Looking at used Vermont Castings WinterWarm Insert

joeyz101

New Member
Nov 2, 2015
10
New York
Hi Everyone -

I joined Hearth.com to learn about fireplace inserts a while back after removing the insert that came with the house I purchased.

My Father-in-law has a Vermont Castings WinterWarm in his house - it looks great and works very well for their space (it is used to heat their den).

My wife and I like the look of the Vermont Castings WinterWarm and since Father-in-law is very familiar with the unit we have been looking to purchase a used one. I found one that a homeowner is selling for a reasonable price and based on the pictures I've seen it looks to be in very good aesthetic condition.

My Father-in-law has purchased a used WinterWarm in the past (to get parts for his unit) and he will accompany me to the sellers home so we can physically inspect the unit. I know he is very knowledgable when it comes to this model but I wanted to ask this community if they would recommend I pay particular attention to any parts of the unit or ask any specific questions to the seller.

The unit is the larger of the two WinterWarm models (which fits our fireplace best) and the seller told me she's had it for 25 years and it is in great condition. I know there are shops online where I can buy a new gasket kit but I wanted to ask what other parts might need replacing after 25 years of use.

Pls let me know your thoughts - thank you again for the time and advice !

Joeyz101

P.S. This unit is matte black - can anyone recommend a great heat resistant paint I could use if I want to paint it glossy black (if one exists).
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,921
South Puget Sound, WA
Personally I wouldn't consider getting this fireplace insert. It is old and by today's standards not all that efficient. There are modern good looking inserts that look good and heat well too. Getting parts is not going to be all that easy if this is an 0044 model. Woodmans does carry parts for the 1280 model. That said, if it is dirt cheap and having someone that knows the fireplace well in the family with a spare parts unit helps. For sure, measure up your fireplace first and be sure it will fit. Also, is there a stainless liner already in the chimney that the fireplace can connect to?

Stove Brite paints are commonly used on wood stoves. Here is a link to their color chart:
http://forrestpaint.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/SBCC2017.pdf
 
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joeyz101

New Member
Nov 2, 2015
10
New York
Personally I wouldn't consider getting this fireplace. It is old and by today's standards not all that efficient. There are modern good looking inserts that look good and heat well too. Getting parts is not going to be all that easy if this is an 0044 model. Woodmans does carry parts for the 1280 model. That said, if it is dirt cheap and having someone that knows the fireplace well in the family with a spare parts unit helps. For sure, measure up your fireplace first and be sure it will fit. Also, is there a stainless liner already in the chimney that the fireplace can connect to?

Stove Brite paints are commonly used on wood stoves. Here is a link to their color chart:
http://forrestpaint.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/SBCC2017.pdf
Thanks BeGreen !

I appreciate your quick reply and comments.

I do not think it is the 0044 Model which I believe is older than the 1280.

I completely agree with you, the reasons we are considering this is because my Father-in-law is so familiar with the unit and has had good success with it. We will be installing a stainless liner in the chimney and connecting it to this unit before we use it of course.

Aside from a new gasket kit what other parts might need replacing/updating on an old unit ?

Thanks for the recommendation for the Stove Brite paints ! I am going to check that out !

When I went to a store they told me that the stainless steel liners are pretty expensive - any recommendations on where I can purchase them online especially since my Dad and Father-in-law will be helping me to install it ?

Thanks again !

Joeyz101
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,921
South Puget Sound, WA
Be sure to determine which model this is. What a used unit will need is hard to say. It depends on how it was treated. This is a complicated fireplace insert. Check the damper assembly for ease of operation and examine for warping. Also check the condition of the refractory pieces. Look for any warping and cracks. Ask when the catalyst was last replaced and what other work was done at the time. Repairs can be expensive on this model. www.woodmanspartsplus.com has a long list of the parts in this fireplace that you can review before deciding.

There a hundreds of threads here on lining chimneys here and in them are discussed a wide assortment of options. First thing to do is check the current chimney out. Is there a clay tile liner in it? What is the ID of the liner? The 1280 requires an 8" liner with 1/2" insulation is going to have an OD of 9+". Note the cost difference between a 6" insulated liner and an 8" one too. That may make a different insert with a 6" flue look more attractive. Not many inserts require 8" liners.
https://www.rockfordchimneysupply.com
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,903
Indiana
Run from the idea, don't walk! These units are among the the most parts heavy, high maintenance, high cost of repair stoves ever...! Almost everyone thats had a good experience honestly don't even know the amount of work their insert actually needs. After years of working on them, I can honestly say it's the last stove I'd have in my house.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,601
Philadelphia
Note that webby sells and services stoves for a living, and bholler (who liked his post) is a chimney sweep who also services stoves. They have some cred, when it comes to stove repair.

Getting into wood burning for the first time can be a frustrating endeavor for most folks. You're in a better position than many of us were, as your wife apparently grew up in a house with a wood stove. But you will find the most joy buying and installing something that's going to offer you the least frustration in getting started.

Summary point on flue diameter: Almost every stove on the market today takes a 6" pipe, and so the cost of 6" liner kits is very low, compared to 8" components. It is likely any savings you have on this stove will be undone on your chimney liner installation, and if you ever want to replace this antique (very likely, considering it's age to start), you might have to redo the chimney again to get down to the common 6" size.

Summary point on VC: They used to make some great stoves, albeit a little complicated. Unfortunately, the company has changed hands about five times in the last two decades, and they've developed a horrendous reputation for screwing customers on warranties, and for having some of the worst (but still beautiful) stoves on the market. You will not find much love for Vermont Castings on this forum, today.

If you like the look of the VC, but want an insert that is going to perform very well, there are a few brands to consider. Jotul makes some very beautiful stoves, and I don't know their inserts, but they may have one that suits. I can't recommend any stove higher than my new BK Ashford 30s, and they just released an insert version of that, the Ashford 25.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,028
central pa
Well said ashful. I would also add hampton to the list to look at
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,921
South Puget Sound, WA
Sorry, four separate opinions against this insert. As I noted in the beginning, there are many good inserts out there. Depending on your budget and aesthetics, you should have many choices. In addition to those mentioned, keep an eye out for the Enviro Boston 1700 too. The Jotul C450 or C550 would work if you are heating a smaller space.
 
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joeyz101

New Member
Nov 2, 2015
10
New York
Thanks for all the candid advice - pls let me know what you think of this option instead of a USED Vermont Casting WinterWarm.

I just spoke with my local dealer about a NEW Jotul C 550.

The dealer said they could offer the following price:

$2,687 Insert + Surround Panel (he offered this price instead of $3,359 because he said he has 3 in stock)
$495 Cost of 6" rigid stainless steel liner
$850 Labor cost to install insert and liner

I can likely install the insert and liner with my dad and father in-law but I wanted to get everyone's thoughts on whether or not the prices listed above are fair, both for the insert itself as well as for the liner and installation.

If the pricing seems very fair to this knowledgable community then maybe I would have the dealer do the installation.

Thanks !

joeyz101
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,028
central pa
Well the prices are not bad but I would not use rigid and it needs to be insulated.
 
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Reactions: Ashful

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,601
Philadelphia
Yeah, just get yourself a blanket-insulated 6" flex liner kit from Rockford (or your local dealer), and you're good to go. Stove price looks very good.
 
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Reactions: bholler

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,028
central pa
And you will be much happier with that stove than you would be with that vc
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,921
South Puget Sound, WA
Thanks for all the candid advice - pls let me know what you think of this option instead of a USED Vermont Casting WinterWarm.

I just spoke with my local dealer about a NEW Jotul C 550.

The dealer said they could offer the following price:

$2,687 Insert + Surround Panel (he offered this price instead of $3,359 because he said he has 3 in stock)
$495 Cost of 6" rigid stainless steel liner
$850 Labor cost to install insert and liner

I can likely install the insert and liner with my dad and father in-law but I wanted to get everyone's thoughts on whether or not the prices listed above are fair, both for the insert itself as well as for the liner and installation.

If the pricing seems very fair to this knowledgable community then maybe I would have the dealer do the installation.
I'm going to assume that you want a pro to install and not to self-install correct? If so, I wouldn't hesitate to have rigid installed as long as it's installed correctly. Be sure they use stainless steel rivets for joining sections. The installation prices are not out of line.
 

joeyz101

New Member
Nov 2, 2015
10
New York
I'm going to assume that you want a pro to install and not to self-install correct? If so, I wouldn't hesitate to have rigid installed as long as it's installed correctly. Be sure they use stainless steel rivets for joining sections. The installation prices are not out of line.
Thanks All !

I am going to my local dealer tomorrow to check out and potentially purchase the Jotul C 550.

For those of you who are recommending that I buy a blanket-insulated 6" flex liner kit from Rockford or a dealer I would like your advice as to why you think that is a better option than the 6" stainless steel rigid liner the dealer is recommending. I asked the dealer about an insulated 6" liner and he said that they've been using the rigid liner for over 15 years and they don't even offer the flex liner as an option.

Speaking generally the dealer said most times the insulation rips during the installation process. Is this true with the blanket-insulated 6" flex liner kit from Rockford ?

Looking forward to everyone's thoughts I was originally considering buying the used VC Winterwarm insert but now if I go with a brand new insert I want the installation done right
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,698
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
An insulated liner stays a lot warmer, especially in an exterior chimney. A warmer liner means less creosote.

If the dealer is going to come sweep your flue for free every month for the next 20 years, tell him to pick whatever he likes.

Tell him you want a block-off plate too... if that is confusing for him, find someone else to do the install.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,601
Philadelphia
The flex liner is easier to self install, and potentially cheaper on pro install, it is not better than a rigid. I've had both, and zero issues with either. Flex liners are often the only practical choice, where there are jogs in the old chimney or smoke shelf, which is why they've become so ubiquitous.

Yes, an insulated liner might theoretically stay a bit warmer than uninsulated, but this shouldn't be a very big issue on a limited-LHV Jotul piped to a rigid-lines chimney with a good seal at the cap. If shopping one of the ultra-high LHV efficiency stoves (e.g. Blaze King), I would tell another story.

If you do a block-off plate, even better, but I wouldn't break a deal with an installer over that. If they don't do them, and indications here are that most don't, you can add it yourself later. It's a very small part of the job, done from inside.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,028
central pa
Do you have the required clearance to combustibles from the outside of the masonry structure of the chimney to andthing flamable? It is 1" for an external chimney and 2" for an internal one. And the argument that it tears anyway is obviously from someone who does not know how to do it properly

As far as rigid versus flex i have no problem with rigid other than it is a pain to install it is a good liner. But for an insert you will need to switch to flex to get past the damper area. And other than the preinsulated duraliner i am pretty sure there is no listed liner system that lets you transition between rigid and flex. Really the only time we use rigid anymore is for coal.
 
Mar 16, 2014
60
MO
I bought a used ww small a couple years ago for $275. Had the replace a fan in it and last year had to replace the combustor. It did well heating the living room and upstairs (split level home). We knew we weren't going to live in the home long (currently in the middle of selling) so we didn't want to make a big investment that we wouldn't see the return. We wanted a flush fitting insert. I'd do it all over again but I would be more apt to make a bigger investment for a home we would be living in longer. ca97770a93664aa1e568e6f96675a014.jpg


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