Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wood Stove: The details

The installers came on Thursday morning. My understanding was that it would only take 2-3 hours to install. They were actually here for about 7 hours.

First, a little background. The original owners had a wood stove insert that was here when we considered buying the house from them. You may remember, however, that we did not do so, and the second owners had a gas stove insert installed during the time that they lived here. We never used it.

Because we are averse to spending a lot of money, we looked at our options, one of which was to locate the original wood stove insert. My husband contacted the second owners, and learned that the original wood stove insert was in a barn about an hour and a half away from where we live. My husband went in search of it, but it was nowhere to be found. That ceased to be an option.

We did our research on the wood stove inserts available in our area, some of which has been documented here. One salesman came by but never came back with an estimate. Needless to say, he did not get our business. The gentleman who did get our business came by and was very professional, and told us our options. His company had a used wood stove that we could purchase at a discount--it had been used for only a few months by someone who was waiting for the product she had ordered to come in. Used is not a big deal to us--if we had still had the original insert, it would have been used when we bought the house, and we liked the discount. Our main problem was the cooking space on the lip of the stove--the salesman told us about another stove that had more room, but which was more expensive.

While the salesman was here, he talked about whether we wanted a liner or not when we had the wood stove installed. He looked at the chimney, and said that he didn't think that a liner would make that big a difference because of the chimney's size. It is not required where we live to have a liner in the chimney, so that was one of the options that we had to consider.

Well, as we did our research, someone else purchased the used stove, so that was no longer an option. We needed to buy something that had a cooking surface, and yet left us enough money to feed the stove, (yes, we think it looks smart, but we want it to be useful as well :) so we decided to buy the new version of the used model, and do without the liner, which would have added $600 to the overall price. It was a relief to have decided and to have an installment date in place.
So, Thursday arrived. They took out the gas insert. And the fun began.

Apparently, an inspector from the city comes by and checks the work of the installers. When he did, we found out that our chimney needed to be extended by about 5 inches. This was completed, but as you can imagine, it took some time.

My husband found out that the installers had put in a liner. I have to admit that I was glad about this, and now that it was done, I did not want them to remove it. I was not excited about the additional cost ($600) that we would have to come up with (you may recall that we paid for it in full up front) as a result of the error. However, you do what you have to do, and my husband said he would make sure that everything was paid for correctly.

So the installation was completed close to 6:00 that evening, and we took off for one of the children's activities. Thanks to information left in my comments (thanks Carl from Wisconsin!) and at least one question from my best source, (Mom) I was able to come up with a lot of inquiries for the stove salesman before my husband got a chance to call him. One of the things he said was that we should run the stove on hot for 60 hours to burn off paint residue. The other thing he said, (and we know that this is a blessing) was that there was no charge for the liner, because it was his fault, and he should have known that it was necessary in the first place. My husband offered three times to make it right, but there was no extra charge. Wow.

So, as you saw from the photo, we did not hesitate to fire the thing up. It does burn hot--it melted a candy bar in the next room. It makes excellent s'mores. Now we just have to find cookware that fits on the lip...

Now, taking a tip from our friends over at Johnson Family Farm, who wrote an informative and helpful post about their woodstove, I present a picture of the lip:

Not quite the 5 inches of flat surface that we were expecting, but there is room to warm up a can of soup, and we will figure out the rest.
Thanks to all for your information and advice that you have left in the comments. We are expecting to have at least 2 cords of aspen wood delivered next week, so the work has just begun... :)


Ron said...

That's a great story, Marie. I think it's really good that you got the liner... I'm betting that the draw will be better that way. Newer stoves tend to work better with the flue the size they were designed for, from what I've read. With a bigger chimney, it could take a while before getting the chimney effect going.

I'm wondering about that lip... I'll bet you could get yourself a scrap of 1/4" metal, the size you would need for whatever size pan you want to use, and use a C-clamp to clamp it to the short lip. The metal would absorb the heat, and radiate it back out. Although the heat may not be quite as intense that way, it should still work fine and would support a pan much easier then. You could get the metal from a Home Depot or Lowe's (or better, a local hardware store if you have one). And, you could always take it off so it would look good when not cooking with it.


The Scavenger said...

Marie, I am so happy for you, proud of you also. You have done something few others can manage these days for what ever reason they may have. You set a goal, a very important and expensive one at that, and you acheived it. You stayed true to your commitment to save for the stove and pay cash and I am so hapy to know that there are still good folks out there that can and will do just that. Give yourselfs a good pat on the back for me. Congrats.

With a smile on my face,
Your Friend, Chris

Marie said...

Ron--We will definitely have to try the extension on the lip--it sounds like a brilliant idea, so thank you very much!
I was glad about the liner as well because if it becomes a requirement than we won't have to worry about bringing it up to a new standard. Thanks for your comment!

Chris--Thank you so much for your kind words--I am just glad that it is finally completed and that it worked out less expensive (wish it had been like yours :) than we had originally thought it would be. Thanks for the information and encouragement while it was a work in progress--it is much appreciated!