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Jotul 3TD or Jotul Oslo or VC Defiant Encore

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by MikeinMadison, Aug 20, 2006.

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  1. MikeinMadison

    MikeinMadison Member

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    Thanks for any help!
    We have an ivory Jotul 3TD in our living room -- stainless steel liner up pre-fab fireplace -- vermiculite insulation. The former fireplace is bricked up except for the exiting pipe, and all has gone well for two years.

    However, we wish the Jotul 3 were a little bigger, more efficient, and required less temp monitoring.

    I just bought a 1987 sand enamel VC Defiant Encore in unbelieveable condition -- not a chip on it -- gaskets look new, glass clear, catalyst perfect, etc. It was installed in a small basement family room, and my guess is that the owners regretted the decision and used it just a few times -- too much stove for the space, downstairs.

    I've checked our clearances, and the Defiant would meet code where our current stove is.

    A few questions:
    Would it be okay to run the 8" pipe that came with the stove to an 8" to 6" adapter, and up? I have read conflicting opinions about this, and noticed that VC sold an optional (and may still sell) 6" adapter for this stove. We wouldn't be operating it with the doors open, which I have heard would make backpuffing more likely with a 6" chimney.

    Would you recommend a different stove? I like the Jotul Oslo, and the Castine less, but we'd be buying those new, and the sticker prices are up there. Anybody know the likely efficiency of the Jotul 3TD?

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!

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  2. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Yeah the Encore can be installed on a 6" flue, atleast the modern day Encore model #2550 can. I'm not sure when this model came into existence. I'm sure our local VC affecinado Elkimmeg will be along to fill in the blanks in my response.:)
  3. MikeinMadison

    MikeinMadison Member

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    This is a #0028 Defiant Encore -- Catalytic of course. I should have mentioned the model #.
    Thanks!
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    The installation sounds suspect, but then again I am not there!

    For beginners, regular stoves are not listed to be installed into pre-fab fireplaces...only certain inserts are. And pouring insulation down one is something I have never heard before in my 25+ years in the business.

    Closing up the front of any pre-fab is a no-no

    Mind you, I am not saying your house is gonna burn down, but......

    Do you really mean "pre-fab" fireplace as in a metal box and round metal flue?
  5. MikeinMadison

    MikeinMadison Member

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    Wow, it just shows how different states have different standards and practices. This is a prefab wood-burning fireplace. Insulated metal box, 12" metal chimney inside that (vented to outside), 8" metal chimney inside that. I ran a 6" flexible SS liner down the 8" chimney, centered it, filled in the 1" all around it with a vermiculite/portland cement/water mix (formula from a local installer), and voila! I put my hand on the 12" tube from the outside vent on a warm day with the stove hot, and it was just slightly warm. It passes code here in WI. Are you concerned? I wonder if this is one of those situations where custom and safety get mingled.
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Interested to hear the reply myself. That sounds like a bomb shelter, not a chimney.
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    To my knowledge there is no code anywhere that it passes.....

    The standard, if it existed, would be in one of a few places:
    1. The owners manual for the fireplace (I'll take ANY bet that the manufacturer of the fireplace will tell you this is not an allowed use).
    2. The manual for the stove (goes without saying it is not in most of those).

    It certainly is not addressed in general codes, as prefab fireplaces are very specific and only to be used per the manufacturers instructions....in other words, they are not generic enough for any codes other than the manual.

    I am concerned that other folks will think this is an allowed installation. Not saying yours is not safe, but I have seen MANY in pre-fabs that are not. I have seen houses catch on fire IN ONE DAY after a homeowner installed tight fitting glass doors on a prefab.

    Your job is very custom.....that's for sure. Potential problems with this type of install (not yours specifically).

    1. Wood is in the walls right around the fireplace, so it is difficult for stove itself and connector pipe to meet clearances
    2. Closing off the front of these fireplaces messes with the air cooling - like disconnecting the radiator in your car! It will overheat.
    3. In your case, the vermiculite and moisture may eat a hole through one or more of the outer pipes - they are not designed to be in a moist situation....rather to have air flowing around them.
    4. It goes without saying that the fireplace could never be restored to original.

    In your case you have what would be a site-built insulated chimney. It may be totally safe - but it doesn't meet any code, standards or manuals....I'd love to be proven wrong!

    Just because an inspector or installer OK's it....does not mean that it meets any standard.

    PS. Not trying to scare you...just inform. It sounds like you have your eye on it, but if such custom jobs become commonplace, we are in for trouble.

    PS. 2- Some stoves are listed for installing into pre-fabs with a liner. These stoves are not all that different from your, but usually have double or triple wall construction which stops radiant heat from overheating the box and wood framing. Also, the pipe starts within the prefab - lastly the front is left either open or vented for keeping convection cooling going.

    PS. 3 - Correct way to do this job is to rip out entire prefab and box and install class A generic chimney, etc.
  8. MikeinMadison

    MikeinMadison Member

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    Thanks Craig
    I appreciate your concerns. I'd prefer to err on the side of caution. Fortunately, in my case, the fireplace is 3 bricks deep, the flue goes straight back, there is no wood framing or drywall near anything that gets warm (high temp approved cement board), there is no significant air cooling issue because there are two outside vents that draw air in, and the vermiculite mix is dry and solid. I have no interest in restoring this fireplace to its original condition, so that's not an issue either.

    This said, I'm not surprised it raises some eyebrows, because it's unconventional. Before I did this, I researched carefully, and found that this is quite safe. (of course, everything must be done right with chimneys -- or else) As you know, Class A chimney gets uncomfortably warm to the touch, and 2 inches to combustibles is acceptable. Two inches to hot metal is a much lower standard than we achieved with the liner and vermiculite strategy. Have you heard of vermiculite cement eating through an outer pipe?

    Thanks!
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    In your case it is in stainless steel....but keep in mind, very thin and cheap stainless (the original flue).

    But many older class A chimneys failed because of the insulation in them...ate right through the metal....

    No telling how the metals will react over time with the minerals in the vermiculite and cement.
  10. MikeinMadison

    MikeinMadison Member

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    Hmm. I'm going to look into this again and see if there is any new info on this strategy.
    Let's say we assume I have a conventional setup in good functional condition. Will I get good performance from the VC Defiant Encore if I go from 8" to 6"?
    Thanks!
  11. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I'm piuzzled here you have an 8" liner and an 8" flue collar why would you want to restrict it why not just run 8" connector pipe into the 8" liner. The defiant Encore has an optional 6" flue collar that replaces the 8" oval. That's what I installed on my newly installed Encore. It is listed to function with a 6" collar so therefore it can vent into a 6" setup. (No open fire, screen option can be used) I concure with what Craig and others have pointed out here. But not going to rehash it.
  12. MikeinMadison

    MikeinMadison Member

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    I can clear that up. I have a 6" liner in an 8" rigid metal chimney, with 1" of vermiculite mix between the 6" liner and 8" metal chimney. Of course, there is another 12" pipe around the whole thing.
  13. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    Mike,

    define "pre-fab". This has a specific meaning to us in the industry and we may not fully understand what you are describing.

    Could this be a Wilkening fireplace? A steel masonry heater form using an air-cooled chimney system? At any rate, I would agree with Craig and bet that there is nothing in the codes to allow this install. But, ultimately it is up to the local authority and the insurance company as whether or not the consider it "safe".

    And, yes, you should be okay with the Encore on a 6" flue. That 0028 model is difficultto service. The Catalytic access is in the back of the stove and you'll have to remove the rear heat shield to access it. The firebacks are bolted in place and the bolts always break. But as long as you are handy it will be a good stove.

    Sean
  14. MikeinMadison

    MikeinMadison Member

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    Hi all
    Can someone explain how the UL103 standard is relevant to this discussion?
    Thanks!
  15. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Well, UL103 is relevent if your chimney will only reach temps of 1,000 degrees. UL103HT will address if that pipe in the middle kicks off at 1,500 - 1900 degress or so (I don't buy into all chimney fires being 2,100 degrees).

    Hint, neighbors in lawn chairs for the show. Vermiculite raining down on them.
  16. MikeinMadison

    MikeinMadison Member

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    My chimney is rated UL 103 2100HT, and my flexible, SS liner is as clean as a whistle in preparation for winter. I appreciate the warnings, when they're warranted, when they come from experience, experiment, logic, or simple concern. When they're borne of ignorance and/or sarcasm and arrogance however, I could do without them.

    A given installation isn't necessarily dangerous or unwise because you are ignorant of it BrotherBart.
  17. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    All UL 103 and even standards before that used 1700 or 1800 as the "bursts" test. All used 1000 degrees as the continuous test and still do.
    http://tinyurl.com/ejtvm
    (notice that the 2100 degree test is at the OPTION of the manufacturer in this abstract)

    Mike, most of us have never seen a pre-fab fireplace (air-cooled) rated to the "generic" standards, but rather these are usually tested AS A UNIT with your firebox for use exactly as the manufacturer intended (open fire, etc.).

    That is what threw most of us off.

    I would have no doubt that a homebrewed system COULD be as safe or even better than a factory system, but in general the homebuilt systems that we get to see regularly are not as well thought out as yours. As I said before, my biggest concern is that others will see this thread and attempt to build class A chimneys themselves.

    If your existing double-wall metal chimney was already rated, then all our posts mean nothing.....but usually pre-fab chimneys are built to a vastly lower standard than generic. For an example, when I was a dealer - prefab chimney sections cost me about 1/3 the price as those of generic packed class A.
  18. MikeinMadison

    MikeinMadison Member

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    Thanks Craig.
    That clarification helps a lot. Lives are at stake, and people do some terribly stupid things. I sold a Dutchwest Sequoia last Fall on ebay to a guy who was going to put it in a cabin and run stovepipe out the window!! When he told me his plan, I didn't know if I should let him take it. I made sure he was aware that the ceiling, wall, and window frame might be fine for a while, and then once sufficiently dry, might burst into flames. He seemed interested and vowed to read the manual carefully -- but I still wonder... did he return from hunting to find a large bonfire where his cabin was?
    I appreciate your efforts -- there is no doubt that you save lives.
    Mike
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