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)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

V.C. Turning The Corner?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Rob From Wisconsin, May 23, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    531
    Loc:
    East-Central Wisconsin
    Over the past handfull of years Vermont Castings/CFM has
    faced the brundt of quality critcisms, but of recent, it seems
    that they are making a concerted effort to remove that image.
    Does anyone out there see that also?? Examples??

    Thanks,
    Rob

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,248
    Loc:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Well, I certainly don't see a huge number of complaints on this forum these days. I'd consider one. A friend of mine just bought a defiant and loves it.
  3. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Warren was the New Defiant one of the new non cat ever burn ones or was it the cat?
    Defiant now comes in a non cat model rated at 60,000 BTUs.

    Rob check out my European Post
  4. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    580
    Loc:
    Shokan, NY
    What's your question? I'm a VC dealer and know the Aspen pretty well.

    VC, like most other stove manufacturers, does not do a very good job communicating with the end consumer. Their real customer is the dealer. You are the dealers customer. I know it's not everyones cup-o-tea but that's the way the industry does things. For now.

    Sean
  5. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,248
    Loc:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    It's a CAT model. He's got a very high tech house and the lower emissions, .8 vs 2.9 grams per hour efficiency of 69% vs 82 % were the keys. (Back to the efficiency thing...I assume given that these are the same stoves, that the CAT burns less wood to produce the same heat)
  6. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    As we all know effeciency and clean burning is accomplished burning well seasoned wood. IT's amazing haw far the industry has cleaned up stoves. I mean .8 grams. Meal while my parts to rebuild my newly purched used Encore, will be arriving soon.
    Re build is the wrong term. All cast seams are tight. Basically I am missing parts like andirons, Handles. Im replacing the giddle top the front cast loop that the handle would fit on is broken While at it the top griddle gasket should be replaced every 4 or so years.
    I an goind to rebuild the fromt doors including re setting the glass and associated gasketing. I am also changing the rear 8" oval flue collar to the 6" round option, I will be replacing the ashpan gaskets and the flue collar gaskets since I taking it off anyways.
    I hope to have this stove running as good or better than new,. Additional total for parts about $100 It is still a fantastic deal for $600
    I know I will receive that much for my 3 year old Resolute Acclaim, If I do not give it to a needy familly
  7. riguy

    riguy New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Rhode Island
    I had an Aspen in my last house. It was good little stove. It was a small house and the Aspen was able to heat the whole thing. Granted, it was working it's butt off to do it...but I doubt it was ever designed for that. I did find it required a lot of tinkering to keep it running decent. It's not one of those set it and forget it stoves. It needed adjustments every hour or so. My biggest complaint would be the small log size it takes. 14" max. Kind of a pain...makes you handle that much more wood. I never realized how bad it was till I got my new stove.

    Overall impression....The VW of woodstoves. Takes some work to keep it going, but should give faithful service in return.
  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,337
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    They are definitely making a marketing effort - like "The New CFM", the question comes down to what they are doing in R&D, customer service and also in terms of who they sell to. VC is (still) trying to have their cake and eat it too - meaning they want to sell to everybody from the LP dealer, to the chimney sweep to the mass merchant. Traditional hearth dealers don't really like this, but then again a company with so many products like CFM almost has to sell to many outlets because of their hundreds of products.

    Dealers will pass up exclusivity sometimes....but they need something in place of it like a good price or lots of customers walking in the door asking for a product.

    The entire VC story is very interesting. The initial designs were actually pretty bad for many applications....unless you were heating a large farmhouse in VT - which a lot of people WERE. The castings and fit/finish were amazing as was the enamel. But in the early days the stoves were not as easy to burn and service as were competitors like Jotul, Upland and the zillions of steel models.

    BUT, because VC was ONLY sold direct to customers in the early days, they spent millions of dollars on marketing and direct mail. They established a "cult" of users who are not unlike the cult here in the Forums.....people who influenced others and talk a lot. No other brand was even close in getting fixed into the customers mind.

    However, VC soon found out that stove dealers were selling against them and making inroads...since most people cannot get a stove by common carrier and then deal with it. They also started having service and warranty issues in the field with no one to take care of them. They opened a few dealers and gave the dealers a low markup for the priviledge of selling VC. The first dealers were able to sell scads of stoves - often 500-800 a year - good numbers for back then.

    When other stoves started improving and going catalytic, VC was again left with nothing. They came up with add-on technology that was expensive and didn't work well. Same with coal...they had retrofit kits that didn't work well. Same with clean glass - when other stoves were staying clean, the VC line stayed dirty.

    Finally, they bit the bullet and went back to the drawing board and created the Encore....from scratch. Then they did the Acclaim, then retrofitted the Intrepid and then the Winterwarms. They also updated the Vigilant for coal. Now they have a full line of redesigned and newly designed units.

    It is much tougher to make changes and upgrades in the cast iron stove biz, because of the time and expense in creating patterns and molds. Steel stove companies can work at 10X the speed.

    VC is still a legend. The sad part of the story is that many who helped this company get started are either broke or passed away....one of each in the case of the founders. They went bust or almost bust a number of time, and the "old' CFM CEO was reportedly an unsavory charachter. The legacy is, unfortunately, not good although we all want it to be! It's the American Dream to think that people who do good will all turn out right in the end, but those who have been in business know that there are many forces at work and sometimes the best efforts are not good enough.

    The good news is this: VC spawned a large part of the industry.....a number of the people who worked there are still in the stove biz working as consultants, contractors, reps and designers and are responsible for MANY of the top notch products you see in the market today. Once stoves get into your blood, it's tough to do anything else.
  9. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Messages:
    806
    Loc:
    Phoenixville, PA
    One thing that should be mentioned is that they re-instated their limited lifetime warantee. One shop I talked to said he stopped selling their products when they got rid of the lifetime warantee. I just bought my stove recently, and the manual it came with (I believe was 2005 printing) did NOT show the lifetime warantee but now the website does show it, and says this supersedes what was in my manual.

    LINK to new warantee
  10. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,670
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    i think i would print that out for future reference. you know in case it disappears as fast as it came
  11. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Funny one should ask about warranties. I have had this discussion with VC I cut and pasted some of the e-mail responses I have had with VC



    Dutchwest non-cat and Encore non-cat, Defiant non-cat we have a lifetime warranty on the Everburn combustion components.

    One thing that VC does that is heads above the rest is they warranty the glass gasket cement and gasketing for a year many stove companies offer no warranty what so ever on these components.

    The catalyst will be warranted for a six year period as follows
  12. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    1,830
    Loc:
    Casper Wyoming
    Still can't get a concrete definition of life time though I assume it's 7 years. And I stand by my opinion that they should offer a 5 or 7 year warranty on castings instead of 3.
  13. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Messages:
    806
    Loc:
    Phoenixville, PA
    lifetime=as long as the original purchaser owns it (which assumes he or she is alive, and hasn't sold it). The warrantee doesn't transfer.
  14. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    1,830
    Loc:
    Casper Wyoming
    Where is that defined? The legal definition of lifetime is 7 years, that is all the longer a company has to provide replacement parts etc. for a product.
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,337
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    VC never had any longer than a 3 year warranty for the tile I was selling them (85-98).

    I am not going to read or comment on the new warranty, but in my experience the longer the warranty, the less it covers. When you read the fine print of some of these and see that you have to pay for all labor, shipping, etc. and then there are exclusions for almost everything that would cause damage (overfiring, etc.), you realize that warranties of this type are usually selling tools.

    Good point about the availability of castings....in general, you cannot get castings 10 years after the last of a model is made.

    When all this is taken together, a good reputation and good consumer experiences goes a lot further than ANY warranty. VC has often went above and beyond warranties on the Encore, Acclaim and similar models when they failed prematurely. On the other hand, many customers who owned these stoves were stuck with $500-$1000 rebuild jobs 5-7 years after purchase...which did not sit well. Even if the parts were given free, the cost for rebuilding an encore can easily run over $500 in labor and reinstall alone.

    Maybe these companies would be smart to offer extended warranties that would cover EVERYTHING....but for a price. Like $100 for each year you want it extended. That would put it in line with similar warranties on other products.
  16. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,337
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Lifetime=The exact number of years one corporate entity is in existence before selling or transfer to another, who can always reorg and not honor existing warranties.

    Buck Stove had one of the early lifetime warranties. It worked this way - if your firebox warped, you were due a hunk of steel. All other costs were on you (after the first few years).

    We had a similar, but better, warranty when I had the US rights to Tarm boilers. It was 20 year, but prorated. I think it was 100% in year 1, then to 50% in year 5 and then 50% of parts for the rest of the term. Because the parts were marked up over double, that meant we made money on any warranties after 5 years (in theory).

    In Europe, the customer is much more savvy. They EXPECT things to wear and go wrong, and therefore they don't have contests to see who can offer the longest warranty. When the Tarms here were 20 years, the same models in Europe had a 2 year warranty.

    If a person wants a stove to last forever, they'd be good buying a solid steel box with parts that could be welded or made if company goes out of biz. IN reality, anything longer than 10-12 years is gravy for a heavily used stove.
  17. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Messages:
    806
    Loc:
    Phoenixville, PA

    Really? I did not know that. What tends to go bad? WIll it warp or crack eventually even if never overfired? Or are you assuming that sometime in the 10-12 years it will be overfired? I was (maybe naively) thinking it would last basically forever and the only things I'd have to replace were the gaskets and maybe the glass window.

    As for certain specifics in the warrantee - yes, they are left ambiguous (definition of "life of this product", there is no mention of labor costs whatsoever, etc.) From what I understand, NO manufacturer warrantees against damage due to overfiring.
  18. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Naturally heat and contraction plays with refactory seams of cast iron parts. To an extent plate steel welds can give out. There is a lot of heat generated running stoves 24/7. Naturally overfiring accelerates the metal fatigue process.
    Just what needs attention? I have rebuilt cast iron stoves. I take them apart scrape grind off all refactory seams and re-apply
    refactory cement and re- essmble them. Done right and you are good to go another 10/12 years. In the process I replace all gaskets probably should be done every 5/6 years. Currently I am working on a 1999 Encore but used only two heating seasons.
    All refactory seams are fine. I will be replacing the gridle gasket Last about 4 yrs and rebuilding the glass doors New perimeter gaskets plus all new glass gaskets . Since I am changing to the 6" flue collar,, I will also change those gaskets. I expect this stove to look about new and preform equal or better than new, Lasting 6 more years before assesing it again. I will however need to change cats in a year or two, its not bad now ,I may just change it and all the gaskets that suround the essembly. One can do this when you find a stove used only 2 years and pay only $500. This stove appearance is so good, there are no chips in the cermanics coating.
    Remember I do not have to go to this extent but once into it I might as well. Any stove you buy your milage will vary. I got 25 years out of my first Effel here. and it is still in opperation
  19. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,337
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    And that stove was made of thin sheet metal you could cut with a shears!

    Sometimes heavy materials work against themselves, because they "give" less and therefore crack or warp. In theory, the best stove would be relatively thin wall and have lots of bends or curves. Keep in mind that most stoves are designed for looks - that is really what made VC and Jotul take off. The market is looking for ALL the bells and whistles, not just something that works well.

    I made Upland stoves for a few years and am pleased to say that MANY of the 1979-85 models are still in use. We had one major problem over the years, which was hairline cracks in the rear casting of the 207 model. Turns out that large castings are bad. VC also had this problem with earlier stoves, so they went to a 2-piece back instead of a one piece.

    In most cases, neither iron or steel will fall apart, but EPA stoves create another problem. They get so hot on the interior that certain parts which support the high temps can need regular replacement. Some of these parts are expensive (like Elk says, VC Cat and Refractories), others are cheap (Avalon tubes and firebrick).
  20. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,670
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    i agree with the warranty as being a selling tool. i have a gas grill that has a lifetime warrenty. i asked when i bought it who's lifetime? mine or yours? and what i was told was how ever long the base of the grill lasts. the grill is a ducane. their are known to go 20 to 30 years. so when i bought it i told him give me the stainless base. i'm hopeing i can get a few more years out of it. we paid big money for it because we didn't want to but a new one every 3 years. it seems the ones the sell for cheap no matter what the brand they go fast. so far so good 4 years old. if i bought a new stove and had to replace something in the first 5 years i'd be very dissapointed and would not be brand loyal.
  21. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    9,226
    Loc:
    Lake Wissota
    Too bad Ducane was bought out by Weber recently. Your lifetime warranty is done. I also have a Ducane grill, had it for 6 years and counting. Great grill, the only problem was the auto ingition went out a few years back so I just light it with one of those long lighters.
  22. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Ignition lighter can be replaced. Check for rust grease or crap around the igniter also the screw ground contact . Anyone of these issues can cause a working igniter not to function
  23. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,670
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    todd that's bad news. but are they honoring the warrenty? elks right unless when you turn the knob there is no click. i bought that grill on reputation. just when you think you can trust something poof see ya. it's still a excilente grill. hopefully vermont castings come back strong. if they make stove quality like my old defiant they won't have a problem.
  24. skypager

    skypager New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    87
    Loc:
    Bucks County, PA
    The ignitors on a Ducane are a snap to replace and shouldn't cost you more than $15 - 20.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page