Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wood Burning Stove Rant

Last December, as in a little over two months ago, we decided to get a wood burning stove to help supplement our heat this winter. I called every place in town and narrowed it down to two who carried the brand we wanted. One place was rude and only wanted to talk to my husband so we went with the other seemingly reputable place. The owner came to our house, looked around and gave us an estimate. A few days later he called to tell us when they would be out to install our new, beautiful stove.

Our installation date was cancelled and rescheduled due to weather. Fine.

Then our installation date was cancelled and rescheduled due to weather. Fine.

Then our installation date was cancelled and rescheduled due to weather. Except the temperature was in the mid 30s. Whatever. I let them know I was unhappy and that they needed to refund our money and we'd pay upon completion. I didn't hear from them for about a week or so.

They finally called and gave us another date. Perfect.

When they arrived, they set my beautiful, new, expensive stove in the mud. Then they were missing a part and I was told they'd come back in two days to finish the job and put in the chimney. Fine.

So today they get here and blindly start cutting into my living room ceiling. I do not make my living cutting into ceilings so I let them go about their business while I played with the kids outside. The kids and I came in for water and I saw the two guys talking about making more cuts into the ceiling and how there was no way they could cut through this or that. I questioned the younger of the two men and he explained that normally he doesn't even bother the homeowners about what he needs to cut out, but since he already cut through our ceiling beam (as in, the one that holds up my ceiling), he didn't feel comfortable cutting through another beam and having no supports for 48 inches. He said they would need to call in a roofer. No.

I called my father-in-law instead who called his cousin, our contractor/builder extraordinaire. It became all to clear at that moment that a) this chimney guy doesn't know what he's doing and b) he always makes cuts without going into an attic first to see what he'll be cutting.

How hard is it to do your job properly? I am paying these people a great deal of money and would like my house to be standing at this end of this process. Is that too much to ask? I've already spoken with the owner and he is not going to charge us for the labor/cost involved in fixing my destroyed beam and he's also not charging us for the extra pipe they will be using to fix the "problem". I say "problem" because this all could have been avoided had they had moved the stove over 6-8 inches when they saw that there was a big beam in the way. This leaves me wondering how many other homes they have structurally ruined due to ignorance or laziness.

And do you take no pride in your work? Have you not been trained properly? The younger guy said several times that he's "just a chimney sweep". If that's all you are, you have no business cutting holes in my home. The older guy doesn't even do this sort of thing and was here mostly for support and heavy lifting. He had no idea what he was doing either but it's because this isn't his job!

I will be calling the owner again tomorrow and discussing the possibility of him sending out another chimney guy. I want someone who doesn't storm out when he's being talked to about the importance of not cutting out ceiling beams in 150 year old houses. Or any houses for that matter.

This whole thing just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, you know? I'm terribly disappointed in the quality of workmanship we've received and I'm dumbfounded that they guy was upset at us for pointing out his blatantly obvious mistakes. Yes, the guy is young, but he's probably close to my age and should have a good enough work ethic at this point to stand up, admit his mistake and listen to constructive criticism. It also upsets me that there was little care or thought put into attempting to install our wood burning stove. We are going to be burning wood at 400 degrees (or whatever...this is my husband's area of expertise) and I want to know that my house isn't going to start on fire or FALL DOWN.

So I have a hole in my ceiling and our installation date has been moved to Monday. It's supposed to snow on Monday. Shall we start taking bets on whether this stove will see a fire this winter?

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