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Montpelier vermont castings insert

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

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  1. silvagrafx

    silvagrafx New Member

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    Glass issues with the Vermont Castings Montpelier insert solved!

    This forum is awesome! I got my answer from you guys (see followup postings) as we learned it comes down to the door opening and the draft bar. The combination of these two will allow you to find your sweet spot to burn a hot ffire which took care of build up on glass - everyone's situation is different. We ended up in keeping the draft bar almost all the way to the left, door handle in the 7:00 position (slightly open but securely latched). This allows the fire to build it's heat then after 20 minutes we lock door handle down to 6:00 position. We close the draft bar (damper) down to halfway only after filling it up before going to bed.

    Past posting read:
    I had the stove for a month and tried everything from changing wood types (aged Oak, Maple, etc) to wood positioning but we CANNOT have a fire without the glass browning in an hour or so then by morning having it black almost entirely. My certified installer just left my house as I have reserved payment till this disappointing feature is corrected and his solution is for me to keep primary air control in the open position. But cleaning the glass each morning while it is totally cooled off with damp rag and ash gets old real quick and can take up to an hour to clean. We were advised of the a product called Clear Flame by Imperial which helps with the glass cleaning but eats away the rubber gloves you need to wear. Yikes!

    Installer checked installation, parts, etc. and feels that I need to run the fires hotter. My only reservation on that is we were told by his own laborer who did the installing to NOT run fires hot all the time as it will decrease the life of stove. We love the looks, the heat it produces just the marketing feature of the "Largest Glass Area for stove in it's class" is not worth it if you can't view anything!

    Our past method for burning:
    1) Create small fire with kindling, newspaper etc. after nice coals are formed in about ten minutes added one or two logs leaving primary air control in far left position (open).
    2) Keep primary air control open for 20 minutes till logs are well on their way then cut down primary air control to mid position for rest of night or till new wood is added.

    Question 1: Does anyone out there experience relatively clear glass fires throughout the night?
    Question 2: Can anyone who owns the Montpelier tell me what I may be doing wrong or could be doing different?

    Sincerely,

    Tired of Cleaning Glass

    P.S. If someone helps me fix this issue I would be glad to take photos and a video and post but presently you can't see the fire ; ) www.FacesofAmerica.com

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. silvagrafx

    silvagrafx New Member

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    Angerstein's in tax free Wilmington Delaware has them 302-996-3500.

    Silvagrafx
  3. Smacker

    Smacker New Member

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    SE Pa
    We have minimum coating on our glass and find that after a hot fire it comes off easily with damp paper towels and ash.
    Here is how we have been burning.

    Place a piece of kindling across the width of firebox
    Lay an Ignite-O packet on it (Product is available at Walmart)
    Place one larger log 4"-6" at the back
    Criscross small 1" kindling (8 pieces or so) at diagonals behind andirons and onto larger log
    Light edge of packet
    Air control full open and door closed but not secure

    At this point I don't fully close the door. My handle locks first with the handle at 7 oclock position vs full lock at 6 oclock. The 7 allows more air into the box and gets the fire burning hotter.

    Once the initial kinding is just starting to loose its flame I put in 3 larger logs (about 4"). Two on bottom and one on top leaving gaps in between for air to circulate. Also, remember that under the front removable cover, just behind andirons, are three (3) small troughs that allow are to enter the firebox. I have found that keeping this mind when loading the firebox has really helped. If you keep embers in front of them and crack the door to increase the air supply to them the fire will get MUCH hotter MUCH faster.

    That's about it. When the 3 larger logs burn down to minimum flame I replace them.

    I rarely close the air control to less than full unless the fire appears to big for me to feel safe.

    Hope this helps :)
  4. Fod01

    Fod01 Feeling the Heat

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    Long Island
    My startup fire is top down: 2 larger splits on the bottom, 2 or 3 smaller on top of that, then a healthy handful of kindling and 4 or 5 newspaper knots to finish it. Open the air fully, light the paper, and close the door. After 1/2 hour or when the wood is well caught, I close the air 1/2 way. Another 15 minutes or so, and I close the air 3/4 of the way. Thats when the secondary combustion takes off. This method works well for me, and practically eliminates the need to open the door for a couple hours. The worst that has happened is that I needed to add more kindling on top to get the fire really burning.

    When its time to reload, rake the hot coals toward the front. Load the stove again, with a smaller piece in the front on top of the coals. Open the air wide, and if the wood hasn't caught yet ( because I waited too long to reload) I'll leave the door cracked until it lights.

    As mentioned in earlier posts, the small break-in and 'take the chill off' fires deposited more gunk on my glass than a hot full-load fire.
    Cleaning the glass takes no more than 5 minutes. Wipe first with a damp newspaper to get the grey stuff off, then clean with a ceramic stove/ cooktop cleaner. Be sure the newspaper/ paper towel is really damp. The water acts like a lubricant.

    Its supposed to get colder mid-week. Load it up and see how it goes.

    Good Luck.
  5. BluHil

    BluHil New Member

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    I also do not seem to have a lot of problems with smoke buildup on the glass. Attached is a (poor) photo of the glass after using the insert for six nights since the last cleaning. I start a fire around 7 PM each night and burn until about 11 PM with the air fully open. I then load it up with wood and set the air lever about half open when I go to bed. The wood I am using is not as dry as I would like but burns well after a good bed of coals is formed. There is a dark section on the hinge side of the glass and along the bottom, but otherwise it's not too bad and doesn't detract from the "open fire" effect. So far, the glass cleans well enough with a damp cloth and a few minutes of scrubbing once a week.

    For those folks that wanted to see a photo, this is the Traditional or Mead surround in Ebony enamel. Unfortunately, the fireplace opening was 1/4" taller than the cast surround so the steel sheet metal trim ring was also required.

    My draft problems seem to have solved themselves and I have had no problems getting a fire started lately, even though the outside temperature has been relatively warm. I do believe I have a poorly designed chimney that doesn't draw well in certain atmospheric and wind conditions.

    I still like this insert and would buy it again.

    Attached Files:

  6. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    Ok I installed the insert last night. The block off plate was the hardest part of the job. Boy am I glad I stuck it out with the wait. This Montpelier is a nice unit. My wife loves the looks. Even though it was 55 last night we had to fire it up. It used 4 pieces of pallet wood about 1/2" / 18" and some NP knots with one 4 " split of dry Cherry. Opend air all the way and cracked door just a little. Fire was going strong after about 10 minutes.

    Closed door and closed air about half way. I had secondary flames for about a half hour. While this very sceintific fire stoking was happening my wife was chilling some red white and blues in the freezer. She places them under the ice maker so they get good cool draft. In about 15 minutes she pops the cans and pores them into a chilled pint glass. There was some frost on the glass that prevents me from watching the little bubbles.

    The fan kicked on for about 5 minutes after about 20 minutes of burn. Then went on again and stayed on for the duration of the fire. The fan is very quite at all speeds. I had no fog on the glass. VC I am very happy with the stove. Thank you
  7. Fod01

    Fod01 Feeling the Heat

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    Congratulations and enjoy the stove. One word of caution..... the smoke from the paint curing process seemed excessive with our stove. We didn't notice it much during our break-in fires, but once we had full loads burning, we couldn't stay in the same room without the door and windows open. The smoke finally stopped after 2 or 3 hot fires, and all remains well with the insert.
  8. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the tip. Last night was our first fire so I only had her up to about 225 didn't notice any Oder but I guess when you get her cranking she will start to let off some fumes
  9. Fod01

    Fod01 Feeling the Heat

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    Where do you put the thermometer? We're very limited with real estate.
  10. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    I put the thermometer just above the ark of the door. Almost touching the door when closed. Not sure how accurate of a reading it is getting from that local but it seemed to be the best place for it.
  11. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    I moved the thermostat to the door frame and the readout started to climb. I went from 225 to 300 so I guess we are not getting an accurate read from above the door. I had about 3" of coals and about four med. splits. I have also started to get a black soot buildup on the hinge side of the glass. It may be from cracking the door to get the fire going. Also I have not really loaded the fire box up yet being that it was only the second fire. So i may be able to burn off the soot. I wonder if there is a stove that truly burns with no staining on the glass. I doubt it.
  12. Fod01

    Fod01 Feeling the Heat

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    I haven't picked a thermostat up yet because I didn't think there was any place to put it. I took off from work today, so I'll take a break from raking leaves, and see if my dealer has one.

    I was doing some paint stripping yesterday, and had a couple windows open during the day. The house was chilly so I started the stove at 5pm, with a final reload at 11pm. 73 degrees in the living room at 6am with a nice amount of coals. I heard it went down to mid-30's last night. Still happy.
  13. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    This stove runs really well fully loaded. I started a fire about 730pm. After an hour I had to turn the air intake all the way down because the fire was roaring. I had secondary flames for about 2 hours. The secondary flames flow forward "washing the glass". This really works! I had some black staining on the hinge side that was completely burned off. At the end of that burn cycle there was just about 1" of staining around the frame of the door. I reloaded the stove @ 1130pm. In the morning a put just one piece of Oak in on the coals and left for work. When I got home @ 730 that night I opened the stove to clean it and I still had a bed of coals under the ash so I just added some kindling and more splits for the night! I was surprised that the coals stayed hot all that time. So the 8 hr burn time is true for this insert.
  14. capivan

    capivan New Member

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    Hi, I'm writing again after a few weeks of Montpelier use! I guess we are happy with it, but I honestly have nothing to compare it against so its hard to know! We've been burning when its been mild out, so the house gets really toasty and everyone is happy. Now, though, we are really seeing if its up to snuff! It's 30 degrees outside and I notice that its not quite filling the house with warmth. It just doesn't get as hot as a real woodstove... or at least as hot as I remember them getting when I was a kid. So, here is a stupid question......when the door is closed, you get less heat, even with the blower. When the door is open its so hot you can't keep your face there for very long....why not keep the door open to let all the heat out? Is that because the wood would burn through too fast/too much oxygen getting in?

    We continually have problems with brown fog, usually in the morning because it burned into the night, getting cooler and fogging/browning up the glass...but we just wipe it with a damp cloth and its just fine.

    Fan noise, is noisy but livable.

    Mostly I think we are content, but I wish it cranked out more heat. Maybe I am doing something wrong. The more wood, the more heat? I leave the air intake fully open to get a fire going strong, then slide it over to almost closed once the fire is really underway. I don't really understand what overfiring means, but I don't want that to happen.

    Anyway, thought I would attach a picture.

    Attached Files:

  15. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    Capi wood stoves probably put out more convective heat but your trading off for the flushed look of the insert. Did the installer put in a block off plate to prevent heat from escaping up the flue. In the 80s My dads VC put out so much heat you could not stand it. Practice makes perfict though over time you will be able to squez more heat out of the unit. When your door is open that is radiant heat your burning threw your fuel too fast. You will get more btu buy closing the door and giving it more air on the intake. Over firing is when the cast iron glows never let it do that. 2000 sf is a large house for that unit to heat depending on how efficiant your house is insulated. Im not an expert this just my educated guess
  16. capivan

    capivan New Member

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    I don't remember the installer saying anything about a block off plate. He did do a full liner all the way to the top of the chimney, he said it was safer and much more efficient. Is the block off plate something I can purchase and install myself? I'd like to do everything I can to make sure I get as much heat out as I can. THank you for writing to me!

    I also know the wood is really important....some is well seasoned, and some is still not quite as seasoned as it should be....I'm thinking I should order my next few cords in the spring to give them time to dry out for next winter. No real way to hurry along the seasoning process, right? I have the wood in my garage and windows open to ventilate and circulate air.

    On a side note, Man did the market tank today! UGH UGH . This insert is also part of my "survivalist" plan if the whole world falls apart. I say that tongue and cheek, but if you can get oil someday, I always have control over getting wood. I love this way to heat my house, it feels so cozy and I dont' feel like a cold grinch like last winter when I felt like money was pouring out of my house from the oil bills and I kept turning the heat down!
  17. Smacker

    Smacker New Member

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    We have now had multiple burns but can't quite get the heat I was expecting. I was kinda thinkin' we'd be in shorts and t-shirts but...

    Our home (cape cod) is only about 1200sq ft. The fireplace is at one end. The installer ran new stainless flue the full length (15') and capped the top around the flue to eliminate heat loss.

    We've got the starting down pat! Little to no smoke from the initial stike of the match until we are ready to load larger wood.

    What are some of ways you all are loading to get a hot fire?
    The firebox is really to shallow for north to south loading unless you have some shorties.

    A couple of question to throw out:

    Can the insert be loaded almost to the top? Like up to the heat tubes.
    Can I load up to the little andirons in the front?

    I know that it will take a while to figure this out and I really appreciate all the wisdom put into these pages!
  18. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Have you tried backing off the air a bit more once the burn is well established like in the video?
  20. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    I think the air was about 3/4 closed at this point. I find that resting 2 splits North south then stacking like a log cabin will produce a hotter fire. Hot coals settle into the center and burn the wood like a chimney. I had Blue flames for about an hour and a half with nice jets coming of the secondary tubes. The air was shut completly.

    Also some people are complaing about dirty glass. When I make a fire I find that loading the fire box about half way in the manner i mentioned above produces a good hot clean burning fire. Seasoned wood makes all the difference. Try a scotch pad with windex to clean the glass. It works nice. I am really happy with the stove.

    My parents were over for Thanksgiving and my pop wants to burn wood again. Pop went from burning wood in the 70s then to coal then he installed a gas buner in the fireplace. My mom thinks he is crazy!
  21. Smacker

    Smacker New Member

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    I will try clsoing off the air more. My firewood is too long for North / South unless I get right up to the glass. Can ya do that?
    Also, can you actually load on top off the removable piece (air flow cover) and just behind the little andirons?
  22. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    I think you can rest wood on top off the air plate. I try not to have wood to close to the glass though. When you have a good bed of hot coals I have closed ther air intake all the way. But I also have to keep the door craked open to start the fire. The fire seems to smolder otherwise.
  23. stevekstevek

    stevekstevek New Member

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    A tip and some questions:

    First, the Tip, from those who found he fan to be noisy. Mine was very noisy. Mainly a buzzing sound (plus what I expected as normal wind sounds when it was on higher speeds); I opened both of the doors at the bottom, and found that if I put some upwards pressure on the can on the left, it tightened things up, and the buzz almost goes away. It seems that there's some room for vibrations to be amplified in there, and that made it very loud.

    So, I had a little 1/4" rock of mortar left over from the installation, and I shoved it under the left fan housing. Voila! noises gone! Now, there's just a very soft buzzing sound (sounds like 60hz AC line hum), and then the sound of the air movement. Keeping it on a low setting is very inobtrusive. So, I've been keeping it on a mid-low setting when we're in the room with it, and if I have a big fire and am not near it, I crank it up a bit.

    So, the question: How big is too big for a fire? I've also gotten the creosote build-up on the door after my first break-in fires and then my 2 real fires. I cleaned it once, but it came back pretty quick when I did a slow overnight burn. I read here that the glass wash happens when the fire comes forward and onto the glass. I've been cutting back the air when I've seen that!

    I know that "overfiring" is when things start to glow. But even when the stove's not too hot, can a fire be too big and crack the glass or something?
  24. Fod01

    Fod01 Feeling the Heat

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    I try not to load on top of the air plate. No other reason except that it tends to get ash into the andiron area which is a pain to clean out.

    Good question about 'how big is too big'. After reading about how some of the 'big boys' run their stoves, I think I may be damping down the air too early. Feels like I'm wasting wood, but the stove temp is probably not up to where it should be. I went out today looking for a thermometer, but 1 stove store was closed, the other was out, and HD/ Lowes doesn't sell them.

    Dont worry about the glass. I think they use a similar material on our ceramic cooktop. Just dont wipe down hot glass with a cold wet towel.

    Question: I know the insert has a 30lb fuel capacity, but what is the volume of the firebox? If you just consider the pit area with out the air plate, we're only looking at 1.5cu'. Pretty small for a medium size insert.

    Question: Anybody know where the secondary air inlet is?
  25. Theo

    Theo New Member

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    Some success, and more questions-

    Well, finally (two months) got dealer to send service for my Montpelier. Seems that the pinion was set wrong in the air plate, jamming both. Easy fix, once he opened it.

    Repair guy was unable to clean black buildup from the glass, and it isn't burning clean. He thought that the glass has a surface coating which had been damaged, and would need replacement. Is this possible? He warned me not to use a soft-scrub pad, just the squirt cleaner they use.

    I put a lab-type (disk-on-stick) thermometer in one of the hot-air vents. To my surprise, the air temperature doesn't vary more than a few degrees with the air valve all the way open or closed. This seems to be true whether the fire is flames from fresh wood, or a glowing coal bed. Am I missing something?

    The noise problem is indeed easily remedied, as Firestarter and others have said. I didn't even have to loosen screws. Finger pressure at the right place on the fan housing stopped the buzzing completely, and the remaining noise is no issue. I was going to stick something under there to press against the fan, but just pushing it around a little did the trick. Highly recommended!

    I originally had a problem with the thermostat not clicking on for one to two hours after getting a fire going. The repair guy confirmed that it had been hanging loose, out of contact. He replaced it with a new one anyway. It *still* took 90 minutes to come on, clicked right off again, and didn't start blowing steadily for two hours. Can anyone here please help? Could something else be loose, keeping heat off the bimetal switch?

    Primary air holes: they're supposed to be kept clear, but fill up with ash after just a few pieces of wood have burned. Do people here really let the stove burn out and cool off every day to clear them? I'd hoped to run for several days at a time, especially in very cold weather.

    Finally, I don't understand recent posts about stacking wood on the air plate. According to the instruction sheet, the air plate is the slider *outside* the firebox that slides to regulate air. How can wood be piled against it?

    Thanks very much - what a helpful and well-informed community!

    -Theo
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