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Enviro vs Vermont Castings

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by stripedbass, May 1, 2010.

  1. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    My Cozy VC351 vented room heater (http://www.cozyheaters.com/pdfs/products/spec_sheets/VentedConsoleHeaters.pdf) now needs to be replaced with something else.

    My condo is only 600 square feet.

    The Cozy had 24,500 BTU Output and 35,000 BTU Input (don't know what all this means). But I know that the heat it gave me was enough.

    I'm now thinking of either getting the Vermont Castings Stardance (http://vermontcastings.com/products.asp?model=VF_stardance) or the Enviro Westport (http://www.enviro.com/fireplace-products/gas/freestanding-fireplace.html#westport).

    I plan to buy them used from individual owners who are selling them.

    If I have a choice between the 2 models, which one would you recommend?

    Any feedback will be highly appreciated.

    Thanks.

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  2. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    the vermont unit is vent free, wouldn't recomend it for anything other than emergency heat. also, not allowed to be installed in my state anyways...
    the other is a direct vent, but it says it is b-vent adaptable!! too cool! (so you can use existing chimney, no new cut in roof or ceiling, which means very cheap install)

    One big vote for the Enviro!
  3. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    I am very sorry. I made a mistake in my original posting. I meant the Vermont castings Direct Vent Stardance model NOT the Vent Free one. This is the one I meant:

    http://vermontcastings.com/products.asp?model=DV_stardance

    So, my question remains: which would you pick? The Enviro or the Vermont Castings?
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Both are good units.
    However, one way to suss them out might be to see if the EXACT unit is sold now. The reason I say that is because these models retain the same name but often change inside over the years. So if it is not the latest model, you'll want to make 100% certain that all the custom burner parts are still available and priced reasonably.
  5. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Thanks.

    I spoke to a guy who said that the Enviro is too powerful for my condo because it has 30,000 BTUs while my condo has only 600 square feet.

    He also said that the Vermont Castings Radiance model (http://www.vermontcastings.com/products.asp?model=DV_radiance), as opposed to the Stardance, which has 38,000 BTUs, is also too powerful for my condo (someone nearby is selling this model). Do you agree with his advice?

    I'll ultimately make my own decision and I alone will be responsible for it. But it helps to get other people's opinions before making your own, especially when I'm a first-time homeowner and have never had to deal with all this before. Also, due to budgetary reasons, I can only afford to buy a used stove so it's hard to get advice from stores or dealers if they know you're not buying a new product. This is all the more reason why I'm trying to be careful.

    Really appreciate the feedback I'm getting.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    First of all, consider the entire range of the burner - many are adjustable.
    Then also figure out the output - not the input.

    A rough way to do that would take 2/3 of the input.

    Example: The VC is 20,000 on low INPUT, so the OUTPUT would be about 13,000 BTU.

    To put that into perspective, that is a bit more than the output of two plug in electric oil-filled heaters (delonghi, etc.) - which are 5500 BTU each.

    Also, most of these gas units can be turned off and on by a thermostat to maintain a certain temp.
  7. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Hi Craig,

    So far all I know is that my current Cozy heater has 35,000 BTUs in input and 24,500 BTUs in output. So, if I understand you correctly, my burner has around 24,000 BTUs. I know that whatever it has, it's adequate to heat my condo.

    Yes, the Vermont Castings Radiance and the Enviro Westport can use a thermostat which makes me wonder why this dealer told me that the two models are too powerful for my 600 square feet condo.

    So if I'm reading you correctly, the Radiance and the Westport are not too powerful for my condo's size.

    If we've got this settled, my only other concern is what should I look out for when buying used stoves? I've aleady noted your earlier advice about making sure that it is the latest model. The VC Radiance that's being sold is at least 10 years old, if not older (the seller isn't sure because the stove came with his house when he bought it). The Enviro Wesport is one year old.

    In general, are parts expensive for VC and Enviro stoves?

    Really appreciate your advice. Thanks.
  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I also think you don't need the Radiance size - and, again, most burners do have an adjustment on them.

    As far as the parts, I am more concerned about availability than price. If treated well, most gas units are unlikely to need many parts. Many of the gas parts (valve, thermocouples) are pretty standard and available generically.

    The parts I would be more concerned about are the burners, especially then not made of metal. I know some VC's used to have soft ceramic burners...nothing wrong with these, just that in the long run if they break you need to get it from them, not a generic parts place. The same may be true of other models and makes.

    As far as the latest model - that is less important than making sure the model was not from 12 years ago. They usually keep parts for most models for 10 years or more, so if the unit in question was only discontinued a couple years ago, you still should be fine.

    With proper use, very little should happen to these units - in fact, the moving of it from where you buy it to your home probably represents the biggest chance of breaking something.
  9. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    I really appreciate your feedback. I'm leaning towards the Enviro Westport since it's only one year old.
  10. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Just out of curiosity, how do the Vermont Castings and Enviro Wesport compare with a Rinnai wall heater like this one:

    http://www.rinnai.us/direct-vent-wall-furnaces/es38/

    I ask because I genuinely like the look of the stoves with ceramic logs. But I'm wondering whether the Rinnai heaters have any advantages.
  11. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Yesterday a plumber came to my condo to examine my heating needs. He claimed that I should really get a Rinnai. He recommended this model:

    http://www.rinnai.us/direct-vent-wall-furnaces/es38/

    He said that the Vermont Castings and Enviro type stoves may look nice but they don't circulate heat as well as the Rinnai models. He gave me some technical explanations as to why this was so but I can't quite recall how he put it. But the gist of it was that the Rinnai heaters have a more sophsiticated, computer driven way to spread the heat.
  12. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Basically, another way of putting it is: what would be a better way of heating a 600 square feet condo? A furnace (Rinnai) or stove (Vermont Castings)?
  13. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    if you want a visible radaint heater that works when the power is out, go with the stove

    if space is a mojor concern, you dont care about the visual, and you dont have lots of power outages- go with the wall heater...
  14. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    This has been quite an educational experience for me. Please bear with me as I try to undertand the last bit of information.

    If I'm not mistaken, both the Radiance (http://www.vermontcastings.com/products.asp?model=DV_radiance) and Rinnai (http://www.rinnai.us/direct-vent-wall-furnaces/es38/) have a fan, right? If so, then I don't see the difference between the two in terms of how they release heat. I was under the impression that the radiant heaters/stoves did not have a fan so the heat simply rose. The furnaces, I thought, were the only ones with fans so the heat circulation was better with them because it's blown out. But if I understand the "FireCast" feature of the Radiance, it says that the stove has a fan. Or is this an optional feature for which you have to pay extra?
  15. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    on most gas stoves like the vermont or enviro, the blower is typically an option (the unit will work fine w/o any electrical connection)

    on some wall furnaces, they get higher effieciency by using larger heat exchangers, requiring a fan-

    i dont sell any of the units in question, so i'm not sure...

    for example, we have a small empire wall heater, dv210, that heats our office. it has a standing pilot, and no blower. the design allows for passive convective heat-and the space is small- so no power/blower is required

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiant_heating
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convection_heater


    from a homeowners standpoint, either option could be just fine, if power outages are a concern, i'd go with the better radiant heater- enviro or vermont
    if space is the bigger issue, go with the wall furnace
  16. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    I've finally made up my mind. I know, I took a long time to decide. But that's just how I am.

    I'm going to look for a Vermont Castings Stardance model with a blower.

    I just love its look and with a condo that's about 600 square feet, I think the Stardance will be adequate for me.

    I really want to thank everyone who contributed to my thread, especially Dave. Your patience with all my dumb questions was really appreciated!
  17. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    well i gotta help out the striped bass guy :)

    took my son to the Sacramento river over the weekend, he caught a 22"- 4lber
  18. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Two days ago I bought a Vermont Castings Stardance direct vent gas stove (http://www.vermontcastings.com/products.asp?model=DV_stardance). It's model number is SDV30RF. I think I got a good deal. The person who sold it never really used it. Also, I got all the venting material, remote, blower and manual.

    The trickiest thing was transporting it. Boy, are these stoves heavy! We secured it very well to the trunk in my car. We used cardboard for padding. We had it standing up on it's feet. However, when I got home I noticed that the ceramic logs had moved from their original positions. I opened the glass and tried to place them back the way I thought they originally were.

    A few questions:

    1) Is it important to have the ceramic logs in their exact positions?

    2) The stove is for liquid propane and I use natural gas in my home. I'm told that I'll need a natural gas conversion kit. Does anyone know of website that sells these kits? What is a fair price for this kit?

    3) When I picked up the stove we had to remove the stove's cast iron top, front (doors and door frame) in order to make it lighter and fit into my trunk more easily. It shouldn't be hard to put these pieces back on, right? The manual explains how they're assembled. Can an installer do this? Or is this a job for the plumber?

    I'm going to try to find a professional installer who knows Vermont Castings stoves. I also need to find a good plumber who will pull a permit with my city.

    Is there anything I should know?

    Just trying to ensure everything goes well since I did not buy this stove new from a store.

    Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
  19. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    1. heck yes, they are supposed to be in the right places
    2. google vermont castings parts fore sale? woodsmans comes up, good folks!
    3.you should get to know your stove well enough to put top,and front on/off....
  20. jimmie ray

    jimmie ray New Member

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  21. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Folks,

    Don't mind me. I'm very slow in doing things. I always try to make sure that I'm getting the best deal (though it doesn't always work out this way).

    I've finally located a competent, licensed installer for my used Vermont Castings Stardance gas stove (this is separate from the plumber who will do the actual gas hook-up and pull a permit with my city).

    The installer is charging me as follows:

    [A]
    1) Installation of Stardance $450.00
    2) Ordering a converstion kit (from propane to natural gas) $100.00
    3) Termination cap: $163.00
    4) Ordering Vinyl siding standoff (this is supposed to protect the vinyl siding from the vent's heat) $55.00
    4) Removing my old heater and disposing of it $100.00
    5) Sealing the vent hole for my old heater (my old heater vented into a chimney) $125.00
    6) Installer will also seal the vent hole for my Magee kitchen range (old fashioned range). It's a heat on heat, meaning that it has a heater on the side. This heater vented into the same chimney as the old living room heater but from opposite sides of the dividing wall. However, I no longer use the range's heater. In fact, it has been disconnected which is why I need the vent hole sealed. Installer will seal this hole for free.

    Total installation cost: $993.70


    Plumbers cost for re-directing gas pipe to my Stardance stove (it's in a different location from the heater that is being replaced) and pulling the permit $600.00

    Do these charges sound fair? I've never done this before so I'll appreciate any feedback.

    Thanks!
  22. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Hi,

    I have a Vermont Castings Stardance direct vent gas stove. The model number is SDV30RF.

    I found out that the blower on my stove needs a snap switch. The technician who installed the stove wrote that: "Need snap switch/van speed switch + wiring to mate."

    My installer claims that the snap switches are on back order from the manufacturer he deals with.

    A while back, a kind soul on this forum (David Gault) directed me to Woodman's as a good place to order spare parts for stoves.

    According to my stove's manual, my blower is an FK26.

    My question is this: which of the snap switches listed in the link below is meant for my blower:

    http://www.woodmanspartsplus.com/5125/Blower-Controls-Snap-Switches.html

    Does anyone know?
  23. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Staff Member

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    Did you watch him test the snap disk? How did he do it?
    How did he determine you have bad wiring?
    Do you have the old snap disk to compare the marking with what Woodmans offers?
  24. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    No, I did not see him test the snap disk. He just said that there was no switch.
  25. Mr Frugal

    Mr Frugal New Member

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    Too bad you didn't buy the Enviro.
    I've gone down the "good used gas stove that needs fuel conversion" road already with my Enviro Ascot, and I'm now an eggspert!
    Vermont Castings has changed hands many times in the last few years; I hope you don't have an issue finding parts.

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