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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. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I guess there is something to be said for "dumbing down" a stove so that it works in most situations. This has always been an example set by the auto industry - notice that you can get into almost any car made, and operate it immediately! VC has always been about engineering and the founder (long gone) was all about quality. But one thing they never did was to follow the crowd as far as stove design....and, who knows, maybe they should have!

    I really doubt that the basic premise is flawed - I used an Acclaim for years and it worked very well. But perhaps what is flawed is the tuning of the system so "tightly" in an attempt to get "bragging rights" for low GPH numbers. That is just a guess, of course. I spoke to two different 30 year Hearth industry veterans who told me this might be the case. One said that the reason the Encore NC has such low numbers is that VC tested it with the max. burn at 27,000 BTU. If they tested with the max burn at a higher number (35K, for instance) the GPH would have been much higher.

    Another friend who sat in the test lab of a competing model said that they got VERY low numbers on their stove, but found that this hurt the burning of the particular model when actual firewood (as opposed to EPA fuel) was used. So they added a bunch of air at other various places, which doubled their GPH (and still way under the limits).

    As we are perhaps seeing here, EPA GPH is not always the key to shopping for a stove.

    All that said, it is hard to imagine that 95% of these stoves are not working well. Problems tend to find us here at Hearth.com. I think we will have to wait awhile before the verdict comes in.

    Not to ramble on too far, but this reminds me of a conversation I had at a party with some of the scientists at Corning Glass, the inventors of the woodstove catalytic converter. We were discussing performance of these models, and the Corning lady said something like "Ideally, there would be a mechanism to level out the draft on all chimneys so it would fall in a (perfect) range - this would greatly enhance performance and ease of operation" (my paraphrase)......But I think that is what we see here sometimes.....and why I would suggest a barometric or turn damper for anyone who suspects over draft. One problem complicates another one - and the lining/insulating of chimneys has probably caused a lot of them to be TOO strong.

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  2. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    Fact is, happy customers don't talk much.

    VC is not lying when they say they have had very little negative feedback on this Everburn. Yes, there has been some. But there has not yet been convincing evidence that the design is defective. I have a few customers who swear the same thing about the catalytic Encore. They tell me the stove is garbage and the design is defective. Yet I have far more happy customers who just love the thing. And I personally burn these stoves and can only come to the conclusion that these stoves are not for everybody.

    Some users will be better off with a simple box stove, like the Drolet mentioned. Now, how many people will claim that the steel box stove design is defective when the weld breaks? I have seen these steel stoves completely warped with broken welds and split panels. It is not that the design is defective, but that no piece of steel or cast iron can hold up to every conceivable field condition. My personal preference is a cast iron stove with removable parts that I can repair when it breaks. I find it much more inconvenient to repair a broken weld or piece of plate steel. But that is my preference. It doesn't make my stove better than someone elses. It is choice.

    The Everburn is designed to allow for simple replacement of the interior parts. This is a continuation of the technique used by VC for several years now. Some people do not like that the interior parts are subject to overheating and damage. Some do not like that they have to pay for proprietary replacement parts on a variable routine. For these folks I try to encourage them to buy another type of stove. The simple box stoves are cheaper to maintain and the interior parts are typically easier for the user to replace. But these stoves also do not have the nice features of the VC cast iron models. I inform them that they will pay more annually to use a VC stove. They then make the choice.

    With this approach we sell these VC and DW cast iron stoves more than three times the number of simple steel box stoves. Occasionally, we get a customer who ends up hating his stove and we take it back and give them a more simple steel box stove, or maybe a Morso cast iron with the similar baffle design.

    Here's the bottom line - Some users of the VC cast iron stoves will need to replace the secondary combustion parts every couple of years. Some users will need to replace these parts every 8 to 10 years. This is part of the cost of these stoves. We tell people up front. Be prepared to spend about $150 annually to maintain your stove. Some will need to pay closer to $300, some closer to $100. It depends on a lot of variables that cannot be determined until a burn pattern has been established.

    This is not unlike automobiles, or lawn tractors. I spend about $1000 annually to maintain my truck. About $100 annually to maintain the lawn tractor. I also need to replace my recliner after twenty years. It's going to cost at least $1000 for a replacement, but closer to $2000 if I want a good one that will last another twenty years.

    I can confidently say that I have far more happy customers burning their VC and DW Everburn or catalytic cast iron stoves than I do unhappy customers who believe the stove is defective. When I discover that a client is unhappy I work hard to determine the cause. I have not once found the problem to be a defective design. Sure, some aspects of the design are inconvenient when compared to other more simple designs. But when operated properly and with the right expectations the design of these stoves has proven to be very effective. Most of the time I am able to instruct my clients on how to better use these stoves and they end up with a different attitude over time. Sometimes, they can't be convinced, at which time I suggest it is time to switch to a more simple stove. The number of times this happens annually can be counted on one hand. We are careful to match the stove to the customer BEFORE the sale. VC's problem is not their design it's that they are selling to consumers who do not understand their philosophy. They need better dealers who understand the products and are willing to do the work to educate their customers. If I was not technically capable I would not be selling VC. I can say the same about pellet and gas stoves in general. Many dealers, while usually nice folk, simply are not technically proficient and only want to sell product. This can cause problems when the customer has an experience they were not expecting.
  3. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    While their fundamental design may not be flawed, the execution is clearly not what it should be. The fact that my reburner either 'stalls' or goes 'nuclear' under the same conditions (temp/draft) and fuel makes me think that they have a flaw (design or deployment) with the secondary air. EPA laws don't allow the user to manually change this, and I think I could make the stove work MUCH better (and safer!) if I could control that directly. Users shouldnt even have to contemplate cracking open the ash pan door to get proper performance.

    I have no issue with VC marketting a stove for more advanced users that takes a little more attention and rewards with low emissions and long burn times, but the envelope where this stove operates well is so extremely small, and it's too great a moving target even for people like us who have grown up w/ wood stoves.
  4. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    I agree education/matching is important, but if you do not have a dealer who does this (mine has been absolutely zero help), then the manufacturer should step up. I am not concerned w/ defective welds, plates, or having to replace components every few years as part of regular maintenance, any good burner like your car owner analogy should know to expect that. But a brand new stove should not have be treated like a 1950's muscle car after its 2nd season.

    Barring defects, the manual has virtually no helpful information on how to make the stove operate efficiently, and as tradergordo points out, the VC engineers are not chiming in with any input. There have been extra docs posted on the Everburn philosophy, again provided by the Hearth people, not VC, but when followed they still do not yield acceptable day to day operation.
  5. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    Believe me, I understand what you are saying and agree in principle. However, there simply is not enough room in business for lots of hand-holding. We choose to do it because we do not answer to stock-holders, we answer only to our community. But it costs a lot of money to educate our customers. This is why we work so hard up front to sell the right stove, and why we don't discount our prices. I also believe VC, in fact all manufacturers, should provide more help to the end consumer, especially when the customer cannot get satisfactory service from the local dealership. But I don't think they've accepted this premise yet. Old ways are hard to shed. Corporations are notoriously slow to adapt.

    Personally, I find the VC manuals to be among the best in the industry. There's lots of good stuff in there. Could they provide more? Yes, they could. But they are not required to do so and the majority of users do not need more explanation. VC expects the dealerships to supplement the information provided by them. If your dealership lacks knowledge it's hard to get what you need. Perhaps they could put together a traveling troupe of factory technicians to travel the country and schedule seminars for the public, sponsored and hosted by the dealerships. I think this would be a fantastic experience. But who's going to pay for it? How much more will the consumer pay for this education? I think you see my point. Some people will pay, some won't. VC believes that the dealerships should provide this education and they provide technical training at a very reasonable cost to the dealerships. The consumer pays for the training when they buy their stove, if the dealer is a technical service center, as we are. If they are a discounter, you pay after the sale, either with frustration or by hiring a competent technician from out of your area, or both. VC has basically said, "hey, if they don't like it they can buy something else".
  6. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    The only problem I have with the notion of a turn damper (I have to admit that I *DON'T* like the idea of a Barometric on a woodstove - I'm not crazy about them on anything) is that IMHO it should be the absolutely LAST resort, rather than a first reflex to install one. I especially think this should be an approach used only after every other possibility has been checked out if the stack setup isn't such as to really suggest one is needed. A 15' flue seems unlikely to me to pull excessively no matter HOW well lined / insulated / turbocharged it might be...

    I seem to recall several threads where a poster was complaining about seeming overdrafts, and some folks immediately started talking dampers. Others suggested holding off on the damper, and doing a really thorough check for air leaks - door gaskets, ash pans, cast iron seams, pipe joints, etc. Sure enough leaks were found, and once fixed the stove started operating properly, WITHOUT adding a damper.

    IMHO a Damper should be viewed as what one does AFTER verifying that the stove is sealing up properly so that the only air entering the stove is going through the primary and secondary controlled air openings, and it's still being a problem. Putting a damper on before that time may well be treating the symptom, and hiding other more vital problems.

    Personal experience - As all should know, I just installed a lightly used Encore 2550 CAT stove that I purchased from Elk. (In fact I just got my final inspections signed off about 20 minutes ago, though I've been burning a couple of days now) I made the assumption that since everything looked OK on the door gaskets and Elk said it was in good shape, that it was. First break in fire was no problem though the stove wanted to burn hot, and I ended up kicking in the cat, but the next long burn overnight fire seemed to keep wanting to go nuclear - including 2-3 hours after loading, with the cat engaged, and air turned OFF I noticed the thermometer was showing 900* on the griddle, and the hood over the cat was glowing red through the window. Not being much else I could do, I let it burn. I have a mostly inside, 25' tall chimney, w/ 6" flex liner - the stove rear exits into a "T" and goes straight up the liner - a textbook seeming case for needing a damper. Instead I went over the doors and gaskets. I found that the hinge side of one of the front doors, and the bottom edge of the ash door weren't sealing. I replaced the gasket on the front door, and tweaked the hinge adjustment on the ash door (and found it's a bit tricky to get it closed properly). Now all my gaskets are tight, and the stove is giving me nice consistent burns of 10-12+ hours on a full load, at a 400-600* griddle temperature. I may still add a damper in order to increase the range spread on the control, but I won't be hiding the other problems the way I would have if I'd been reaching for it as my first solution.

    Gooserider
  7. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    I think we're reading two different manuals. Yes, it's better than a lot of manuals out there. But a lot of fluff is still just fluff. The majority of the 'how to operate the stove' focuses on telling the owner to use hardwood and to make sure it's not rained on. Duh. There is a decent section on coal depth for high efficiency burning, but it still basically says in the end "set the air control to whatever works for your stove". Again, duh. These are all Burning 101 topics, virtually nothing specific on using the Everburn system properly, or troubleshooting if it doesn't work.


    Now that's customer focus for ya. If they didn't have the name brand recognition or get the additional business of being a stove manufacturer that is based & builds in the US, I can't see how they will stay in business for the long run. Charging a premium price for an unproven system which not a single owner on this forum has endorsed, at some point VC needs to step up.
  8. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    I suppose it comes down to perspective. I turn down a lot business too. Some would say that's nuts and that I won't last. But I would rather work with people who understand our philosophy fairly quickly. I'm not going to work too hard to convert someone. That will anger some prospects I suppose. But I'm happy to stay a small anonymous company and don't really want to be all things to everyone.

    I disagree that this is an unproven system. It has been proven for many years. But, as I said, it's not for everyone. For the record, this forum is a very small slice of the marketplace. I know we like to think we have a bigger voice, and this is a very good place to hang out and talk and share opinions. But the proofs do not come from here. It is only a small part of the whole.

    Take a look at Morso's manuals if you want an example of a poor owners manual. Yes, VC does assume a lot. But that has always been their way. They assume the owner will work out a lot of the details themselves. Maybe this will end up killing them in the end. Who knows? But I rather like this approach. I hate it when I have to show someone three times which way the air control goes or what the difference between seasoned wood and rotten wood is. Some folks are just better suited to an oil furnace. Now, if this angers someone, and they are upset that I won't come over for free for a third time, then I think this is where there is room for others in our marketplace who are more inclined to give away their time to do it for them. There is room for several types of businesses and philosophies. Many consumers seem to think that any company who does not agree with their philosophy is doomed to failure. I focus on my customers, but I choose them carefully, and I let them go when I realize I can't please them.
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Hearth.com would have less business if manufacturers actually wrote "operations" guides.

    Sean, good way of putting it as per stoves.....problem is, as you allude to, that VC ended up with so much distribution that the day of the VC dealer being the "elite educated" one is long past. So stoves are often sold without all those warnings. You or I may prefer cast iron, but some of that is due to the fact the we can DIY repairs and (perhaps) get the parts cheap! A large percentage of customers would be turned off if I sold a stove and said "5 year warranty, but it will cost you $750 to rebuild it in sometime in year 5-8". In fact, I think most customers expect only minor repairs. But, the gist of your post I agree with - there is an arse for every seat! I like the Mercedes analogy..having bought a new one once (I don't think I will do that again). Great car, I mean the user-experience was tremendous! But the head gasket blew at 25K, and it was in the shop every couple of weeks for some little thing. We sold it for 10K (after paying 30K), and the buyer was very happy - I think the kinks were out of it.

    Fact is that most products....cars included, are extremely reliable these days. Computers too!

    Perhaps the solution is extended warranties available optionally. I have found that gives a good idea of reliability - for instance, the extended warranty on a notebook computer is often much higher than on a desktop....meaning it breaks more, and costs more to fix.

    As to the damper, if you can give another accurate way to make certain that the draft of a chimney remains even over the course of all burns and conditions - I'm all ears. But I have found that chimneys tend to feed on themselves (like fire) and the hotter they get, the better they draft, and then the hotter they get, and the draft gets stronger, etc. - that is what a baro fixes and one of the reasons it is used with coal burners. Otherwise, many coal stoves would melt.....of course there are other reasons for them.

    Again, my take came from a scientist at Corning and also is a result of having installed many of these (both) dampers over the years. One installer I know used rocks instead - placed in an elbow - to retard draft!
  10. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Trader when the head of engineering VC posted here he he told you, your burning practices were incorrect and edged towards over firing. So if you stove is falling apart you were advised

    #1 culprit for over firing is the use of the ash door to blast furnace a fire The rapid heat will cause thermal shock to the metals. The Manual clearly states not to opperate the stove with the ash pan door open. The second culprit is the seal of the ash pan door either ash getting into the gasket the gasket needs replacing or the latch needs adjustment .

    Another possibility is the ash pan door open get bumped into and the hinge pin gets knocked out of whack.

    What ever happened to draft testing before installing a stove or using draft testing to trouble shoot.

    Maybe these stoves are not for all users, but for that matter so are autos. Did you ever hear of accidents? Very accident someone involved was not paying attention or not operating the car safely. You know some should not be allowed on the road or behind the wheel. It is possible some should not own stoves for the same reason. I have owned quite a few stoves over the past 35 years and own models that are being questioned here. How is It I never have the problems other have? Assuming the same stoves then what is the difference? contrary my stoves preform up and exceed my expectations. If it isn't the stoves then it must be the installation and or the opperator.

    Note the complaints are coming from people relatively new to wood burning, perhaps it takes time to prefect the proccess, perhaps they have less than ideal draft sand venting systems

    perhaps we need to educate them more or everbody go out and purchase a Droit Note people like BB figured out how to run a very draft sensitive effecient EPA stove in no time He knew how to recognize performance glitches and knew and learned the stove quirks and limitations. And he did not have a dealer to complain to

    Even goose figured it out quickly and solved his problems because some of us helped other in similar situations. But Goose has been burning for years My suggestion if you want a Driot then buy one No sense purchasing a Corvette when a GEO metro gets you there
  11. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    True. But I give them a choice. I am not a VC loyalist. I know that what VC offers is not going to work for every customer. I educate them on the differences and I ask them to make a decision. If they want that shiny red stove they need to know what to expect. If they don't want to deal with that I sell them a Morso (black only, no catalytic options) or a Travis (Lopi or Avalon, simple steel box stoves, simple to operate and cheaper to maintain).

    I think many people are unrealistic in their expectations. This is FIRE we're talking about. The same fire that caused your head gasket to weaken. But unlike our auto's, we are spending only $1000 to $3000. To expect a wood stove to perform like a $10,000 furnace, or a $40,000 car, is unrealistic. I educate people on the real costs of the wood stove, including the cost of repair and maintenance. If my prospect cannot afford those costs they find their solution elsewhere.

    I maintain that dealers should be more careful who they sell to. If all they are going to do is sell product they can expect more unhappy customers. If they prefer the least amount of trouble with wood stove customers they need to sell simpler stoves or attract higher paying customers who will appreciate the value of their more expensive products. Simple is hard to do in our business and is mostly controlled by the big box outlets or direct marketing. We choose to focus on the high end stuff and be prepared to educate the user on it's value.
  12. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    elk: "perhaps we need to educate them more or everbody go out and purchase a Droit Note people like BB figured out how to run a very draft sensitive effecient EPA stove in no time He knew how to recognize performance glitches and knew and learned the stove quirks and limitations. And he did not have a dealer to complain to"

    Thanks for the compliment elk but I am not sure Mike would agree with ya. In fact the guys at ESW might be getting a king sized laugh from that.

    The fact is that 99.999 percent of people that buy new wood stoves aren't the performance junkies that we hearth.com members are. They want to buy a nice looking stove/insert and burn a nice looking fire that puts some heat in their house. They aren't going to go on a quest for the ultimate burn and they aren't going to get excited about a little smoke coming out of the chimney. They aren't fogging up the neighborhood burning decent wood in any stove they can buy today.

    Possibly some of the stuff people read here gets them into a bind and causes some of the problems with their stoves. I don't know. I think the happy ones are the ones that don't know what the hell secondary burn and overnight fires are and could care less. They like the fact that their new stove gives a nice view of the fire and seems to burn a real long time on less wood than their fireplace did. I would bet that many people with Everburn stoves will never know what the "Everburn rumble is" and are probably better off for it. And if you look at most manuals, those are the folks they are written for.

    I know that I spend way too much time fooling with the 30-NC when it does just fine when I get tied up and don't have time to and just put some wood in it, damp it down and don't hang around for pretty blue flames up top or go outside to see it it smoking. I bet the Everburns do just fine the same way.
  13. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I can understand why people assume an overfiring problem with the original poster in this thread (although he didn't think he was overfiring and the temps he reported didn't seem excessively high). But I don't know why everyone is assuming that everyone with a problem is overfiring. My stove isn't overfiring (nor is it falling apart) in fact the best way to get the everburn to work is by getting the temps up, which can either be done by waiting a long time, or by cracking the ash door for a few minutes. I have excellent draft, ideal installation with straight up, inside the room flue. I have checked all door gaskets with dollar bill, all the way around. But again, draft problem and overfiring are not the issue. The problem is that secondary combustion simply doesn't happen at all or it stalls shortly after dampering down - as "BurningIsLove" mentioned. If we all had excessive draft or leaks I would expect it to actually NOT stall so often.

    Seaken - you seem to suggest that the people having problems getting consistent clean burns with their VC everburn stoves need a dumbed down stove? I don't think this stove is particularly complicated, it has two controls, an air control, and a damper. What's the big deal? I think I'm smart enough to use this stove, but I've tried everything, always giving VC the benefit of the doubt until now.

    I don't really have a problem with the manual - it tells you how to get the everburn system to work: "Once the fire is burning steadily, continue
    adding fuel until a thick bed has been established on the grate. The bed should be about 2” (50mm) deep and should cover the throat opening into the secondary combustion chamber that is located in the lower center fireback."

    The problem is, how often (what percentage of a typical burn cycle) do you have a well established, 2 inch deep, red hot coal bed covering nearly the entire bottom of the stove and the throat opening to the back? I only burn seasoned hardwood, and I still have to load the stove at least three times just to get these conditions and if I'm not using wood with excellent coaling properties (oak or locust) it just doesn't work consistently. If I start burning at say 6PM like I did last night, there is no way I will reach the proper conditions to engage the damper for a clean burn before going to bed. I think the premise is flawed. And I can't believe you guys that DON'T own one of these stoves think every poster on this forum that DOES own one of these stoves just doesn't know how to operate it. And while this is my first stove, several of the people that posted with problems have been burning for decades so I don't think you can write this off as just dumb users. Plus I am very persistent and mechanically inclined, I can fix almost anything, and I love to tinker. If I can't get this stove to operate well then I doubt very many people will be able to unless I just happen to be the unlucky owner of a defective stove (along with essentially every other owner of this stove who has posted in this forum).

    p.s. Where exactly did someone from VC engineering say my "burning practices were incorrect"??? I'd love to review that post if it in fact exists.
  14. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    When most threads reach 6 pages, they have usually wandered off the original topic, and I'll plead guilty for muddying the waters/ thread hijacking.

    There are two very different issues on this thread. The original was evident and large scale damage to the stove from overfiring (ash pan door open/not seated properly?), damage incurred during maintenance (hitting firebrick/refractory material with brushes?), installation ramifications (rainwater hitting hot reburner chamber?), etc. etc.

    The second issue is getting the advertised performance out of a high end stove. Mine (and I think tradergordos unless I missed something), have no damage excepting normal wear & tear like replacing gaskets and bear no resemblance to the posted pictures of the original thread. I consider myself a reasonably experienced wood stove burner having used them on/off (mostly on) for 25 years. I have had NO problems getting clean, efficient, advertised performance out of other stoves in the same class (Lopi, Russo, and even other VC's like the Encore). This is the ONLY stove I've had a problem with.

    I realize that the Hearth forum is a small percentage of of total users and it's not entirely fair to make a general judgement on the entire Everburn line based on the small sampling of users. But you have to admit, not a single owner of this stove on the forum has stepped up to endorse the design, and this is not a shy crowd. ABsolutely, it heats nearly 3500sq feet of my house effectively, great viewing, looks attractive, side loading is a great option, I could go on & on about what I like about it.

    But as you say, we are the users who strive to reach that optimal performance of clean emmissions & long burn times. That is WHY we purchased the Cadillac vs. the Chevy Nova of stoves. And it's frustrating that when you've owned/used other 'cadillacs' in the past, that the new 'cadillac' is a smoke dragon and repeatedly 'stalls at the intersection'. I've driven Ford vehicles since the day I got my license, been happy with every one, driven each one well past 200k/300k miles... but then one day my new Explorer caught fire and exploded on the highway. Ford later issued a recall saying it was a design flaw.
  15. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I agree with what you said. I'm one of the few looking for "the best possible burn". I never said I couldn't heat my house with my stove. I never said it didn't create pretty looking fires and burn a lot longer than a fireplace. I heated with nothing but wood all of last year. I want more than just heat. I want clean burns. I know what a clean burn looks like (or doesn't look like as the case may be). I know that this stove only burns clean when "everburn" is working (AKA secondary combustion) and its very obvious when everyburn is working because you can hear it (and of course if you go outside, you can also see it). If I have to wait 4-5 hours to get the conditions required for everburn, that means I'm smokin' up the neighborhood for 4-5 hours, that isn't good, especially when other stoves can burn clean in a tiny fraction of that time, and these other stoves don't require you to fiddle around with a 2000 degree coal bed, moving ash away from back and replacing with fresh hot coals. Not sure why anybody thought this was a superior way to achive secondary combustion after the initial prototypes were built and used under real world conditions.
  16. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    This is EXACTLY how I feel. And its good to hear this from an experienced burner like you so I know I'm not just crazy (or stupid).
    So the question is, what do we do about it? What is the logical next step?

  17. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    At best in any non cat stove secondary burning occurs 30% of the time. As the fire box temps fluctuate, smoke particles only burn above 1000 degrees. After secondary burning it on to the next stage. Where little if any smoke is produced. so no smoke ( no fuel) to burn. There is only a certain stage of the burn time it occurs, unless you have something to extend it like a cat, that can ignite all the way down to 380 firebox temps. In a way, secondary burn is over, while a real controlled heat producing state emerges . Really that is the part of the fire we want to extend the longest. also the cleanest part of the burn cycle. That does not mean the stove is not functioning correctly, without a fire works display. The Thermometer tells the story
    When my cat fires, the fire dies down after engagement and what happens is a small flame a flicker possibly a gas off but a consistent red glow. No fire works, a constant red heat producing glow. that last for hours. I would love to trade with you trader. so that both had a chance with each other stove, to work out situations compare notes
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I agree. I ran the other way summer before last when I saw the same technology in the Harman Exception line. It looked a tad fragile and too much of a departure from conventional cat and non-cat stoves for me. I couldn't figure out why if ya wanted a stove that burned like a cat stove they didn't just sell a cat stove.

    I know it has to be frustrating gordo. What I do know is that no manufacturer is going to admit a design/reliability problem. Too much liability involved. And with dealers like Sean reporting a majority of satisfied owners VC probably really believes that it is the operator. And don't go thinking that I am saying it is. I am just saying that is what they probably believe.
  19. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Not true Elk. You need to get ya a non-cat to burn for a while. While it is true that the secondary burn light show that everybody loves to see blowing fire in front of the tubes up top on most non-cats is only during the gasification stage of the burn it continues on through the burn until the coal stage just like with a cat stove. The difference is that with a non-cat the burn taking place in the cat chamber takes place between the top of the wood and the stove baffle. When a non-cat is doing its thing there is a pillow of blue fire on top of the wood for hours that looks like natural gas burning.

    Gases burning at 1,000 degrees are gases burning at 1,000 degrees. Whether you can see it happen in a non-cat or not see it happen in a cat the same thing is happening.

    Now back to the thread. The Everburns are for all intents and purposes blow-down gasifiers. Secondary combustion is taking place in the Everburn chamber just like the gasifier boilers. You aren't going to see the secondary burn because it is taking place in the Everburn chamber. Like it does in the cat chamber on a cat stove. Something they need to add to the Everburn stoves is a chamber thermo like the cat stoves have so you know when it lights off.
  20. Gunner

    Gunner New Member

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    Trader no wonder you waited so long to light your first fire. Sounds like this type of stove would only work well in 24/7 burning... needing a constant coal bed. Hard to light a once a day chill chaser in the shoulder season.

    Your standard cat or non cat you can light a top down fire in a stone cold stove close the door and be burning clean in less than 30min.

    The fact that you need to burn for a couple of hours and get a 2" coal bed for this type of stove to burn clean is IMO a major design flaw.

    My 2 cents....
  21. swestall

    swestall Minister of Fire

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    Woah....that stuff, the refractory fountain assembly, is very delicate to begin with: on a new stove out of the crate. It is the same refractory package they introduced with the initial CAT stoves. (Encore). New, it has about the same texture as that stuff they used to make old ceiling tiles from: that is soft and weak. It does not take much effort at all to crack or penetrate it. It is also not very hard to replace: if you can take the stove apart. Enough said....just replace it. My bigger issue is that the Everburn seems to be difficult at best. The problem here is we have a company that can't see, "out of the box" if you will pardon the expression. And, after all, who wants to make a stove that will last a lifetime: how would you keep selling them over and over. Having said that, I'm going back to see if I can get this thing to fire off for the night.
  22. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Coaster, I wrote that initial review after just a couple weeks using the stove (and this is made clear in the review). I also describe the very first time I even got the secondary burn to work (what I called "going thermo-nuclear") so the review was written the day after the stove burned as its supposed to for the first time which also means it hadn't been burning as it was supposed to every day before that. I just updated that review a little to reflect the full year's experience. When I said it was working better than I could have imagined - what I meant was that it was heating my house better than I expected - at that time, I really wasn't paying attention to emissions although I did mention how excited I was that when it was "everburning" there was absolutely no smoke coming out of the stack. If I could get those results all the time, I'd be a very happy camper...

    Also in the "official" review you linked to, I said "Dislikes: Requires more futzing around to get the efficient burns (hot bed of coals required before closing bypass damper) compared to other non-cat stoves" that was an original comment, not a revision, so even back then (a year ago) I saw the problems but was still optimistic that I could figure out how to work around them. Unfortunately after a full year of use, I never did figure out how to overcome its shortcomings.
  23. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    You must not know about the infamous "everburn rumble" :)
    There is no need for a burn chamber thermometer, its pretty obvious when you are getting secondary combustion on this stove. I even posted a video of this in the main review thread but its a huge file that takes a long time to download. That video is a great example of "the perfect burn" with this stove. I never said it was impossible, its just difficult (a lot more work than other stoves). In the video you can also see the fire go from jumping flames to the dull red glow just like Elk described with his cat stove. You can also hear the infamous everburn rumble for yourself.

    quote author="tradergordo" date="1172284041"]This is my video demonstration of everburn (its a huge file, you should right click the link and "save target as" to download it, then play it).

    EverburnDemo.avi
    This also shows the characteristics of the burn - you can see how the fire looks with the damper open, and how it looks about 20 seconds after closing the bypass to activate the everburn secondary combustion. What I should have added is what it looked like 15-20 minutes later with the primary air completely cut off. The flue temps were stable at about 800 degrees F, the slight rumble was still going, and there were basically no flames in the firebox - just nicely glowing orange coals. This is the beauty of “horizontal combustion” - you get nice hot fires that last as long as possible without the wood on top being consumed too quickly, all with little to no particulate emissions. A snapshot from an hour or two later would show the everburn still going, with stack temps maybe down to 700, same old glowing fire with little to no flames - keeping the house warm all night long.

    Finally, I just got done going though all the different "everburn" threads, I missed most of the discussions when they happened. One common theme I see is what I think is people closing the bypass too soon. It took me a while to figure this out on my own (especially because there is no guidance, as far as temps go, in the user manual). Even in my original review - you can tell I had only just then experienced my first real correct burn (i.e. thermonuclear). I'm pretty convinced now that to get a good efficient burn, you must take it up to 1000 F internal probe flue temp before closing the bypass (all of my past comments about coals around the throat opening still apply as well though). If you do the coal thing, and the 1000 degree thing, it pretty much works 100% of the time - again, it took me quite some time to figure this out, but now that I have, I'm getting better performance but it still requires a lot of futzing around![/quote]
  24. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Heard all about the rumble in your posts last season. What would be good to know is when the chamber is hot enough to be ready to rumble.
  25. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I asked Vc to look at the post and here is there response to Trader


    "Vermont Casting/DutchWest Stoves has thousands of Everburn units in the field with very few warranty issues. It does sound like your stove is burning hot. I would suggest conducting the “dollar bill” test on the door and ash door gaskets. Pinch a dollar bill between the door and the gasket, close the door completely and pull the dollar bill out. The dollar bill should resist being pulled out but come out without tearing. Try this every few inches all the way around each of the doors. If you find lose gasket seals the door should be adjusted. You can do this by adjusting the handle pawl or the hinge pins or both. If you are not comfortable adjusting the doors call your dealer and have him/her adjust the doors. It is very unlikely that the gasketed joint assembly found on Everburn units is leaking. Vermont Castings leak test 100% of their stoves at final assemble. Another place to look would be the primary flap. Open both doors and reach a finger up between the primary air manifold and the inside of the front of the stove. Open and close the primary air lever. You will feel the flap opening and closing. When the flap is closed it should lie flat on the manifold with no gaps. It is possible for a piece of debris to keep it from closing completely. Don’t hesitate to call the customer service number for help. Vermont Castings is very concerned about satisfaction of their customers.

    Second response to the poster burning his stove in his basement

    "first thing that jumps out in the first email is the homeowner
    has a Dutchwest Non-cat Large that he is using to heat a 1200 sq ft
    house from the basement....way over-sized as far as stove to volume to
    heat and as a result causing all kinds of over-firing...the refractory
    is totally covered under warranty, so get it turned in and replaced...dt "
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