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CFM Vermont Castings Dutchwest Everburn Non-Cat Owners Discussion and Review Thread!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by tradergordo, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Just to clarify, the owner's manual is linked to in the very first post in this thread. The manual has gone though several revisions since I bought mine 2 years ago. However when I used software to compare the differences, they were all very minor (for example they changed all references to CFM to "MHSC" and they updated the parts diagram to show the new refractory cover part #48).

    Either way I don't know of any manufacturers in any industry that send new manuals out to existing customers when they are updated. However in this modern day, I would think that if a customer registers online, it would be a trivial matter for a company to send out additional information, updates, etc. to customers that want it. This would cost them very little and go a long way to build customer loyalty. I don't understand why so few companies "get it". But I digress.

    Anyway, follow the link to the manual, and look at page 25 (which has the cleaning description) and page 26 which has a picture of it. But don't expect a lot, this is the description:
    "Inspect for and remove ash build-up behind the combustion
    package. This should be done in conjunction
    with annual cleaning of the chimney connector since
    this inspection is most conveniently done through the
    flue collar opening. Inspect the passages to either
    side of the combustion package (a mirror will be
    helpful) and vacuum away ash using a flexible vacuum
    hose inserted into each passage. Care should be
    taken not to damage the white fibrous material in this
    rear chamber. (Fig. 34)"


    I can understand how even a professional sweep might not realize how delicate this stuff is. And I doubt they go read an owners manual before cleaning every new stove (although they should).

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  2. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    Hi Trader,

    This is off topic (sorry). Would you be able to post a link to your videos from last season. I did search them here & found them but the link doesn't seem to work for me. These are the everburn process vid.

    I remember watching them last year (great btw) & I do not recall seeing the "lazy flame stage" I suppose I could call it that.

    The reason being:

    I just replaced few of the gaskets on my stove as well as I played around with the ash pan hinge i.e. tried to re align it a bit. Since in the upper hinge corner I noticed some black stuff by the gasket (possible leak). Well, now I think I might have made it worse. I had a nice burn going last night (regular process)...the burn got to the stage of lazy dancing flames...before coaling, but the flames were (i think) too lively.

    They're calling for a cool night again here, I will try to video this for comments...see how it turns out.

    Thanks
  3. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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  4. dtabor

    dtabor New Member

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    Tradergordo, thats the one part of the process thats making me put it off is having to remove that pipe and get in there with the vaccuum. 1. Im dreading trying to get that part of the stovepipe back lined up and 2. dont want to damage anything inside. I have a shop vac and the hose isnt that heavy/bulky so Im thinking that gently feeding that down on either side I should be ok.......

    Are all stoves this much of a PITA to clean out where you have to tear them apart???? Next stove wont be like this I can assure you.
  5. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Some people do absolutely no cleaning, not even sweeping their chimney, although I don't think that's a very good idea. Yea its a pain to take the flue off and put it back together, but its a once a year activity for most people, and it shouldn't really matter what stove you have.

    I don't really understand your plan to clean without taking the flue off. I didn't see an easy way to get to those rear chambers by removing only the shoe. The narrow passage above the shoe is too small to get a vac hose through.

  6. dtabor

    dtabor New Member

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    I fully intend to take it apart. What my "fear" is, is that I get that 3' or so piece of pipe off so that I can reach in and get to the nuts that hold the flue collar assembly on and I wont be able to get that short piece of pipe back on and lined up with the existing screw holes that the dealer put in to assemble it. Things that should be simple are usually a mess! This being the first time since it was installed that it has been taken apart.

    The 30' straight shot from the roof is not a problem, its the disassembly/reassembly of the stove that bothers me.
  7. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I take a piece of chalk and mark the flue joint pieces with a vertical line so I know exactly where I need to muscle them to get the screw holes to line back up when I put it back together.
  8. bsa0021

    bsa0021 Feeling the Heat

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    Tradergordo: Great content on your link. But the two manuals you compared is not the same maunal I have. This information IS NOT included in my manual dated 7/04. No mention of the fragile material and no picture (fig. 34). Had this information been included I would have warned the sweep or cleaned it myself after investigating the design. With no warning, I can only believe that there are no special precautions to be taken. Once again proving VC was not too concerned about their customers. I'm very anal about reading manuals and directions and take very good care of everything I own and this only frustrates me even more. If they are going to charge me $400 to replace this fragile product they *$% well better find a way to notifiy me or replace it at their cost.
  9. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    I'm running my 1st real burn and, after over-correcting for a while like a kid learning to drive, I think it's running as designed.
    The thermometer on the griddle has been holding steady @ 470, no flames except a bit back in the refractory, and a slight roar from the back.
    It seems like I had to run @ 600-700 for a while to get it into the groove but maybe I'll learn to get around that.

    Once in a while I'll get a rolling burst of flame with a "woof". Does my Resolute have the pivot plate refered to in the quote below ?
    I thought that might explain the "backdraft" ball possibly being ignited by the plate opening and supplying just enough air to touch it off.
    I took the refractory out and repaired it before I installed the stove and don't remember seeing anything like that, though.

    I'm gonna top this puppy off and see what I have in the morning. I'm a newbie to all this but, thanks to you guys, I think I might be able to handle it.
    Now I've gotta get some tools and motivation and get to making some wood for next year so I don't have to buy it.

    Edit: I can't top it off ! The wood I got is close to 18" and I prolly should have 16". I can only drop 3 splits in.
    I guess I'll be cutting a bunch in half to run north/south on top of the 18"ers. lol
  10. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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  11. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    I got a darn good feeling about this years burning season. So far removing the refractory shoe, removing the remains of the shoe gasket, cleaning out the fly ash, etc....I'm batting 1.000 for successfully sustained secondary combustion. On top of that, in each case the outdoor temps have been higher than what I could normally expect for minimum drafting requirements that I had previously experienced (keep in mind, I have a horizontal exit, dual 90-degree turns w/ thick masonry, so my drafting sucks)

    Even mixed in one less seasoned split for testing. No hissing or anything that bad, but it was split only 6 months ago and it's oak, which most would agree is not prime fuel this 'young'. Emissions are clean, can't see any particulates, only heat distortion against the clear night sky.

    Admittedly, it did take a few attempts of shuffling coaled splits around, raking the coals into position, etc. to get it (secondary) combusting properly. So this stove (and probably all non-cats using a similar downdraft design) are probably always gonna seem to be high maintenance to those who are accustomed to catalytics which are easy by comparison (at least in my experience).

    Darn how I missed that contiguous, low rumble!
  12. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    No flame ?
    I'm a total newbie on my 2nd overnight. My stove seems to stabilize at 450-500 with the nice rumble.
    My concern is that the only flame is in the tunnel of coals leading to the secondary and beyond. It seems to work really well like this as,
    in the morning, the logs were still whole but fell to nice coals when touched and the stovetop was at 250 and the fire was easily rekindled.
    Seems like great efficiency to me ?
    The VC manual states:

    "Run your stove with enough primary air so that you always see lively, dancing flames in the firebox; a lazy, smoky fire is
    inefficient and can contribute to creosote buildup in the chimney."

    If I run my stove with flames for too long the temps. climb enough to scare me and I feel like I'm loosing b.t.u.s up the chimney. At the 450-500 no-flame level
    it doesn't seem "smokey" but I don't want to risk creosote buildup.
    Your thoughts ?
    Temps. are from a magnetic on the stovetop griddle, btw.
  13. stanleyjohn

    stanleyjohn Feeling the Heat

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    As long as the stove is hot and the secondary is running you dont need to see lots of flames from the wood and you will see a longer burn.Here is a pic of my secondary in action (note the flame in the back!thats inside the afterburn chamber).Pic quality isnt so great though!working on that! :)

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  14. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    Yup. That's how I've been running mine.
    Between watching the Canadian video and reading my manual I started thinking I was supposed to be running a "pretty" fire.
    Thanks for the confirmation. I guess I'll know for sure when I clean my chimney.
  15. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Keep running it that way, you're golden. I consider any overnite burn like what you described as optimal. Glad to hear you're off to such a good start.

    Under certain cirumstances, most often shortly after I've closed the bypass, I will see some lively flames blasting off the splits as gases are trapped in the upper firebox and ignite. This normally lasts several minutes or even longer sometimes. The explosions of gases are rhythmic and quite "pretty" After a while as the splits really get going, you just see the red glow from the splits w/o visible flame. As long as you hear that rumble, you're have a good secondary combustion. Check your stack emissions, they should be nice & clean.
  16. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    Yah, I get those "woofs" at a certain primary setting sometimes. It is cool to watch. The manual suggests that it's not getting enough air and to turn up the primary.
    I also noticed that turning the primary down just a bit will also stop the woofs. My daughter was asking me to make it do it again. She likes to watch it too. lol
    Better than TV, I suppose.
  17. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Best HD channel in the house.....
  18. Central_PA_Chris

    Central_PA_Chris New Member

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    Thank all of you for an amazing, detailed, instructive thread. Gordo, your videos were great, interesting and very very much filled in the blanks that needed to be filled so I could get the stove to work. I'm on my first fire in the stove and got the rumble. Took a couple starting tries and applying this threads tips/instructions, but I have clean/no smoke and a low rumble. If you get into the State College region, I owe you a beer/dinner. There is absolutely NO way without this forum I would have even known what I was shooting for, much less known when I achieved it. The thread did give me a bit of a to do list (one more piece of 3' pipe on the exterior to get closer to 16' - missed that part in the manual) and to find the Raytec IR thermometer that's somewhere around here so I can get some surface temps & maybe install a stack temp probe.

    Thanks!
    Chris

    P.S. There was an earlier post suggesting that this thread is too long. Not so, I'd rather have all the info in one spot. I read every post and may do so again to make sure I process all the tips/techniques.
  19. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Chris
    Glad to hear yer off to such a good start. Ya sure picked a cold week to fire it up for the first time, really helps w/ drafting and makes the operation easier.

    I like to catalog how other owners have their stoves set up just for comparison. Can you share w/ us the details of your setup, maybe even include a picture if its convenient? I'd be most interested in knowing the following:

    size of stove (S/M/L)
    horizontal or vertical flu collar exit
    type of stack (masonry, class A, interior/exterior, etc.)
    height of stack
    external air kit
    type of fuel (species, length of seasoning time, size, how you orient it in the firebox)
    refractory shoe configuration (take a picture of the back of the stove)

    If you have a stack that easily lends itself to a probe thermometer, I'd highly recommend it as it's a great way to measure the real time state of the conditions in the firebox & secondary combustion chamber. I find it a nice tuning technique to alert me more quickly when I can choke down primary air, when a 'runaway' occurs, and also just cuz I love watching one more instrument. :)

    Enjoy your stove and welcome!
  20. Central_PA_Chris

    Central_PA_Chris New Member

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    Thanks for the warm welcome Burning. I do have some of that info on hand and will snap some photos and get them up here in the near future.

    It is a Large.

    Vertical exit.

    Interior/Exterior Duratech, all double wall, mainly because there is very little interior pipe and based on nearby combustibles I felt more comfortable with double for the 2' feet of double wall interior I had to work with. It's heating a single story space with a 7'
    ceiling over the stove (higher almost everywhere else), I had only planned 12' of vert chimney, but I guess I may have to stick another 3' section on top to get closer to the 16' minimum to get good draft in most conditions. I noticed the old manuals list 14' as minimum, so I'm guessing there is some play in those numbers.

    My first everburn success was short lived, everburn died out after less than 2 hours (fire kept going), but it's early in the learning curve, got it going again rapidly and left the air intake open wider, but dunno how long that lasted.

    I ordered the external air kit & fan & stove collar heat shield but all are backordered. On a side note, what is in the external air kit from dutch west that makes it worth $125? Looks like I could rig it from 3" single wall pipe for about $20.

    Fuel species is going to be tough, I have property that was logged 2 years ago and there are lots of butts, slash, and other downed dry wood so I'm mainly using pieces and parts not quite big enough for the sawmill, or the bases that were too big/flared out/cut off for some other issue, or stuff cleared for driveway/workshop. Even that has been cut, mixed together in a big pile, sat for a year, stacked and 75% debarked. My woodpile is a mutt. :) long and short it's a mix of oak, hickory, ash, and some walnut first burn was quite a bit of walnut. By end of winter I'll be into a section of the pile that's almost all ash. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out where to work a crane into my wood logistics system, so I loose cool points there.

    Shoe config, I dunno, I'll include a pic of the back in a day or two.

    I ordered a probe thermometer after posting my last message, so that will be here soonish.

    One part of this thread that really intrigued me was the discussion of the gap around the crimped stove connector connection and the stove. The guy at my dealership swore that loose fitting was needed. A the interior wall of a section of adjustable 2 wall interior fit in there perfectly snugly and would have saved me a joint in the system. My local guy said it needed air infiltration there, UL tested, warranty violation, 1/2" screws will take gap, out seemed irritated I'd even noticed that there was massive play in the joint, blah, blah, blah. So I have pretty big gapping there. I'd be irked if I spent an extra $15 on that part of the stove chimney and got an extra joint in the system all for an issue I eventually have to correct.

    Chris
  21. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    First welcome! Glad you found our thread here.
    Some unrelated comments. I've been getting much better, and more consistent performance from my stove this year compared to past years. This could be from any combination of factors:
    1) This is the coldest winter I've had so far with the stove, cold always makes the everburn stoves run better (stronger draft)
    2) I removed the shoe gasket. I don't know if this is really helping things or if other factors are to credit, but it certainly isn't hurting anything! The shoe gasket will tear off the first time you remove the shoe for cleaning (which is necessary every year, as "chips" will accumulate on top of the shoe where you can't see them or reach them without pulling the shoe out). From what I understand, a CFM technician said this gasket did not need to be replaced, and in my own experience I can say that not having that gasket might even make the stove run better (slightly more secondary combustion air, which might have the same effect as the larger diameter bore hole size reportedly being used on newer models).
    3) I have been using smaller splits this year (got 2 cords of free, already split wood from some guy on craigslist, it was split much smaller than I ever do it myself). Using smaller splits causes the stove to burn hotter (more surface area) hence easier trouble free "everburns". But I still put big rounds in for overnight burns, and performance has been good then as well.


    As for secondary air kits - first are you sure you really want it? There has been a long running debate about this on this forum. Personally I think they are worthless at best, maybe even harmful at worst. If you really want to install one, then to answer your question, yes, you can use cheap dryer vent from any hardware store and save $100 bucks.

    As for the gap at the flue collar. I'm not a technician, but if some pro told you there should be a gap, I'd want to know why! In my opinion, you don't want any gap there if possible. The flue runs under vacuum, so any gaps will suck in air. That can do three bad things:

    1) It can cause a fire in the flue.
    2) It can cool the flue gasses, reducing draft and possibly causing creosote formation in the chimney.
    3) It can reduce the amount of air being pulled though the secondary air intake - thereby reducing everburn performance.
  22. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    As usual Gordo, we are in agreement....a few inline comments below

    Yep, seems to run a little easier w/o the gasket there as it improves draft. It's also nice to get past the apprehension of ripping a (ridiculously overpriced) gasket and being able to clean out back there on a more regular basis. Altho I havent found much in the way of any refractory chips this year, just some expected fly ash which was easily vacuumed out. I've also noticed that the blast of secondary air coming in past the shoe now brightly lit on occasion where they was none before (no gap before). So I'd put some money down that the increased gap is good all around.


    [BIL]. You lucky dog..... Altho I did get a 'free' tree from my brother last year that was a monster, 44" inch thick ash tree. But I did have to do all the processing work. Definitely smaller splits work better on the bottom, especially in newer fires. then larger 'all-night-burners' on the top.

    Agreed.... $120 is just plain silly for a piece of standard dimension pipe. The secondary air intake already has a pre-threaded screw hole on top of it all, so there is nothing special at all about the kit that you couldnt put in yourself for a fraction of the cost. As you'll find, that area of the stove is quite cool to the touch, even after days of continuous operation, so you don't need special ducting that can withstand high temps.

    Depending on the home style, I can see some value in exterior air kits, but there are other ways to accomplish the same. If you have a super tight insulated house like mine, then the stove draft is working against that and is pulling cold air in through cracks potentially cooling other rooms and reducing draft. But I've found that leaving the nearly connecting garage door open provides abundant fresh air and doesnt 'pull' from other areas of the house. You can measure whether this occurs in your house by simply closing connecting doors to the room housing the stove. If you feel a strong draft coming into the room when the stove is going, an external air kit may be worthwhile. But as Gordo mentions, a direct vent to outside may not be the best as these downdraft stoves require super hot secondary combustion air to work, so you dont want to introduce super cold air to that chamber.

    Chris, as for your 'flame outs', that is a classic condition. When the draft is insufficient (stack/outdoor conditions or split orientation), this can stall out the everburn. You will never extinguish the primary fire, which is probably why some people don't acknowledge the 'stall' because they see that the stove is still producing heat and think it's fine. You'll simply have dirty emissions and a slightly-more-than smoldering fire which is precisely what the modern EPA stoves are designed to prevent. And you'll have to clean your stack far more often as the flu gas temps will drop well into the creosote-producing range very quickly.

    One other note, is that a lack of a rumble is not always indicative of improper operation/stall conditions. As the fuel is consumed and turns into coals, after a certain point there is insufficient waste gases/smoke to reburn, so that part of the process becomes starved and simply stops. This is a good time to reload, but do so before the bed of coals itself burns down to the point where you have to build them up again. It's much more efficient to load 1-2 splits more frequently than to reload 4-6 every 8-10 hours. Well, at least it's easier and less stall-prone.
  23. Central_PA_Chris

    Central_PA_Chris New Member

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    Alright, got pictures and new questions!

    Here's my application.

    [​IMG]

    That is a yurt. http://www.yurts.com/ Basically a round 30' diameter (so 760ish sq foot) one room building. Prime use is bedroom/tv room. I have land, but haven't quite gotten to the house yet (do have a workshop finished office/kitchen/bathroom so do have home space in addition) but this was a nice way to get some quick nice space away from the office and get the bed out of the workshop (though tablesaws do make good bedside tables).

    That's a just lit fire so still smokey. I did get another 4' on the stack, so I now have around 17' of height over the stove top.

    Here's the interior pic. Hearth board is a home made deal.

    [​IMG]

    Still working on the everburn, I can get short rumbles that peter out after a few minutes today, but not sustained yet. Huh, just got it going and it sounds like it's going to continue. I think my original "build a coal bed" load of wood was too far burned to be releasing much gas and the new load wasn't going enough to release gas. The comments about smaller splits sounds important, more surface area to off-gas the volatiles so a higher concentration of gas to burn. I have not gotten around to re-splitting wood to smaller size yet. When I was splitting I was shooting for largest splits possible for longer burn times, so I'll be downsizing my splits in the future.

    When you have the everburn going on high and turn the air lever down to lower does the rumble drop in intensity or stay about steady?

    Exterior air, yep it's controversial, but for me this is a super easy install (got parts at Lowes yesterday for $16 and it will take 5 minutes to drill a hole in the floor and install) and I'd rather be passing cold air through the stove from the outside than putting the building under negative pressure and sucking that air into the building then into the stove. However, Gordo's comment about running exterior cold air into stove making everburn harder to achieve has me rethinking that a bit, then again 20 degree exterior air vs 60 degree (floor level) air when it needs to heat into the 600 degree range to everburn isn't that much extra energy for the stove to put in.

    Also starting to try the super drying technique. Thinking about building a wood cart with a fan built in to pull air from the woodstove area and run it over the wood to get that extra drying. I intend to leave the stove unattended for much of the work day, so not too comfortable with wood drying on the heath pad (though it's probably quite safe). I'm thinking two shelves on the wood cart, one for the wood that's been drying for a day and one for the new stuff of the day. Just load from the older shelf. Might have to put a door on it to get the air to pass through all the wood.

    Last and most troubling for the day. I let the fire totally burn out last night, extended the chimney today, went to start another fire and layign on top of the ash bed was a piece of ceramic. not a chip, the whole piece. It was laying near the door of the stove, glue side up, looks like total glue failure, I wasn't immediately able to figure where it came from, but has to be wall or ceiling near side door. Here's a pic. Any tips on how to reattach (like what glue and do I need to chip all the old glue off) and where the heck it came from would be greatly appreciated. I can hit my stove place Monday to look at the one on the floor and see where this thing came from and get advice there too.

    [​IMG]

    That's about the orientation that I found it in. I might have spun it 180 on it's horizontal axis from how it's pictured. Would have been a hard clunk onto the ash grate if it were not for the ashes that padded the fall.

    Thanks!
    Chris
  24. sullystull

    sullystull Feeling the Heat

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    Did that piece come from just inside the side loading door (on the floor of the stove)? Sure looks like the piece inside my stove at that location. It should be oriented to sit right inside the door--to act as a refractory/fire brick piece. I can take a pic of mine if that would be helpful.
  25. Central_PA_Chris

    Central_PA_Chris New Member

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    It very well may have, might have gotten rolled inside when loading a log. I just looked and it looks like it would fit there and there is no refractory there at the moment. Thanks! Just have to figure out how to make it stick again. :)

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