installation quoting practice

sojayFebruary 4, 2009

Is this normal practice?

I've asked someone from a local (reputable) fireplace store to give me an estimate on installing a chimney for a woodburning stove.

The are asking $55 just to visit to give me a quote AND they say that I need to get a roofing contractor involved in addition because it's a metal roof. There is nothing tricky about the installation - standard 6" flue, one story building w sloping ceiling (no attic), gently sloping roof. They must be kidding - do they just not want the work???? Doesn't a chimney installation include whatever is involved with the roof?

One guy from the store already came to the house, but was incapable of a) answering any technical questions and b) giving a price. I didn't understand why he came and not an installer.

remark, I'm not buying the actual stove from the store.

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Sounds like neither of you want the business of the other.

It sounds to me like they are telling you they don't have the experience to do a quality job with a type of roofing with which they are unfamiliar. Will another outfit be as honest, or hack their way through the job and hope for the best?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 11:47PM
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"...remark, I'm not buying the actual stove from the store..."

Then they are not interested, really. Maybe they don't have the expertise to deal with a metal roof. And they are not going after your business.

If you would be purchasing the stove from the local company, they would deal with you. But they aren't going to give any breaks for installing someone else's stove.
Why aren't you dealing with a local business? Are you getting the stove from someone who will be there if you have problems with it? I hope you're NOT getting it from a home center!
I take it you're trying to save a few bucks. Remember. You get what you pay for.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 7:59AM
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Thanks for your input. The reason I'm not buying the stove locally is that their selection is lousy. I want a highly efficient unit that's well designed, and I'm willing to go through the trouble of importing it from Europe on my own. it is still cheaper than going through several middle men and buying it in the US. The store has known from the beginning of our communication that I'll be supplying the unit independently.
This is BTW the unit I want:

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 9:58AM
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Well, good luck to you.

Generally speaking I'd value having local parts, service and installation over dealing with a foreign manufacturer or distributor, but to each their own.

You are already discovery the advantages of the preference described above, and the disadvantages of the method you plan to pursue.

Suppose you new stove has techical problems with the way that it operates and needs service and repair? How do you expect to deal with that?

This question illustrates the reasons for the preferences I express in the second paragraph.

My suggestion would be to have a FRIENDLY chat with the manager of the shop with the poor selection. Ask them if they can special order, install and maintain the stove you want. See what you can work out that will get what youn want, which should include having competent installation and maintenance on the stove.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 4:11PM
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One major question: Is this stove EPA rated? What is the process of burning off the excess gasses? A CAT or secondary combustion? How many grams per hour is the stove emitting? What is the efficiency rating?

And again, what if you need service? Things DO break and I would want a LOCAL dealership to handle the warranty.

The stove is very pretty, but there comes a time where function takes precedence over form. And NOBODY builds stoves like America. Mine has a lifetime warranty and it was sold and installed by a local stove shop. If I have a problem, I call the stove shop, not someone in Europe.

I wish you well.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 7:18AM
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Thanks for your very legitimate concerns, but I see them as non-issues. Parts can just as well be shipped to me from out of state than from overseas at no additional cost. I've done this before in a former residence.

My only concern was to choose a unit that had been approved for the US market. The standards on these Scandinavian and German units are much higher than for US built stoves. They don't get any hotter than you can touch them everywhere but the glass and the flue, because its convection heat, not radiant heat. You can install them right next to a wall, but US codes generally don't allow that. BTW they are so efficient that hardly any visible smoke is produced except if wet or bad wood is used.

Anyhow, I've found another installer who is perfectly able to deal with a metal roof and the standard 6" flue that's required. It snaps in so nicely that even I could do it if I for example wanted to refinish the floors or something. As for servicing, they are so well designed that if the window gasket needs to be replaced over the years or the baffle plate needs replacing, a child could almost do it.

I couldn't find a single acceptable unit locally that wasn't either super inefficient or incredibly ugly. Once I had my last one installed I had several friends want to do the same thing and I helped them with the importing. None of them have ever had an issue with either installation or service. Just because I'm not in the business of fireplaces or import doesn't mean I can't buy something overseas. Sure, there's some import tax involved, but it's generally a small fraction of what an importer would mark up. Besides, most of the European manufacturers have websites in English also.

But thanks for letting me vent about this particular installer and his business practices.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 7:38AM
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"...BTW they are so efficient that hardly any visible smoke is produced except if wet or bad wood is used..."

Nothing new there. ALL stoves today are like that. When my stove is burning you can't see anything coming from my chimney either. That's the way ALL stoves should work.

But what are the grams per hour and the efficiency rating of your stove?

And convection heat is purely a choice. I don't like it. I had a blower on a pervious stove in my last house and once the stove cooled, it blew cool air. My current stove has no blower and has radiant heat. It heats my VT home very nicely even when it's minus 30 in the morning. But we know spring's coming. It's only minus 3 outside right now.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 8:49AM
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