By Katie Flannery | Published Nov 28, 2022 1:23 PM
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Installing a wood stove can completely change the atmosphere of a room. A wood-burning stove provides an additional heating source and creates a welcoming, cozy glow. According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, installing a wood-burning stove costs from $325 to $4,000, depending on the size and type of the wood stove, the installation location, the stove’s capacity, the total installation time, and the complexity of the job. A wood stove’s benefits include better heat than from a fireplace and multiple available placement options throughout the home. Fire safety needs to be a top priority with wood stove installation. Protection for the floor and walls and proper ventilation are important for wood stove installations as well. The addition of heat-resistant materials and inspection fees to ensure compliance with local building codes and wood stove manufacturer specifications can increase the price of installation.
Labor to install a wood stove runs from $250 to $800. Labor pricing typically includes chimney construction, stove fitting, a ventilation system, wall coverings, and a hearth pad, although some wood stove installers may charge separately for those items. The type of wood stove will also influence the labor costs, as will any masonry work, the complexity of the installation job, and any necessary repairs. This guide will examine the factors that affect wood stove cost, the types of wood stoves and the benefits of installing one, and some frequently asked questions about wood stove installation cost.
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How much does it cost to install a wood stove? Wood stove prices for installation are typically less than fireplace installation costs, but the overall expense depends on several factors. The pricing can differ from the national average due to stove type, material, and brand; heating capacity; chimney and liner installation; stove pipe installation; installation location; local labor costs; and permit fees.
Homeowners can choose between three types of wood stoves: catalytic, noncatalytic, and hybrid. Catalytic wood stoves are more appropriate for homeowners who are looking for sustained overnight burns and using the wood stove for a primary heat source. Noncatalytic wood stoves work well for supplemental heating or occasional use. A hybrid wood stove offers a cleaner burn than a noncatalytic stove thanks to a secondary combustion chamber with a catalytic combustor. Each wood stove type is discussed in more detail in a section below.
The overall price of a wood stove hinges on the material. Typically made of cast iron or stainless steel, freestanding wood-burning stoves radiate heat evenly, with the cast-iron option able to hold heat for longer. There is minimal difference between the two materials, aside from personal preference, cost, and design aesthetics. Cast-iron wood stoves are available in different colors with an enamel finish, while steel stoves are almost always black with a simple design. Cast-iron wood stoves cost about 20 percent to 30 percent more than steel stoves. Also available are cast-iron stoves with soapstone panels, which have the ability to release heat slowly for many hours after the fire has been extinguished.
Individual brands of wood stoves will range in price, while the installation costs will remain the same. Below are some popular brands of wood stoves and their average prices.
A wood stove’s heating capacity controls how much space it can heat. The most budget-friendly wood stoves are small, noncatalytic stainless steel options, which are good at heating small areas. Catalytic cast-iron wood stoves that heat larger areas are typically the most expensive. Below are the average costs of wood-burning stoves based on the heating capacity.
Chimneys have exact specifications to pass building codes and safety requirements. They must extend at least 3 feet above the surface of a roof, 2 feet above anything that is within 10 feet of them, and 3 feet above the roof’s peak. If a chimney extends more than 5 feet above the roof, it will need a roof bracket for increased stability. A chimney cap, or a Class A termination cap, needs to be installed above the minimum height extension to prevent birds from getting into the chimney. Exterior chimneys produce more creosote, so interior chimneys are typically preferred, if possible. Chimney pipes should have no more than two elbows, since the bends inhibit drafts. The cost to build a 15-foot chimney ranges from $900 to $3,000, while the cost of a chimney rebuild is between $1,000 and $5,000.
Chimney liners can help prevent soot and creosote buildup, which can be a fire hazard. The cost to install a chimney liner ranges from $625 to $7,000, with many homeowners spending about $2,500. Aluminum and clay liners are the most budget-friendly options, compared to thermocrete or ceramic.
Also called an interior flue or black pipe, the stove pipe is the internal ventilation system that connects a wood-burning stove to the chimney. Stove pipes can be single- or double-wall, or 22- or 24-gauge, pipes. If a wood stove is installed in a room with a vaulted or cathedral ceiling and more than 8 feet of stove pipe is needed, a double-wall stove pipe is recommended. Double-wall stove pipes provide additional insulation and can keep the combustion gases at a hot enough temperature to vent up and out of the house by using the natural draft.
Wood stove pipes cost from $100 to $550 for installation, depending on the design and length of the pipe. The longer the pipe, the more expensive the installation and materials.
The cost to install a wood stove varies due to the installation location and design. For a chimney +that’s installed along an exterior wall, the costs can run between $2,300 and $3,200. If the chimney needs to be run through a vaulted or cathedral ceiling, it can cost from $1,800 to $2,100. When a chimney is run up through a second floor or attic, the cost ranges from $2,400 to $3,300.
The labor pricing to install a wood stove ranges from $250 to $800, depending on the complexity of the installation. Some wood stove professionals may include chimney construction, stove fitting, stove pipe, hearth pad, and ventilation system with the labor costs, but others may charge installation prices for these items individually. It’s always a good idea to ask what is included in the labor price. Labor prices can also fluctuate due to geographic location, since contractors based in densely populated urban areas typically charge more for labor than in rural locations.
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The permits to install a wood stove typically cost from $50 to $250. The wood stove professionals who install the wood stove will usually get the permits, but it’s recommended that homeowners check with them to avoid misunderstandings.
When homeowners are budgeting for wood stove installation cost, it’s beneficial for them to have all the information that’s available regarding additional costs and considerations. Some factors that can influence the overall cost are the pricing for a freestanding stove versus a fireplace insert, a wood-burning versus pellet stove, gas fireplace conversion cost, additional customizations, tax credits, and available rebates.
The cost of a freestanding wood stove installation is typically more than the cost of a fireplace remodel for an insert, since a wood stove requires additional items, such as a stove pipe and protective materials around the unit. Freestanding stoves radiate heat much more efficiently than inserts, since the larger surface area of the entire stove is exposed. A fireplace insert is a fireproof box that is installed inside an existing fireplace. Made from insulated glass and metal, the insert is much more efficient at heating a room than an open fireplace, since it uses a closed combustion system and fireplaces lose much of their heat up the chimney.
Fireplace inserts typically cost between $700 and $6,500, depending on the insert type. Labor pricing is determined by the fuel source of the insert, whether it’s wood, gas, pellet, or electric. Another option for a wood-burning fireplace is to transform it into a more efficient heat source with a wood stove installation kit. Below are the average costs for different types of fireplace inserts.
Wood stoves cost between $325 and $4,000, while pellet stoves cost from $1,000 to $3,100. Pellet stoves are the most budget-friendly for installation costs, since they can be direct-vented without the use of a pricey chimney or flue. Instead of burning wood, they burn clean pellet fuel, which can cost $20 more per month than wood.
If a gas fireplace has a chimney flue, the cost to convert it to a wood-burning stove is between $100 and $300. Factors that can increase the price are masonry work, chimney construction or replacement, and repairs to the fireplace. Converting a gas fireplace can make it 60 percent to 80 percent more efficient when heating a home. Below are some potential costs when converting a gas fireplace to a wood stove, including labor.
When installing one of the best wood stoves in their home, homeowners can choose to customize some features of the stove or surrounding area. A hearth is required for wood stove installation because it provides a protective barrier between the stove and the floor. Typically made from concrete with the option of slate, granite, marble, brick, or limestone on the top, the hearth sits under the stove and the stove pipe and is a noncombustible base. The average hearth size is 3 feet by 3 feet, but the pad must extend a minimum of 18 inches from the front doors, under any horizontal run of the stove pipe, and 8 inches around the sides. The cost of installing a hearth pad ranges from $200 to $500, depending on the material.
For homeowners who install a biomass (pellet) stove that’s at least 75 percent efficient, the federal government offers a Residential Energy Credit of $300 for the installation and cost of the stove. Some states also offer a rebate of up to $5,000 when homeowners replace an old wood stove with one certified by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
When deciding on a wood stove for their home, homeowners need to decide between catalytic, noncatalytic, or a hybrid stove. Noncatalytic wood stoves tend to be less expensive, but each type has its own advantages, price points, and features.
Catalytic wood stoves trap and recycle particles and smoke in a chamber where they burn at a much lower temperature to increase the efficiency of the stove. This reduces carbon emissions and produces a lower particulate output as well as considerably less creosote buildup. A catalytic stove is considered the most efficient type of wood stove, with 72 percent thermal efficiency compared to 63 percent for a noncatalytic stove. The catalytic combustor needs regular cleaning and typically lasts six or seven heating seasons before needing replacement at a cost of $100 to $400. These types of wood stoves are best used as a primary heat source and cost from $1,700 to $4,400, on average.
Noncatalytic wood stoves are less expensive than catalytic stoves at a cost between $400 and $2,900. While noncatalytic stoves are considered easier to ignite, they sometimes have difficulty reaching the 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit required for the smoke in the secondary chamber to ignite. For this reason, these wood stoves are typically recommended as a supplemental heat source. They also need more fuel to produce the same amount of heat as catalytic stoves, and they release more particulate matter into the air.
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A hybrid wood stove utilizes a secondary combustion chamber with a catalytic combustor for a cleaner burn than a noncatalytic stove.
There are many reasons to choose a wood stove over a traditional fireplace. The ability to produce much more heat in an efficient manner is the typical benefit that many homeowners acknowledge, but there are a few others to consider as well.
One of the most significant benefits of using a wood stove is the high heat output. The radiant heat from a wood stove warms the surrounding area much faster than a traditional furnace or open fireplace. The metal construction of a wood stove absorbs the heat from the fire and radiates it outward, keeping a home warm and cozy.
Modern wood-burning stoves are incredibly efficient, since wood stove manufacturers need to meet strict emissions regulations. Open fireplaces run at approximately 10 percent efficiency, as the majority of the heat produced in a fireplace escapes up and out of the chimney. A wood stove releases fewer emissions and produces more heat with longer-lasting fires than a fireplace.
Compared with a furnace, which uses natural gas, coal, or propane and emits some particulates into the air, a modern wood stove reduces the number of particulates that get released into the air. By burning off the combustion gases inside the stove, a wood stove can generate even more heat, and fewer emissions are released into the atmosphere.
Unlike pellet stoves or electric fireplaces and furnaces, wood stoves don’t need electricity to work. Homeowners can be assured their home will be warm and comfortable during a power outage during the cold winter months.
Installing a wood stove in a garage or any other location in a home where there’s an area to run a stove pipe provides exceptional versatility. Some homeowners prefer to install a few well-placed wood stoves in their home and forego a traditional furnace.
While it may be tempting for homeowners to look up how to install a wood stove and follow a wood stove installation diagram on their own, this is a project best left to the pros. Installing a wood stove as a DIY project can run the risk of a house fire, carbon monoxide poisoning from an ill-fitting stove, or other damage to the home. Hiring professionals who know how to install wood stove accessories can guarantee a good fit, a proper chimney build, and stove pipe location. Wood stove professionals also know the local laws, regulations, and building codes regarding wood-burning appliances in the home. Some areas have banned wood-burning stoves, and other locations have restrictions on when a wood stove can be used based on air quality restrictions. It’s always best for homeowners to contact a local contractor and discuss wood stove options.
Homeowners looking to save money on wood stove installation cost may simply opt for the cheapest unit, but there are other ways to save without compromising on quality. Below are some tips to help save on installation costs.
Asking a wood stove professional about wood stove installation cost can help homeowners save money and avoid miscommunication. Below are some questions to ask about wood stoves and the installation process.
Before homeowners decide on the right wood stove for their home, it’s helpful for them to have all the information about wood stoves and the installation process. Below are some frequently asked questions that will help in the decision-making process.
Just as a catalytic converter in a car reduces airborne pollutants by turning harmful emissions into less harmful gases, a catalytic converter in a wood stove traps particulates and combustion gases and burns them at a lower temperature. This increases a wood stove’s efficiency and cuts down on carbon emissions.
Yes, it’s legal to use a wood stove as a primary heat source, as long as it’s permitted in your area. Beyond the permitting issues, if a wood stove is large enough to emit the amount of heat needed for an overnight burn, it can be a primary heat source.
Installing a wood stove on your own is never recommended. To avoid potential dangers, such as a house fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, or other personal injuries, homeowners are advised to hire a professional for the installation process.
To improve the efficiency of a wood stove, it’s important to keep the chimney clean, pay annual chimney inspection costs, keep the installation location at the center of the house, and ensure the chimney is the right size. Homeowners are also advised to use dry wood, light the fire properly, and try to ensure the inside temperature of the home is warmer than the outside temperature to ensure a good draft.
A wood stove requires the use of a Class A chimney pipe. Sometimes called an insulated, double- or triple-wall, or all-fuel pipe, this type of chimney is used to vent the high temperature exhaust that’s created by a wood-burning stove. The chimney pipe is not the same as the stove pipe; the latter is located inside the home and vents the wood stove to the outside of the home, where the chimney takes over.
A wood stove can take less than a day to install, but the installation time depends on the stove type and how many pros are working on the job.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, Thumbtack, Fireplace Universe
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