When considering the costs of installing a wood stove, you'll want to keep fire safety foremost in your mind. Half of all home fires resulting in death occurred because of flammable material placed too close to the heat source, according to a 2010 report by the National Fire Protection Agency. Your walls and floor need to be protected, and your stovepipe and chimney must be installed according to local codes and manufacturer’s specifications.
Every wood stove needs an approved Underwriter’s Laboratory or UL chimney, most commonly insulted stainless steel. You can custom order chimney kits to the specific dimensions of your living situation. Prices of these kits will vary depending on if you're going through a wall, a roof or a high-ceiling attic. Lengths of insulated chimney pipe can also be purchased individually. A three-foot length of stainless steel chimney pipe with a lifetime warranty sells for $86 at home improvement stores, with a one-foot length of double-wall chimney pipe going for $20 to $25. Chimney and rain caps range from $28 to $68. Elbows and T-sections average from $28 to $45 as of publication.
You'll want to connect your stove to the chimney with stovepipe, usually painted with high temperature black paint and sold in either 22 or 24-gauge steel. These pipes can’t be passed through a wall or ceiling and generally run a little cheaper per foot than your chimney pipes. They are sold in 6, 7 and 8 inch diameters as either single wall (one layer) or double wall, with different companies offering different built-in venting technologies. Lengths range from 6 to 68 inches, with the average price being $20 for a two-foot length of single wall and $60 for double wall. They can also be purchased as kits starting at $79 for a single wall, 6 inch diameter, 24-gauge steel construction, current as of publication.
You’ll want to check the listed guidelines for your stove but as a general rule, the stovepipe must be an average of 18 inches away from the walls or ceiling. If you have a small living space, one solution is to protect the walls with a non-combustible covering. Doing so can reduce the distance requirements by half. You’ll want to invest in an UL approved wall shield such as brick or cement board. Name-brand approved cement boards are sold in 3 by 5 foot sheets for $9 to $10 each, and are safe to be used as tile backer board.
Newer stoves often have heat shields pre-installed, allowing for greater safety in tight quarters, but all stoves regardless of technology will still need to sit on a non-combustible base. Sparks fly, so you’ll want your protection to extend at least 18 inches out from the front doors and 8 inches on all sides. You can use the same UL approved cement boards mentioned above, either alone or covered with ceramic tile, slate or marble. You can also purchase custom hearth pads that have ember protection and meet or exceed UL standards starting at $423.
Hiring a Professional
Once you've assembled all your supplies, expect a delivery charge of about $200 to get the stove to your home. Hiring a professional to do the actual installation will save you 39 hours and cost an additional $1,700, according to the national average on the DIY or Not website, current as of 2012. Costs were higher in colder cities such as Chicago, averaging an additional $2,600 above supplies as compared with Mesa, Ariz., at $1,400.
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