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Question on crumbling refractory cement on a Dutchwest 2479

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by LarryD, Oct 28, 2007.

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  1. Chrisg

    Chrisg Member

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    Any other suggestions about what I can do to try and remedy these issues.Because like I said in earlier posts original dealer is probably out of the equation and apparently no other dealers will help.
    Are you saying design corrections to this particular part or just in general?
    How about other stove options that don't have all the ceramic or what ever type of material the refractory is made of that are large and cast iron.Ya know good old fashioned cast, durable, heats real good, burns long etc. etc. without spending an arm and a leg as I already have a substantial amount invested in this one.I know it's alot to ask but you never know.
    By the way I have not been a member here long but in that short time the activity here is unreal.This topic was back two or three pages from yesterday this morning.
    Thanks Chris

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    The truth of the matter is, Chris, that we don't know about these new "everburn" designs since most have not yet been put through the acid test out in public. Chances are that the Harman, Travis and other implementations use different designs - this should be obvious from a close look at the particular stoves. And VC does have a lot of experience with this stuff and good engineers, so I do scratch my head sometimes as to why it is not more "perfected" after 20 years. It's a matter, as I've said before, of a combustion system doing TOO GOOD of a job. Fine in a boiler, where the unit can take anything you throw at it (surrounded by water), but tougher in a freestanding room heater.

    As to your questions of "plain old good stoves" - yes, I do think there are quite a few out there. Dig around our stove ratings sections - look for folks that have used the stove for a couple years. Look for internal parts which are inexpensive and relatively easy to replace. I've been laughed at for suggesting a stove that might "be the one to choose if I had to live on a mountaintop", but that sounds like exactly what you want!

    Years ago, we had a wealthy Indian dude visit our store - complete with posse of MANY BMW's, and he wanted a stove to put in his vacation house in the Himalayan mountains! They would have to TREK the thing up on mule or yak or whatever the animal used in those parts is.....

    We sold him an Avalon! I sold thousands of that particular model and never replaced ONE. Nor did any ever need more than $100 in parts (glass being the most expensive thing at the time)....

    But I am a little behind the times and that was a steel stove. I'll leave it to our more recent dealers and customers here to suggest which of todays models of cast stoves might hold up on the mountain top (without as many trips down).

    Note the post yesterday from a Century owners (same maker, vc) who has by his own admission used the stove HARD for four years and has had no problems other than now needing some cheap firebrick.
  3. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    This will get me banned and this may be my last post.I spoke to the head of Vermont castings operations and they want details and to see those castings.

    They are very interested in seeking an resolution. I will be supplying they this post link so that they may personally read it and possibly respond.

    Thanks all I enjoyed my time here hopefully this issue gets resolved..

    Email text I received

    "{What is the web site again?....this is the first I have heard of an
    issue with the refractory in the Dutchwest...is the cat or non-cat being
    referred to?.....we have sent out no refractory replacements per our
    current warranty reports...dale "

    -----Original Message-----
    [mailto:elkimmeg@comcast.net]
    Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 12:26 PM
    To: xxxxxxxxxxx
    Subject: Refractory casting
  4. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I have this same stove by the way. PLEASE post pictures of the damage, it will be useful in both diagnosis, and for other owners. I'm still not sure what part you are talking about (the shoe? Or the delicate refractory liner which can only be accessed by reaching down into the flue collar?)

    As for the cast iron firebox top cracking three times - this certainly does sound like overfiring. Now WHY its overfiring is a whole other important question - for example maybe there is a manufacturing defect in your stove such that there is an air leak that you can't really fix - or maybe its one of the more obvious air leaks. Have you checked all your gaskets?

    FYI: I also burn 24/7, did about 3.5 cords last year. If you haven't seen it already, the review thread I started for this stove can be found here:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/4188/

    I think this sounds like something that should be covered by the warranty and if your dealer won't help, and you are handy, I would try to contact CFM directly and get them to send the part to you directly and do the replacement yourself. I posted a link to the service manual in the review thread above.

    I also haven't been 100% satisfied with this stove but I consider last year (my first year with the stove) as a learning year. I want to see how things go this year before I make a final judgement about this stove and/or the "everburn" design. But all in all last year wasn't bad, I burned the amount of wood I expected, and I kept my house cozy warm all winter long. Could other stoves be easier to operate (less finicky) particularly when it comes to high efficiency, clean burning? Probably... I'll have more to report by next year. My stove (and I think other's as well) came with gasket problems, I didn't get that fully resolved until the burn season was completely over - so I feel like I don't even know for sure what to expect this year (I haven't started burning yet, its not cold enough).
  5. LarryD

    LarryD Member

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    I certainly am amazed at the responses.

    Chris-As I said earlier, I stopped by my dealer and he put in for a warranty without even seeing pictures or seeing the stove. I am certainly relieved. I too am concerned about the future of this unit. We have pretty much decided on fixing this stove and selling it. We are debating on what stove is next. I am leaning towards a Quadra Fire, but am open to suggestions. We seem to have same taste in stoves. Wher in the North east Kingdom are you? I once stopped at a Dutch West dealer near Burlington and they seemed pretty good. I think it was between Burlington and Montpelier off of 93.

    Elk-I will post pictures hopefully tonight. You know how it is when you lend something to a brother. He has my digital camera.

    Tradergordo-I have read your reviews of this stove and was encouraged by your experience. We actually learned a lot form your review. I think if you use # of cords burned, perhaps Chris and I have burned a bit more than you. How old is your stove? I know that there is far more involved than that of course. I wonder if it is just a matter of time. The part that is crumbling is the soft refractory piece under the flew collar.

    I'll be back later. Dinner is on the table

    Larry D
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Great that this issue in on its way to being resolved (in one way or another).....

    However, any programmer or math major out there can tall us "what are the chances of two people having this same problem, posting on the same day on a little internet Forum - AND, these two having been the only time that such a problem was heard by the manufacturer?".

    So the dealer says it is not unheard of, but the head of operations never heard of it? Possible, for certain, but the point is that they may need to get a better feedback system in place which identifies problems earlier.

    Could just be a simple lack of communications....after all, they never heard of Hearth.com either, so they are not "in the know" as far as what is going on out there.

    Sounds like it is crumbling from the top, not the hard "shoe", maybe the continuous vibration of the bypass and loading doors are making it crack and break. Who knows? Well, it sound like we will know eventually.
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Just like the cracking welds on the DW inserts we will never really know. There is just too much potential liability for a manufacturer to admit a systemic problem with a stove. Replace individual components. Sure. Hope no two owners of the stove ever meet. Sure.

    Admit the problem on the Internet. Not in my lifetime or anybody elses.

    Does that mean that there are flaws in the design of DW stoves?. Of course not. These may be flukes or they may not be. Just don't be holding your breath waiting for a stove builder to show up here and discuss it either way. No gain and only the possibility for pain. It doesn't mean they are evil. But they are if they know it is a problem and they keep letting people light a fire in the living room in the things no matter what company they are.
  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't mind me - I'm still angry at my Whitfield rep who, when we had a 100% control board failure rate, told me not to tell the customers....and also that he was not supposed to tell me!
    People make mistakes, companies also do. That is expected. However, people also naturally expect their $2000 modern stove to last as long as their $435. 1978 model (which may still be going strong).

    Woodstock has a 150 year old soapstone stove (it actually looks like theirs!) in the showroom.

    hey, here is it...
    http://www.hearth.com/visit/wsvisit/image/ws25.jpg
  9. LarryD

    LarryD Member

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    Here is a picture of the "damage". I have few more. I just Learned how to re-size a picture it may take me a few minutes.

    Larry D

    Attached Files:

  10. LarryD

    LarryD Member

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    Here is another. I think you can see the hole as well as the right side that is "crumbling"

    The next question will be, what is it like to replace a part like this?

    LarryD

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  11. Chrisg

    Chrisg Member

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    Thanks elk for making that contact I would very pleased if they contacted me as a result of your efforts and this forum.
    Just finished reading the entire write up about the 2479 courtesy of the provided link.Very enlightening seems like some common themes among all users of this stove.I would like to state that my temps have been nowhere near some of the posted temps so again I don't think it's an over firing issue. I like to think I pay very close attention to the stove as far as temps are concerned particularly that first year of use when I was a new user of this model.
    The three pc replaced include the original when new -one year of use well yr and half because dealer screwed around for half the second season,2nd pc replaced late feb 07 used rest of season noticed cracked again when I cleaned chimney and 3rd pc which I am tentatively supposed to be receiving sometime maybe.
    Admin it is interesting you bring up vibration because I wondered if this pc may be cracking due to the way the damper slams down when closed, just a thought I had while trying to figure out what is going on.
    Larry that does not look good at all.Definitely not the same pc I was referring to when I mentioned broken refractory pc.Maybe I am not using the right term for the pc I am talking about.The pc I am referring to is actually inside the stove it self in back at bottom.When I cleaned chimney I did look down in that area in your pics and every thing looked good so that is a plus I guess.
  12. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Please note how white that black stove looks Ok the parts in question are not the refractory shoe of the everburn system but the soft insulation type package surrounding the secondary combustion chamber We had a post back when Seaken and I determined the chimney sweep rammed his cleaning brush through the soft refractory package. (Called the dog housing)

    Reviewing the post one poster has had 3 tops replaced due to cracking then this picture of a black stove almost snow white Before venturing further, Let me explain the accuracy of magnetic stove top thermometers I have 9 here 4 that work fairly accurate 5 that don't . all bought brand new Of the 5 that don't work right they stick in one temperature position and have to be tapped to reflect a real reading. Shame to trust a $2000 stove that $9 thermo is the index gage of how it is operating. Two after I got my former stove too hot refused to record accurately after that

    IT is my opinion these stoves have been severly over fired .So much so 3 times the top casting was cracked, so much so the other stove is almost snow white.

    When doubt slam the manufacturer and dealer. The Dealer has replaced the top 3 times do you think he suspects over firing and does not want to deal with that stove again?

    So lets trash the dealer for not wanting to deal with a stove he knows is over fired. Also lets trash the stove manufacturer because we severely over fired the stove and now it needs repairs.

    Could it be they were weakened by over firing? What about pushing the cleaning brush to far hitting the Dog housing? It has happened before. What about a wire brush ccleaning this soft material or a shop vac tip handled with a bit too much pressure on refractory insulation already subjected to severe over firing..

    I know it is impossible an owner operator can over fire a stove

    I am going to add to this post after I check my e-mail and other things out I also suspect some other causes
  13. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Part two
    Another way to over fire the stove is using the ash door to start the fire rapid heating does cause thermal shock to the metals that can cause them to crack
    Or opening the ash door and forgetting to latch it tightly closed, or forgetting and leaving it open

    You see it is very easy to over fire these stoves leaving the loading doors cracked and forgetting to close them another way to over fire these stoves.

    Burning real dry pine and construction material again it can easily be over fired leaving the air fully open not dampered down again one can over fire a stove

    Direct cut and past from the manual


    Clean the chimney using a specially designed chimney
    cleaning brush, the same size and shape as the flue.

    Inspect for and remove ash build-up behind the com-
    bustion package. This should be done in conjunction
    with annual cleaning of the chimney connector since
    this inspection is most conveniently done through the
    flue collar opening. Inspect the passages to either
    side of the combustion package (a mirror will be
    helpful) and vacuum away ash using a flexible vacu-
    um hose inserted into each passage. Care should be
    taken not to damage the white fibrous material in this
    rear chamber. (Fig. 34)
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    What the hell are you talking about Elk? My stove damn sure better be snow white inside when it is fired correctly. In fact it is up there just like that right now at a 550 stove top temp.

    White outside = bad

    White inside = good

    Don't even think about telling me that a stove was over-fired by color without pictures of the outside of the stove.

    Am I in a bad mood right now. Yep.
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Are there a bunch of pics that I missed? The white stoves? I am looking at one interior pic of a very normal looking interior.

    Some confusion seems to be occurring because we have a couple people with a couple problems. Let me try to break it down.

    One user has replaced his INNER top casting (a liner) two or three times - the same user may have problems with his refractory shoe.(chris)
    The other user has a problem with a hole in (and perhaps crack and thinning out) of the refractory package.(larry)

    Chris seems to be the heavier user?

    Do I have this right? And is there a bunch of pics that I have missed?

    Anyway, if nothing else show the limitations of online troubleshooting. Glad to hear that these particular (and apparently different) problems are being taken care of. At first glance, Chris seems to be the one who will continually have the same problems. Larrys problem could just be a fluke assuming that nothing else is wrong with the stove. It might have been weakened in shipment, etc. -

    I still think they should have a nice piece of sheet metal (stainless) protecting the top of that soft stuff against fingers, falling debris, etc.
  16. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    the flue collar is removed you are lookinf from the top of the stove inside at the soft dog housing refractory insulation look at the top of that stove almost pure white
    I agree the inside look like that but once you look to the top of that flue collar that is the top of that stove not inside the only inside exposure is the area within the flue collar space

    Craig it is my original mistake in incorrectly naming the refractory ever burn shoe the problem. When I read the entire post again, is the soft insulation refractory package insulating the secondary combustion compartment which can only be viewed when the top flue collar is removed the cermanic even burn shoe was incorrectly identified . this can easily be damage by cleaning the chimney and pushing the rod and brush to far especially if the flue outlet is in the top position. We have other post before where this has happened during before

    These stoves are not refractory cemented seams ,but gasketed seams ,allowing more flex. Pretty hard to believe 3 tops cracked and no over firing occurred
  17. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Looking at the picture and the location of the damaged area I have another explanation as to how the damage occurred

    This is also assuming the flue collar is in the top mount position. This being true, what about rain watter dripping down that chimney hitting that damaged spot?

    Possibly condensation causing a drip. The damage could have happened in the time the stove was not even operating. Sure looks like a drip confined to an small isolated area
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    What about it is a piece of crap and fell apart in normal operation?

    Fact of life Elk. Try to play cat stove in a non-cat stove and you can get into trouble reliability wise. Cute, neat and crumbles. Cat stoves are proven. Non-cats are proven. This hybrid appears to not be headed for that category.
  19. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    If it was water, that is one more reason for my little "stainless shield" which slips into place above the soft package and protects it from any water, chimney brushes, stones or anything else that comes down the flue.

    As far as over firing an interior liner of a stove, that is a tough one since we all know how hot an entire load of wood which has turned to embers gets..... there is no way to effectively keep the temperature on such an inner wall low!

    No doubt Chris is a heavier user than most....but he did buy the biggest stove in the line and burns a relatively normal amount for his climate and house. Whether it is the stove, the chimney, the fuel or the operator...or a combination of all the above, it would be nice if stoves (in general) were over-engineered and designed to take the heat. Both Elk and I had old Efel Kaminas - built of thin sheet metal with some cast liners and a stainless baffle. You could cut the thing in pieces with a tin shears. Yet I rarely replaced any parts except the baffle (after many years)...and glass, of course.
  20. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    REQUEST CAN YOU TAKE MORE PICTURES OF THAT STOVE ALL AROUND THE OUTSIDE AND IN THE FIRE BOX AND POST THEM sorry caps key was on
  21. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest


    great stove mine lasted 20 years a combination convection radiation stove with a swing out steak griller.


    craig from the pictures it is hard to believe it is only 2 years old. I even see faded to whitish paint on the top a rust mark on the top. Could be a distortion due to the camera flash that's why I would like to look at as many pictures of the stove as possible. No one mentioned the flue collar to connector pipe connection, whether it is a tight sound fit without any crimping exposed.

    Remember the crimping is 1.5" long and the stove collar is only 1" deep exposing 1/2" of crimping that can be an air leak into the stove
  22. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    I've had my DW 2479 for about the same time period (this will be my 2nd full season), and I was suprised a little bit how quickly the external area not covered by the internal firebrick (about 6" above the bottom of the primary combustion chamber) turned "white". I put white in quotes as it is still very much black, but it is a perceptibly lighter shade of black than the area that does have internal firebrick. I run my stove on the cooler side rather than hotter (about 420) as a general rule, so its not a result of overfiring. A few times w/ excessively dry, seasoned wood the reburner has gone into what we refer to as 'nuclear' mode where even completely dampered down, sits around 650, but thats certainly the exception not the rule, and it turned 'white' before that happened for the first time.

    Yes, I'll post pics when I get home for reference. If I remember, I'll also take some shots of the secondary chamber when I remove the flue collar for comparison. Mine is horizontal so it couldnt have been hit by rain or a chimney brush, so if its cracked, then I'd classify as a design defect. Crossing my fingers!!!
  23. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Thus far, it looks to me like we have TWO different users, describing TWO DIFFERENT failure modes. Perhaps because the users didn't understand the terminology it appeared to be similar failures, but it now sounds like two completely different types of failure.

    Failue mode ONE sounds like the refractory "shoe" made out of a cast material similar to firebrick - a hard ceramic, located in the firebox, and in addition cracking in the damper frame. WE HAVE NO PICTURES of this failure mode, and can't make any assumptions about abuse, etc.

    Failure mode TWO involves the soft refractory "doghouse" in the back of the stove, under the flue collar, and NOT a part of the actual firebox. We have ONE useable picture of the damage, in which I see a hole, but am not sure I see the crumbling referred to. Elk has expressed an opinion that the stove was over-fired based on the area around the outside of the flue collar opening appearing white in the photo. I DISAGREE! If that stove was over fired because of the color, so was the Encore Elk just sold me as a "perfect condition" stove! (I am not complaining about the stove BTW, it looks to me like it's in great shape, I can't wait till monday when I get inspected so I can fire it up...) It is also grey / white around the flue collar as can clearly be seen in the contrast betweeen the stove body and the new 6" collar I just put on it. I actually suspect that most of the whiteness is an illusion of the camera flash focusing on illuminating the refractory package and consequently over exposing the closer stove exterior.

    I would agree with his potential diagnosis of mechanical damage from cleaning or possibly a drip, as opposed to a defect in material. I would also agree with Craig's comment about the need for a shield of some sort over that fragile refractory package. It is interesting to note that the original Encore 0028 does have such a stainless steel strip on it, but the newer 2550 and apparently the Dutchwests do not. I know that stainless is expensive, but it seems to me that it would be good insurance to have that added protection.

    Elk, I suspect you may be jumping the gun on diagnosing either of these failures as due to over firing, I would at the very least wait until we have more / better photos to work from.

    Gooserider
  24. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Stove paint is in no way designed to take the temps of cast on the interior portion of a stove. If these parts are painted, it is usually because it helps avoid rust in the warehouse.

    Even a normally fired stove of this type (non-cat) will have lots of white - plus even occasionally the red and orange (really hot) parts......you can't have secondary combustion without high temperatures, about 1100 degrees as I remember (got that from OLD literature).....then there is the temperature of an ember bed - my guess is as hot as 1400 degrees on the inside, and maybe 1000-1200 where it contacts the iron, steel or firebrick. Heck, if we floor the thermometer (900) on the outside, one can only imagine the temps on the inside.

    That piece of stainless, considering it might be a square foot all in all and 24-26 ga, would cost about 2 bucks. Not insignificant, but not too high. Aluminized steel would also hold up pretty well, at about 60 cents or so.

    Maybe I'm an optimist, but I think these designs are sound. It is perhaps just the implementations and lack of enough destructive and field testing that may be the culprit. Maybe we will have to end up with titanium stoves (pricey).
  25. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Arg - somehow I think my reply got eaten, apologies if it shows up twice... at any rate - the title of your thread is wrong - the damaged part is not refractory cement, it is a fibrous ceramic filament material. This material is delicate. The owners manual says to be careful when you clean back there once a year. The techs told me not to even let the vacuum cleaner nozzle hit it (which also tells me they have had plenty of owners that damaged it). This stuff is expected to become brittle after the stove is fired, but I don't think it is supposed to be able to be damaged even from over firing, this does not seem like an over firing issue at all. It is obviously also not expected to crumble.

    I wish we had a picture of what it looked like before you poked your thumb though it. I'm sure mine would look the same way if I poked a finger though it so your pic doesn't tell us anything. I will definitely monitor this part of my stove though, and report any problems. I took several pictures this summer of this part of the stove and also deep down inside the back corners (I took the pics to see how much ash accumulated in the back corners - the owners manual suggested using a mirror, but a digital camera with a flash is even better). I could post these pics but I don't know if it adds any value...

    As for putting some sort of protective metal shield over this material - I agree that it seems like something should be changed about this design, but I'm pretty sure covering the ceramic material with metal would defeat the purpose of using this material in the first place. That would probably decrease the performance of the stove (don't know for sure, the stove engineers would have to comment).

    If in fact this material is breaking apart on its own, CFM/VC is going to have a massive problem on their hands - because that would definitely be something covered by the lifetime warranty and I'm sure the expense of repairs would be enormous unless they don't have to pay for the dealers' labor.

    If you do end up repairing this on your own, let us know how difficult it is, and how much time it took.
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