1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

VC Vigilant: Best Burn Ever last night!

Post in 'Vermont Castings & CDW Dutchwest older Models' started by Kenster, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,579
    Loc:
    Texas- West of Houston
    I loaded the Vig around 1800 last night. A couple of big Pine Splits, topped with three medium sized oak splits. Laid a N/S layer of small oak and pine splits and topped that with a handful of my homemade cedar starter sticks and four or five knots of the Houston Chronicle. I lit the newspaper and closed the door until the open latch stopped it from closing all the way.

    All the wood in the stove and on my porch at the moment tested at less than 10% MC on fresh splits! Within about four minutes I had a roaring fire. Ten minutes later I'm looking at 600 degrees on the stove top so I put it on horizontal and shut the thermostat down and leave for choir practice at church. Around 2200 I have some great coals. I pack the stove with a little more pine but mostly big splits of oak and fill in the gaps with some six inch chunks of pin oak. Now it's really solidly packed.

    I let the fire kick up until all the wood is scorched and glowing. Stove top is a little over 600 again. I shut all the air down for the night around 1030.

    I was amazed to walk into the living room this morning at 0715 and find the stove top a little over 500 degrees with a large amount of big, almost solid coals still flaming away. I've never had an overnight like that before. At 1030 this morning the stove top was still 425 with some great coals. At 1300 it was showing 300. No wood has been added since 2200 last night.

    I attribute this totally to having some great wood. Now that I'm three years ahead, with more wood to come soon, I'm looking forward to the winter.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,459
    Loc:
    Southwest NH
    Man, even though I no longer have the Vigilant, I have burners envy.....never had a burn like that in mine.
  3. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,491
    Loc:
    Sound Beach, LINY
    woah Tex, those are some impressive stats. I'm just curious, what is the temperature there that your packing your stove to the gills already? I'm about 1,200 miles north of you and I put three splits in this morning only because my wife is pregnant and is always cold. Either way, sounds like there was one small benefit to the terrible drought you had this summer.
  4. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    Everytime I'd wake up in the morning to the Vigilant with a good stove top temp I'd always assume I inadvertently choked it down down too far and the damn thing smoked all night on me. And when I wake up to a stove top too low I instantly assume the temps ran away on me overnight and I envision it burning at 900° with the stove glowing red on me.

    Thus is the built-in frustration feature more commonly known as the Vigilant's air controls. :lol:
  5. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,579
    Loc:
    Texas- West of Houston
    Kidd, it was only 40 last night. 36 tonight. We use the Vigilant to heat our whole house. Almost 4000 square feet. Keeping it nice and hot all night keeps the 'great room' where the stove is (40 feet x 22 feet and full cathedral ceilings with two open lofts off each end upstairs) in the mid 70s. Back in our bedroom, where it may be in the low 60s, we run two fans and keep the windows at least part way open because we enjoy sleeping with cool temps. It's nice to wake up to a warm house and we read the paper and have our morning tea in the great room.

    If I only put two or three splits, it would last through the night and I wouldn't have much to work with to get a fire going in the morning. In the past, I've reloaded in the middle of the night during bathroom visits. It appears that, with good wood, I won't have to reload until I get up in the morning. This morning, I didn't even have to do that.
  6. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    I can relate. The last three years that is how we ran the Vig from October through March.
  7. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,491
    Loc:
    Sound Beach, LINY
    Kenster, sounds like its working out great for you. Good to hear. I didn't realize Texas had such low temps this time of year.
  8. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,579
    Loc:
    Texas- West of Houston
    35 degrees when I woke up around 0700 this morning. But that will be the last night for quite a while. The ten day forecast calls for overnight lows in the 50s and 60s! At least the highs are staying low: mid to upper 70s. Looks like a good week to get out into the woods and do some work.
  9. havemercyph

    havemercyph New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Maine
    I have a quick question for you guys. I have an older VC Vigilant says 1977 inside and I think its from late seventies early eighties in good condition I got from my dad. It works good but I keep hearing that it would be wise for me to buy a jotul f500 or something because I would get longer burn times and load less frequently and better coals in the morning etc..use less wood...better for environment etc....Would it be wise for me to drop 2k on a new jotul or am I better off with the older VC that is built like a tank? Thanks a lot for your advice... also one other question have they changed much in the design/function of the f500 in the past ten years? just have been debating buying new or getting one 5 years old or so for half price....thanks
  10. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,579
    Loc:
    Texas- West of Houston
    I've not owned or operated a 'modern' EPA stove. The Vigilant does a great job of heating our large home. Your needs are different because of your location but the Vigilants served thousands of homes well all over the country and still do, I suspect. I've got the money to put into a new stove but.... why should I? I don't have to load frequently. It's a very large stove and holds a lot of wood. I top it off at bed time and still have big coals and high griddle temps when I get up in the morning.

    The Vigilant is cost free for you, so why drop a couple thousand dollars on a new one? I suggest using the Vigilant for several years then decide if you want to 'upgrade.'
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    Yes, the Vigilant is built like a tank, it it throws a ton of heat. But it has a huge apatite. You will notice a big drop in wood consumption when you switch to a newer stove.

    In regards to coals, I was able to get a fire going with the Heritage without the use of kindling, or paper, or a match, or any other firestarter 16 hours after it's last feeding (note; the stove was not producing heat at this point, just retaining coals). And the Encore I am using is more efficient than the Heritage.

    In regards to heating efficiency, I am running the Heritage and the Encore as needed during shoulder season. Some times individually, sometime together. Even using both stoves I am still using at least 25%-33% less wood than I would have used when I was just running the Vigilant, alone, during the previous three shoulder seasons. This year I am using the Vigilant only during very cold periods.

    Also, depending upon your heating needs, you might want to look at the F600 Firelight as oppose to the F500 Oslo. The Oslo is about the same size as the Encore (and both are a little larger than the Heritage I use, but both have a bit smaller of a firebox than the Vigilant). The Encore puts out some nice strong heat, but the Vigilant can out blast the Encore. Keep this in mind when you are thinking about upgrading. If you need every BTU the Vigilant can muster, you need to go with the F600. If the Vigilant can sweat you out even during the coldest days, the Oslo should be fine.
  12. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    3,732
    Loc:
    Just Outside the Blue Line
    I was just reading an article from OMNI where they stated that, to date, no one had come up with an effective thermostatic control for a non-cat stove. Article was from the mid-90s. I always thought TC was the coolest thing until I got the Vig and found out I slept a lot more peacefully before I actually owned the technology.
  13. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA

    In your mild climate, your needs differ and you have a shorter burning season.

    But for me, my reasons for upgrading are as follows:

    Inconsistent burn times
    Wood consumption
    Need for longer burn times

    I did not realize the huge efficiency difference until this year when running two good sized stoves and still using less wood than if I were using the Vigilant by itself. The Vigilant is a hell of a stove, but it is a hungry bastard.
  14. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA

    I'm interested in knowing your results when/if you go with a newer stove for the new place. Especially if it is a Fireview or Progress. I'm actually more interesting in your reaction to the Fireview as oppose to the Progress since the Progress uses a burn combination that I can not directly relate to at this point.
  15. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    3,732
    Loc:
    Just Outside the Blue Line
    We got back in for the inspections this morning and there are more possibilities than I thought. I may end up putting that pellet stove in the basement and putting a Fireview in upstairs. The place is small and extremely well insulated. I'll need a stove that will burn clean dialed all the way down.

    BTW... The mantle doesn't hit you, you hit the mantle. :lol:
  16. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    That is probably the best outcome I could hope for. Having the pellet stove in the basement just makes more sense to me since it needs for less attention.

    [/quote]BTW... The mantle doesn't hit you, you hit the mantle. :lol:[/quote]

    This is a very true and accurate statement. I'm pretty sure I gave myself a concussion the first year burning.
  17. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,491
    Loc:
    Sound Beach, LINY
    BTW... The mantle doesn't hit you, you hit the mantle. :lol:[/quote]

    This is a very true and accurate statement. I'm pretty sure I gave myself a concussion the first year burning.[/quote]




    Wait a second, according to my records Mantle hit everything. wait... uh... forgive me, being from NY when I hear the words Mantle and hitting and immediately I am drawn to remember a legend. Anyway back to wood burning.
  18. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    3,732
    Loc:
    Just Outside the Blue Line
    Ah, sweet memories of youth. I'm from NY, too. Been a diehard Yankee fan since the first time I picked up a bat. I worshiped The Mick as much as any kid could, but let's face it... he missed a hell of a lot more than he hit. ;-)

    BTW... Ever wonder why they call it a strike when you don't really strike anything?
  19. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,491
    Loc:
    Sound Beach, LINY
    Good point about the Mick missing more than he hit. But so is the way of baseball.

Share This Page