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VC Defiant Encore model 2190 Long thread! Pics Dutchwest re-install!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by VCBurner, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    I'm debating purchasing a VC Defiant Encore 2190. It is a blue enamel with the 6" and 8" flue collars. I have a 6" thimble going into my masonry clay lined utility chimney in the basement. It is a dedicated chimney that's not being used. I've heard some things about the fragile refractory housing on these stoves. The seller tells me the stove is in great shape as he took it appart every year and cleaned the secondary burn chamber and cat. He mentions the cat is 6 years old and that he used it to supplement heat and not as a main heater. He has never had a problem with the refractory package. The seller purchased it new in 1994.

    Can anyone comment on the burn length of this stove? Or any experience with it! How hard is it to get parts for this stove?
    Does anyone have a link to the owner's manual? I could find one for the #0028 but not the #2190.

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  2. afptl

    afptl Member

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    I am burning a Vermont Castings Intrepid II which is a CAT stove. It is smaller than the stove you are looking at. The only thing I would say is I would not put the stove in the basement if you aren't there to watch it. With the cat stove we have, we have to watch the temp, then switch it over to CAT. Find, because it is in the living room and we are all here. Could get too hot on you if left alone in the basement and not watching it. Just some thoughts, God Bless, ann
  3. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Hey VCburner,that could be a great unit, but what do you have planned for it? I posted in a different thread that I'd made alot of money over the years servicing catalytic stoves and someone thought I was nuts, but this is the stove I was talking about. THe2140, 2190,and2550 all are loaded with expensive parts that just love to have themselves for lunch! THe magic number for these guys though is 3. If you intend to make it "work for a living" and end up burning about 3 cords per year, I'd suggest a different stove, as this one will likely become expensive to maintain. However, if it's NOT gonna run all the time, you'll probably get good mileage out of it. On a cord or 2 a year they seem to hang in there. You're also in a milder climate so that's to your advantage. Encore are wonderful performers, and have every feature known to man. It's a little like owning a fancy sports car(I suppose) in that when everything is tuned up and running right, they are awesome, but if one thing gets out of whack, and there are plenty of "things", she goes downhill fast. Much more complex stove than most. Good luck , make the right choice,Happy Heating!!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    That about sums it up. Brings back bad memories of 4 years of misery.
  5. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    This is exactly the type of reply I wanted to hear. Could you tell me more specific details about what usually goes wrong with these stoves and why. It sounds like you're experienced with these stoves, so you'd be a good source of information like this. I've heard of the refractory package being fragile and expensive to replace. What other parts are prone to frequent replacement? Thank you for your post defiant3!!
    Thanks for the reply Solar! Can you tell me what happened? What went wrong and what did you have to replace? Also what model did you have?
  6. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    2140 for 2 years and then a 2190 for 2 years. Same cycle with both. I light in late September and burn until Mother's Day and don't have a furnace. In retrospect, I was pushing the stoves too hard because I was a little naive in interpreting the glossy marketing brochures about what they should be able to heat. So, they would be OK for a few months and then something small would happen that would quickly turn into something big. One time was a split that rolled down and cracked the glass in the middle of January when we weren't home, but most were small gasket issues. There are many places they can develop air leaks and they all aren't that noticeable if they happen over time. Also, the burn control is finicky. You can go away from the stove thinking you are cruise control and come back to an out of control burn. In the end, both completely melted down within 2 years and the parts were ridiculously expensive. The first time, I believed the dealer that it was me, the wood, etc. The second time I found Hearth.com and came up with a more appropriate solution.

    FWIW, I think if you burn them well within their spec and never push them, it is a beautiful stove that burns nicely. Just wasn't appropriate for my application and I think this is where most people get into trouble with them.
  7. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    I've been running a model #0028 for several years now, and I'd have to agree with most of the comments in this thread.

    Positives: Good looking stove, efficient heater, top loader (if you care about that sort of thing)... uh, did I mention its a good looking stove?

    Negatives: Parts are expensive, the cat is on the higher end of expensive cats to replace ($200 whereas many cost about half that), fragile refractory housing (they go for about $200 to $250), lots of moving parts (stuff that can break), high learning curve to operate the stove.

    I have friends that heat their average-sized renovated 1840's house with a 2190 and they have very little trouble getting the place warm. However, they totally gutted the walls and added new siding and insulation and have a low ceiling, so for an old construction its pretty tight. Basically, it would be a good stove for someone with a tightly insulated house that wouldn't have to push the stove that hard. Though, if I were looking for a similar looking stove with similar heating capacities, I would look for something like a Jotul instead.
  8. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Solar, I have read many of your posts. I value the opinion of an experienced stove user such as yourself. Especially, since you used the stove I'm considering. My goal for the basement stove is only to be a secondary heater. We are expecting boy number 5 in May. So I'm going to build a bedroom for my two older boys and a playroom down there. It'll be roughly 700 square feet of finnished space. The room would not need to be heated during the daytime. My goal is to start fires in the afternoon for when they get home from school and have an overnight burn for the two that are sleeping down there. I don't know how much wood it would take to do so. I'm guessing around 1.5-2 cords of wood per season.

    Question: How long were your burns when the Encore was in good shape?

    I am restricted by my budget, considering all the purchases we'll be making with the new baby and construction expenses. I'm looking at two different used stoves for $400. The seller had the Encore advertised at $800, then he dropped it to $600 and I talked him down to $400 by voicing my concearns with the stove. The other is a Hearthstone Harvest (built in 1990.) The Harvest has long term heat storage with the soapstones, but parts are hard to find. I fear the smoke seaping through the stones and a funky air intake over the glass door. I don't know how it would work with only two fires per day. The Encore could be a good fit, but can be expensive to maintain. I keep my stoves clean, it's my opinion that a clean stove heats better than a clogged up and dirty one. I take appart the connectors and secondary chamber at least twice per year to clean and inspect.

    I've thought about buying a new cheaper steel stove also. But a new one would go for an additional $200!
    Well, that's the story. What do you and the Hearth.com community think?
  9. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    If $ are gonna be an issue,and for most of us it is, DON'T get an Encore. Usually when people call me , the damper is acting wierd, or it's running too hot, or they see cracks on the inside componentds, orthe've damaged the refractory through handleing.( thefact vthat this guy is in there annually is enough to make me think it's kinda banged up) An encore that needs one thing inside there is likely to need everything. Remember I said it all has to work harmoniously. So the parts kit is over $400.00' which is all the major internals, then a catalyst is $200.00 or so , then gasket kit $40.00 or whatever, then you may pay someone to do the work... See where we're going? This is a common thing. Sooner or later, it'l happen to you, and so an extra $200.00 or even $400.00 up front on a stove that just won't need much of anything later is SO well spent. Keep looking.
  10. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I saw them marking down stoves when I was at Home Depot on Tuesday.
  11. Redburn

    Redburn Member

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    I run a 2190 and it works great for me but from reading all the negatives here I keep a close eye on it I have 2 thermometers on it one on the stove the other on the oval to round collar. It helps me determine when to engage cat. For me working the air control as the wood gets caught keeps it from running away on me. Someone once described it as a woodburning machine on here lol its true I have a lot of hours in studying this stove. I run it at 550 to 650 depending on the wood. It runs at a even temp for me for 3 to 4 hrs then goes down slowly 8 to 9 hrs and I still have a lot of coals for a easy restart..... Mine is from 94 also but was like brand new it came out of a summer home that was rarely used..... good luck.....
  12. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    I called the closest 4 HD's tonight and none of them have anything on sale. Some didn't have much in stock at all! I hate that store, to me they stand for everything that's destroying this country of ours! Incompetent sales people who know very little about the products they sell, and the cheapest quality products they can possibly sell with the worst customer service.

    OK, now that I got that out of my chest, I don't want to buy a stove that will cause me problems in the long haul. Is there anyone that has had a positive experience with the Defiant Encore?
  13. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Redburn, how long have you had the stove? Ever replaced any parts? How much wood do you burn? 24/7? How much space doyou heat with it?
  14. redhat

    redhat Member

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    Yeah, I'm one of them. I'm on my second Encore, I retired a 20 year old 0028 a few years ago and replaced it with a 2550. The catalytic encores have all the features I'm looking for in a stove: long burn times, top loading and swing out ash pan. If there is a better looking stove out there I've yet to see it. I burn 24.x7 and run through about 4 cord a year, so guess I would not be considered a casual burner.

    I agree that replacement parts are not cheap, but prices are a lot better now under MHSC ownership than they were in the CFM days. I did a complete rebuild on my 0028 after I pulled it out of service, it was in rough shape after 20 years but other than replacing cats every 5 years no other work had been done on it. For me the Encores are worth the extra expense, but they are not for everyone.
  15. Redburn

    Redburn Member

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    I've had it for 3 seasons so far and no problems except gaskets..... I have been burning since November we have a 3800 sqft victorian tuder big open floor plan. The first yr the oil man told us it cut our bill about 50 % which is good for us , being a large older home i worry about pipes breaking. I burn about 4 to 5 cords . I start burning early because the house is stone and seems cold. How much is the guy asking for the stove? I paid 800$ but it was mint and I had the wamring shelves and the heat shields top and bottom........ the combuster was like new
  16. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Redburn, give it another year or two....
  17. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Here's my two cents on the subject.

    I love the look of VC stoves and I hope the new 2-in-1 stoves prove to be reliable, well made, and cost effective to maintain. If that is the case I will buy one in the future to replace the Vigilant in the next few years.

    BUT, the old cat system was expensive to maintain. Anywhere from $700-1100 dollars every few years for the Encores and Defiants. That cost right there is the equivalent of a new stove from several manufacturers. When I was shopping for the third stove I ran across several Encores and Defiants that were seemingly in great visual condition and made within the last 10 years going for $500-$900 as the owners were just trying to unload them since they were tired of the ongoing maintenance cost. Everyone of them needed new Cats and Assemblies along with additional parts. Yes, all stoves need to be maintained and additional costs are involved. But the cost of maintaining the larger VC is quite a bit more than nearly every other stove on the market.

    Does that mean you will have a bad experience? No. You may be lucky and your stove functions well and your assembly & cat lasts you for many years with the cost to maintain the stove ending up being inexpensive. But, my feeling is that luck should not play a part in successfully heating a home. I had to go in another direction.

    I'm not saying you should or should not purchase the stove. But you need to keep this in mind when you make your purchase and you need to ask your self are you willing to spend the equivalence of another stove to maintain your stove every few years?
  18. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Thank you for all the responses! You guys are not making my decision any easier. People tried to steer me away from purchasing a Dutchwest. Lots of folks had bad memories, but so far it's been a blast to burn in it. I can't complain about it at all, it does everything I wanted it to do and more. Finicky? I guess sometimes. But it has heated my house extremely well.

    It's a 1994 Defiant Encore #2190 in blue enamel. He had it priced at $800 originally. Obviously too strong for a 16 year old stove. Dropped it to $600 by the time I saw it. I explained the situation and offered $350, he'll accept $400. He has the original 8" flue collar and the optional 6" collar to go with it (also comes with a hearth pad.) I have not seen it in person yet. He tells me he only used it to supplement heat and has cleaned the secondary chamber every year. He says the stove is in good functioning shape. The cat is 6 years old, but not used frequently, so he says.

    Souds like a happy owner to me. Thanks for the comment redhat. It means a lot to me that you replaced a 20 year old #0028 with a newer model. I love the look of these stoves. Burning four cords a year and doing the job also makes a difference.
  19. Redburn

    Redburn Member

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    Lol!! That's what I was thinking ..... Been looking at Oslo's my buddy has a #3 and I like how it runs.... The thermometer is my guide to keeping the the stove at a safe running temp and making it last , my opinion is dont over fire and it will last longer thermometer is 20$ buy a couple of the 3 of my friends said the stove shop people never mentioned it?????? wow! one guy broke 3 bricks the other a weld and a couple bricks.... Thermometer there less than 20$ Saves stoves lives.....People here say u don't need them if u don't then we don't need them in cars either or on our ovens..... LOL just ranting........
  20. Jimxj2000

    Jimxj2000 Member

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    I have a 2140 that we have been burning 24X7 October through April. This is our 5th year using it and I think I know what I am doing now. But it has taken 5 years and a rebuild of the stove to get to the point of knowing how to work the stove.

    I don’t think it is a bad stove – lots of heat and high efficiency. If you are buying your wood – high efficiency means less money. If not then, less cutting, splitting and stacking. Time is money too.

    They to take some work – tending the fire and maintenance. We are now running two thermometers – stove top and flue. The cat needs to be cleaned every couple weeks – this only takes a few minutes with a cool stove (like end of an overnight burn). There are little things that can and will break – like the damper tabs on the door and wire for the thermostat handle. You can find the parts on-line and the repair manual – look in the wiki section on this page. If not send me an email I think I have a copy. The factory service manual is very good with what to check and how to fix. This is different from the owners manual.

    We had to take ours apart last spring. The second tab on the damper door broke and it would not stay closed. With hindsight we should have fix it after the first tab broke. Once taking it apart we realize it needed some work. The refractory was completely falling apart, the fire back was warped, and all the passages were filled with ash.

    We thought about replacing the stove we a new one. But the $500 in parts was much cheaper than a quality new stove. Once we put the stove back together and ran it we realized it probably was never working correctly since we bought the house. Great heat, long burn times, and we feel like we know how to run the stove now. My wife tends it during the day.

    Congratulations on #5. Our 5th in one the way, so I am thinking of putting a second stove similar stove in the addition.

    One other potential drawback is that stove likes to run, it doesn’t like to startup. From match time to walking away for the day is probably close to an hour for lighting, getting the fire going, warming up the stove, engaging the cat, disengaging the cat, adding some more wood, heating it up, engaging the cat, etc. I am sure this can be done faster, but I like to go slow with the heat up – I suspect a lot of the warping and cracking occurs during start.
  21. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    My Dad had a Defiant Encore (recently found this out after tracking down the current owner) and I thought it was a very good stove. My Dad had a love/hate relationship with it. Expensive stove which replaced his Englander smoke dragon of the day and yet made a bunch of creosote. It was a cat stove. I don't think my Dad ever really ran the stove correctly to light-off the cat and he could have used a little more seasoned wood. Other than that, no problems. It was an early 90's stove. The current owner told me he has it in his living room and it is still going strong.

    For 400 bucks, it might be worth a look.

    Good luck,
    Bill
  22. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Congratulations on your new addition to the family! From your comments, it seems that this stove is hard to operate but can be great if done correctly. That is the main conclusion so far. How long between reloads? It says 10 hours on the specs do you agree?
  23. redhat

    redhat Member

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    I would say the Encore is no harder to operate than any other cat stove out there. With a full load of hardwood you can go 10 hrs between loads and still have enough coals left to get a new load going fairly easily.
  24. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    I talked to the wife about it today. She has always loved the look of the Defiant Encores. She sees my plan now and agrees with the purchase. Also talked to the seller today and said I would come down to hopefully take it home at some point in late February. He said he was not in a hurry and would hold it for me. I owe him a call to finalize a pick up day in a couple of weeks. It all depends on a visual inspection of the firebox and exterior of the stove. The advice of the guy who sold me my first EPA stove also came in handy. He told me to inspect the cat, refractory and fireback for signs of warpage and overfires. As well as evidence of cracking of the enamel as a sure sign of abuse. Based on this inspection I'll either come home with it or leave it in New Hampshire!

    Please feel free to give your opinion. I still want to learn more about this stove, good or bad! Thanks everyone.

    Chris
  25. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    If you are interested in the stove and want it, put the money down now and pick it up as soon as possible. It is well documented that I had a tough time purchasing the third stove. I had two Fireviews and a Mansfield fall through on me. One was sold out from under me and the other two "changed their mind". I had a pick up and payment agreement with all three.

    Bottom line; you want the stove? Pick it up ASAP.

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