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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

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    Nashville, TN
    Ok, so I got the stove running good last night! What I did different is that I added a lot more small wood chips, and split some of the logs, then I lit it and tended to it with the door open about 2 inches for about an hour, hour and a half. Closing the door before waiting would have killed the fire. After tending and adding a couple more logs for the first 1.5 hours the stove got hot enough and I was able to close the door! After that point, when the stove got very hot, I did see a difference in the flames when I would slide the intake control left and right. A good few hours into it and I could slide it all the way to the right (closed) and the fire was going strong.

    So maybe it is the wood being too moist, causing it to take a long time to get up to high enough temperature. The intake control just doesn't do much at all until the stove gets up to temperature. After talking with others, it seems that some stoves really require you to keep the door ajar for a good amount of time (even with well seasoned wood) until the fire gets going strong enough to close it and control it with the intake control. The manual of the Montpelier says to never operate with the door open, and seems to imply you can just light it and close the door in a couple minutes and be fine. I'm thinking this is just a stretch, and not quite realistic.

    So bottom line is, my wood probably isn't very well seasoned, the stove intake control only really makes a difference when the fire really gets going, and this stove requires some time to get going which necessitates leaving the door ajar 1"-2" for a while.

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions and input! Hopefully this thread will help someone else out who buys the Montpelier.

    P.S. The fan works very well, but is a bit loud when on full. But you can adjust the speed to a lower setting and it is not too bad, and you can turn it off all together if you just want the fire for ambiance.

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  2. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    You really should not have to have the door open for more than a few minutes unless the wood is wet or you have some what of a poor draft.
    dougand3 and mook1302 like this.
  3. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    706
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    I have a Montpelier and am very happy with it. First season was rough, yes it was the wood. Since then no problems.

    I start with some kindling and small splits on bottom, larger splits on top. About 10-15 minutes after a cold start the door is closed and locked. In another 10-15 minutes the air is getting shut down. When I load for an over-night burn it takes a little longer to get the air shut down but the door is closed within 15 minutes. It takes a longer for the tightly packed wood to get up to out-gassing temps when the stove is fully loaded.

    I have a 15' tall, 6" SS flue, internal chimney, straight shot to the roof with a moderate draft except on colder days. Colder days it has a very strong draft.

    Keeping the door open will eventually overheat the stove. If you are watching it fine but don't leave it unattended in that state.

    Have you tried any kiln dried wood yet?


    KaptJaq
  4. mook1302

    mook1302 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    23
    When im starting the fire im my Montpelier i dont leave my door open but i just so called semi-latch it where the door is locked (handle around the the 7'oclock position) but not sealed the whole way giving it more air to help get started.. I let that go until the wood is going pretty good (probably about 10 min).. on a cold start it might be more like 20 min... I have found the the stove is very sensitive to moisture in the wood..

    Is it taking you that long on a cold start? or is this restarting a fire the next evening after having a fire the previous night? (at this point the stove should still be somewhart warm and be a lot easier to get a fire going..)
  5. glennm

    glennm Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    Messages:
    145
    Loc:
    S Ontario
    I am doing the same as both of you guys. I leave it open (half lached) for about 10 or 15 minutes and then close the door tight. As soon as I see strong flames I start closing it down (usually another 10 minutes or so). After the draft is fully closed the temp is in the 5-600 degree range. I run the fan about 70%. It sounds like your problem is mostly with the wood?
  6. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    New Jersey
    Ok, wet wood and poor draft seams to be things you need to fix.
    I also see your starting technique as an issue. Make sure the Air control is to the left. Newspaper, compressed starter wrapped in the newspaper, a few sticks of fat wood, kindling that you make from your dry wood, very skinny, then a few thin splits like 5-6 pieces. In other words you need a lot of firepower an some thinner splits that are dry. Nothing thick on startup.
    When I start like this it takes one match and I can close the door in about 1 minute or less. When you have a good fire going for a bit, 10-15 min, start adding medium size splits and some thin splits, dry wood, then it will really get going, after a nice fire is achieved, add bigger splits. This works like a charm for me. Once I achieve fire it won't go out till you stop feeding.
    Remember start w a lot of fire power and thin dry kindling and splits and then work your way to the bigger pieces, it doesn't take long.
  7. USMC80

    USMC80 Minister of Fire

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    hmm was looking at the montepelier, not sure I want to have to mess with keeping the door open. Anyone not having to keep the door unlatched/open to get it started?
  8. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    I don't have that issue, I love my stove, you need to have real expectations with it. It is beautiful, replaces a fire place perfectly and works quite well. The only thing is THIS IS NOT A HOUSE HEATER, I have it in a room that has its own heat, therefore it works quite well for me, it has the largest glass surface for being a MEDIUM SIZE INSERT, the fire is picture perfect. Figure out your needs in priority, if they are like mine, this is a stove to consider. Good luck
  9. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Where do you get your ood from in nj?
  10. USMC80

    USMC80 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
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    Wood? Mostly off of Craigslist
  11. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

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    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    Most modern stoves need the door slightly ajar during the first few minutes of starting a fire. They also need a lot of attention until they get into a steady state burn. The steady state burn is either when the cat is engaged in a catalytic stove or when the secondaries fire off in non-cat stoves. How long the door has to stay ajar is more a function of the draft, not the stove. The stoves have fairly small air inlets. If there is not enough draft the fire will die. A flue with a naturally strong draft will let you close the door almost as soon as you load and light the wood. If you have a weak draft you will need to heat the flue to get a strong draft going before you can close the door.

    You have to realize that once the door is latched you still have to work with the air settings until your secondaries are going. On a light from a cold stove this can take a half hour or more. If restarting on a bed of hot coals it may take only a few minutes. It is virtually impossible in a modern stove to throw some wood in, light a match and walk away.

    The Montpelier is probably not too much different to start from any other non-cat EPA stove. There are a couple of freestanding stoves that have "start-up" air inlets but you have to remember to close them down before the stove over heats. I am not aware of any inserts with these extra inlets. There is also the "Green Start" electric wood stove lighter that is an option on some Travis (Avalon) stoves that may reduce the necessity to leave the door ajar...

    KaptJaq
  12. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Starting a fire in the montpelier is very simple if you have the right technique and the right products to do so. The door should stay open for a minute or so, if you need it to stay open longer, you have other issues. While in mid burn and loading and it doesn't fire up, then open the door for 1 minute and you will see that log to start flaming up almost instantly, shut the door and enjoy...

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