Should I keep my Hearthstone Windsor Bay Fireplace insert

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Barbski

New Member
Dec 7, 2015
3
Killington, VT
Or start over. We had it installed in in our ski house about 14 years ago. It seemed to work okay for awhile, but for the past 3 winters I have had to have the propane company service people come out to start it and restart it multiple times. It seems to work okay for the first few years, although it took the service people a few trips out to get it to stay lit. The last 3 years however it has been useless. (I currently have more than $2000 credits for prepaid propane that I have not used because my insert will not stay lit). I have a very tall masonry chimney on an outside wall of my house. High cathedral ceiling. There is a high wind cap on my chimney. When it is really cold, the flame ghosts, then the fire and pilot go out. What the service people from the propane company told me is that it has 2 pipes, one for intake and one for exhaust. When it is cold, the cold air creates a plug , the exhaust will not work, the flame gets oxygen starved, and goes out.
Last winter I had a local Hearthstone certified repair person look at it. He replaced everything that could possibly be replaced and checked the chimney. There is no blockage. This stove is horrible to service and the pilot is very difficult to light and regulate. At this point I would like to get a new stove, but don't want to have the same problem. Any suggestions?
I have a 3 year old fireplace extrondinairre in my residence that has worked perfectly and has an easily operated pilot light, but I understand some people have issues with Travis products. I just don't want to go through the expense of getting another stove and have the same problem.
 
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DAKSY

Full Time RVer
Staff member
Dec 2, 2008
9,002
Wherever we're parked
As a former gas service tech, I can chime in on this, but it's gonna get wordy...
The tall chimney may be contributing to your issues, but I doubt it's the exhaust side. More than likely, there is TOO much
unrestricted intake air coming down the cold side. This wreaks HELL with the pilot flame.
Also, this unit is notorious for reverse venting at start up, especially if the glass is off when first igniting the pilot.
The intake side is inherently shorter than the exhaust side, so it has naturally less cold air to push out of it.
When the pilot is lit with the glass off, the warmer air will have an easier path by exiting the intake side.
This allows hot gasses to be vented lower on the cap & when they rise, some or all of them can get sucked down the intake.
With the glass off, this issue doesn't appear because there is plenty of oxygen coming from INSIDE the house.
With the glass on, the exhaust gas, which is back drawn in has reduced or no oxygen in it, the flames will ghost & extinguish.
Once this reverse convection flow starts, it can't be stopped until the unit cools down.
If you get the pilot lit WITH the front on, you shouldn't have any issues, but like I said earlier, the intake
may need to be restricted. A shield can be built from sheet metal to block the incoming air from blowing directly onto the pilot, but
once again, you'll need a service tech out there.
All that being said, maybe take your $2K & invest in a new unit.
 

Barbski

New Member
Dec 7, 2015
3
Killington, VT
As a former gas service tech, I can chime in on this, but it's gonna get wordy...
The tall chimney may be contributing to your issues, but I doubt it's the exhaust side. More than likely, there is TOO much
unrestricted intake air coming down the cold side. This wreaks HELL with the pilot flame.
Also, this unit is notorious for reverse venting at start up, especially if the glass is off when first igniting the pilot.
The intake side is inherently shorter than the exhaust side, so it has naturally less cold air to push out of it.
When the pilot is lit with the glass off, the warmer air will have an easier path by exiting the intake side.
This allows hot gasses to be vented lower on the cap & when they rise, some or all of them can get sucked down the intake.
With the glass off, this issue doesn't appear because there is plenty of oxygen coming from INSIDE the house.
With the glass on, the exhaust gas, which is back drawn in has reduced or no oxygen in it, the flames will ghost & extinguish.
Once this reverse convection flow starts, it can't be stopped until the unit cools down.
If you get the pilot lit WITH the front on, you shouldn't have any issues, but like I said earlier, the intake
may need to be restricted. A shield can be built from sheet metal to block the incoming air from blowing directly onto the pilot, but
once again, you'll need a service tech out there.
All that being said, maybe take your $2K & invest in a new unit.
 

Barbski

New Member
Dec 7, 2015
3
Killington, VT
Thank you for taking the time to respond, Daksy. I am beginning to understand what has been happening now. To clarify, the design of my unit has the lower intake side, but other designs may not? So if I get different insert my chances for success would be substantially better than 50:50?
 

DAKSY

Full Time RVer
Staff member
Dec 2, 2008
9,002
Wherever we're parked
All of them will have a lower intake, that is the better design. Improvements in restriction design of the intake
air have mitigated this issue greatly. The chances of not having this issue are much better than 50/50. Probably
more in 90% range. Talk to your hearth shop. Tell THEM what issues you've had. They should be able to give
you a trouble-free install.
 
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