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VC Sequoia EWF 30 - overfire damage?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Zman57, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    Hello everyone,
    I bought a house recently that has a Vermont Castings Sequoia fireplace insert in it (EWF 30). I have had numerous fires in it since October and am still learning how to best operate this fireplace. Last night I loaded it with wood, 3 large pieces, before going to bed. The fire didn't seem hot enough (I don't think the wood was fully seasoned) so I thought I would open the damper for awhile to get it burning hotter. I completely forgot to close the damper before I hit the hay and am very concerned I damaged this unit by over firing. I am so angry at myself for this and am really beating myself up over it. I got to comfortable with burning wood in this fireplace and I guess my awareness of keeping an eye on it became diminished. If this unit over fired, how likely is it that there is permanent damage, does it take many over firings to cause damage or can just one over firing cause damage? What kind of damage should I look for? I did notice there are gaps in the corners of the damper door, it looks as though the metal around the damper door may be warped and this is not allowing for an airtight seal. I'm not sure if it was like that before or not though.
    Thank you

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  2. Scott2373

    Scott2373 Member

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    If you can, post some pictures of the damper door. It would help immensely in assessing if there is any damage to the stove.
  3. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    Scott, here are some pictures as requested.

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  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'm not familiar with this fireplace but looking at the picture I would say that the top cast plate is warped. That thin edge looks pretty vulnerable to overheating. It's a bummer, but this looks like a replaceable part (20005979).Once the plate is removed, check the surrounding support metal for trueness.

    If it's any consolation, this has happened to most of us at one time or another. A good remedy is to set a timer to remind oneself to turn the air down.
  5. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    What other things should I look for that may have been damaged from over firing? Will there be internal components that may be damaged that I can't see? Do you think it is okay to run this until I get around to replacing the top plate? Is there something I can do to beef up the gaskets in the corners to get a proper seal or is it necessary to replace the top plate?
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Based on the picture, I think that plate will need replacing. The damper certainly appears to be compromised. If so, it's hard to say how well the cat will work. On dissassembly, my first concern would be about the frame that the top plate bolts on to. This is going to require inspection to see the extent of warpage and if anything else is affected. Scott seems more familiar with the fireplace. He may be able to offer greater insight.
  7. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    There actually is no cat. This is a non-catalytic fireplace. Could this have happened from over firing this one time or does this happen after multiple over firings?
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    My error, the docs I have show the cat, but now I see they are for the EWF36A and not the EWF30. My concern with continued burning with the warped bypass would be that this increases warpage making repair more problematic. I'm not familiar enough with this fireplace to comment about the vulnerability of this part. I am going to add the fireplace model to the title to attract more focused attention. Hope that will help you get better answers.
  9. Scott2373

    Scott2373 Member

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    I was also under the impression that this stove had a Cat. I am not familiar with the stove, but that definitely doesn't look normal and I wouldn't use it until that is fixed.
  10. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    Upon further inspection of the top cast plate and surrounding area, I have discovered that the surrounding support metal behind the cast plate, is warped just like the top cast plate is. I am very upset about this, what does this mean? Is the fireplace ruined? Has this happened to other people and what do they do about it? Although the cast plate is replaceable, it does not look like there is any way to straighten the metal behind it.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I was afraid of that. Can you shim the support metal with washers?
  12. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    Do you mean buy an new cast plate and put washers between the cast plate and the support metal (red circles in photo). If I do that, then I think there would be an air gap where the red arrow is at the edge of the cast plate.

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  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    It is a downdraft stove with the famous VC "fountain".
  15. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    BrotherBart, what is meant by "the famous VC fountain". I am still trying to learn about this fireplace and how it operates.
  16. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    It is the thing in the bottom back of the stove where the gases enter for secondary burn. I call it "famous" because some are easily damaged and expensive to replace.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Thanks, I dug up the manual online and see the refractory assembly now. Is this a later version of the Winterwarm? Looks like they dropped the EWF 30 downdraft and only sell the cat version now. Checking the serial number is a good tip.
  18. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    I had already checked with the VC dealer and the recall on this unit was fulfilled. Thanks though for bringing it up. After talking with the VC dealer today I have a plan on how to repair this unit. I removed the damper plate, which came off much easier than I anticipated (when does that ever happen?) As you can see in the photo, the support metal behind it is clearly warped. I will get a long rectangular strip of solid metal and drill 2 holes through it that line up with the bolts circled in the photo. I will place the steel across the top of the warped section (where red rectangle is) and drop 2 longer bolts through the holes in the steel and through the support metal and then fasten nuts to the bolts. I will then heat up the warped area with a torch and torque down on the nuts, which should put downward pressure onto the support metal and hopefully straighten it. I will attempt to do the same thing with the warped damper plate that I removed so that I can cancel the replacement plate that I ordered. Any input or suggestions regarding my soon to be attempted repair job would be appreciated.

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  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    So your serial number was not in the recall range? Sorry to hear that because this design appears to be vulnerable. IMO, that back edge is too thin for the heat it is exposed to. The support metal looks very thin. The metal reinforcement will help, but why wasn't this standard? You may be able to pull the steel into alignment but I am skeptical about doing the same with the cast iron plate.
  20. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    The serial number was in the recall range and the work was completed sometime when the prior owner lived in the house. I believe it had something to do with insulation around the unit. Why would VC construct a unit with too thin of metal? I thought this was a top notch company. I wasn't planning on leaving the strip of metal in place to act as a reinforcement, but perhaps I should consider doing that. I don't know if it is necessary too, I assumed it warped due to the previous owner over firing the unit.
  21. Zman57

    Zman57 New Member

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    I took the top cast plate over to a welding shop and they are going to try and straighten it. They will also cut some angle iron to fit above the warped support steel so I can straighten the steel and then leave it in place for extra support. I am considering putting a gasket in between the cast plate and the supporting steel to make sure it is airtight, I am surprised there isn't one there from the manufacturer. Does anybody know why there wouldn't be a gasket between these two parts and if putting one there would be a good idea?

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