Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wood Stove Installed, Total Project $2,200

Our garden is almost done with, so I'll be coming back very soon. In the meantime, here's an update.

This past year we had 5 trees in our back yard. They prevented us from growing any food in our back yard and were a safety hazard to our house. We had them removed earlier in the year and split the wood and it's been sitting in our back yard. With all of the wood, we needed a wood stove or fireplace insert.

The original quotes we got were in the $4-5K range with them doing everything. Our budget couldn't afford that, so we found ways to do it cheaper. We had a chimney sweep clean our chimney (cost $110) and let us know if the project was feasible (wood stove yes, insert no). We bought a liner and wood stove from Menards (total cost $1,200). We also purchased slate, firecode drywall, mortar, and grout for the floor (total cost $200) and my wife installed the flooring. I tried to get on the roof to install the liner myself, but my fear of heights prevented me from doing so. We called the chimney sweep and he installed the liner & patched the chimney for $550.

Items learned:

- If the chimney sweep had bought the liner from his suppliers, we could have cut a bit off in the price. It can't hurt to ask, even if you think it will be more.

- Having the chimney sweep install the liner was well worth the cost (possible injury would have been more than the cost to have him install it, plus there were difficulties that only he would have known how to resolve).

- When getting quotes for services, make sure you get a set cost. When we were calling around for a chimney sweep, several of the quotes said the price could change based upon how difficult it was to clean. We went with the one that provided a fixed cost, so we could know exactly how much we were going to spend.

- Will keep track of how much wood we use exactly this year so that we can purchase/locate enough for next year's winter.

- Will be looking for a supplier of wood that will keep our costs below those of natural gas.

- I'm estimating it will take us 3-4 years to recoup our costs, but there is a value in enjoying a nice fire when it's cold outside.

Expected Criticism: I know with debts outstanding, we should be focused on that instead of having a wood stove installed. This winter it should reduce our heating costs by $500-1000 and additional reductions later. We will be keeping an eye on our expenses the next few months and start hitting the debts hard again. Sometimes life is a little more than just getting out of debt...


Ben said...

Way to go with the wood stove installation. We have a stove that we never got around to using last year, but we are hoping to get some use out of it this season.

Heating oil/gas is sooo expensive, especially for people living in Maine where the mediam incomes are not the highest to begin with.

I am hoping that someday I will be able to afford to retrofit my home with geothermal energy.

A geothermal unit will reduce your homes carbon footprint, and reliably warm and cool your home for many years.

Best of all, a geothermal heat pump system can save you 70% or more per year on home heating and cooling bills!

But then again, they can cost upwards of $30,000 or more!

Sick of Debt said...

A heat pump is a great idea, but with the costs it does not make sense financially (in my opinion).