1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

The Problem with VC Stoves

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BrowningBAR, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    Even when you are burning right (wood, stove temps, glowing cat), you still encounter hurdles that you should not have.

    The Defiant's draft has been suffering. So, I pulled the pipe tonight to take a look. Massive amounts of build up.

    A few things:
    1. Wood is 2-3 years old. All Ash and Oak. I do not have a moisture meter, but, to put it in perspective, I have no problem getting the two cast iron stoves over 700 degrees and the 30 has hit 800 degrees.
    2. The chimney was cleaned at the start of the season.
    3. I do not have a Cat probe, but, the cat glows regularly so I know it is engaged.
    4. I have not been choking down the stove. I have been running it at a higher temp.
    So, I'll be cleaning the chimney tomorrow, and will seemingly need quite a large bucket to dump all the build up that I will be cleaning out.
    A cat probe will be installed this off season and at least one mid-season cleaning will take place next year to be sure the build up is being held in check.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. jimmieguns

    jimmieguns Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    219
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    I have the old VC 0044-- experienced a few issues as well ( low heat output,squeaking fans,bad gaskets, etc)... are the Vermonts POORLY made,(to say it politely?)

    should i replace with a new unit or maybe a pellet insert?

    thanks !
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    My belief is that they are not as efficient or as clean burning as they should be. I work from home, so I am home all day. I know I'm not smoldering, I know the cat is engaged, I know the temps are good. Yet, here we are...

    Well, you are using an older, Pre-EPA stove. You will benefit from a newer stove whether it is a VC stove or not.
  4. jimmieguns

    jimmieguns Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    219
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    yes I, too , work from home---mine on a full load at 2am went out by 6 am on COLD nights---what kind of work do you do from home(just an aside question). bought a pellet free-standing in early Jan and havent been happier! great heat for the whole house--will use the old "girl" Vermont when i dont need as much heat.; like late March/early April....thoughts?
  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    Advertising, marketing, consulting.

    Nothing wrong with that. The old VC stoves were pretty solid. Just a little dirty and not as efficient as newer stoves.
  6. JV_Thimble

    JV_Thimble Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    302
    Loc:
    South-Central MI
    Very finicky to operate. Constantly checking to avoid overfiring the cat - the cat probe is an essential part of operating mine safely.
  7. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Messages:
    859
    Loc:
    North Alabama
    Non cat wise, I'm generally happy with the old Resolute Acclaim. Buying it for $125 leaves plenty of happy room. LOL. It does take some tweaking to get a consistent burn but doesn't seem likely to overfire. (knock on wood). Cruises 450-550.
  8. 31 bertram

    31 bertram New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2012
    Messages:
    72
    Loc:
    Gulf Shores, Al.
    I bought my 2550 many years ago and always had trouble finding a happy medium, either too hot or smoldering. But I guess that over the years have managed and until finding this website I thought it was me all this time. But I very seldom have to clean the pipe and seems to burn pretty efficiently with my tinkering all the time but after dealing with all the maintenance I did this year will be shopping and learning on this website as I don't ever want to go thru the maintenance issues like this past year again. What's bad is after all these years my wife bought me the pretty little dragon warming shelves this past season for a Christmas present. And after all the money and time spent rebuilding my stove I never got to use it since I work overseas and by the time I got the parts in it warmed up. I'll be home in April and it will probably be 80 degrees. Plus having to deal with the folks at VC, I would rather go to an
    "All Night Dentist Office"
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    I pulled the pipe that connects from the stove to the lined chimney and there was a large pile of debris. The pile was so large that the 90 dgree turn up the chimney was chocked down to maybe a one inch gap.

    I looked down the pipe for the 30 as a comparison and there isn't much of anything in the pipe.

    This is the problem with the VC stove. If I can not find a solution to this, the VC experiment may be coming to a close sooner than later...

    I scooped out all of the build up and cleaned the liner with the sooteater. Got the Defiant going and it is drafting like it was at the beginning of the season. In the end, I probably pulled out two gallons of crud from the liner.
  10. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,112
    Loc:
    Western VA
    I found with my Keystone and single wall pipe, the crud built-up in it pretty good. For whatever reason, the chimney was clean. The only build-up was in the pipe. This was when I was venting up and taking a 90 degree turn in the chimney.

    When I relined the chimney, I went to a double wall stove pipe - straight out the back of the stove into the liner. The only thing I find in that stove pipe arrangement is fine dust from burning. It is never blocked. I attribute that to shorter run, better draft from the new liner and most importantly retaining the heat in the stove pipe via the double wall pipe.

    The single wall pipe just cooled off to quickly and creosote formed. It formed to the point that it was blocking airflow and caught on fire one night. We hear about flue fires, but this was a stove pipe fire.

    With regards to my Englander 30, The pipe in it stays pretty clean. It is a single wall pipe, goes up and turns 90 degrees into the chimney. The difference in that arrangement and the Keystone (when it had a similar single wall pipe and a 90 degree turn) is that the Englander puts much more heat up the chimney than the Keystone. More heat = less creosote. The Keystone, being a cat stove, wrings more heat out of the stove exhaust and my stove pipe temps are always cooler than those on the Englander.

    So my guess is that your VC is doing like my Keystone was with a single wall pipe. The solution might be a double wall stove pipe.

    One other thing. As clean as all of these EPA stoves are, even with the no smoke out the chimney deal, IMHO, there is still a fair amount of creosote going up the chimney. It's just the exhaust gas temperatures and draft keep them in the air, up and out the chimney before they have a chance to stick to anything.

    BTW - did you find out what the loud bang was on your 30?

    We are VERY pleased with our 30 this year. Keystone has always been great, but having learned how to run the 30 over last burning season has made a huge difference burning it this year. Great heat and long burn times with both.

    Good luck,
    Bill
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    The Defiant has double wall pipe that vents into the chimney that has a 6" liner with insulation. I think this is more of a VC issue than anything.

    I have noticed that I can have the cat glowing and smoke still coming from the chimney. And, to be clear, the wood was 2-3 year old oak and ash. Same wood that is being thrown through the 30. Both stoves can get hot. The 30 can get to 800 if I let it and the Defiant can go over 700 if I want it to.

    Next year I will have to check the pipe in December and then February to be sure this isn't happening again.

    As it regards the 30, I have no complaints. Runs like I had hoped it would. I will always want longer burns, but the 30 is doing exactly what I wanted it to. I did waste a lot of wood trying to figure out what stoves to burn and when this year.
  12. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2010
    Messages:
    3,355
    Loc:
    Rochester,Ny.
    I still think firing up from a fresh load puts some in the pipe at first.
    And even when the cat is engaged and working their is a lot of off gassing that first hour and some does get by the cat because of it I believe.
    I run single wall from the stove straight up to the class a and I get a fair amount from the stove pipe when i clean in the spring but not all that bad..nothing to worry about.
    Though I will admit that sometimes I will tap the stove pipe before I put the next load in..maybe 4 or 5 times a season and sometimes I do hear crap falling into the stove..not always.
  13. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    901
    Loc:
    Ottawa, ON
    Interesting, I always blamed some of the smoke spillage on refactory box, and you mentioned that yours is in a good shape.
    Today I had a very nice dark box with glowing cat yet there was some smoke out the pipe....-
    Again, I thought....must change that box! But maybe this is is not the refactory box that is the smoke cause!?
  14. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    The refractory package in the Defiant is in near perfect shape. The Cat is in very good shape. It is also easy to check the cat on the Defiant, and the cat is always clean with no ash blockage or build up.
  15. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    901
    Loc:
    Ottawa, ON
    I remember you mentioning that everything on the defiant is in a good shape.
    How active is the flame in cat mode and air closed 100%? With my encore at 100% closed I have no flame only glowing cat, but some smoke out the chimney. At 50-75% closed I have active flame, bright orange cat and no smoke out the chimney.
    I am preparing myself for a rebuild of the encore this summer.
  16. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    Both the 0028 Encore and the 1945 Defiant act the same. Most times with the air controls closed; both have slow, thick, rolling flame that creep around the firebox. Other times I just have glowing splits.

    Do the rebuild early on the Encore so you don't feel rushed. If you feel rush you will get frustrated.
  17. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    901
    Loc:
    Ottawa, ON

    This is pretty much the behavior of mine, forgot to mention the occasional lazy dancing flame.
    For sure I will do the rebuild this year! The 0028 deserves it, it has been a trooper.
  18. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    6,455
    Loc:
    Philadelphia
    Yikes... two gallons! Burning unseasoned oak mixed with poplar 24/7, I've not gotten more than a cumulative half-quart of creosote out of the chimney so far this year, even on the less well-behaved of my two stoves. I wouldn't blame you for taking that stove offline immediately.
  19. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    901
    Loc:
    Ottawa, ON
    I still don't understand the two gallons!!! Can you describe the temps
    (Flue and stove top) during the burn.
  20. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    Throughout the season stove temps were in the 500-700 degree range. Good wood and glowing cat. Using double wall pipe, so flue temps are not reliable.
  21. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    Yeah, that's not happening.
  22. STOVEGUY11

    STOVEGUY11 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    424
    Loc:
    SOUTHERN CT
    I know the newer Defiants are tested for 6" chimney. But Every model I have heard of that has been hooked up that way, has had draft issues and Creosote build up. They always had the 8" flue. I dont know how in testing they are all of a sudden able to get away with the 6" option.
  23. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,663
    Loc:
    Eastern MA
    Hmmm - with all that build-up I wonder if you may have an air leak into your connector/chimney that is pulling cold air in and causing the smoke to cool and condense faster than it should? Still, in theory you shouldn't have that much crud making it past the cat, but perhaps if you have air leakage it is building up very fast during startup and reloads?
  24. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    901
    Loc:
    Ottawa, ON
    Pipe air leak +1
  25. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    All Defiants have been able to use 6" liners. The new ones are no different. The stipulation has always been that if you plan on using the stove with the doors open, you need the 8" liner.

Share This Page