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Montpelier vermont castings insert

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

  1. pkelecy

    pkelecy New Member

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    I'm also very interested in this stove (really like the large view area and how it looks), but was wondering how large the firebox is. Does anyone know? For some reason that spec isn't listed in the brochure or on the VC website.

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  2. Fod01

    Fod01 Feeling the Heat

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    1.5 cu'. Our third season with no complaints.
    The new Merrimack is 3', but not a flush insert like the Montpelier.
  3. pkelecy

    pkelecy New Member

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    Thanks Fod01. Just what I was looking for.
  4. ctspur

    ctspur New Member

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    Hi there, another new poster. I got a VC montpelier installed back in Feb 2010 and have ahd so many problems with trying to keep it lit, smoke coming back in the room, dark brown staining on the glass every time, and at least an hour before the fan come on. My dealer is coming out next week with authorization from VC to swap this one out with a new one. I will wait and see if that happens.
    Last time he came out he lifted up the andirons and found the 3 ventilation holes were blocked by insulation so that was certainly part of the problem. How can they have missed that over the last 8 months. I am a complete novice at this and have never burnt wood before so assumed it was me not being able to keep the fire going.
    I have no idea whether I have a block off plate installed. When and if he swaps out the old one, should I be asking for it and what does it do?

    Thanks for all the useful comments so far
  5. fire_mensch

    fire_mensch New Member

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    If you have an exterior, or uninsulated, or short chimney you may have smoke roll out, due to the large door. How long is the flue? Is it lined and insulated? Exterior or interior?

    I suspect you have chimney problems (and possibly wood that isn't dry enough). Generally, draft is not a function of the stove, but the chimney. Some stoves are more draft sensitive than others.
  6. ctspur

    ctspur New Member

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    My chimney is an external brick chimney at the end of the house and is only 18-20 ft high. I think it does struggle initially to generate a good draft but even when the fire is going fairly strongly, we can still feel the smoke on the back of our throats in adjacent rooms. As a result, we have not used it for 4 weeks now and are hoping it was a lemon and the new one will be better. We had it professionlly installed (cost as much as the insert) and it is lined all the way to the top with a SS liner and were assured that drafting would not be a problem despite the chimneys relatively low height.

    As for the wood, I bought 'seasoned hardwood' but given everybody elses tales of woe with supposedly dry wood, I would not be surprised if mine was on the damp side also. As I mentioned in my original post, I was shocked that the 3 ventilation holes in the bottom were blocked and really not providing any source of air for combustion. Most of the time I had to leave the door cracked to allow the fire to keep going.
    Any thoughts on the value of asking for a block off plate - what does it do? Also, is an outside air kit a waste of money even in a new (3 yr old) house where the air supply might be restricted. Would that reduce the movement of air inside the house as I often feel drafts and I wonder if it is air moving in to replace the air being sucked up by the hungry fire.
  7. fire_mensch

    fire_mensch New Member

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    Just my opinion, from my own limited experience, for a short flue, I would not even think of installing the Montpelier without insulation on the liner. (The flue on mine is interior, insulated, lined and about 16'.) Raising the flue temperature significantly improves draft. Besides for UL 1777 and building code, the liner probably must be insulated. Besides, the stove has a really big door. You need all the draft you can get to stop smoke roll out.

    The flue collar should be sealed at the appliance adapter on the Montpelier. Otherwise, the loose fit will lose draft. Also, if the flue collar is not snug to the insert, you will loose draft. Also, if the liner was kinked when installing, you will loose draft.

    I'm no expert, but I doubt it is a defective stove. I am surprised they are replacing it, unless they have found something major wrong. If the stove has a small air leak, you would get hotter, faster fires, not smouldering.

    Those three holes only supply a portion of the combustion air. The three holes are a minor problem that should have been checked at install time. I had a very small amount of insulation in one hole. It's not a big deal. Anyway, there are only two holes feeding 3 orifices.

    It stops hot air from rising up the chimney, cooling and falling, then rising again. The Montpelier gets very hot at the top. Without it, you will have significantly more heat loss via the chimney structure.

    As far as I know, the Montpelier has no outside air provision. If you tried it, it looks like you would get lots of leaking. See this link about outside air: Outdoor Air Myth

    Stoves stink during break in. Ours is enamel, the glue on the liner insulation smoked and made me feel sick during break in. From what I understand, painted stoves stink much worse: Each time you hit a new temperature high, more odor. Also, if you are smouldering wood, the heavy smoke may fall down along your roof or a wall, and be drawn in though windows and cracks. You can check for this when burning. Why don't you go get some kiln dried wood? I think you would see a big difference.

    By the way, you probably do need to keep the door cracked open until the wood is charred. Wet wood may require the door to be left open most of the burn cycle (Obviously, this is not good.).
  8. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    When a chimney is lined you end up with a flue inside of a flue. If you can imagine my set-up I have a 12" square clay tile flue. When I installed my Montpelier I put in a 6" round liner. There's still a lot of space surrounding that round liner. When the liner heats up, that warms the airspace between the liner and the clay tile. That warmed air then begins to rise up and out the chimney also. This "secondary draft" is a really bad thing to have and every effort should be made to stop it, because it sucks large volumes of warm room air out of the house.

    A block off plate is one tool used to hault that heat-robbing secondary draft. It's just a steel plate constructed at the top of the original masonry burn box with a hole just big enough for the 6-inch round liner to pass through.

    Another tool is to insulate the liner. One way is to wrap the liner pipe with a high-temp blanket. Some folks will just fill that void between liner and clay tile with sand, cement, unfaced batting, or vermiculite.
  9. Paul_E

    Paul_E New Member

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    Newbie to this site - read through all the posts and learned a lot - thanks to all. We had our Monty installed Dec 19 all went well. Firestarting fine, did the requisite break in fires etc.; BUT, the fan never went on. Dealer said "maybe your fire wasn't hot enough". Stoked it to ~3-4" of red hot coals, thermometer said 300 degrees - no fan. Dealer said that they'd check it when they delivered our 3" extension that's on back order. I decided to take my Monty apart and traced the wires to teh fan and discovered that , although all looked ok, the male female connection on one of the terminals was bent and didn't make contact. Really considered by passing the thermal snap switch but didn't. Also noted that the fane housing install didn't align the fan with the manifold underneath the insert because the sheetmetal screws were inproperly installed. Used an awl to align the screw holes and made sure the fit was good and put it back together. Fan kicks in at about 150 degrees externally measured at the door - upper right hand side. All is well.

    Question for the group - wood's good fire gets hot fan is working etc. WHY: when the fan is turned up high doesn't the fire get more air and burn hotter? That would seem to make sense if you wanted a higher burn rate. The intake holes on the front don't allow for an increased intake based on fan blow rate - is there something misaligned as it was with myy fan unit? Question #2 - anyone have experience with the 3" extension - is it more efficient? Thanks in advance for any insights.
  10. ctspur

    ctspur New Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I will definitely push for a block off plate if I dont already have one and I will update again after the dealers visit next week. Started a fire tonight and got dark smoke creeping back into the room again. Definitely a draft issue. Had to open a window to get rid of the smell (not ideal when snow is falling). Fan still took 1h 20 min to kick in but it is burning well at the moment although the glass is getting brown and I expect there will be a thick black layer in the morning.
  11. fmer55

    fmer55 New Member

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    i would suspect 99percent that your glass is brown from the wood you are burning, i would go to 7-11, buy a bundle of kiln dried splits, clean teh glass and i would suspect your glass will remain as clear as if it where not there.....if indeed the wood is wet that could be your smoke problem as well, when my box is hot and i am burning good wood there is not even any smoke in the firebox, also draft seems to be an issue.......and as far as the block off plate, insist onit.....i had my monte instaled last novemeber, also on an exterior chimney, i have no draft issues but i was not happy with the heat output. last week dealer put in block off plate and temp in 6 ft in front of the unit was raised 2-3 degrees at all times. One last thing, i have an excellent draft but i always open door just a crack at first then open slowly and never have any smoke issues......figure it all out and you will love her.....oh and as for the fan, mine takes about an hour to get going but stays on constantly once engaged...good luck and keep us posted
  12. fire_mensch

    fire_mensch New Member

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    The bottom 2 primary holes have basically nothing to do with the airflow from the fan. The fan does not work as a bellows. It is not engineered that way.
  13. fire_mensch

    fire_mensch New Member

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    I had this happen just slightly when starting from cold with some wood that smouldered. Simply put, the smoke from the wood is more than the cold flue can carry away. I think you have wet wood and a cold exterior chimney.
  14. BucksCounty

    BucksCounty Feeling the Heat

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    My parents recently purchased a Monte and I will be installing with a buddy. They need the extended surround for their fireplace opening. Does anyone have any pics of installs for an extended surround for this unit?

    One other question. I had someone tell me to wrap the adaptor from liner to the stove with metal tape???? I don't have tape on my liner to "tee" for my stove and don't have any issues. Is it different with an insert?
  15. fire_mensch

    fire_mensch New Member

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    From the liner to the appliance connector I would use no sealers. It should be a tight fit. From the appliance connector to the insert, you can use stove cement. Rutland makes some. Imperial (buy at Lowes) makes some; the can I have says 2100 degrees F. The AL tape I have seen is good for 240-400 degrees roughly, depending on brand. The connector will get *much* hotter.
  16. BucksCounty

    BucksCounty Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks FM. That is what I thought. I have the cement on the stove collar to the "tee" now.
  17. pcouton

    pcouton New Member

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    My own VC Montpelier experience and reactions to some of the postings above, since I've learned so much from them, and two questions:

    - Bought the black enamel finish with Georgian suround last year. Looks really sharp and complements our stone fireplace in circa 1850 farmhouse
    - The unit works well, lots of heat, etc. Took me a while to learn how NOT to completely blacken the glass. Getting the box really hot, with big fires (filled half the box) seems to do the trick, with seasoned wood of course (or in my case, even better, standing dead maple and elm).
    - the three bottom air holes seem to be critical to proper burn, and one of them does not blow much at all. Removed the brick and plate (three screws), the chanels don't seem obstructed. But that side (hinge side) clearly does not burn as well and fogs up quicker (most carbon buildup burns off in big hot fires, but some remains). Any idea what could be the cause of the non-flow?
    - the chimey backs onto an exterior wall, and goes through a bedroom upstairs. The stone chimney feels quite warm on that second floor and heats up that bedroom nicely. But should that be a concern? Could there be the dreaded secondary draft? I can even smell a touch of smoke there (there is an old stovepipe hole covered with a steel pie plate).

    P
  18. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    Does this stone make up a portion of the 2nd floor bedroon wall? Or are you just assuming the stone is behind the wall?

    The wall on the 2nd floor of my house does not heat up at all. I would look into why yours is heating up. The old chimneys should have a masonry "chase" surrounding the flue (commonly terra cotta tile). There should be some air gap between chase and flue. There should be no break in this construction for the entire distance up the chimney. I have heard horror stories of unethical contractors omitting the masonry section of the chase on the second floor, so that all there is is the wooden wall, an air gap, then the terra cotta tile. I would make sure this is not the situation with your home.

    Basically, in the event of a chimney fire, you do not want the 2x4s that are adjacent to the chimney to heat up to ignition temp (700+degrees F).
  19. pcouton

    pcouton New Member

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    Thanks, Black. I doubt there is any sort of tile in there. It's a massive stone chimney, with one side facing out, and the other three forming a corner in a bedroom. Little risk of fire, but I wonder if smoke is present in there outside of the new liner.

    If any one else has had issues with the three air holes at the bottome of the fire box, let me know (see previous post).

    P t b
  20. ctspur

    ctspur New Member

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    Phil

    I had issues with the air holes in my Monty as all three appeared to be blocked by insulation and this was only resolved after months of running the fire with the door open. Even now, I get blackening of the door which does seem worse on the hinge side. Not sure if this is just a consequence of differing air flows through each hole or something unrelated like air leakage around the frame near the hinges?

    My replacement insert was scheduled for last week but we had a bit of snow in these parts which means install is pushed back to next week.
  21. Fire in RI

    Fire in RI New Member

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    I had a Montpelier insert installed a few weeks ago. I have a few issues, first the glass gets very dirty. the manual says to get a high flame to prevent this . But the damper should be closed to the right to get a more efficient burn. This is a contradiction. the 3 air holes in front of the bottom brick do get clogged very fast with ash. When that happens, the air doesnt pass thru, so the fire burns low , I keep needing to open the door alittle to let in some air. I cant seem to get a good fire going, this must be a draft issue. also , do chimney sweeps know how to clean the insert? It looks like it needs to be taken apart for that.
  22. fmer55

    fmer55 New Member

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    i must ask you as well fire in ri........how good is your wood? also try the match test around the door......i will tell you i started burning the envi blocks.....have beeen burning for two weeks straight, have not cleaned the glass once.....
  23. Fire in RI

    Fire in RI New Member

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    whats an envi block? also, take a look at the 3 airholes on the bottom front brick. they clog real fast with ash. I used a mirror to see them, this prevents a hot fire
  24. briv

    briv New Member

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    Fire in RI, I'm a little confused on your initial post. Are you closing the air immediately to get an efficient burn? I have been waiting to close the air until my wood is completely engulfed in flames and I have good secondaries going, then I start kicking the air back. Closing too early will kill the flame. I have noticed that the air holes do fill with ash but I haven't noticed this affecting the fire all that much, just push the ash away from the air holes a little if it gets higher than the holes.
  25. Fire in RI

    Fire in RI New Member

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    I leave the damper open, to the far left, for the time it takes to get a good burn, I only go to the mid point after I get it going, but this takes awhile, again the hotter the fire, the less glass darkening. but the manual states to close damper to the right after you get the fire going, so that makes the glass darken.

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