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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

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    I have about three feet of double wall pipe, with two 45s that then goes into the lined and insulated chimney. The double wall pipe is only three years old, the 8" oval to 6" round double wall connector is new this year. All pipe connections fit tight.

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  2. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    6" here wih no draft issues, total pipe length about 22' with two 45s
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    The Encore is 6" rear vented and then straight up 24'.

    The Defiant is top vented with two 45s before it goes into the 90 for the chimney. Chimney is 24', also.

    I think part of the problem is the two 45s and the 90, but it is unavoidable. I get some smoke spillage with this set up at times. But when the Defiant was top vented straight up for 18' and no bends, there was no smoke spillage ever. But, even with this problem, I can still easily get the stove over 700 degrees if I am not paying attention. The wood catches easily and quickly.

    I just do not understand the extreme amount of build up. I'm home all day. It's not like I am choking it down at night and then all day when I am at work. There is only a 6-8 hour window when I am not checking on the stove. And even then, I know the cat is engaged and the air controls were not adjusted with a heavy hand.

    I'd say the build up was worse than it was on the Vigilant. And the Vigilant used more wood. And it was poorer quality wood than what I am burning this year.
  4. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    I see this set up as problematic in terms of draft but not gunk build up.
    How dirty is the flue where the encore is? Also, is the build up loose and flaky?
  5. STOVEGUY11

    STOVEGUY11 Feeling the Heat

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    The Encore is not the same beast that the Defiant is. On the encore you can take the oval 8" flue off and put on the 6" round option. Where as the Defiant has the oval 8" flue. To make that stove 6" you are using the oval 8" to 6" round adaptor. The reason you can not burn the stove with the doors open is because the volume of emissions out of the stove has been reduced. Meaning, if the doors are open smoke will come back into the house.The emissions out of the stove have been slowed. As the gases slow, they cool and collect and cause build up/creosote. I have taken defiants out of customers houses that were running them into 6" chimneys because they complained of poor draft and dirty chimneys. Once they replaced with 6" flue stoves, they had no problems. I am not saying that is the case here, but just sharing of experiences of 6" Defiants in the field.
    begreen likes this.
  6. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    That isn't entirely correct.
    1. The 0028 Encore was never offered with a 6" round flue and only came in the 8" oval.
    2. Neither, the Encore or the Defiant, can be burned with in fireplace mode when using a 6" pipe/liner.
  7. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Member

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    Not to rip on VC, but I had an encore for 7 yrs. Experienced a lot of the things you've listed above.

    When we built a new house this last year, VC was not on my short list of stoves. I didn't overly "dislike" the Encore, but didn't like it enough to get another one.

    Just my 1-1/2 cents.
  8. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    VC stoves have always seemed to me to be more complicated inside than most other stoves. With that said, if you're getting a massive buildup of creosote (not ash) then you're either not burning it hot enough, your wood has too much moisture in it, or a combination of both. I've seen VCs who's bypass damper was "glued shut" with creosote. Open the damper up and burn it hot on a regular basis. I alsways caution to make sure you're chimney is clean 1st so you don't start a chimney fire from the same kind of buildup in your chimney.
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I'm already burning it at 700 degrees. How much hotter do you want me to get it?

    The wood is 2-3 years old cut stacked and split.

    The chimney was cleaned before the burning season began.

    The firebrick inside the Defiant are clean with no creosote build up. The firebox is clean. The windows stay clean.
  10. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I had this issue with my CDW and finally upgraded to a secondary burn stove.. I have the feeling that some smoke is getting around the cat somewhere so it is not reburning and ending up as creosote..

    Ray
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I think that's an accurate description of what is going on. I've tested the Encore and the Defiant at different temps while the cat is engaged and will still get smoke far too often. The Defiant's issues seems to take it to another level, though. Both stoves have the cat and assembly in very good condition. I've even swapped out the cats with the back up cat that I have. Same results.
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I have the same problems bbar. Lots of buildup this year and see visible smoke even when the cat is well over 1000F. I do have the probe and rarely have it below 1200 even with the air fully closed. Wood is 2 - 3 years CSS. stainless lined interior brick chimney.

    I was thinking its the old refractory or an internal gasket gone bad and plan to do a partial rebuild. If that doesn't improve anything I will loose it.
  13. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Smoke/air will take the path of least resistance so the cat/bypass damper and stovetop have to be perfectly sealed so all smoke exits through the cat.. I might use a little more wood with secondary burn but the chimney liner stays clean.. To me it's a tradeoff I can live with after having one chimney fire which cracked my clay tile liner which didn't know happened then another in the SS liner which was a small one with no damage but that was enough for me to change to secondary burn with no issues..

    Ray
  14. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I enjoy the burn times of the Defiant more than the 30. The temps stay higher, longer, throughout the course of the burn than it does on the 30. But, both have about the same total burn time.

    Right now, the VC stoves need to last another 4-5 winters before I can even think of buying more stoves. I will just have to check the pipe more often and perform one or two mid-season cleanings to keep the problem at bay.
  15. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Good luck BB.. I would take a good look at the bypass damper for any leaks particularly where the bypass seals to the stove.. I'm sure you'll figure it out ;)

    Ray
  16. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Already looked at the damper. It closes properly. I think it is the nature of the downdraft beast.
  17. lopiliberty

    lopiliberty Minister of Fire

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    Seems like a good reason to get two new stoves;)
    raybonz likes this.
  18. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Not for a few more years.
  19. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I have two downdraft stoves. Just did my first mid-season cleaning on the less well-bahaved of my two stoves, which has burned 3 cords of mostly poorly-seasoned oak mixed with poplar, running pretty much 24/7 since at least Halloween. Not even a pint of creosote to be found in that flue. The 5/8" mesh cage at the top was still clean. There may be some inherent disadvantages of the downdraft design, but I do not believe creosote build-up is one of them.
  20. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    No, but the inability to run them consistently from chimney to chimney seems to be an issue which could lead to creosote build up. I had smoke issues last year with the stove, but I thought it might have been the shorter chimney. I moved the stove to the taller chimney, while also inspecting the stove, and the build up has been the worse I have had in any stove I have operated. And that includes the first year running the Vigilant with wet wood.

    There is absolutely no reason for the build up to be taking place. The stove is in correct operating order without leaks. The wood is properly dried. I am home all day and can be sure it is not smoldering. Meanwhile the 30 is using the same wood and has barely a fraction of the build up. I am beginning to feel it is the downdraft design that prevents the stoves from being consistent burners.
  21. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    BB, something else must going on with the big boy! Can you post a video of the smoke coming out the pipe while cat glowing/active.
  22. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I could but what would that prove other than I'm not making this up? ;lol
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  23. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Perhaps. You know better than I, that there have been quite a few draft-related complaints from downdraft owners. What surprised me is that my stove on the short chimney was not worse, but perhaps I should have my eye on the taller of my two chimneys. Maybe that one will surprise me when I do the spring cleaning.
  24. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    It could also be VC's downdraft design.

    Because I have been seeing more and more posts, both current and past, that have complained about smoke and creosote deposits piling up at the bottom of the pipe.
  25. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    I am just trying to brainstorm several issues at the same time. Mine, some smoke out the pipe while cat nicely glowing and some accumulation of creosote...nothing serious. And yours some smoke as you describe and buckets of misty stuff! Or maybe just fly ash...
    I believe my refactory box is shot, where yours as you said is in good shape
    Just thinking out loud...

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