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Montpelier vermont castings insert

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

  1. WoodNewbie

    WoodNewbie New Member

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    Nov 20, 2009
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    Loc:
    Eastern MA
    I have a Rockland installed last August, so this is our first year using it (and first year using wood at all): so far, no smoke...even when we start a fire. Obviously I can't comment on the VC Montpelier. I like my Jotul though.

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  2. patahdays

    patahdays New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
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    Loc:
    Rhode Island
    Thank you -- I appreciate that reply. Does the Rockland throw a good amount of heat?
  3. canboy

    canboy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    I suspect the smoke problems you read wrt the Rockland have more to do with the wood, the chimney and the operator than it has to do with the stove. In the same circumstance, the same issues would apply to the Montpelier. I am on my second season with the Montpelier and don't think the hinges are an issue. I think your decision boils down your preference in appearance and your perception wrt to the reliability of the manufacturer and your supplier.
  4. patahdays

    patahdays New Member

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    Dec 16, 2009
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    Loc:
    Rhode Island
    Good to hear that the hinges have not been an issue. We've been so happy with our Vermont Castings stove, so we are going into things leaning toward another VC. I also really like the large viewing area.
  5. Wildman_fab

    Wildman_fab New Member

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    Sep 16, 2009
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    31
    Loc:
    Cape Cod
    I have not had an issue with my stoves hinges, The glass viewing area is very large compared to some of the other inserts out there, which is a HUGE bonus for the wife appeal. :D
  6. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Messages:
    442
    Loc:
    Ouisconsin
    Hello, I'm new to the forums, new to the Montpelier, but not necessarily new to wood burning.

    In our previous house we had a Quadrafire 4300 which worked excellent. Unless we had wet wood we never needed the stove damper set anywhere other than it's lowest setting. However, I learned with that stove the difference that good wood makes.

    We moved to a different house with fireplaces and I just put in a Montpelier. As long as we've got good wood it works.

    The we just ran through a cold snap that brought highs in the single digits and lows a tad below zero. There was also a slight breeze. The stove barely kept the house warm, hardly keeping the room it was in over 70.

    Of course in true scientific fashion - I changed a bunch of variables at once! I adjusted the bolt plate on the front door because we were getting a horrible draft in. Now the door closes tight and there is no draft. The wind seemed to have died down yesterday. And I told my family to operate the insert with the damper open a little more. I came home from work and the house was toasty warm!

    One thing I noticed that was missing was any advice to seal the connection from the chimney liner to the insert. My liner adapter has a long crimped section. Due to the cross-bar that runs across the flue connector on the insert the liner adapter cannot be pushed in all the way to the base of the crimp as you would normally do with stove pipe. I noticed this made for up to a 1/2" gap around the stainles steel chimney liner and between the cast iron flue connector. I bought some fiber glass stove gasket from Ace and jammed it in the gap with a screw driver.

    This made a HUGE difference in the stove's performance!

    I'll say that again.

    THIS MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN THE STOVE'S PERFORMANCE!

    What was happening was the gap between connector and liner provided a circumvention of the draft. When the stove was shut tight and the damper closed the path of least resistance quickly became that gap. So instead of drawing fresh air through the stove & up the chimney it would draw fresh air in right at that gap and straight up the chimney. The fire would burn but not very well. Glass would darken, smoke would belch out into the room.

    Please, if you're experiencing these problems, after trying dry wood, check the connection from the liner to the stove.

    Other than that most of the other advice here I would reiterate.

    Dry wood
    Smaller pieces
    Get it HOT in the beginning, then damper down
    Dab wet cloth in the white ashes to clean off dark stains on glass (if you don't have the luxury of dry wood)
    Expect to burn LOTS of wood.

    I'm not sure what people mean when they say they're suprised at burning 1/3 to 1/2 a cord a week. Is that face cord or pulp cord? From our previous house I expect to burn 12 face cord a winter. That would be heating almost entirely with wood and 24-7 since my wife and kids stay home. The wood will take up some space in the yard - but that was planned for when we purchase the house. Right now most of my wood is still standing in the forest. This is our first year heating with wood in this house so I'll be working hard to get us through this winter and then start making wood for future winters.

    My question for the board is where does the unit pull in it's combustion air?

    The fireplace it is in has an ash trap that leads directly outside. I drilled some vent holes in the clean out door and there is a mighty strong draft there. However, that draft seems to be present even when the stove is cold w/ no fire at all. The draft at the cleanout door remains strong regardless of the position of the damper.

    I've turned the fan off and lit a match by the bottom grates. There is a substantial draft there. So I have no clue whether it's drawing in room air or outside air. I should mention that I made a flush-fit surround and sealed it to the stone with mortar so there should be very little communication between the room air and that ash cleanout other than through the unit.

    I'd like to get the outside air kit and set it up to draw from that ash clean out. I think that would improve the heat output greatly but I am not sure. Maybe it's not necessary the way I have it set up.
  7. patahdays

    patahdays New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Rhode Island
    That is TERRIFIC information. We just printed it all out to keep and refer to when we install the stove. Can't begin to tell you (and the others who have replied) how helpful this is. Will save us a lot of time and headaches to learn from your experience. THANK YOU.
  8. canboy

    canboy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    Black Jaque:
    1) Regarding the gap on your flue connection. umm, I think you should get a professional in to look at that connection. You think it was drawing air through that gap. Conversely, in a downdraft situation, smoke would be coming out. Something is wrong here. Patching it may not be enough.

    2) If I remember correctly, the attachment for the fresh air supply is a cutout into the galvanized shell on the right right side of the stove (alternatively on the left). Therefore I believe the air supply comes in the side, is preheated in the shell and then enters the stove thru the 3 holes under the andirons, secondary air pipes, and the air wash above the door.
  9. YZF1R

    YZF1R New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Messages:
    181
    Loc:
    Southeastern PA
    Black Jaque, if there is that much of a gap on the flue connection, I would saw the crimped end off shorter. If you would have pushed it in after removing the cross bar, it probably would have gone in so far as to go against the baffle, shutting off the draft. In the directions, the cross bar is to be used as a handle to reach up and pull the liner (after it's been connected to the adapter and the stove slid in place) with adapter onto the stove and connect it from inside the stove. This is to help those with a smaller fireplace who may have trouble getting their hands in there to connect it externally. It states you may saw it out if you want to. It's also supposed to keep a brush from slamming down into the stove when cleaning the flue from the top down.

    On a side note, the little wheels in the back make for an easy slide in install. The stove really does have some well thought out features.

    Steve
  10. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Messages:
    442
    Loc:
    Ouisconsin
    Thanks guys.

    Canboy, actually, I think there's a better seal with the gasket than there would be if the adapter crimp was the proper length. Most stove pipe connections are just tight-fit they aren't really sealed.

    YZF1R, I read that part about the handle being optional. I elected to leave it in place specifically because it acted as a guard to protect the top baffle. After examining the baffle, I could easily see myself smacking it with the brush.

    However, in hindsight, I think your idea would have worked since removing the baffle prior to cleaning is simple enough.
  11. jasonmkern

    jasonmkern New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Olney, IL
    I've had my Montpelier in for about a week now. I'm new to wood burning for heat and have learned a lot about how to operate my stove. I have it installed in one of 3 fireplaces in a 3400 sq ft 2 story house built in 1885. I had a 40ft insulated liner and chimney cap installed. My wood supply so far has been questionable. Some dry stuff, some too green, and some partially rotted. Basically, I've been scrounging whatever I can find as I got the idea to put the insert in too late in the year to build up any sort of supply. Also, the only means I have of splitting is a 8lb maul that I'm not real good with (yet), so I try to get away with not splitting. Here's what I've found that may be useful to other first timers:

    1) I've never had a drop of smoke enter the house even when opening the door with the firebox full of smoke. I open it slowly and the smoke is sucked right up the chimney. From what my chimney sweep says, it's all about the liner. Put one in and you'll have no problems, without one, it's a gamble in a variety of ways.

    2) Crappy wood = low heat output. When I stumble across decent wood that is either small diameter (3-4"), or I've managed to split without injuring myself, it will really throw the heat! After one exceptionally good fire, the downstairs of the house was at 76 and the upstairs was working on getting toasty.

    3) Crappy wood= smokey glass. Hot fire barely gets any soot on the glass.

    4) With a full load of half way dry wood loaded around 10pm, I still have pleny of hot coals and some heat at 6am.

    5) Fan is noisey on High, but no more than my forced air gas furnace, plus it puts the baby to sleep. On low it hums, but the blues playing on the radio easily drowns it out.

    6) No hinge issues at all.

    Going to cheat this weekend and buy a load of seasoned and split ash. . . Don't feel like splitting wood in the snow!

    Attached Files:

  12. pnear

    pnear New Member

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    Oct 17, 2009
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    Loc:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Yay, I just got my new Montpelier installed yesterday and am running my first fire this morning.

    This is my first high-efficiency fire and what I haven't been able to figure out is what a "normal" fire should look like. I'm at the point now where I have a nice bed of red coals, with a few small orange flames coming up from the wood. It's plenty hot, and blowing out good hot air into the room. (See picture).

    The air control is about 75% closed, fan on medium.

    Also, the fan has a pretty loud electrical/magnetic hum when on low so I've been running it on medium which seems like a good balance of electrical hum vs air noise. Based on postings this seems normal, but thought I'd double check in case my fan's about to explode. ;-)

    Finally, I asked earlier if anyone had a Brown Caprice. After calls all the way into the VC head office, I've confirmed that despite what the brochure says they're not making a Caprice Trim in brown. So we went with the Mead trim in brown.

    Thanks,
    Pete

    Attached Files:

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  13. canboy

    canboy Member

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    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    PNEAR: Regarding your question on what a normal fire should look like. Following is my opinion. I try to maintain a fire at the lowest air supply that will keep the brick white and glass clean. Logs will spontaneously ignite in areas that are not even close to the flame. The flames will be gently rolling and whispy, not flickering as if affected by wind. To me that is a hot, clean burning fire.

    At the beginning of the fire that is a bit difficult to do, but once it gets going that is the objective. Wet wood and/or too little draft make this objective near impossible to achieve.
  14. pnear

    pnear New Member

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    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Toronto, Ontario
    So, some bad news from my first burn I fear. I lit the fire with some bagged wood from a local landscaping shop. It burned great, then I added some wood from a cord that was recently delivered. It was advertised as seasoned, and the guy who delivered swore it had been sitting for at least a year. He even made a push for the next load saying "repeat customers get extra" to which I replied "if it burns well, I'll be calling you". So, anyways after putting a couple logs on from the new cord the glass started to blacken and the flames started to die.

    Now I'm stuck with a face cord of what appears to be not-so-great wood. Anything I can do to help? I'm mostly a weekend burner, so could bring enough wood for the weekend inside for a week if that would help it to dry out. Or should I just find an inconspicuous spot to pile it for next year (I live in the city) and get a load from a different supplier for this year?

    Thoughts appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Pete
  15. canboy

    canboy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    Pnear, some thoughts on your not so dry wood: Try splitting into smaller splits. It will burn easier in the stove. You need dry wood to get the fire going initially. After that, your not so dry wood should catch on the remaining coals. Crack the door open if it is not igniting and eventually, you should get flames and the wood will burn. You will probably have to give it more air than usual. A lot of the energy will be wasted evaporating the moisture so don't expect too much heat.

    If you can actually get some dry wood, you can mix the two together and not do too badly. I think no matter what you buy, you will find it best to make smaller splits out of what you receive from the seller.
  16. Wildman_fab

    Wildman_fab New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Loc:
    Cape Cod
    Make sure you have a good ROLLING fire in there, with lots of coals before you throw more logs in! Then after you do leave the door open a crack for a while (about 15min) to let the stove realy work on the larger logs.

    I would say without seeing the wood pile try to get some (1/2 cord) of really good dry stuff. Then burn that while keeping a pile of the 'green' stuff right next to the stove on the hearth. I find after about 5-7 days the semi dry stuff will be nice and dry to burn, while mixing in the REALLY dry stuff. Dont get discouraged so quickly, I have been burning wood my whole life and I can honestly say the learning curve on these inserts is quite different than a regular stove!
  17. Fod01

    Fod01 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    Messages:
    306
    Loc:
    Long Island
    PNEAR - I agree with re-splitting. I bought wood last season, and after a month or so of disappointing performace, re-split most of it.
    A couple other points I've learned:

    -Try not to be too quick closing down the air after a re-load. I wait for the flames to envelope the top of the load before I think about moving the lever. It may seem like a waste of wood, but you'll get a hotter fire, faster.
    - don't put cold wood on a hot fire. After a re-load, I bring the next load in from the garage and put it in a container by the hearth.
    - try supplementing with some dry pallet wood
    -load criss-cross if you need to. This allows more space between the splits.

    It's a good stove. Enjoy!
    Gabe
  18. pnear

    pnear New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
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    Loc:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Quick update, thanks for the tips.

    Today I fired it up again starting with some dry wood (seasoned and palette wood) and then threw on some smaller splits from the wet wood. Let the wet wood catch for about 15 minutes, then closed the door and left the air wide open for the entire burn. It burned, but it wasn't nearly as satisfying as when I had it really rockin' yesterday with all seasoned wood. Still haven't decided what to do with that load, will probably keep using it over the holidays and then make the call.

    I cleaned the black off the glass, which was a chore. I tried wet newspaper with ash, which didn't take off much more than just the thinnest of sections. I tried a few other items, and after realizing that the abrasives seemed to be working the best I switched to Comet. That took it off really easily.

    Something of note for now, may get concerned later - the right-hand side of the glass got much dirtier than the rest. Even with today's fire, the glass is mostly clean but with a brown glaze on the right 1/4 of the glass near the hinge. I wonder if there is some leakage on the hinge side.

    Thanks again for the help,
    Pete
  19. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
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    Loc:
    Ouisconsin
    If you're burning an entire load with the damper wide open you're guess about wet wood is probably spot-on. I've heard many folks say that 1 entire year ain't enough to season wood. Some of this depends on what the wood is exposed to. Sun, wind and just enough tarp to cover the top of the stack should season it the quickest.

    Some folks leave it uncovered. The rain and snow just seeps into the wood. Some folks cover it too much and the tarp prevents the wind from drying it, and often will hold moisture in, or even trap moisture that rises from the ground.

    So, just guaranteeing that the wood has been "seasoned" for a full year may be truthful, but may not be sufficient to produce quality burnable wood.

    If you don't have the space to keep 1-2 years worth of wood on hand, you have to use someone else's space. Like cheese and wine, each year they season increases the cost. Pretty soon it's comparable to heating with gas or oil.

    I should add that poor draft could also be contributing to the problem. Obviously you proved that with the right wood your Montpelier worked great. But with a poor draft it can make marginal wood perform really poorly.

    In my previous posts, I noted that my liner adapter did not fit tight to the stove's flue connector. This circumvented the draft allowing the flue to draw cold air directly into the chimney without going through the burn box first.
  20. neilbaum

    neilbaum New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Long Island NY
    Hello- new to this
    This is my second season with the Montpelier
    I live in a ranch and although the burner works well, I don't get to heat
    1500 sq feet as the instructions say, only about 800 when the weather gets down in the 40's
    any thoughts?
  21. canboy

    canboy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    Neilbaum: There is tons of good information in this thread to help ensure that you are running the stove properly. At 40 degrees you should be able to easily heat a 1500sqft house. It is currently 10 degrees where I am and I heating my 1500 sqft bungalow with the Montpelier. Admittedly, the outer rooms on the house are quite cool (65 degrees) in comparison to the open area where the stove is(72 degrees). So I am going to assume that you are having good hot fires, your wood is dry, you are giving it lots of air, the fan is running and the bricks are white once the fire is very well established and continues as the fire dies down.

    Then you are left solving house leakage, insulation or air distribution problems. I would start evaluating whether I have enough insulation in the walls and ceilings. Make sure doors, windows, attic entrances etc. are properly sealed when closed. If your house is "open concept" then heat distribution should be good. But getting the heat down hallways and thru doorways naturally, is difficult. I run my central air furnace fan on low all the time to get "some" distribution. I could get more with little doorway fans etc., but I don't want all the noise.
  22. neilbaum

    neilbaum New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Long Island NY
    I have white bricks, I follow all the information offered. My wood was purchased in June and was told it was seasoned then.

    I get black at the hinge and a little at the door handle but it still feels sealed well
    my fan makes some noise and fires up after a 1/2 hour

    I have the fireplace in a room that was newly insulated and enlarged. It is the coldest room now because of the 12'ceiling and
    the rest of the house with 7' . I also have my furnace intake with forced air 20' away from the unit.My attic is newly reinsulated


    I have 2 3' openings leaving the den to the rest of the house-one goes past the front door
    I feel like the area gets warm and in cold days never leaves the first room
    Do you know anyone with success blowing it around with a small fan in the wall?
  23. canboy

    canboy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    Neilbaum: Sounds to me like you are running the stove properly and your wood is sufficiently dry. Though proper drying can take a 2-3 years depending on where and how it is stacked. Make sure that you are using hardwood or at least a mix. Heat output from hardwood can be double what you are getting out of softwood(if that is what you are burning).

    If your outer rooms are 5-10 degrees less than the room with the stove, I would not be surprised. I personally don't know of anyone who gets really good distribution by using little fans or thru the wall units. I tried it one year to get heat out a stove in a basement up onto the main floor. It got a small amount of air up but the sound transmission between rooms was so good that we might as well have all been sitting in the same room - not to mention the annoying drone of the fan.

    It sounds to me like a lot of your heat is sitting at the top of your 12 foot ceilings. A ceiling fan would help balance the room temperature. Another idea would be to move your furnace return air to the ceiling in that room (instead of the floor). This would pull the hottest air into central air system, thereby distributing it to all the rooms in the house (if you run the fan all the time). NOTE: I would want to try a temporary version of this with some cheap tin ducting to see if it works, before framing it all in and making it look nice.

    Suggest you download (free) the Guide to Residential Wood Heating. It has tons of good useful information.

    https://www03.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/catalog/productDetail.cfm?csid=1&cat=3&itm=94&lang=en&fr=1261695659099
  24. neilbaum

    neilbaum New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
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    3
    Loc:
    Long Island NY
    canboy

    thanks for the help the site is a good one
    I have a ceiling fan, but I think you are correct about the air staying at 12' and not moving out of the room
    the duct work sounds like a good idea, but I will have to consider it
    have a good holiday and I will keep trying to improve the circulation
  25. Chip Brown

    Chip Brown Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    New England
    The blower on the Montpelier can rattle, they (VC) has corrected the problem at the factory but for those of you who have a noisy blower. Ask your dealer to contact tech support at their distributor, the fix is very simple and effective. The use of a couple lengths of gasket slipped under the blower will dampen the vibration and eliminate the noise. Good luck and stay warm

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