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Montpelier vermont castings insert

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by allhandsworking, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. av8roc

    av8roc New Member

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    Here's a pic of my smokey glass. I have been burning 24/7 since I cleaned the glass 3 days ago. I suspect wood could be part of the culprit but you can clearly see the hinges on the top right are not allowing a good seal.

    Otherwise I am really happy with the unit and it does a great job of heating both floors of my relatively small cape.

    [​IMG]

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  2. Chip Brown

    Chip Brown New Member

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    Sep 6, 2007
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    New England
    The Glass doesn't look bad, depends on your burn temp. Remember the air supplied to the stove for combustion is what keeps the glass clean. If your burning a bit slower in the evening the glass will get dirty, crank it up a bit first thing in the am for about 1/2 hour to 45 min and this will clean the glass pretty well. All that said your glass is not that bad, you will get some build up each day you burn and depending on the wood and the temp you run the stove will dictate how dirty or clean you glass may be. Expect to have to clean the glass with a "hearth glass clear" about once a week to keep it looking good.

    If your concerned about your door leaking air and disrupting the air wash i would suggest going to your location corner store and getting a stick of incense. Start the stove with a good bit of kindling and once you have a good fire burning take the incense stick light it and run it along the edges of the door. If you have leakage the smoke stream from the incense will be drawn into the stove and allow you to locate you problem.
  3. ernie

    ernie Member

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    Loc:
    Missouri
    That glass looks good to me.
  4. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Messages:
    442
    Loc:
    Ouisconsin
    Glass looks good. But I've seen better.

    I think you're correct that there may be a leak along the hinge side. Have you tried the dollar-bill test?

    My glass used to look like that. I believe I've since gotten better at sorting wet from dry wood. I also run it at 7/8 closed. This seems to keep the glass really clean, like only a 3/4-inch band of brown on the bottom. After a number of days I have to clean the white ash off the middle part of the glass.
  5. av8roc

    av8roc New Member

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    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    Yep, failed the dollar bill and incense test. I've been so busy lately but today I have to call the dealer and take the next step. Will let you guys know what happens.
  6. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Ouisconsin
    It could be that tightening up the door seal is all you need. The air leak lets cool air in and blows directly on the glass. This cools the glass. Cool surfaces are what creosote condenses on.

    If the only way for air to get into these units is through the designed pathways, the air gets pre-heated before entering the burn box. This is particularly true for the glass-wash function hot air keeps the glass clean.
  7. av8roc

    av8roc New Member

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    Not sure what you mean by tightening the door seal. I adjusted the nut on the door latch but that didn't help seal the hinge side of the glass at all.

    I can confirm what you said about the air leak with my IR gun. When the middle of the glass is in the 550 degree range the hinge side corner with the creosote built up is only registering in the neighborhood of 250 degrees.

    I guess I could try to beef up the gasket on the hinge side but I will wait and see what dealer has to say first.
  8. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Ouisconsin
    "I guess I could try to beef up the gasket on the hinge side but I will wait and see what dealer has to say first. "

    You're on the right path.
  9. portkins

    portkins New Member

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    Jan 6, 2010
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    ma
    Av8roc I am looking to get the Montpelier. Your photo looks like a cross between a matt black and gloss.
    I think the matt is too flat and the gloss is too shiny. Which one do you have?
  10. fmer55

    fmer55 New Member

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    Nov 14, 2009
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    Loc:
    bay shore, ny
    that is most certainly the matte black.......i actually went for the biscuit, i was scared at first but it is a beauty. but i was putting it against black painted brick
  11. jfournier

    jfournier New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
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    39
    Loc:
    North Central CT
    I'm about ready to give up on my Montpelier. My house is 1300 square feet and the thing can't even get the stove room above 68 degrees, even though the thermometer on the door is reading over 350 F and I'm getting seemingly good burns.

    Does that sound normal? The glass stays clean for me for weeks, and it seems to burn hot, but a lot of the heat just doesn't seem to be coming out. The top of my chimney around the liner is sealed, but I don't have a block-off plate at the bottom...I'm going to put one in this spring, and if that doesn't help I'm going to have to cut my losses and sell it and get the $1500 tax credit on a new stove, I guess one that's way over-sized for my house...
  12. Wildman_fab

    Wildman_fab New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
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    31
    Loc:
    Cape Cod
    I had the exact same situation when first I installed mine. Find some dry wood. I can barley get mine over 350deg with semi dry stuff. With dry stuff while running wide open, I have gone WELL into the 'overburn' part of the thermometer. Also what are you seeing for burn times? If I used dry stuff and loaded the stove up at 10pm by 6-7AM I have a NICE bed of coals that I just have to shake up and throw another log on there. With semi dry wood I was seeing alot of charcoal and not many red coals. I have a drafty old ranch house, with a closed off upstairs and I can get close to 70 in the house if its not super windy outside.

    Heres a hint, take a few splits that you already have and stack them 'Lincoln log style' next to the stove while its burning. Let them sit there a week or so and then see how they burn. I have found I can loose 10% more moisture or so just by doing this.
  13. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Ouisconsin
    Light a match and hold the flame by the gaps around the surround. I'll bet you'll find a hefty draft sucking room air out the chimney.

    My family just returned from a trip out of town in which we allowed the fire to die out and the house was being kept warm by the boiler. My wife has a small clock next to her chair in the living room which also tells the temp. Last winter, before we had the insert, that clock never reached above 63*. Now, just by simply installing the insert her clock read 68* which is what the thermostat was set at!

    I'm convinced that sealing the flue made the difference.
  14. fmer55

    fmer55 New Member

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    here is a pic of the biscuit if interested......the one thing that i have found is it has stayed extremely clean, it is my first stove/insert so i wasnt sure what to expect.well so much for that, cant ge the pic to send. as for your heat problems i would be willing ot bet it is your wood. i bought wood 2 months ago, sits uncovered and has been wet, two weeks ago i moved about a 1/4 cord into the garage, let it sit for ten days and whala!!!.....went from 68 to 71. a lot of convenience stores sell kiln dried wood, it is expensive, but probably get enough for 20 bucks for a test run, if not i would bet on the draft, i don't know why people dont install the block plate the first time, do they think everyone is lying? buying an efficient stove, you might as well make your chimney efficien as well......
  15. jfournier

    jfournier New Member

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    Oct 20, 2009
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    Loc:
    North Central CT
    I don't think draft is an issue for me, as I believe the stove is burning hot and clean...

    I had the stove installed in fall of '08, before I ever saw this site or learned about block off plates...I've since asked the dealer who installed the stove if they could do a block off plate, and they told me it was unnecessary since the chimney is sealed at the top and so the stove will heat up the chimney but once it's heated the rest of the heat will come out the front. He said he'd do a block off plate for 300 bucks if I really wanted to, and I told him no.

    I'll make one myself when it starts warming up a bit, and hopefully that'll do the trick.
  16. diodeduster

    diodeduster New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
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    48
    Loc:
    warminster pa
    I have learned alot since last year when i had my montpelier installed. first the bricks above the insert never got hot due too the fact that the installer never installed a block off plate so this past summer i went too the scrap yard and picked up a piece of stainless steel about 1/8 thick and pulled the insert out and installed it what a difference. the bricks above the insert now get hot and heat pours out of the sides of my mead surround. The insert likes dry and well seasoned wood split not to big for it to run hot and to keep the glass clean. Once i get a fire going and a good bed of coals i shut the draft down about 3/4 closed and keep it there. I also find that stove needs to be cleaned out every 12 hours or so for the blower to run longer and for it to put out better heat.
  17. Chip Brown

    Chip Brown New Member

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    New England
    Couple questions for you.

    1. Have you had your dealer come to inspect the stove and installation.
    2. Is your wood truly seasoned
    3. Are you running the blower
    4. Do you have access to a heat gun to measure the temps of the heated air leaving the convection area above the door.
    5. How tall is your chimney
    6. Are you filling the stove with a full charge of wood
    7. How old is you home and would you consider it well insulated
    8. How are your windows
  18. jfournier

    jfournier New Member

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    1. I have not had the dealer come out to look at it. I talk with him whenever I'm in his area and have the time, so it shouldn't be hard to get him out.
    2. My wood is pretty well seasoned. I'm burning mostly 3+ year old oak, feels really dry and like I said before, the stove consistently runs over 350 F at the top of the door, never getting higher than 400 F.
    3. I run the blower, usually at 3/4 to full speed, and sometimes it barely feels like a trickle. The problem there is I don't know how much air I should feel when it's at full speed
    4. I don't have a heat gun but I'll consider it. Do you mean an infrared temp gun? I'd like to have one of those anyway...
    5. The stove is in a ranch, so it's a single story. The exterior brick chimney runs about 4-5' higher than my roof. The chimney has a cap, and a side screen (holes are about 2" wide and 1" high, and clear of creosote). All told I'd guess the liner runs 12 to 15 feet, judging by my sweeping rods
    6. I have tried burning many different ways in this stove. I can do a full load of small (2") splits loaded e/w, a full load mixed larger (4") and smaller splits loaded e/w, and I've also done n/s with short cut blocks of wood, again a mix of diameters. I usually get about 3-4 hours of flames, and the door will stay above 300 degrees for about 5 hours or so
    7. My house is about 40 years old, and is not the best insulated. I had an energy audit done and there was a lot of room for improvement in terms of airflow (house requires 900 CFM of air max, they were able to push 1800 before sealing, 1600 after). The attic is fairly well insulated (about 10" of insulation)
    8. My windows are original double hung and have storm windows. They are not particularly drafty, though it probably wouldn't hurt to put that shrink wrap on. I have a wall-unit air conditioner and put that over the front, couldn't believe the difference (on a windy night we can hear the plastic getting pushed around, so that unit lets way too much in)

    My main problem is that I feel I am burning a good, hot fire in the stove, and that the stove just isn't pushing enough heat out into the room, relative to how hot I know the fire to be. I understand the relative draftiness of my house doesn't help things, but sometimes the stove can't even heat my ~300 square foot stove room above 66 degrees, even with the stove cooking at 400 F at the door. Like I said before too, the top of the chimney is sealed with a metal plate, with caulking all around, so it's an air tight seal, but before we had the surround installed I had some fires and could feel quite a lot of very warm air up above the stove, in the chimney.

    Sorry for the long-windedness, but hopefully that's all the facts.
  19. canboy

    canboy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
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    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    JFournier:
    I think it sounds like the wood is dry and your burning methods are good. Some thoughts and questions:
    1) You could stuff Roxul between the liner and the flue at the base of the chimney...much easier than installing a block off plate and you don't have to wait for spring - make sure that meets local fire regulations. I think you are definitely losing heat up the chimney, especially since it is an external chimney;
    2) Consider tightening and insulating the house, replacing windows - I think you are losing a ton of heat thru leakage;
    3) Remove the blower and confirm that the unit blows well in your hand. Make sure the air channels underneath the stove are clear and then reinstall the blower. My blower blows less air than it sounds like it should, so maybe yours is fine.
    4) If your original fireplace was a heat recirculating unit, make sure that the upper and lower vents are clear to allow heat from inside the firebox to get into the room;

    As a baseline, at 10 degrees F, I can heat my 1500 sq. ft. home. The open area of about 1000 sq ft would be about 72 degrees and the bedroom area down the hall would be closer to 65 degrees. This is a 30 yr old well insulated and sealed home and I am burning mostly dry softwood.

    I really don't think the stove is your problem.

    Good luck.
  20. Lynn0101

    Lynn0101 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
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    Loc:
    Western Ma
    I've been reading this thread concerning a seemingly good burn/hot stove/clean glass/dry wood... yet still a cold house. Boy, does this sound like my situation too! After reading all of the great suggestions concerning drafts from leaking windows, etc. I plan on buying a ton of window insulation supplies this weekend and seal up the drafts as much as possible in my circa. 1870 2 story house. I did try holding a lit match next to the sides of the insert but did not notice any 'pull' of the flame... I keep my furnace thermostat at 58 degrees so it will turn on if necessary, I don't want frozen pipes... I can tell you, though, that although the room the insert is in can get as high at 70 degrees that is a rare occurance... upstairs, when I check the thermometer I actually think a 55 degree reading is 'balmy'... I live in Western Massachusetts and it is very cold out here! I generally wear 2 shirts and a jacket arount the house... I had such high hopes of being toasty warm when I bought the insert a year ago last fall.... :( oh, the insert's flue runs up an exterior stone chimney. I just had the flexible chimney liner professionally cleaned last week and the fellow said that there was very little creosote buildup and everything looked great...

    On a different note: I purchased an electric log splitter from Northern Tool and I am THRILLED with how easy it is to use and how nice and "small" I can make the splits! I would recommend it to anyone! I had compared other brands at local stores but none had the heft and sturdy 'feel' to them like the one I bought online.
  21. canboy

    canboy Member

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    Jan 25, 2009
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    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    For those who feel they aren't getting enough air from the fan.... I tried a little experiment today and I think the results were positive. The fan does not make a tight connection with the "ductwork" under the stove - it is just a flush fit. So, a lot of the air that was intended to go thru the ductwork never gets there. It escapes around the edges and generates wind noise at the blower unit. If you turn on the fan and then push the fan unit towards the back of the stove (it will only move about a quarter inch), you should notice that some of the air noise disappears and you get more volume out the exit ducts above the stove. So, I wedged a short piece of 3/4 inch copper pipe between the fan unit and the oval "emblem" at the bottom center of the stove. When you close the fan door no one can see the pipe and the fan is now held tightly against the ductwork. The increased volume raised my room temperature by about 3 degrees F in 30 minutes.
  22. Lynn0101

    Lynn0101 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
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    10
    Loc:
    Western Ma
    Here's a follow-up on my previous post concerning weather stripping the windows and doors in my old drafty house to help the insert heat up the place better:
    I caulked the downstairs windows and the cellar door over the weekend. (Some of the gaps in the window frames were pretty big... I should have done this a long time ago when I used to hear the windows rattle on a windy day!)... anyways, I have noticed an improvement in the amount of heat that can be felt in the room that the insert is in. I also noted that the temperature of the insert is running 50-75 degrees hotter consistantly! I am doing nothing different with the wood, etc. These changes were noticed immediately and while still in the cold snap (so the outside temps were in the same range before and after). I still have many windows to caulk upstairs. I will write back once my "experiment" is completed. :)
  23. pnear

    pnear New Member

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    Oct 17, 2009
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    Loc:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I now have a load of nicely seasoned wood, and it burns *much* better in my Montpelier. I've been experimenting over the last few days with the optimum setting for the air intake, and I'm quite surprised to find that I can take it all the way down to closed (far right) and the fire continues to burn. I was expecting it to go down to smoldering coals, but with a full load of wood all of the logs stay lit and I have a nice, hot, rolling fire.

    Should I be concerned? Or is the air control not a tight seal and the wood is just burning really well with the small amount of air that sneaks through?

    Thanks,
    Pete
  24. canboy

    canboy Member

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    Loc:
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    PNEAR: I don't think you should be concerned. The air control is not air tight and only alters the amount of air coming thru 3 openings above the glass, acting as an air wash to keep the glass clean. The air supply thru the 3 holes at the bottom of the firebox and the secondary air tubes is unaffected by the adjustment of the air control. If you have a nice clean burn, meaning that the brick is white and the glass is mostly clean and the fire is rolling, even with the air control closed, then I would say you are doing great. Sounds like you have nice dry wood and a good draw on your chimney.
  25. jfournier

    jfournier New Member

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    Oct 20, 2009
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    Loc:
    North Central CT
    I was under the impression that the air wash air is what comes out through the 3 holes at the bottom...i saw some video about how the non-cat epa stoves work, and the air entering at the top, being cooler than the gasses in the firebox, immediately sink to the bottom of the firebox, running over the glass on the way, and then down into the fire...

    Can anyone explain where the 3 air holes get fed from, if not from the air wash? It's weird, because I take the andirons and the brick off, and there's just three holes that don't seem to be fed from anywhere in particular...

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