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Vermont Castings Defiant and Vigilant questions

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by Vindic8, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. Vindic8

    Vindic8 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Pacific Northwest
    First off I am a serious newbie to running wood stoves. I bought a house recently and as it gets closer to the cold season I want to understand the function and capability of the stoves in my house. After doing research on the web, mainly on this forum, I find that what I have is a VC Vigilant on the main floor and a VC Defiant in the basement. I have found the manuals for these two models (also on this forum) but I am still having some trouble with figuring if my Defiant is two-function catalytic or not.

    They are also on the same wall/chimney. I saw where some people have expressed concerns with that.

    What steps should i take to insure these are in good functioning order prior to testing them out? They show use form the prior owner. There is some small amount of ash in the bottom of the units.

    I do not plan to use these as my sole heat source. My primary use would be occasional fires for special cold days but we do live in an area known to have ice storms. Some of which can knock the power out for 7-10 days. I would like to be able to use this as a solid backup heat source. I am buying a couple pallets of energy logs for emergency fuel but I would be burning standard cord wood for recreational use.

    The house was built in 1984.

    You have a great site here, a fantastic resource.

    Thank you in advance for any feedback.

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  2. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,459
    Loc:
    Southwest NH
    Nice stoves there!

    Gw up with a defiant in the house (my father is still burning it) and had a vigilant in my house (inherited from my pepere).

    Some things to check:

    - Check the gaskets on the doors. People recommend the dollar bill test- close the door on a dollar bill and try pulling the dollar bill out. There should be a lot of resistance.

    - check for any cracks in the castings. The Vigilants have a tendency to have a cracked fireback, especially horizontal from the corner of the reburn chamber (that is the opening at the lower right corner of the fireback).

    -With the lights out, place a flashlight in the stove and see if any light is coming out from the joints.

    As for the ash in the bottom, you want to leave that ash there. It provides insulation for the bottom of the stove and should be 1-2 inches thick.

    Those are some basic checks you can do on the stove. You should have someone inspect the chimney before running the stoves to ensure it is in good condition. You may want to check if the devices are on separate flues. They should not be run n the same flue.

    And I know others will remind you of this- get your wood ready! It may be difficult finding well seasoned wood at this time of year. Your purchase of the energy logs will go a long way.

    Those are some things I can think of. I am certain there will be others with more knowledge that will come in. Good luck and look forward to hearing you progress.
  3. rob z.

    rob z. New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    I'm running an old Vigilant this year as well. It's my first experience with these stoves and I'm impressed at how much better the VC stoves run than do the junky ones I grew up with (no offense to the Old Man, he's still running them...I just think he doesn't know what he's missing). I'm still learning the subtleties of my Vigilant, but the Vermont Castings operation manual (I think someone on here had a link to one online that I printed out) is all the reference you need to get the stove going to the point where you can observe how it's going to behave. Good luck!
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,334
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    LOL, the Vigilant is 40 yr old technology. How old is the old man's stove?
  5. rob z.

    rob z. New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Dad has a "woodsman" box stove as his primary heat source, backed up by an Atlanta Stove Works kitchen cookstove (the firebox is about the size of a half-gallon milk carton), and a small boxy airtight Waterford that replaced an Upland. He's had the first two since about 1970.
  6. littlalex

    littlalex Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Messages:
    107
    Loc:
    Hewitt, NJ
    What Remkel said - They are beautifully crafted stoves and your's look very nice indeed. I own and use a Vigilant in nice shape and am starting to discover
    the subtleties myself.

    Happy Burning,
    Littlalex
  7. renny

    renny New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Nice stoves! Why aren't you using them as your primary heat source? Until recently, we used a VC Vigilant as our primarly heat source, but we're getting older, built a new house, and the labor involved with cutting and hauling wood lead us to change to gas as our primarly heat.

    In my opinion, the VC Viglilant is not for taking the chill off, but rather, it's quite effecient for heating a home.

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