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A stainless steel chimney liner costs $400 to $1000 and more depending on the length and width of the chimney. Liners being sold and installed by a chimney professional average $1500 to $2500, this price can go up depending on the height, quality, accessories, and difficulty to install.
As an experienced installer, chimney sweep, and inspector, I’m happy to give you a personalized in-depth understanding of the average cost of a stainless steel chimney liner installation so you can make the proper decision when buying yours, so continue reading and take advantage of all the useful information in this post about the cost of a stainless steel chimney liner and having it installed.
A stainless steel chimney liner is used specifically with wood-burning appliances like wood-burning stoves, wood-burning inserts, fireplaces, furnaces, etc. The average price including installation from a professional is from $1500 to $2500 for a single-story home and this could go up to $5000 or more depending on the height of your home, the brand, and the quality of liner that is installed, and difficulty to install it.
These are average prices for most Installers and chimney sweeps but it’s not set in stone everyone manages their own price range because they understand their individual expenses to do a job, these prices can vary depending on where you live also, but with that said the will give you a very good idea of what to expect.
Generally, these costs are averaged by cost per foot taking into consideration all factors of the installation and the time needed to complete the work, just to break it down a fair average cost would be between $55 to $100 plus per foot including liner and installation. We will also talk about important price factors like how liner accessories can raise the price of installation if needed.
What is the cost when installing a stainless steel chimney liner?
1. Hight of a chimney, Hight is an important factor because the average stainless steel chimney liner installation in a bungalow is around 20 to 25 feet more or less, so every foot costs a little more and the liner materials and labor prices will go up because there is more involved to complete the installation
2. Bends in a chimney, bends in a chimney can make the difference in cost also because the installer will probably need a helper to guide the liner down the chimney, this is done with a rope or cable to navigate through any corners or bends if that’s the case for your chimney this is a two-man job leading to more labor costs.
3. The diameter of a chimney, Chimney diameters makes a difference when working with a stainless steel liner because your clay tiles could be 8” or 12” rectangle for example, and your stainless steel chimney liner could be 9” round so the liner won’t fit without making it an oval, this presses takes more time but most installers and chimney sweeps have the tools to do the job.
4. Clay tile deterioration, Clay tile deterioration can be a costly factor in a liner installation because if the clay tiles are cracked, broken, or too small to fit a new liner, in some cases, you will need to break them out to install a new liner, this press takes time and it is definitely a two-man job, in this presses the clay tiles are broken out with a drill connected to a special set of rods and block on the end to break them out.
Something else that is important is is that the top of your chimney is in good shape and there are know bricks cracked or falling away, if there are at the time of installation ask the chimney sweep or installer about the cost of repairing it right then and there because they are already working on the chimney and you could save a lot of money in the long run if there is only minor work to be done in the repair.
5. Stainless steel chimney liner accessories can raise the price and there are instances when you will need them, for example in some instances wood-burning inserts installed into a fireplace may need a liner offset box costing around $100 this is used to connect to the liner if there is a jog at the bottom where the wood-burning insert meets the liner, this is because the liner can’t flex enough to connect directly into the appliance, this installation can be time-consuming and difficult.
Another accessory that can be very important is an insulated wall thimble and possibly a thimble extension, this can cost anywhere from $200 to $300 depending on the brand of the liner, the thimble is used to go through an interior wall with combustibles like wood, drywall, etc. for this part to be installed you may be looking at some extra cutting into the wall for installation.
Remember most installers will charge more for any extra time spent installing these parts and I can tell you from experience these two parts specifically can be very tedious and time-consuming to install.
6. Flex liner vs ridged liner? That’s a good question, well flex liner is a bit cheaper and can navigate bends in the flue it isn’t quite as strong as a ridged liner, now ridged liner comes in 3-foot lengths from most companies but this could very.
also, the installation process is a bit different because it can be screwed or riveted together, personally, I prefer rivets, the downside to the ridged liner is that you can’t navigate bends but if your flue is straight then ridged liner is a much better option because it is stronger and will last longer then flex liner.
At the time of assessment by a professional, you can ask about your options in using ridged liner.
One of the best brands that I highly recommend for the ridged liner is “Excellent” made by ICC Chimney it’s very strong and durable, so it can be a great option to ask about when you find an installer.
How long does stainless steel chimney liner last?
This can be compared to when you buy a car, most of us before buying will read some consumer reports about the pros and cons of the car we want to buy and we know that some car makers a better than others and a well known for their quality.
Part of buying something new is that we want the best quality that our money can buy and part of that is knowing how long something might last, especially if it’s a home improvement.
Stainless steel chimney liners have an average life span like everything we buy, but definitely can last longer and this depends on three key factors, let’s take a look at them.
1. The brand of the stainless steel chimney liner is important because there are small differences in thickness and quality, “type 304 stainless steel” is the standard of a high-quality liner and they come generally in the thickness of 5″, 5.5″, 6″, 7″ & 8″ diameters, 6” is the most commonly used in modern stoves and these come in flex liner or ridged, they can also be ordered from some companies in larger sizes.
2 . Annual cleanings, most chimney sweeps recommend annual cleanings as a minimum but if you use your appliance a lot you may need 2 cleanings a year, these cleanings help the liner work properly helping it last longer, just like a car as we mentioned before will last us longer if we do regular maintenance, always think of the chimney as the motor of your wood-burning system and if it’s taken care of it will last you a long time and run without letting you down.
3. Amount of usage, How often do you use yours? If you say every day you are probably in the 25 to 30-year life span, so like anything the more you use it the faster it will wear out, if you said it’s just used on weekends of a couple of days a week then it’s probably going to last longer for sure.
Do you really need a stainless steel chimney liner?
Well, you may be thinking that the price is high for something you can’t see, If you feel this way it’s understandable, that’s why it’s important to talk about why liners are important.
To have a better understanding of how they function, why they are needed, and better understand the cost. A stainless steel chimney liner is used in conjunction with wood-burning appliances connecting into a masonry chimney, the stainless steel chimney liner maintains proper airflow from your open fireplace, wood stove, wood insert, furnace, pellet stove, etc.
Liners are very important in maintaining proper airflow that improves your appliance efficiency and draws, allowing it to function properly and to burn less fuel producing a more efficient burn, it even makes your fire easier to start, the liner also doesn’t allow smoke out, or outside air in, becoming one solid piece of pipe from top to bottom inside your masonry chimney and for safety reasons that’s exactly what you want.
In the wood-burning appliance industry, we say as mentioned above that the chimney is the motor of the system, that is said because a liner that is properly sized or proportioned to your appliance will make it work much better.
Let me give you an example, if you have a wood stove that requires a 6” liner which most modern stoves do, then the liner you connect to it should be 6” also making the complete system with equal proportions from top to bottom.
Why is this important well the airflow is perfect for that stove, the whole system will work more efficiently. Now if that same stove has an 8” liner connected to a 6 stove the airflow slows, it will work less efficiently and you will have more creosote buildup.
So we can see how the clay chimney liner or stainless steel chimney liner inside your chimney, in this case, is the motor of your appliance, just like the motor in a car it needs to be sized properly otherwise it will lack power or have too much, not being optimal for that vehicle.
How do I know If I need a stainless steel chimney liner?
This is the million-dollar question “how do I know if I need a stainless steel chimney liner?” To answer this question there are a few visual things you can do first as a homeowner to make a possible assessment before calling an expert.
The first reason you might need a liner is if you have decay in your clay chimney liner inside your chimney, clay tiles can become brittle over time especially if they have had water entering them freezing and thawing, this causing them to decay and crack.
Sometimes a homeowner can detect this problem without a professional chimney sweep, one way is if you look up inside the damper of your fireplace and see shards of broken clay tile on the smoke shelf and or you see clay till shards inside your fireplace from time to time
Another possible way to tell is if you go outside and see hairline cracks in the clay tile or broken pieces these would be good indications that you may need a new liner and that you need to call a professional for an assessment.
Also if you have a wood stove connected to a brick chimney you can pull the black pipe out, then looking in the hole you should be able to see the clay tile, a good indication that there’s a problem is if you see any hairline cracks in that part of the clay tile liner, this is a good indication that there are probably more cracks al the way threw the chimney from bottom to top.
If this is your situation it would be good to call a licensed chimney sweep to visually inspect the inside of the chimney and give you an assessment of any damage, typically you will need a liner installed in this situation.
Take a look at some great wood stove accessories
When should I call a chimney sweep for a chimney liner inspection?
If you use your chimney regularly you should get your chimney swept annually and this is a perfect time to ask for a visual inspection this way making sure there are no problems within the chimney, most chimney sweeps include a visual inspection a sweep
In the case that your sweep finds a problem visually, he can do a deeper inspection to evaluate the situation.
Most chimney sweeps have a specialized camera that can detect any possible defects or problems you might have, this comes with an additional cost of around $150 to $250 but is well worth the cost and peace of mind to know everything is okay if you need work done on it.
If there are any problems a professional can guide you in what to do and explain any necessary work that needs to be done, if you are wondering who to call in your area finding a reputable company is easy, the best thing to do is ask your neighbors and friends who they use.
So that way the company that gives you an assessment you’ll know it came with a recommendation, I don’t recommend going with the cheapest company you find just because they are cheap, always look for someone with lists of knowledge and experience first.
from experience, if you go with the cheapest least experienced company you may end up calling the more expensive better referenced one anyways and that can possibly cost you more in the long run.
As you can see choosing the right company to do the job is very important, with a chimney liner job experience counts.
DIY stainless steel chimney liner installation?
All of the above situations are for professionals and it is recommended to be done as a DIY project and even if is a possible DIY project, I would never recommend it as one, there are many moments that a DIY installation can go wrong and there is a lot of danger involved in the installation and if your not a seasoned professional I don’t recommend it.
Another thing you need to think about that can make these complicated DIY projects are the laws and regulations because depending on where you live in most cases you will require a licensed specialist for the installation, this is because of insurance reasons, depending on where you live your insurer could ask for an inspection by a professional and if something is done wrong that will end up as more cost to you.
Now if you hire a reputable licensed company for the installation, normally you will receive a guarantee for the work being done, also you get peace of mind that a professional has done the work and that it’s done properly, but the best part is that you don’t have to get up on a ladder.
If you need to save some money on the installation you could buy the liner then ask a professional chimney sweep to install it, this will definitely help with the cost if you are on a budget.
just make sure you measure how many feet you need and the flue size coming off your stove, most modern stoves are 6″ as we have mentioned.
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