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VC Sequoia "cruising" temp

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Charlene Kravec, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. Charlene Kravec

    Charlene Kravec Member

    Joined:
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    Eastern Tennessee
    We're learning a lot about our insert and wonder what temp we should try to keep it.
    I read somewhere to keep it at least 300 degrees F. The Vermont Castings manual doesn't give specifics about this. It only says you can over-fire the unit and if the cast iron glows you've gone too far.
    LOL We haven't done that. We have a IR thermometer to check the temp. The cat. thermometer is broken and will be replaced by a Condar digital soon.
    Since similar-type inserts probably have different characteristics and behaviors a "ballpark" temperature would be appreciated. We want to run our unit as cleanly and as efficiently as possible.
    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Charlene

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Where are on the insert are you going to be able to measure the temperature? Can you get a temp reading on much of the top plate?
  3. Charlene Kravec

    Charlene Kravec Member

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    We've been using the IR thermometer aimed at the glass to give us the internal temp after the unit has been working for a while. It takes a good hour plus to get the box and the external steel hot (approx. 300 degrees see avatar). It takes roughly 30-45 min before the blower starts from the cold state. I would presume the cat temp would be the one to go by, once we get the Condar in place. Please correct me if that's incorrect.
  4. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Exactly, the cat probe would be the one that I'd give most credence too. A glass measurement is just about worthless IMO.

    With an insert, it's really hard to get good readings considering there is a blower running and so much shielding.

    Get that cat probe in and I think you'll be set. Once you get that in, then start playing with the IR taking temps at different places on the stove. Maybe then you'll be able to find a place that reads temps consistently, and you can learn that X on the cat probe usually means Y on the IR when taken in this location.

    pen
  5. Charlene Kravec

    Charlene Kravec Member

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    The fireplace technician installed a new blower for the unit today. I asked him to check the damper because I didn't think it was closing all the way down. It was/is very difficult to close. My hunch was correct. We've got to work the damper rod to be sure it closes properly. Seems like there maybe a burr on the mechanism somewhere. That explains why we've been using a lot of wood and not getting the heat we should. He's going to get us better wood than what we've been using and show us what this unit is capable of.

    We're expecting the new cat probe this week, hopefully.

    (BTW this unit was a DIY installation, I'm convinced of it.)
  6. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Sadly, the truth is that a good many "pro installed" units, are setup just as poorly as those by good intentioned homeowners. In general, those who frequent hearth.com seem to be ahead of the curve :cool:

    Since you are wise enough to seek help, make sure the technician's you have out always check the unit over top to bottom as though you know nothing of it looking for potential hazards.

    As far as the burr, and issue with the air control not closing, have you considered contacting the manufacturer for suggestions?

    pen
  7. Charlene Kravec

    Charlene Kravec Member

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    Yes, your point regarding the work of some "professional" installers is well taken. Not forgetting the saying that the person who finished last in his class is still called "doctor". We are fortunate to have someone who is good. He has found and corrected problems within the unit and the chimney.

    Because of numerous restructurings Vermont Castings has lost many of the people who worked there when this unit was built (2005). I understand from our tech who had to turn to them for answers on our behalf there was only one person still working there who knows this unit. If I can avoid going through "root canal" I will. Since we can close the damper now, albeit with some effort, hopefully we can manage.

    Charlene
  8. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I'm not moving that air control, so I don't know the level of difficulty you are dealing with. I do know however, what level of difficulty I'd be willing to put up with before being concerned / pushing the unit out the door.

    In terms of safety, be careful while you are feeling that thing out.

    pen
  9. Charlene Kravec

    Charlene Kravec Member

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    It's the damper that's the problem. The air control is the handle on the upper left. On my avatar the damper is the handle on the upper right side of the unit. We've sunk a bunch of money into the unit and can't quite give up on it yet.

    We are careful and have followed the manual's instructions, thanks.

    Charlene
    pen likes this.
  10. Charlene Kravec

    Charlene Kravec Member

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    An update: I got the damper fully closed last night. Now that we're able to close the damper completely we are getting better, more effective burns. The box gets hotter faster now. The new blower is putting out some serious heat.

    My husband looked at the parts diagram this afternoon and thinks that if the damper problem isn't related to a metal burr another cause might be that the linkage screws might be loose causing the damper plate to cant rather than seat flat when closing. We'll have our fireplace tech tear the unit apart in the Spring to resolve this. It's a bear to get access to the damper. We can operate the unit fine for now.

    Hurray, proper heat at last! Now we will be able to heat the entire house.

    Pen, hoist a brewski for me.

    Charlene
    pen likes this.
  11. Bearhead

    Bearhead New Member

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    Charlene, How long, in hours, will your VC Sequoia 36 burn on a load of good dry wood? Also how are you measuring the temp and what temp do you run your unit at to get the longest burn rate? Thank you in advance for your help!
  12. Charlene Kravec

    Charlene Kravec Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
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    Last night we got an 8 hr., with an approximately 600 degree cruising temp using a poorly fitting Condar cat probe. The night before we got a more than ten hour burn times with still-active coals available at 2:00 p.m. Air control was almost closed at cruising. Using the IR thermometer it registered 578 at the highest on the metal door frame. I didn't mention in my other post to you that my husband replaced the gasket on the right door which has helped burn times. He has to replace the gasket on the left door. That gaskets on both doors were replaced last year. Don't think it was as tight as it could have been. Last year I "trusted" but didn't "verify" air-tightness. Haven't done the dollar bill test yet because we've been using the stove. (Talk about money going up in smoke!) Sorry for the omission.

    The unit burns a lot of wood, but has a very large box. Our unit was made in 2005 so it doesn't have any burn tubes or technological improvements more modern units have that may enhance efficiency. Still, we have learned a great deal about the unit and wood burning.

    I could criticize some obvious design flaws, the worst of which, for us, is an enclosed damper mechanism that can't be seen or reached without pulling out the entire unit and disassembling. Our damper tends to stick in the open position when the rod is pulled completely out. It won't close without a good deal of pushing and shoving. So we have resorted to using a channel locks to keep it open in a position where we can easily close it, since pulling the insert out altogether is not realistic.

    Hope this helps. If you have any more questions/issues, don't be shy.

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