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VC Montpelier fire dies when door closed

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Adam Charney, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. Adam Charney

    Adam Charney New Member

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    Hello,
    I am new to this forum (and fairly new to wood stoves) and just bought a Vermont Castings Montpelier insert. I am having a problem though, I can get a fire burning with a few logs when the door is cracked open about 1"-2". But, as soon as I close the door (even after about 30 minutes of solid flame) the fire gets choked, it fills with smoke inside and completely goes out in a minute or two.

    I am using supposedly seasoned oak, so that shouldn't be the problem, especially since it seems to burn fine with the door open. I have set the intake control lever all the way open, but that doesn't affect it. The intake control seems like it isn't doing anything either -if I switch it from all the way open to all the way closed it doesn't change the flames or draft at all. I'm wondering if there could be a defect in the intake control. It is like 50 degrees here right now, would outside temp make that much difference in draft? I'm probably going to go to the dealer we bought it from soon to talk to them, but if any of you have any ideas or tips, please let me know...

    Thanks!

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  2. rkofler

    rkofler Burning Hunk

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    Outside temp does play a role, 50 is a little bit warm for a strong draft. However, sorry to tell you, it most likely is your wood. Go buy some wood bricks and/or some kiln dried to test. Good luck
  3. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    I'll bet a dollar that the "supposedly" in front of "seasoned" represents a large part of the problem. Outside temp isn't helping either- my stove doesn't like starting at such temps either.
    BrowningBAR likes this.
  4. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I'm with BlueDog, the wood is probably the issue. Combine that with 50 degree weather and you are going to find burning to be difficult.
  5. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Your oak is not dry enough.
  6. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like unseasoned wood to me, unless somehow your air control isn't working. As someone else mentioned, best test is to get some Ecobrocks or something like them and try using just a few of those.
  7. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Wood, insufficient chimney or air control. My money is on the wood or chimney, how long has the wood but cut/split/stacked and can you describe the chimney to us from bottom to top?
  8. num1hitter

    num1hitter Member

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    I am in agreement with the previous posters. Seasoned wood is most likely your problem. The only way to find out if your wood is seasoned is to buy a moisture meter. It will definitely be a good purchase and used often if you are serious about burning wood. It took me a year to realize this and now I am not having any issues with truly seasoned wood. You want to split the wood and get a reading of 20% or below. You can order one online for about $15 on amazon

    http://www.amazon.com/DUSIEC-Handhe...qid=1356032368&sr=8-2&keywords=moisture meter

    or get one a Lowes or HD for $30. Another way to determine if your insert is working correctly is buy some of the kiln dried wood from a grocery store and light it up and see how it burns.
    Dave A. likes this.
  9. Adam Charney

    Adam Charney New Member

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    Thanks all for the suggestions so far. I talked to the rep at the local store, and the leading theory is that the air control isn't functioning properly, or something is blocking the intake channel inside. As I mentioned, when the door is cracked slightly, the wood burns fine, and there is good draw. I burned it like this for a half hour, and then closing the door completely stops all flow, the stove fills with smoke, and fire goes completely out within a few minutes. Adjusting the air control has absolutely 0 affect on the flames/draw.

    I would think that this would eliminate the chimney and dampness of the wood since everything burns fine and draw is good with the door cracked about an inch, right?

    The wood is oak, and was just bought from a tree service that said it is very well seasoned. Of course they could be just bs-ing. I will buy a meter to test...

    The chimney is two stories high, and was inspected by a local reputable chimney company. They extended it a foot or so to code, re-pointed, recapped, and a new liner was put down by the stove installers. I don't know much more detail about the chimney than that right now.

    I will try burning again tonight and see if I get any other info/results...
  10. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Which is what wet wood does.
  11. Adam Charney

    Adam Charney New Member

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    Ok, well maybe it is my ignorance/inexperience then. I just ordered a moisture meter (mini-Ligno E/D : for wood) and should be here Saturday (Amazon prime). Will let you guys know what I find out.

    I do find it hard to believe this could be a wood moisture issue, especially since the wood seems very dry, and I was told it is very well seasoned wood, but I could be sorely mistaken, and also could have been mislead about the wood...

    In the mean time, if anyone else has a Montpelier I'd be interested to know your experience, and if the intake control has much affect on the draw, or if it is a notoriously poor flowing stove or anything...
  12. etiger2007

    etiger2007 Minister of Fire

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    I quit reading this post as soon as i read "the wood burns with the door open but not closed". Do you have access to other wood from a friend you could try? If you posted something other than oak I would have many thoughts but as beat to death oak takes three plus years to dry and that tree service company might think its good after a year but it isnt. Im betting the oak is 30% moisture or more any takers?
  13. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    If you have the means you could split the wood smaller that might help, Oak is a dense wood and it is harder to get going than other types even when dry, if not dry you will have problems.
  14. dorkweed

    dorkweed Guest

    Adam..................just a few words of advice here...................................don't argue with the guys here about your wood. What you've just described here is classic "Wet Wood 101"!!!! Even me, being a new member of less than a year could spot that!!!! These guys that have the post numbers in the several thousands usually know there stuff about burning wood!!!

    Now if you want to venture to the"Ash Can".............................argue with these Libs all you want!!!!!:cool:
    rkshed likes this.
  15. Adam Charney

    Adam Charney New Member

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    Yes, I don't mean to argue with anyone. I definitely acknowledge this could be the problem, and I also very much appreciate all the input from everyone. It seems to be the consensus here that it is the wood, and I am looking into this. Hopefully will try some other wood tonight or tomorrow if I can find some.
  16. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    Usually the grocery stores or convenience stores have those shrink wrapped packages of wood, buy a couple and see what the stove does. The oak you have could have been seasoned a year and it still wouldnt be enough, I found that out my first year the hard way, two years might not be enough either.
  17. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    The outside of the wood will seem dry after splitting in just a week or so. It's the inside that counts. When you test the MC...grab a split and re-split it down the middle and test the inside sides. Oak needs 2-3 years split, stacked in the open, with some sun, to be good firewood. Even pine needs 8 mos to be tolerable but 12 mos is better.
    I'm gonna guess 38% MC with this oak.
  18. rkshed

    rkshed Feeling the Heat

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    HaHaaHaa!
    True on all counts.
    Wet wood (classic and i'll bet its at 35%) and these guys know exactly what they are talking about regarding wood.
    Also, the part about being wicked Liberal is crazy true too but at least I feel like I have more in common with them than this year's person of the year.
  19. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    You don't need a moisture meter to get an idea on the wood. Split one down the middle and touch it to your cheek, if it's damp on your cheek it's not ready.

    Assuming the wood is ok and the chimney sounds good take us through the steps you're using when starting a fire. Kindling/firestarter/size of splits, arrangement in the stove etc.....
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  20. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    This. Even here when a lot of folks burn regularly they have those.

    Seasoning is relative to some people-I've seen many people list "seasoned wood" and truly believe it is, simply because it was dropped and bucked into rounds for a year. Never mind it was split a few weeks ago. Even CSS wood can lack seasoning if it's stacked tight or in a location w/o good wind and sun exposure.
  21. glennm

    glennm Burning Hunk

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    Hi

    I have a Montpellier and the damper control has a lot of effect on the fire. I start my fire with the door cracked, close the door after a few minutes and then gradually reduce the draft until it is all the way to the right. I guess it is possible the airway is blocked?

    Damp wood burns very poorly in my stove! Good luck! Attached is a terrible cell photo of my current fire. Damper is fully closed, temp at the top of the door is about 600 degrees

    Attached Files:

  22. deck2

    deck2 Burning Hunk

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    Does that wood sizzle when you are burning with the door open? 6 years ago when I was new to burning I bought a load of "seasoned" wood and all year I could hear a sizzle from the wood and found out what that sizzle means to a chimney, What a terrible year, now I have enough land and the right equipment to process my own wood. Sorry that you are having troubles-hope you get things worked out.
  23. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Set a load or two of wood next to the stove and like oldspark said split it one more time.
    I would do this last year and it worked nicely, i even stacked the load or two cabin style about 2 foot from the stove. The stove will dry it out pretty fast.
    Plus with less than good seasoned wood you need to start your fires with some good kindling and use extra amounts.
    I would load up the back of the stove then leave some room on hot coals in the front to stack a nice pile of small kindling.
    This burns hot and fast and gets the heat up in the stove quickly to counter the less than perfect wood.
    Using kindling split out of a high btu fuel like dry oak works amazingly better at getting heat built up in the firebox quickly.
    Since the wood is maybe not real dry let the fire box heat up hotter like a stove top of 450 to 500 before starting to cut back on the input air.
    Then cut back in 1/4 ways increments to let the heat build a little more before cutting it back again 1/4 ways etc...

    Set Something like this next to your stove to dry wood


    http://www.target.com/p/threshold-m...shed-bronze/-/A-14105053#prodSlot=medium_1_16



    [​IMG]




    http://www.plowhearth.com/american-...ing-log-rack-with-set-of-3-tools_p409513.html

    [​IMG]
    oldspark likes this.
  24. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Huntingdog1, good advice and that log basket is nice, I think we should all chip in and buy the vintage milk crate on that same page for BWS's vintage butt.
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  25. mook1302

    mook1302 New Member

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    What speed are you running your fan on??

    Also how do you usually run the stove to get the most heat out of it...?? Ive been back and forth... i tried following the manual which says for high output run fan horizontal (high) and air lever all the way to the left (open)... Does that really give you the most heat or am i just wasting wood.

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