Winter Warm Large Just Died

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New Member
Sep 24, 2023
Long Island
Aware there is a wealth of knowledge and expertise here. Many thanks to all. For 33 yrs I've been burning my VC Winter Warm...Recently fried the cat, the back wall is warped and cannot operate the damper controls...Okay stupid me over fired...Hearth shops claims not irrational to pour $$$ into this system..

To complicate matters 4 yrs ago my external stack was past repointing multiple sites so the Master Chimney repair removed clay tiles , installed a twin wall S/S 8"liner, fabricated a stainless 8" round to oval connector to hook up to the WW. Hung a lathe and stucco'd the chimney and sealed with 15yr Dura Lock waterproofing...Warranty=15yr for the overlay..BTW chimney repair cracked open the external wall to install the fabricated transition.

New fireplace inserts these days have 6" collars....I've read enough of BeGreen's posts to know an increaser is not the way to go...The chimney height is 20-25ft...Hearth shop advises that they have used an increasers in the field with no reported issues....LOL...I am afraid of drafting problems...My chimney faces west....windy in winter here on Long Island.

The fireplace is basically a zero clearance, no raised hearth, sits about 6 inches above 16" slate tiles across the field stone fascia...No Buck dealers in my neck of the woods and Blaze King has maybe 1 or 2 at best locally....Been eyeing the Osburn 3500-I (love n/s loading ability) and the Matrix-I as new candidates...I will need a riser for the flush unit and worried the 3500 will stick out too far....Aware I can use an apron b/c this is going to be expensive.

A transition may be my only option since b/c a top may not be possible on the liner...Originally when the WW was installed hearth shop advised they could not run a liner all the way up the chimney...My husband was in charge then and I cannot recall why....Not sure if a 6" liner can go down the throat of the existing setup...I wish I could repair the WW but in later years wasn't;t running as hot(seal or weld problem?) Sorry for the long post...I am having a different chimney company coming to inspect but the WW is still installed...Removing over 600lbs of solid cast iron is scaring the hell out of me.

Thanking you in advance...
we have attached 6” stoves to 8” liners and had great results. For a lot of customers the cost is just too prohibitive to replace the liner, so we do it on occasion. It’s unlikely you will have a problem. If you do, you aren’t out anything really, just have the liner replaced.
Thank you webby3650 for answering so quickly.....Not sure if I am violating any local or stove mfg codes with the transition... Current liner is in all the way to the top of the chimney. Just wish I could fix the WW because replacement parts are available but labor intense....Believe it or not that insert was 78% efficient with 2.1gpm when new. The 8" liner is only 4yrs old and just had it cleaned with very little creosote. Nobody want to take on the WW repair.

Appreciate your time and effort...Eases my mind that people do the "transition" on a new setup....I hope my stove choices are good ones....The Osburn 3500 is deep but what a beast. I like the flush Matrix-I and aware won't get as much heat. . Looked at Iron Strike lineup but those look like they belong on a raised hearth. Adored the idea of a cast iron heat exchanger.

My house is 2700 sq feet and hearth rm is downstairs open floor plan 16ft ceiling in adjacent rm 1500 sq ft... Thank you again.

If anyone else has other insert suggestions, please fell free to chime in....Thx.
You said it’s basically zero clearance. Does that mean it’s a winter warm system with a cabinet for the insert?
The firebox is 6 inches above the floor and cutout in the stone wall... It's very low...The winter Warm was directly installed into the masonry fireplace with a contemporary surround and a 5.5 inch riser....I would post a pix if I had a smart phone and no data plan on dura extreme flip...I'm in the Stone Age when it comes to those things...Unsure which insert would be the best fit....If I had half a brain I would look for another VC like the Montpelier but you can only get a 3" riser and existing riser may not be wide enough...ohh....I can see ash getting into the blower grates too...

Looking for a replacement is tough IMO....want a non-cat for simplicity...I'm ticked off b/c the WW took 24" logs...Guess I cannot lament over what was and deal with what is...I'm spoiled because I had grate in theist iron stove floor and an ash pan below...Not nuts about today's brick linings but things change....I saw a Rais Q-Tee insert available in winter of '24....with grate in floor and ash liner underneath-it had moulded panels instead of the bricks... Typical Nordic type design...Clean, beautiful and simple- non cat...Sweet......But that doesn't help me now....Looked at MF Nova2 but single burn rate with no air controls and a cat...Those cat replacements are a costly maintenance long term. Since MF is a relatively new company I would hesitate on that one....

If I can't decide worst case scenario is my wood will season for another year....However I really miss my stove.... Thx trying to help me!
I've read enough of BeGreen's posts to know an increaser is not the way to go...
I'm not sure what context that was in. While not ideal, with an insulated flue, it can work.
Thanks begreen I was reading some articles that implied a 6" liner would be preferable with a 6" flu that were written in some forums....All the mfg.'s I'm looking at have that in their install instructions too...Chimney inspectors on their way right now so I'll have a better idea about the shape of things....I'm happy it can work and appreciate your time and correction....Now the big argument will be block off plate on a new setup...Dealer offered to add a blanket around the unit and extra insulation around the bottom flue....External chimney heat loss is on my mind....I'd rather keep the heat in the house!
Matching the size is optimal, but many stove docs will state a range for acceptable venting. Increasing the size will slow down the flue gases a bit, but if the draft is strong then this may not be a big deal. The other issue with some inserts is that there may be little room to add the increaser. For that reason, the 8" requirement is not common these days but there are some. The Buck 91 and Hearthstone Green Mountain 80 inserts take 8".
Thank you so much..Good news is I have a block off plate and liner in good shape. clean no plugs in chimney top screen. Measurements as follows:
width 34.5 28 bottom depth 3" lintel
height 27.75 23 top depth. 7" drop
rear 24 5.5 center of set

Oh boy do I have my work cut out for me reading all the there must be room b/c service techs want to leave the old 8" round to oval in place, and fabricate an 8" oval to 6" round....not sure what this would do performance wise..would this be problematic? The chimney top plate cap is cemented in place and the overlay job was excellent per tech...

Have a Great Day Everyone
Finally got everything installed!...Decided on a Lopi Large Flush NexGen-Fyre...Had the chimney specialist pull the 8" liner and attached transition....Saws, hammers, name it, they used it... no damage to my brick chimney concrete overlay....So now I have a direct 6" liner from stove flu collar to top plate with new crown...Installed as per spec's to avoid any warranty issues with manufacturer.

Just completed a "cure" burn since it is very warm here on Long Island today...Opened all windows/doors....Gas off wasn't that bad at all...Tested the fans and no humming or other strange noises...They are loud on high...but not bothersome to me. Using 2.5 y/o wood and moisture <10% .. The outfit that performed the install uses a single wall Heavy Duty liner....ridges on outside but smooth on inside 304 stainless...I was alarmed about that but he showed me 3 samples including what I had....My old was insulated but very very thin..Crap IMHO...

New liner was like the old collar that was installed over 30 yrs ago...It was clean but the 8" liner was like a yellow orange on the inside...I should have thought to put a ceramic blanket on that new liner...I did loose my old block off plate...I'm sad about these two elements of the install but hearth team was very hard working.. The Lopi is truly wonderful...Easy to operate and burning well...

That's All Folks, Thanks for viewing my post and those who chimed in...Happy Holidays and Good Health...
That's a good heater. It's really warm out there, but cold air is coming next week. We are just getting the west edge of this first cold blast settling in here now.

An insulated liner is a code requirement unless the chimney has the required clearances.
Installer said I have the required clearances...I'm concerned about the wear and tear from the heat penetrating the masonry...Since a cure burn is only 1.5 hrs....I will set up for a long burn and then go outside and touch the chimney to see how warm it gets....Thank you begreen!
$10 says they just didn't want to deal with ovaling the liner so insulation could be added, or just didn't want to add insualtion to the 6" round. Did they mention how they verified you have required clearances?

Hopefully at 20ft+ you won't have draft issues with it not being insulated.
Hello Mellow,

I called the dealer, he said there is 1/2 inch but I have 8 inch thick brick......I'm sick over this....The previous chimney expert who stucco'd my stack remove flu, damaged clay tiles and damper to stuff an 8 inch liner that he did oval the round to fit....That's my history...New installer said the 6" went in easily and fairly straight from the stove to top plate....The way my builder configured the chimney limited my options.

I asked him if this setup would pass inspection since I want to add the stove to homeowners insurance....he did a dance about my rates going up and if I experienced any damage they (Allstate) would pay a claim anyway...not so sure about that one, I know Allstate...Now the winter warm never had a stainless liner but I did have a flu& tiles back then....

Mellow you are right...Now I'm worried about the masonry absorbing too much heat...I'm going to order infrared thermometer from Amazon and an ash vac....It gets originally brought the wrong style(arch) door and unit was factory wrapped and tagged as a rectangle unit....They went back to the office and secured another unit..

After install I noticed very fine scratches in the middle of the door..Kind of like micro chipping probably due to straps that they had around the unit...Okay I got a sense of humor, they went back to the showroom and took the correct door off the floor....Yesterday I performed a cure burn starting with medium then high at 45mins each with the correct air intake...I opened the door a few times during this process as per owner's manual....I read that manual 3x's before startup....

Woke up this morning to clean the stove and the bottom portion of the door gasket was hanging and the cement was cracked in several places....I was disappointed because there were coals amongst the ash...That tells me I was not running hot enough but you cannot go into after burn during a cure cycle....I don't know how long that door was a display in the showroom and not properly cured...Dealer to dispatch out to my house 2morrow....any ideas guys n gals?....This setup cost me 8.5K....removing old liner was a groan...

Things can be fixed with the unit that is the least of my problems....also had them replace a chip'd brick and they left me 2 large a defective door, chip'd brick busted gasket and I'm uneasy about the chimney......I'm going nuts....Sorry for the saga, my apologies...HELP!!!!Thx...
Should have bought pellet stove insert with a 4" flu requirement....but the dealer performed a survey prior to the install...Can't a gal catch a break?
If anyone is still viewing this thread, know that with the help of other members and moderators, I achieved secondary burning today...Having the installer coming back for a retrofit to add a ceramic blanket to the single wall liner....Thank you all.
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