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Vermon Castings Encore installation

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by bstoth, May 25, 2010.

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  1. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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    My wife is huge fan of wood burning stoves and she bought a used VC Encore that we plan to install in our basement. I want to make sure that we do everything properly so we don't go down in flames :)

    We have a brick chimney that starts off in the basement, goes up above the roof (about 3') of our 2-storey house The chimney is about 8"x8" for most part except for the basement section which is narrower as one side of the chimney seems to be standing on the top of the basement wall. So in the basement I would say the chimney is only 6"x8". Up until now we used to have the natural gas furnace and HW heater venting through it, those units have been replaced by a new tankless combi unit that vents through the wall and thus the chimney is not used by anything for now.

    The chimney does not seem to have a clay liner in it.
    Before we moved in 3 years ago- based on the inspector's report- the chimney has been lined with a 6" flexible liner with no wood burning stove in mind, just to vent the natural gas furnace and hot water heater. It's definitely not double walled liner and I'm not even sure if it's steel or aluminum.

    Question 1: How can I tell if this liner is suitable for venting our stove?

    Our VC Encore has a 8" oval exhaust, but I bought a 8" oval to 6" round adapter so I can use 6" pipe to the chimney.

    Question 2: Is it Okay to vent an 8" stove through a 6" pipe/chimney liner?

    About the stove piping: I was thinking of using a 45 elbow to route my pipe to the chimney, I'm just not sure in what angle do I have to hit the chimney wall.

    Question 3: Can my stove pipe hit the chimney wall in an 45 angle or it has to be perpendicular to it?

    any input is appreciated.

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  2. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    1. unlikely stainless was used to vent the waterheater, stainless is spendy!-
    2. very few stoves are approved to have the flue reduced, and being in a basement, thats a formula for a smokey install
  3. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    The Encore was listed during some point of it's production to be used with a 6" flue with the exception that it was no longer listed to be used with the fire viewing screen (doors open). So, yes, the stove should function fine with a 6" flue. The Encore is really just a medium sized stove that was fitted with an 8" oval flue outlet back in the late 80s I think simply for open fire viewing. I would bet a bag of jelly beans that the liner in there is alum and certainly not insulated. I would have a proper chimney and/or stove company come, pull out that old liner and give you a price on a new 6" insulated liner system. Just come up off the top of the stove and 90 into the thimble. You could use double 45's instead of a 90, but I wouldnt worry to much about it. If this is an old cat stove they breath reallllly easy with the bypass damper open. Also, if it is a cat stove, spend some time diggin around inside the stove to make sure the ceramic combustion chamber and cat itself is intact, make sure the bypass damper opens and closes with a "click" which tells you it's locked in place. Also, there bi metallic thermostat controlled by the handle had a tendency to stick and need lubing. it may be at the bottom rear corner (the flapper thing) dead center. Just move the handle and watch that it moves slowly. Do the dollar bill test on the load doors and ash pan door. There may be a third air intake in the back wall of the stove that also works off of a coil. Make sure it's not stuck. This would be a factory set control that you shouldnt have to touch, unless it jams. Thats all I can think of and as you can see I was in no mood to use paragraphs.
  4. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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    Thanks for the answer on the chimney question.
    Things have developed a bit since and instead of placing the stove in the basement (which is somewhat prone to flooding) we are planning to place it a level above, in the dining room.

    Thus arise a new issue: clearances. The VC Encore we have does not have heat shields neither in the back or the bottom. My question is directed towards the bottom heat shield. The manual does state the bottom heat shield is required for floors constructed of combustible materials, however we plan to install a floor protection with metal sheet, bricks and some air space between the bricks and the wooden floor. The stove would of course stand on it's own 7" legs. Do we still require a bottom heat shield?

    Thanks for your help.

    Balazs
  5. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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  6. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    I would put the bottom shield! It gets mighty hot there....
  7. vovo222

    vovo222 New Member

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    The Encore 2190 (cat version) came with standard 8" oval flue collar, but also had an optional 6" round flue collar. I am running my Encore 2140 with this 6" flue (all vertical pipe) and it works fine, except it inhibits use of open fireplace mode when screen should be used. I believe that the 6" round collar is only officially listed as a part option for cat stoves, even though it will mount to either. A non-cat stove may not function as well as a cat due to different combustion airflow requirements.

    The VC Defiant Encore stove manual gets pretty specific about the clearances you will need and the installation scenarios that require a heat shield. You will be very wise if you can download a copy and read it before you go any further.
  8. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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    I do have a manual for the 2190 Encore. I was just wondering if we can get along without the bottom heat shield as it's pretty costly, around $250 where I paid around $650 for my used Encore...

    So if we build a floor protection out of bricks and metal sheet on a hardwood floor the bottom heat shield would still be a requirement?

    thanks for the answer.
    Balazs
  9. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    You can easily make one. It will serve the purpose.
  10. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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    I was thinking about it. Anyone know the parameters (size, material) of the bottom heat shield? A picture maybe?
  11. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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    Well, the stove (Defiant Encore 2190) is installed (in the basement for now) and we have been burning wood in it for the last couple of weeks, but I still have some question to ask and some DIY learning to share.

    Original idea was to install a 6" flex stainless steel line with insulation around it into the terracotta chimney liner. I made my 1st mistake here. I couldn't measure the terracotta flu's internal width without removing the chimney top so I just measured the external width (8.5") and asked the flex pipe vendors if their 6" pipe + .5" insulation (insulation adds 2x0.5"=1" to the total diameter bringing it to 7") would fit into my chimney liner. Well I guess they mostly wanted to sell, so they suggested that the internal width should be around 7.5" and I will be fine. Well it turned out that the terracotta liner was only 7" inch on the inside so it was a very tight fit. More precisely unfit. :) Well my bad, I should have checked. Still tried to shove down the liner, but we got stuck around halfway and even pushing it down and jerking it from below did not help. The insulation got badly damaged during the process as well and was torn at several places. I decided to pull it off (needed all my might and strength) and remove the insulation. Also constructed a home made pulling cone from a 6" aluminum pipe piece and a couple of dog leash clips (courtesy of our dog). Without the insulation around it the 6" steel liner found its way relatively easily through the 7" terracotta flu.

    Question 1: Our chimney is inside the house next to an external wall. So far we have been burning mixed hardwood, (not sure about the seasoning) and a few pieces of softwood mainly to start the fire, as my full cord of seasoned firewood is due this week only. Should we expect quick creosote buildup since the lack of insulation?

    Question 2: I'm planning to use pour down insulation around the liner, but how do I stop it from filling up all the space in the chimney below the pipe?

    Operation.
    I'm a bit concerned with the performance of the stove, namely I feel that the wood burns too quickly. From a healthy 700 F fire (outside stove temp) it can go to no ember at all in a couple of hours. I read some people can restart their fire in the morning from the ember... The air control handle does not seem to have a great influence at all on the burning rate.
    Couple of issues I know of, but I'm not sure about their impact on the issue.
    - Gasket around the damper door is missing currently (repair kit on the way)
    - Gasket around the top loading door, might need to be replaced? It is possible to see the fire burning inside when the door is closed.
    - Previous owner used and outside air supply and the opening is still there on the back of the stove. Should it be lclosed/capped off?
    - There is a tiny hole where the front glass chipped away in one corner. Not much bigger than a match head.

    Question 3: Could any of the above contribute to fast burn rate?

    I hope you had a good laugh on my liner installation and thanks for your continued support :)
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    If the cord of "seasoned" hardwood due this week is being delivered by a wood dealer, chances are 95% that it wont be seasoned at all. Burning wet wood will cause buildup... and a lot of other problems.

    Chimney experts will have to address the insulation situation, but I think that if the wood is good and dry and your catalyst is functioning properly there should not be enough smoke going up the pipe to cause significant creosote regardless?



    If turning the air control fully closed doesn't practically extinguish the flames in the firebox on an encore catalytic, then yes you have air leaks. Every gasket - griddle, doors, ashpan, etc should pass the dollar bill test. I.E. if you close the door on a dollar and then pull it out it should be so tight it nearly rips.

    On the glass, if it were me I'd replace it for sure.. Leaking and then what happens if it cracks open during a fire?

    The loose gasket on the damper will let smoke bypass the catalyst.

    Also you can check for air leaks at the seams by waving an incense stick around the stove while its burning. If the smoke is pulled in anywhere but the air intakes that is a leak. You can use some stove cement to patch.


    All of these issues will make the stove burn hotter and faster. 700F is really pushing it hard. Getting those really long (8hr+) burn times requires:
    1 - Good dry wood
    2 - Packing every cubing inch of the stove all the way to the top
    3 - A well controlled low burn (450ish)
  13. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    Well I guess my next question would be where to measure stove temp? I have this magnetic thermometer that I can place pretty much anywhere on the stove where there is a bit of flat surface.
    The 700 quoted temperature was measured on the top of the stove.

    I only ordered the wood last week so I have to trust the vendor that it's seasoned....

    I tried the incense stick with no obvious draft. The only place where it was present was at the intake at the back even when the air flow control was closed. Even tried blocking the intake with a metal plate once the fire started, but the fire still seemed to get air from somewhere. I will try the $1 test tomorrow.
    thanks.
  14. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Vermont Castings quotes temperatures measured off the top load griddle. That is where I keep my thermometer (its a Condar "inferno").

    The manual for this stove specs 750 as the max safe temp. I have found that on my stove, if I let it get to anything over 650 with the catalyst engaged I will see glowing metal inside the stove around the draft hood and upper fireback. I think others have had similar experiences.
  15. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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    Yes I measured temperature on the top load griddle so that's fine.

    I checked out the "flap" in the back that's controlled by the air flow control handle and I noted that even when the the control is turned to closed it is not fully closed, but it's about 3/16" open. Is that normal?
    thanks.
  16. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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    After some reading I decided that as this is the primary air control, I should be in charge and it should be possible to close it all the way. I unscrewed the primary air regulator system (that's how it's called in the parts list), but there was no obvious reason why it wouldn't close all the way. When I removed the whole thing I realized that there is an arm that reaches towards the left side of the stove. Tried to stick my finger in there to see if there is anything that hinders the movement of this arm and I was most surprised with what I found. Apparently a little rascal lived there for a while -I assume during the times when the former owner didn't use the stove- and left a few nutshells and other debris behind that prevented the arm to down and close the door. It wasn't easy to get everything off, but I think it's fine now and the primary air control regulator system flap door can be closed completely.
    Fired up the stove and indeed the flames were much smaller when I closed the air control lever this time. Stove went up to around 600 and was stable with the air control and the damper fully closed. Made a mistake and threw a few more logs on it which really heated up the stove above 700. I was thinking that fully closing the air control level would stop the fire and stove would cool down, but I had to wait until some of the wood burned before it started to cool of.

    I wonder if I still have air leak issue or just need to practice controlling the fire.
  17. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Hey bstoth,

    I was wondering how your stove heating is going. I have a 1994 Defiant Encore 2190 coming home in a couple of weeks. Did you fix all the gaskets and glass issues? I've seen glass for these on Ebay for a fraction of the cost of the new ones. People sometimes parts them out and get more money for the parts than if they sold the entire stove in one piece. I'm in my third season heating with wood stoves, one year with an EPA cat stove. The Defiant Encore will help heat the newly refinished parts of the house that will bring an additional 1000 sq ft on top of the 1000 sq ft we normally heat now. It'll be installed in a 6" flue thimble into an 8x8 utility chimney by itself. How much are you heating with it now including the basement space? Is the basement finished? How long were your burns, I've read here that people get 10 hours between reloads with that stove throwing good heat! Thanks,

    Chris
  18. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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    Hi Chris,

    To be honest, I did not fix it. It still worked pretty well, the fire temperature was mostly controllable, until very recently. Now days we have too much flames even when everythng is shut. it I did make a smoke test with an incense stick and found that air is being sucked in at the bottom part of the ash door. I guess I can't get around fixing the gaskets, but I will do it after this heating season.
    I also noted that the catalytic element is cracked. Not sure if I broke it or i bought it that way. I had no clue about such things 8 months ago :)
    To answer your other performance questions. We have a 1400 sq ft house (not including the unfinished basement where the stove sits) When we used it 24h a day the gas heating barely or never kicked in while the outside temperature was between 0-10 Celsius - sorry I'm lazy to do the F conversion :). The second floor might have been a bit colder than usual, but that's fine for sleeping.
    I haven't really seen 10 hours of burn times, but 6-7 hours definitely, if I stacked it well. I think you can perfectly heat 1000 sq ft with it.

    BTW guys how bad is a cracked catalytic element? Does it make it totally useless?
    I saw that they sell steel replacements, but at a higher price $250-ish. Does that worth it? What's the best price/useful life solution?
    I'm also looking for cheap gasket replacement kit source!

    Balazs
  19. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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    One more question

    does anyone know if the Defiant Encore 2190 qualifies for the Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency?
    What is the efficiency of this stove? I heard you need to be 75%+

    Balazs
  20. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Hi Balazs,

    The gaskets can be found in just about any stove supplier or place that has stove related things, such as some hardware stores. If there is a gasket in particular that is bad. Replace it as soon as possible. They are relatively easy to do. Take the gasket off, scrape the gasket channel with a screw driver and wipe with a damp rag. Let dry and put some gasket seal/cement/glue in the channel then put the gasket in and close the door. Open the door and let dry. Slowly bring up the temp over 2-3 hour to let the gasket cemment cure. Or do three small fires, each bigger than the other letting the stove cool off in between fires. About an hour in between fires should allow for plenty of curing time. Do you have the manual for it? It should tell you in the parts disgram which size gasket goes where. To do some other more involved repairs there's also a repair manual that can be found on line. Let me know if you need it I'll send you a link.

    I would not let the repairs go for the rest of the season with all the air leaks. You may further damage the interior and render the stove useless and very dangerous. The air leaks will cause the temperatures to get too high and the stove parts will start to warp and crack. The fireback and refractory housing will go first as well as the catalytic combustor. These parts alone will cost a ton of money. I've heard of some people paying as much as $800 just for parts to repair one of these stoves. This can be prevented by simply fixing the stove before it gets worse. Once you realize that it isn't burning well it may be too late. If you're only getting 6-7 hours between loads with good heat output and seasoned hard wood then it is a sign that things are not working properly. This is not the kind of stove that you can burn wth a cracked glass door or a few air leaks wihtout having to do a major rebuilding as a result!! I urge you, if you don't want to spend a ton of money in the longrun, don't burn anymore wood in the stove. It is also dangerous to burn in any stove with cracked glass. Any stove manual will state: discontinue burning if the glass doors are craked or damaged!

    The catalytic converter sounds like it has seen better days. In order to get the most out of your stove, you will need a new one. Replace it as soon as possible. Read this article on cats. It will give you an idea about how to treat your cat and how to burn in a cat stove.
    http://www.chimneysweepnews.com/Combustors.htm this is a really good one!
    http://www.condar.com/combustorcleaningmanual.pdf

    As far as a tax credit, the 2190 certainly is efficient enough to qualify. However, I think you can only get it with a brand new product, not used ones!
  21. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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    Thanks Chris,
    I guess I will look into it right away!
    I'm not sure about the glass. It's not cracked in a sense that there are cracks all over the place. In fact there are no cracks at all just a very very small part, maybe sixth of dime is chipped away, missing in the corner. It's not even visible from the front, only if I look in an angle. I was thinking I would just fill out that little hole with the cement that used for the gaskets.

    Thanks for the links, I'm reading them right now. I do have the manual so I can look up the gasket diameters from there.
    Balazs
  22. bstoth

    bstoth New Member

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    Well, the saga continues. Before I could do the catalytic element replacement, we got flooded....
    The basement was full of water, the stove fully submerged even though I tried to elevate it with a few cinder blocks.

    So instead of a catalytic element replacement I look at a repair / replacement of the whole thing.

    Of course the whole thing is pretty rusty, I already noticed the automatic air intake shutter does not seem to work.
    Is this even repairable? If yes, how do I get from a rusty stove form a decent looking one?
    It hast to be taken apart and soaked in some rust remover solution or there are other options?
    If I have somebody do this what sort of cost am I looking at?
    Thanks for all the tips and answers.

    Balazs
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