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Montpelier vermont castings insert

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

  1. Oilsaver

    Oilsaver New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    North Central MA
    Excuse the writing. The powers of the internet are just incredible. I live in the NE and was affected by the great ice storm of 08, 12 days without power (thank goodness for the generator). In the wake of higher fuel prices in the spring I foresaw a tough 08-09 winter heating bill, and had to think about alternatives. I priced out stoves in June and after growing up with a VC Defiant stove that was just a great stove it was on the top of my list as the manufacturer. I picked the Montpelier after reading that catalytic burners needed to be replaced on other stoves after a few years, existing space requirements, and larger viewing window. Price was not the factor but the name kept me with the purchase. I ordered it in June had it installed by the dealer in August. I also installed a 6” stainless liner up the chimney with a cap, a Meade surround kit, and the damper was removed with a blocking plate installed. I had been using the open fireplace for supplement heat last year with a hearth heatilator but I just burned through the wood and lost more room heat than I was creating. I was happy with the overall installation by the reputable area fireplace stove dealer. I no sooner had the stove installed and found out that VC was owned by the Canadian Teachers assoc, then VC filed for bankruptcy and been bought out by a company in ky. I completed my pre burnins with no issues. The cold came early and I started using the stove. On one warm day near thanksgiving I cleaned out the stove from ash and I found the front top ceramic plate cracked. I am unsure if it was a ceramic defect or ash had got under the plate and stressed it. I contacted the dealer and have not heard back I do not think they are a direct VC dealer anymore. I tried to contact Monessen in KY to no avail last month.
    As for this post, I just found it today and read through most of them. These are my observations
    Reading the instructions the dark window is creosote caused by burning unseasoned wood at a low temp. It also said not to use abrasives due to a coating on the glass. I have used a dealer sold spray to clean the glass when cold with no issue, but I don’t make a big deal about the stain it burns off mostly.
    I also don’t think I’m getting the high temp from the stove I expected. I am burning hardwoods that I purchased in the spring before the stove arrived. I have a thermometer at the top of the stove where the exhaust exits the stove (45 degree elbow to the stainless liner). I control the damper to the temp of the thermometer, but it rarely gets to the 400 degree range. Mostly 250-300 range. I will be using more seasoned wood next year.
    I bought this as a known supplement but I want to use it to its max. I have tried many experiments
    I removed the decorative Meade surround because I thought I was losing a lot of usable heat from above the stove. I am now practicing with a metal deflector above the stove to redirect that heat. I put the surround kit on when visitors are around
    I have placed fireplace brick into the open space cavity around the stove inside the fireplace opening, hoping to capture and retain more heat from around the stove.
    I have also been trying to burn large dense wood versus the small stuff. But after reading today, I need to rethink that. I would have thought I would have got a longer burn time with large dense wood, but I notice when I do fill the stove for the night I am cooling it down significantly with room stacked wood and it takes time to reheat. I have found that after I clean out sacrificial hot ashes, the stove runs better with a flame from a few pieces of wood rather than stoked full on a pile of ashes. I am going to try previous note of resplitting and stoking differently
    I am concerned with spare parts of my less than 1 year old stove !!
    Overall I have saved a lot on my oil bill even with the lower cost of oil. Would I buy another VC unsure, I might have looked at the Jotul a little more

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  2. gmoney_2010

    gmoney_2010 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Midwest
    Has anybody chose the Georgian surround? If so could you post pic's and say if you like it?
    Also could you guys say what you paid for the unit itself and the installation cost?
    This insert wouldnt be used as the primary heat source but to help along our heat pumps that struggle a little in midwest winters and never really give you that warm feeling. It would be in the living room which is basically open to the rest of the first floor and the two story foyer and second story hall. Overall about 2,500 of space. The current fireplace isnt a masonry one, just a "pre-fab" wood fireplace unit that is pretty but useless. It has a one to two foot tile surround and about a two foot tile hearth elevated about 1 foot off the floor. We will be replaceing the tile with some sort of stone or tile etc. Our house is 15years old the fireplace is on an external north faceing wall with wood siding around the chimney that goes to top of second floor. Do you think we could install this ourselves or should we have it pro installed. We mainly like this insert cause of the looks and its flush fit which is hard to find. The height and width demintions are not that big of a deal because with the largest surround you can get from VC( the georgian) we will still most likely have to get the extra covering plates. So it sounds like this can be a very picky stove to use and this will be our first so do you have any other suggestions? I have looked at many on the web and so far this is the only one i Really like the look of.
    Thanks in advance!
  3. canboy

    canboy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    Reply to gmoney_2010:

    My dealer in Canada had an Ebony Georgian surround in the showroom. It looked very nice - classy. It made the fireplace look short and wide compared to the relatively square shape with my Caprice surround, which I also like. Like you, I think this is one of the nicest looking inserts around. With the exception of some of the European models, the rest all look like a woodstove sticking out of a fireplace.

    I use a heat pump and electric furnace as backup. My house is a 1500sqft bungalow, open concept, with 16' clerestory in the main living area. I am supplementing my main heating system with the Montpelier. My fireplace is on an external wall, very centrally located. This all sounds quite similar to your situation except your house is quite a bit larger.

    Last night temperatures were -10F and today 3F. I filled the firebox before going to bed last night. It produced enough heat to keep things comfortable for sleeping but by morning there wasn't much more than embers left for heat. The furnace came on at 6:00am to bring the temperature up to something more suitable for day time. Once I got the fire going again, it barely maintained the temperature in the house for the rest of the day. At 3F it takes a pretty sizable fire to maintain comfort. Hard wood is definitely an advantage over softwood in terms of heat.

    If your worst temperatures are anything like mine, I think you will be hard pressed to maintain temperatures in that size of house with the Montpelier. Even with a larger stove, you would have to go thru a lot of wood to maintain normal temperatures. A lot of your heat is going to sit at the top of your 2 story foyer as it does in my clerestory ceiling. Then the main floor area remains a little cool and drafty. Hopefully you have a good, cheap supply of hardwood to heat your house - because you will need a lot.

    I don't think that the issues you are seeing in this website on the Montpelier are necessarily any different than what you can expect from any insert. Noisy fans are an issue for me. Every stove fan is noisy from my experience. The Montpelier's fan is no exception - noise can be reduced by playing with the mounting. If you use a wood stove instead of an insert then no fan is required. I have problems with draft but my chimney is "under specification" - only 13.5 feet high. Right now I open a window when loading the fire to provide air supply to improve the draft. With a two story chimney, your draft should be better. Yes there is soot on the hinge side of the glass and in front of the andirons. If I have a really hot fire some of it disappears. I think there are some design issues here - not enough air coming out of the 3rd primary air supply hole on that side of the stove. I have never seen a wood stove that is perfectly clean and some that were much worse than the Montpelier.

    I would not install this stove myself unless you REALLY know what you are doing. A wood stove insert and it's chimney involve very serious heat and good knowledge of the clearances required, appropriate materials, fastening techniques etc. is absolutely required. One small error could result in a disaster that your insurance company could walk away from and your family might not.

    The rolling fire in the Montpelier is absolutely wonderful to watch. I am still happy with this stove. I think that over time, I can overcome, or at least make improvements on most of the issues.

    Now if your real objective is to easily supplement your heat pump. I suggest you look at a pellet stove. I use one in my basement family room. It produces tons of reliable heat, is very easy to light (anyone in the family can do it) and very easy to feed (empty a 40lb bag of pellets into the hopper). It runs up to 30 hours on one bag (about $7). Turn the dial if you want more heat (almost instantly) or turn it down if you want less. Back draft is not a likely issue as the smoke is driven out by fan. Soot on the glass occurs but you can mostly clean it out with a kleenex when the fire is out. I installed my pellet stove myself and had it inspected by a professional. While it is a serious heater, the temperatures being exhausted are only slightly hotter than a dryer vent, so a little more room for error.

    Now, with a pellet stove you have more fans running and the fire is far from relaxing as the flame is quite small and frantic.

    So, there are some choices to make. Hope that helps. Good luck.
  4. No More Cold

    No More Cold New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    North Central MA
    Hi all -

    New to the forum but felt obligated to register and post after gathering all the great info I did here. I too was struck my mother nature during the ice storm in Northern Central MA of 2008. 7 days without power (although felt longer staying with the inlaws and their powerless warm woodstove heated house). Decided to put in an insert as I really didn't have a good spot for a stove. I read this site up and down and finally decided that despite the possible bankruptcy issues (who isn't going bankrupt these days??) that the VC Montpelier was the way to go. After going through some wood trip issues on the fireplace we got it installed yesterday. Went through the break-ins and away we went with what i'd like to call a medium fire. Turned the oil heat down to 60 and saw I could keep the bottom floor of our 1700 sq. foot colonial at a cozy 68. Very promising! The fan came on after about an hour of the firebox warming up and pumped out air between 180-230 degrees (no idea if thats normal or not).

    Some observations:

    - The posts on adjusting the fan for noise worked like a charm. Theres a VERY dull hum coming from the fan which is not even noticable with the TV on (Fireplace is in the living room)
    - I have no idea what the temperature of the box is but I've seen up to 230 degree air coming out the blower - can anyone comment on what I should aim for here?
    - No clue what my burn time is so far - put 2-3 splits (very dry - father in law is a fanatic wood dryer) in when I went to be last night - about 11. Closed it down and the house was cool in the morning - down to about 60 (where the oil thermostat is set). There was much more room to put in more wood sto not sure if that would've helped my burntime at all.
    - No problems with the hinge so far - door opens and closes very nicely
    - Wet newspaper dipped in ash followed up by a soft tissue rub on the glass makes it as clean as when it was delivered. Most everything that accumulates on the glass at the beginning of the burn will burn right off once the temperature in the box gets up to a good range

    Overall I'm extremely happy with the unit. I'd love to get feedback on what is normal for the air blowing out and if I can increase this at all. Anything I can do to push more air upstairs would be best and I'd love to wake up to a 65 degree house with no oil used rather then 60 with some oil used.

    Thanks to all for all the help on this forum in making my purchase - glad to be apart of the Hearth network!
  5. gmoney_2010

    gmoney_2010 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Midwest
    Congrats on your insert! What surround did you choose? If you don't mind what were the costs? And will you post some pictures please, especially if it is the Georgian surround..
    Thanks
  6. No More Cold

    No More Cold New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    North Central MA
    To be honest I'm not sure what the surround is - its not plain - is decorative (has a flower and leaf decoration in both top corners). I love it though - looks great against the brick. I paid about 3800 with installation (including a full liner all the way up the chimeny - pays for itself in cleaning costs in my opinion). I have some trim work to do on the bricks and I'm still waiting for a plate to cover about an inch and 1/2 above the surround - as soon as I have all that I'll definitely post some pics!
  7. gmoney_2010

    gmoney_2010 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Midwest
    Sweet! That is the mead surround I believe... It looks great too..
  8. High Country

    High Country New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Central Colorado
    OK, My Montpelier is history. The dealer came and removed it yesterday. There wasn't any fight, they are supposedly crediting my CC for the full amount of the insert and the installation. Today I replaced the firebrick that was removed to run the power to the insert and I'm having my original fireplace doors (that were modified to make the surround) rebuilt. We should be back to original in about a week.

    It turns out that about 6 feet up from the insert there was a substantial kink in the SS flue liner that they installed. After they removed it they told me that about it and said that they would replace the insert and flue if we wanted to. Had they done that six weeks ago when we first started dealing with this thing I might have considered it, but I put up with a smokey house for too long. It's too bad that they weren't a little more prompt with their service or they wouldn't have lost the sale.
  9. No More Cold

    No More Cold New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    North Central MA
    I'm sorry to hear about your problems! I'm confident it was the kink and not the actual Montpelier. Had my downstairs cranking at 74 on Super bowl Sunday (felt like Arizona in here - until they lost) and even had it up to 70 degrees upstairs. I'm extremely satisified with my Montpelier and would recommend it to anyone and everyone!
  10. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Messages:
    369
    Loc:
    NYC
    I just scored free wood! A tree that has been down for two years. It is obvious that it is more seasoned than the wood that I have. I can start the fire with about 10 sheets of news paper no kindling. Wood burns much hotter and not one bit of staining on my glass. The insert has been operating satisfactory but this demonstrates the importance of good quality seasoned wood! oh yeah its Maple.
  11. fred1

    fred1 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Chesapeake City MD.
    I purchased my insert at Angersteins in De. I installed the unit myself,including a full ss liner. WE did our 4 break-in fires,after that we ran the stove regular for about 1 week. When the stove cooled the door glass cracked along the bottom clips that hold the glass in place. The dealer got me a new glass and gasket, when I went to install it I found that 2 of the screws that hold the clip for the glass where cross threaded. As soon as I tried to remove them the screws snapped off flush with the door, I had to drill and easy-out the screws and re-tap the door so I would be able to use the stove. They have ordered me a new door. In the mean time we had used the insert for around 6 weeks with no trouble at all, when the stove was cooling one day so I could clean it out, the glass cracked again almost in the same spot as the last one did. I was in the room when I heard it crack, the door was closed and latched and I haven't put any wood in for at least 8-10 hours. Now I am waiting for a new door and glass to come in. I believe the door must be racked. Angersteins has been great about the problems I have had. When the unit was running it put out good heat ( with the blower on and no noise issues ) I hope the new door solves the glass problems, other than that and as long as I get this door - glass issue solved I am happy with its performance of this product.
  12. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Messages:
    369
    Loc:
    NYC
    Could have been a bure in the cast check the stove side also? Sounds like u know what your doing!
  13. jdlimabean

    jdlimabean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Western Ma
    Hi -- I have a question about the rheostat... I just got a new V.C. Montpelier insert and absolutely love it. It is producing a lot of heat and burning beautifully. The only thing I don't like is the sound of the rheostat humming. It isn't loud, by any means, and it isn't buzzing the way some people had trouble with until they fixed the vibration of the housing. But the constant electric hum sounds like a fluorescent light -- a sound that, though it's low, bothers me. The blowing of the fan itself is fine, almost inaudible on low. What I wish is that the insert had a plain on-off fan switch, one that turned the fan on & off manually without the rheostat that hums. Here's my question: Does anyone know whether the rheostat (assuming the rheostat is the thing that makes the fan function automatically, and makes the low hum) could be disconnected somehow, turning it into a manually operated fan? If the rheostat could be disabled, would that in turn affect the fan's variable speed, or not? I see no particular benefit to having the fan turn on and off by itself, and if I could do it manually and get rid of the "fluorescent hum" I would be very happy. If that's not possible, I will get used to the hum, and still love the stove. It's great!
    By the way, after reading others' comments about the Montpelier's weak door hinges, right from the start I put two bricks one on top of the other on the right side of the hearth, making a door-rest, thus taking the weight of the door off the hinges whenever it's open. Thanks for this forum!
  14. canboy

    canboy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    Response to jdlimabean:

    You could replace the variable speed control with a switch. But then it would always run on high which would be worse than what you have now.

    The hum you hear has nothing to do with the variable speed or rheostat. The problem is that a too large fan has been placed in a too flimsy housing, anchored two flimsy screw mounts. This results in a vibrating fan housing and vibrating fan resting on the sheet metal floor.

    You can easily remove the fan and test it yourself. When you hold the fan housing in your hands and it is not resting on the metal, there is no audible electrical hum at any speed. One can only hope that VC will take the time to redesign the fan housing in the near future and send a free upgrade to the early adopters.

    In the interim, you can push and prod the fan into quieter positions as almost everyone is having to do. I have also added some non combustible damping material between the metal floor and the fan to reduce the vibration noise.

    I am also really enjoying my Montpelier despite its minor flaws. The view of the fire is totally engaging and the cleanliness of the burn is incredible. The exhaust out my chimney is totally invisible contrary to what I see coming out of some of my neighbour's chimneys.
  15. jdlimabean

    jdlimabean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Western Ma
    Hi Canboy -- Thanks for answering. I'm not at all experience in mechanical things, unfortunately, and would have no idea how to go about removing the fan, or experimentally moving it around to different positions as people have described. I assume this would have to be done while the stove was hot, since otherwise the fan wouldn't go on at all. (??)The housing is pretty firmly held in place as it is now, not much "wiggle." . I can cause it to buzz by holding it & pushing on it, and I can decrease the hum very slightly by pushing hard upwards on it -- which makes me think I should try doing what you did, stuffing some non-combustible material in between the housing and the sheet metal underneath it. What material did you use? There isn't more than 1/8" of space there. But I'd like to try doing whatever it was you did! In the meantime, I'll keep reading this forum -- it is a big help. Thanks.
  16. canboy

    canboy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    Response to jdlimabean ..... 23 February 2009 10:28 AM:

    The approach that you have described is exactly what I have been doing. I also loosened the screws off a bit at one point. That helped somewhat but have since retightened them. I wedged a very thin piece of a soft, flue exhaust fan gasket (about 1/8 inch thick and spongelike) from a pellet stove to dampen the vibration under the fan. This has been moderately successful but almost everytime I turn the fan on, it needs a gentle nudge up or down or back or sideways etc. to change the tone. It only moves slightly but still enough to quiet it down somewhat. You could experiment with a small piece of gasket used for wood stove glass/doors. The gasket used on the Montpelier would be too thick...you could find something thinner and tighter at a woodstove shop.
  17. jdlimabean

    jdlimabean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Western Ma
    At the moment, more or less by chance, my fan is being fairly quiet. :) It's good to compare notes with fellow Montpelier "early adopters!"
  18. jdlimabean

    jdlimabean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Western Ma
    Well, i just found out what "enable smileys" means! I did NOT mean to put that big yellow grinning face in my previous post! Only a little sideways smile. :) I'm learning...!
  19. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Messages:
    369
    Loc:
    NYC
    Don't mean to get of the subject but I have a good tip for new wood burners! I started using a thermometer on my Montpelier. It is placed on the top of the arch of the door. I noticed that temp remain high after all flame is gone and there is just a bed of hot coals. Temp maintain for a good hour or more! I'm saving substantial amount's of wood burning in this manner! I know this may seem obvious to many.
  20. jdlimabean

    jdlimabean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Western Ma
    Hello fellow V.C. Montpelierites -- I have found a solution to the humming fan noise that is ideal for me: I don't use the fan at all when I'm in the room and want to enjoy the fire. I turn it off. The room heats up just fine, maybe a little more slowly. Once the initial small fire is well established and I load it up with logs, I put the air control at medium low, and it keeps the house comfortable -- with no fan. When I leave, I turn the fan on its lowest setting just to get the maximum heat into the room when I'm not around to hear it. I'm happy as a clam!
  21. canboy

    canboy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    Response to JDLimabean:

    That begs the question: If you leave your Montpelier running and no one is home, does the fan make any noise?
  22. jdlimabean

    jdlimabean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Western Ma
    You're funny... Thanks for making me laugh! I needed that. (Now I'll find out what a "fast reply" is.)
  23. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Messages:
    369
    Loc:
    NYC
    why not put fan on high when you leave the house?
  24. jdlimabean

    jdlimabean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Western Ma
    Hi Allhandsworking -- I find I get all the heat I need with the fan on low, even when I'm not in the house. As far as the fan noise, mine is as quiet now as I think it can be gotten. There is no vibration, only a very low hum. (When I stuffed insulation under the fan housing the noise got louder.) I grew up in a very old house with stone fireplaces and a huge iron coal stove in the kitchen, and tending fires is "in my blood." The sound of a fan accompanying it just bothers me... I'm happier without it.
  25. a_glenny

    a_glenny New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Central MA
    This forum is great! I apologize if this question has already been answered somewhere else, but nobody seems too concerned about Vermont Casting's ownership woes. After looking somewhat exhaustively at inserts after the big ice storm, my wife and I finally agreed that we liked the look and feel of the Montpelier the best for our brick fireplace.

    But just as I got ready to pull the trigger, I started reading all of the horrifying news about the company's bankruptcy, change of ownership, layoffs, warranty issues etc.

    What's everyone's thoughts on this? Am I putting too much weight on this? Should I be more concerned with the reputation of the installer?

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