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Vermont Castings "Defiant" vs Quadrafire "Isle Royale" vs Jotul "600 firelight"....

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Mr_Super-Hunky, May 22, 2007.

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  1. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    In the abscence of a good dealer you will be forced to lean upon a good manufacturer. Shouldn't take long to find a report on customer service from the manufacturers chosen.

    Expect the unexpected and expect to have to deal with a warranty issue without a dealer. Which company responds? Which one simply throws you to a dealerthat isn't there. Give them a call and see if a person answers or how long it takes to get a real person and if the real person is willing to answer your questions.

    I really like the looks and specs on the cat defiant. I would really like thermostatic air control. I don't like glowing stoves or nonresponsive manufacturers.

    I also like the looks of the summit classic in black with nickel.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    No one has said the Defiant cat has to run red-hot. All wood stoves should be run hot enough to ensure clean combustion. A 500+ degree stovetop is normal operating temp for most stoves. If you want less heat, burn a smaller, hot fire and let it go out. You don't have to use the cat 100% of the time.

    OK, given the very narrow matrix of choices, I'm going to go along with Bart, not that I think the Defiant isn't a good stove. But given the lack of dealer and/or user experience, I think keeping it as simple as possible narrows it down to one stove - PE Summit. If you don't feel good about the AZ dealer, by all means get it from Tom.

    Of course, if you're really hankering for a Mansfield, you could let the wife burn in the stone monolith that's already there for a season. After a few months of trying to heat the place with the open fireplace she'll be ready for a barrel stove. ;-)
  3. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I think you have to set realistic goals. Any stove purchased with a fire box size over 3 cu ft, is going to make a dent in your heat demand. Many of us struggle keeping up when it is very windy and below zero. So what if It can't carry the full load under extreme conditions It still is reducing the load and saving fossil fuel. I think we all win if a stove can carry the full load down to 10 above which for most is the large % of time. The other factors I don't burn pine for overnights mine is hard wood. So I can't tell you for sure your burn times with any stove. I have burned many other stoves than the current two cat stoves. I have not burned a PE Summit so I can not tell you or make a fair comparison. What I can tell you is the my cat stoves replaced similar sized non cat stoves and I achieve longer even productive burns. I like to tell you I can control the stoves but for once they pretty much take care of that themselves with very little input from me or Ellen ( my wife) It is she that enjoys their operations.

    She never touched them before I introduced top loading. Could not be bothered. IT started out that she gets up before me and if I leave a couple of splits she would load them. Usually there was a decent bed of glowing coals so she engaged the cat right after loading. One can do that witha hot stove over 500 surface and a good bed of coals. You do not need to leave the cat open let it catch then engage it. All this comes with experimenting and practice. A learning curve all stove owners go through.


    No two stoves will act the same, all are vented differently at various elevations. Sometimes you have to go with your gut reaction purchase a stove and hope you can control it correctly and it handles the task at hand.

    Dealer wise, so many here can walk you threw replacing a gasket. Many here can trouble shoot operational glitzes.

    And if you get a VC product that you have issues with air them out here. It seems they do get resolved.

    I know for a fact VC monitors this forum. and we have had a reply from the head of engineering concerning the Everburn issues. then again you also might not need us with any issues. Not all stoves arrive defective. In fact very few be it Quads or Harmans. I must say all PE members seem very satisfied. No doubt a quality stove. as are most major manufactures.

    Honestly in your situation I think a cat stove has an operational range that others may not. That does not mean with time you can learn to work any stove optimally How to load how many splits larger splits for overnight or longer burning. All things you have to experience for yourself. Part wise VC does have the best inventory. All made here in USA ( cast stoves only)

    and if you have a little mechanical ability most replacements can be done by you. Last year we had about a dozen members rebuild older VC stoves. Most were helped by forum members and walked through the process. So there is a lot of background you can draw from plus parts dealers advertise right on the Hearth.com

    Either stove will turn out to be a quality purchase. Were not talking Vogalzang here.

    For me now it time to golf
  4. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    This is not true of cat stoves. Most cat stoves are air tight and were made to operate just like the old pre epa stoves but much better. The difference is they have a way (catalyst) to burn all that smoke and prevent the creosote. I know mine has 1 air control and can be completely shut off and the cat will continue to burn even with no visible flames and a smouldering fire, while all that comes out of the chimney is white steam or heat waves.
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Whoa Todd. Daddy was a Baptist preacher so I bought into Immaculate Conception but I can't sign onto anaerobic wood burning. That stuff is getting air somewhere or cat or no cat burning ain't gonna happen.

    BTW: How's the lake?
  6. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Yah, your right , I should of said "almost" air tight. Sorry. My air intake is a metal slide type and closes all the way, and is by no means completely gasketed for air tightness. Just one control, not a second seperate secondary air inlet that is non-controllable by the operator like most non cats I know of. So they hold a fire similar to the older so called air tight pre EPA stoves, but are cleaner and more efficient.

    BTW: The lake is great, alittle rough lately, but the Walleye's have been biting.
  7. scotty

    scotty Member

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    Yep, at the time the airtights first came out, the defining thing about them was that if you closed the air intake the fire would go out. Of course there are a whole number of reasons why you wouldn't want to do that...but that's how we used to tell an airtight from a non-airtight stove. In fact, VC brought out the first really good airtights when they first started, and I can remember that when the catalytics came out we were sure comfused trying to figure out how the new air controls worked.

    I like the VC's - both cats and non cats....admittedly all wood stoves are cult items and VC more than most. To my eye the VC defines the right "look". And they top load. Poking around inside of them they certainly appear well made with good fits and the bolted gasket construction. If the local dealer would guarantee it and stand behind the product I would certainly have bought one for our new house. VC is always a good place to start.
    Scotty
  8. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Everyone:

    First off, I really want to thank everyone who put so much time and really good information into their suggestions and replies. I feel very confident that many of us could make a very good case to support either brand that I have mentioned but it's time to make a final choice.

    There is a few iteams that I want to mention that just "stick-out" which determined our final descision.

    To start, I can't help but remember a comment made by Brother Bart in which he sais "think long, think wrong". His poker playing rules to live by and I could'nt agree more. From the very begining, both my wife and I absolutely fell in love with the VC Defiant stove. It's only after reading numerous negative reviews that got us very concerned.

    On the principal that you never really hear about the plane that landed safely, I would tend to agree that many of the VC complaints are generated by a very small percentage of the overall users and owners. If the VC product was really that bad, it simply would not exist anymore.

    Secondly, if I were replying to this thread as somebody else (besides myself), I would probably say something like "that home was made for a Defiant", the looks and setting is ideal. If that stove could not work in your house, then where could it work??!.

    As far as performance goes, it was Seakens reply that really made me wake up and realize that by burning primarily pine, I would want a stove that is designed to burn off as much gases as possible, thereby minimizing the amount of creosote buildup that pine is famous for. It seems that the "cat" Defiant was made exactly to fit this bill.

    As far as the stoves "specs" go, many members have said to throw the performance specs out the window as they are just fudged anyway. Instead, simply buy the largest firebox you can find to generate the most heat and longest burn times. To honor those suggestions, I will be doing so as the Defiant has the largest firebox with approx 3.3 cubic feet.

    As far as maintainence goes, what I really want is the best "performing" stove (of the ones on the approved list!). Periodic maintainence does not scare me at the least and I am very willing to re-seal gaskets, cement and replace the cat as needed. I would rather have a good performing stove that requires more maintainence than a lesser performing stove that requires no maintainence.

    As far as "cuting edge" technology goes, the thermostatically controlled temp setting (air control) is only found of the Defiant and several members have said that this is a really nice feature.

    As far as convienience goes, the Defiant has both double front doors AND the much desired top loading feature. While I am still somewhat young (early 40's) and in very good physical shape (former competitive athlete), and of course, extremely handsome to boot!!, I do have a mild-to severe problem with my joints on a fairly regular basis (chronic Lyme disease), and as a result, bending down on my knees can sometimes be very agravating to say the least. The top loading feature may be a blessing in disguise!.

    As far as aesthetics as well as the "nookey factor"!, the Defiant suits this bill easily the best as it is not only the best looking stove IMO, but Mrs Hunky and I can also cuddle in front of the open double doors using a factory sparkscreen and listen to the crackling wood being burned. this can only lead to even better things!!!!!!!!!!

    As far as dealer support goes, we do (or will) have a new VC dealer locally. Although the line is brand new to them and they have never installed one yet, I can only hope that it is better to have a local dealerthan none at all. Besides, one thing I forgot to mention before, I MUST have a certified stove installer install our new stove for our home insurance to insure the home. They will NOT allow a self install and that would void our insurance policy should we ever have a claim.

    In essence, after an almost ridiculous amount of research, I truly believe that the VC Defiant stove is the right choice for us. It has a very user friendly ash pan with covered lid removal system. It has the largest sized "cat" firebox out there, it has the handy top loading feature many have come to love. It has the state of the art thermostatically controlled air setting, and is technically the best designed stove to more thoroughly burn more of the gases (the cat version) to help minimize the creosote buildup in the pipe.

    All in all, this was a very informative learning experience for me and possibly others as well. It may be a while before we actually have the stove installed as I first need to build an approved hearth for it, but as soon as its in, I'll be sure to post up plenty of pics as well as give in depth ongoing performance reviews.

    Again, thanks to everyone for their honest and sometimes "spirited" comments and replies. The information I have received on this forum is absolutely invaluable and the members that comprise it all deserve a very sincere "thank you".

    The VC Defiant "cat" is what we chose and deep down, I feel very relieved!. I don't know why (I mean its not like were buying a house or an expensive luxory car or something!), its just that I really became very interested in wood burning stoves and my curiosity may have run amuck a little!. Oh well, I guess thats a good thing but who knows!. at least I now know where to go should I have any more questions about operating my new stove properly. I think I may owe many people a favour and hopefully I can one day return it in someway.

    Thanks again everyone.
    S-H
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Congratulations on reaching a decision! May your new stove burn long, hot, and (of course) Defiantly! (had to get that one in there...) :p

    I think your reasoning makes good sense, though I'd be tempted to look for a new insurance co. (Wanting to have the install inspected is one thing, but it doesn't seem reasonable to me for them to prohibit a self-install. As a hard-core DIY guy, that kind of rule offends me....)

    Gooserider
  10. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    I agree Goose, but that is Farmers policy. Having a log home dripping in linseed oil in the forrest within the trees is a tough cookie to insure around here!. Not many options as many insurance companies won't even insure us!.
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Good choice and you went through the decision process well. Just as a footnote, and before the PE guys rise up, it should be noted that the Summit EBT (Extended Burn Technology) is also a thermostatically controlled air intake system.

    Enjoy putting it all together and keep us posted.
  12. Gunner

    Gunner New Member

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    You made a good choice.

    I love my Summit... but a 30' stack and burning pine 24/7 + being undersized for the application kept me from banging the PE drum this time. The cat may perform better with the tall stack, it's hard to say, there is not alot of feedback from people with 30 ft of chimney.

    Good Luck and enjoy the stove.

    P.S As you prepare you seeming never ending supply of wood for your first year, make sure you don't split your stuff too small. Split size and loading it tight will help when burning pine.

    Are you going with a 6 or 8" chimney?
  13. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Oh yea, Goose and others:

    One more thing. In doing my research, I checked very carefully into all the mfg's warranty (fine print). If I recall corrrectly, I don't remember A SINGLE mfg that would not *void* the warranty if the stove was not installed by an "authorized so and so brand installer"!.

    I.e, anyone who has a new stove and installed it themselves, from what I have read....you will NOT be covered under any warranty as it is void!.

    Don't shoot the messanger here, I'm just letting everyone know what I read. For positive clarification, DO NOT TAKE THE WORD OF ANYONE, EVEN YOUR DEALER!!. Why?, because I had several stove dealers tell me that I could install the stove myself, as long as it met with all the local city/county codes and passed inspection. While this would *seem* to make sense, it's NOT true!.

    I had contacted a Lopi rep directly for further clarification and he said any warranty claim will only be honored based on the WRITTEN warrantee/guarantee that came with the stove at the time of purchase.

    Their warrantee clearly states that an *authorized* lopi installer must install the stove in order for the warrantee to be upheld. I had found this to be the case with almost every single mfg as well...

    Don't be sorry, read the warrantee fine print!!
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Read the warranties again SH. Virtually every stove warranty says it must be installed by a "qualified" installer not an "authorized" one and that it is to be installed per the installation instructions in the manual. As does Lopi.

    Since building inspectors use the stove manual for inspection purposes you have a document in your hand, the permit sign off, attesting to it being installed per the manual.

    Anyway, improperly installing a stove is going to burn down your house before it hurts the stove. It is operation error that screws up stoves. That is why they all have the overfiring disclaimers in the warranties.
  15. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Okay Bart my Brother: I read the warrnties (avail for anyone online), and they differ slightly from brand to brand. One thing I noticed is that on say VC, it clearly states that "any and all warraties are void if repaired by anyone other than an authorized VC s dealer".

    It does'nt seem to mention anything about the installation (or at least I can't find VC installation warranty on the web site), but it seems they do not want you to repair anything.

    "grey" areaz to say the least.
  16. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well a properly done repair shouldn't be obvious, so if you repaired it yourself and did it right, then the question never comes up. If you did a hack job that caused other problems then the "authorized dealer" language keeps you from sticking it to them for problems that weren't really their fault... This sort of thing isn't all that uncommon, I suspect you would find it in just about any product, especially those without a large network of non-dealer repair facilities. Even cars have language requiring you to be able to document maintainance and the like, most of the time they don't raise the issue, but will if you come in with a problem possibly due to bad repairs or lack of care.
    The "authorized dealer" routine also gives them a filter that the dealer has looked at the problem and thought it rated a call to the warranty dept., and not a customer that had abused the stove or just has a routine, non-warranty item.

    Heck, we've even had VC suggest that customers do their own warranty repairs, including welding on a firebox!

    In general, while I wouldn't ignore the "weasel language" it isn't a big issue. If you have a genuine warrantee problem, and not a failure caused by misuse, the mfgr will honor it regardless - if the warranty item is questionable, it gives them grounds to refuse.

    Many years ago I was involved in such a situation from the service end. I was working as a wrench in a store that did outdoor power equipment (among other things). A customer brought in a tiller, with three days left on the engine warranty, saying the engine was locked up. As I was dismantling, I found the air filter was packed solid with dirt (I had trouble getting the cover off, it was so tight) and the oil was black and gritty. All parts were severely worn, and the engine was locked because it had snapped the con-rod big end. We refused the warranty on the grounds of abuse / lack of maintainance. We were backed by the engine distributor rep, who said that if he turned the claim in at the factory the engine would get blown back to him by the laughter... We had a hard time explaining this to the customer, but finally got the point across. In the interest of good relations, we did end up selling him a new motor at our cost, plus a couple hours labor - 30 minutes or so of which I spent on doing a demo of how to clean the air filter and perform other maintainance.

    Clearly this wasn't a legitimate warrantable "defect in materials or manufacture", but it was the "weasel language" that saved us a major hassle in dealing with the problem.

    Gooserider
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Don't sweat the standard fine print. You don't have a choice in the matter if you want the stove. When you signed up for the constrution loan to build your house, or maybe to buy your first house, didn't you have to sign about 30 pages of fine print? Did you read, scrutinize, and try and change every little thing that seemed queer? Of course not.
  18. restorer

    restorer New Member

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    My other side just rose to the top. Can we talk about the Linseed Oil? Is it a done deal. I have some real short and long term concerns. If you want to talk privately, PM me.
    UncRich
  19. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Uncle rich:

    It's actually "superdeck" log home oil. "Pure" linseed oil is WAY to combustable; ask me how I know that!!!
  20. restorer

    restorer New Member

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    Wheww, don't need to ask... You are obviously aware of the fire potential. Remember it doesn't go away, but also the fact that it really isn't a preservative. Brings a whole new meaning to micro-biological-deterioration. We won't scare the crap out of the rest of the readers.
  21. Gunner

    Gunner New Member

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    Now that you have decided on the stove, what about the most important element... the chimney.

    6" or 8"? damper or no damper?

    I guess it's all going to be double wall with 25' inside the envelope.

    What does your local "New to VC" Dealerthink? He will be installing, right?
  22. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Hi Gunner:

    I may take Seaken's advice and go with the 8'' pipe. It will be Simpson "duratech". I really don't know if I need 8'' or if the 6'' will be fine as we will have 30' of piping.

    We may have a natural overdraft scenario and the 8'' pipe may make that worse (incresed airflow), but I really don't know.....do you?? or anyone?.

    VC sais if you use the Defiant with the doors open, that you must use 8'' piping. I am assuming that they say this because of a potential smoke in the romm problem if you don't have enough draft. Since I think we will have a super draft, I may not need the 8'' pipe. My "thinking" is just that. I don't know if what I am assuming is true; hopefully others can inform me of the facts.
  23. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    At 7600 feet your concern is going to be having enough draft. Not too much. VC recommends a minimum chimney height of 25' at that elevation for the Defiant with 6" adapter. One of my stoves is on a 30 foot pipe and the other two on 25' at twenty-five feet above sea level and just exhibit a little over drafting. At 7600 feet you are going to be praying for draft, not trying to avoid it.
  24. Mr_Super-Hunky

    Mr_Super-Hunky New Member

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    Bart:

    This is good info as I had no idea that elevation had anything to do with proper draft. I just thought that by having a 30'+ pipe that I would have a powerful draft but did not realize that elevation had anything to do with it; thanks for the tip.

    So, if you think my draft will be weak (due to the elevation), should I put in the 8'' pipe instead of 6''?
  25. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I will let the scientific types among us detail the effect, but a general rule of thumb is to increase chimney height 2-3% for each thousand feet of elevation to offset the effect of the lower density of the air. Yours will be helped by the fact that most of it will be inside the building envelope and stay relatively warm while you are burning.

    Were it me I would do the eight inch pipe for open door fires. Of course everybody starts out wanting open door fires and most do it a couple of times and then blow it off and just keep the glass clean. On my 30-NC the view of the fire is virtually the same with the door open or closed. On my old stove I burned open door three times in 21 years. You will have somewhat less viewing area with the double door design of the Defiant and the cute little iron thingies in front of the glass.

    That pipe is gonna cost a fortune.
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