I got a used one on the net locally for $500 (deluxe model - $2400 new - catalytic, blower, etc.) I don't really NEED it for heating, but I actually enjoy cutting firewood, have access to a free supply, and like the feel and smell of wood.
So I quickly learn that to install a SS through the roof chimney will be $2000-3000 with an 8 week lead time (I live in a large midwestern city). Nix that.
Fortunately, I recently replaced an old gas furnace with a new PVC vented one, so I now have the furnace chimney in the basement (alongside the fireplace chimney) open.
Most contractors agree that I can vent a woodstove through that (not sure of the flue size, but the furnace had a 6" pipe going to it; looks like it is terracotta lined; house built in 1948). However, one very nice contractor told me "just hook it up youself" to the existing chimney. Other contractors have insisted that it's all but gospel that I need to spend upwards of $2600 to have a SS liner put in - so we're back to the drawing board.
I understand that this would be the "optimal" thing to do, but I'm not sure it's worth the cost. I have tried to find statistics on chimney fires, but they're scarce. I did find that there are a BUNCH of x-mas tree fires each year, and you don't see people fretting about putting up a tree like the fretting about a chimney fire, and personally, I'll get more use out of my wood stove than my x-mas tree, so maybe I should dispense with the latter, install the stove myself and call it a day.
I have a feeling that this is like smoke detectors - millions of people have to spend $40 for millinos of detectors to save one life. They would be better off jogging a mile each day and taking their risk with the fire. But I'm not talking about $40 of detectors, I'm talking about $2600 of SS liner!
So what I'm considering doing is getting the chimney inspected. If it's in relatively good shape, I might just use it this season without a liner, and have one installed in the summer when all the chimney sweep companies are starving for business.
There's a guy here named Sweep, because, yes, he sweeps chimneys for a living (or at least part time). Hopefully he'll be along shortly to help. Free BTT.
Personally, I'd be looking to do it right. I would think relining the chimney with SS liner yourself wouldn't be too hard. My .02.