The visit to the Invicta Shop over in Saint-Georges went well. The staff seemed helpful, knowledgeable, and low-key. No pressure. There were enough stove models on display for us to get an idea about what we would like to have in a new wood-burner.
Of course, it always costs more than you hope it might cost. The stove we picked out, after considering several smaller ones, is Invicta's Kazan unit. It will take logs as long as 58 cm (about 23 inches) — our old stove is much smaller.
The Kazan lists at about 925 €, plus tax. That's less than a thousand dollars these days. The amount of tax you pay depends on whether you buy the stove yourself and install it (20% tax on the stove) or have a professional buy it and install it for you (5.5% tax on the stove and labor). Charging professional tradespeople less in taxes is the French government's way to encourage people like us to hire work done by artisans rather than do it ourselves, thus creating jobs.
And as an incentive for people like us to install new, more efficient, less polluting heating systems, the French government also gives us a 30% tax credit on the price of the new stove. In other words, we'll get about 300 € back when we file our taxes next year. Such a deal!
So how much is the labor and what work needs to be done to put in a new stove? Well, the Invicta people say they need to remove the old stove and everything that was done to insulate and protect the chimney and house when the stove was installed in 2006 — they start fresh. That means new insulation in the top of the fireplace and a new stainless-steel sleeve for the brick chimney. Delivery of the new stove, a sweep of the chimney, and removal of the old stove are included in the total price for materials and labor, which comes to about 2,500 € (including the stove of course).
We didn't realize that the whole installation would need to be re-done from scratch. We were surprised when we got an estimate (via e-mail) yesterday afternoon for an amount that high. But then Walt looked back in our files to see what we paid in April 2006 to have the old stove installed, and that was also 2,500 €. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, comme on dit.
It sits inside the big fireplace
in our living room.
The new one is much bigger
but will fit.
One side benefit of the Invicta visit is that we picked up a flyer there advertising wood for sale by an outfit in the village of Vallières-les-Grandes, near Amboise. We need to find a new wood supplier since our old one quit the business. This company sells 50 cm logs for 60 € per cubic meter (or stère), delivered.
That's only 10 € more than we have been paying for the same quantity of logs cut one meter long. They also sell 33 cm logs for 66 € per stère. (A U.S. cord of wood equals 3.6 stères.) One of our options is to keep the old stove for a while longer and order some logs pre-cut to the length we need for it. That would save us a couple of thousand euros this year and give us more time to consider our options.