wiser and insurance had a standard policy regarding wood stoves that allowed an inspected DIY install, I'm guessing I'd have significant personal liability exposure if the install violated local ordinance. Maybe I'll dig into my policy a little more.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,035
Schenectady, NY
It's the building inspector that needs to know the local ordinances. He signs off on your permit saying all is in order.
 

Ludlow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2018
1,080
PA
Or he says: "Duh...I dunno...looks good ta me!"
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,035
Schenectady, NY
Still, he's the final word on it. It's not the homeowners fault if he's an idiot. The manual is fairly clear on CTC and floor protection. There's plenty of instruction on how to install a Class A chimney too. If you can put legos together, you can install a stove. Having certain tools makes it easier, but you could get by with very few tools if you're careful.