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Vermont Castings Encore 2 in 1 ?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by emt1581, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    Well I had a real shock at the stove shop today. I went in prepared to pay for my Avalon Arbor and was told that, due to the specs of the stove and my home, it wouldn't work. It needs too much clearance and I don't have 9 or 10 foot ceilings. Long story short, I'm going with the Vermont Castings Encore 2 in 1 wood stove.

    Seems to me that, aside from less clearance needed (on paper), they are pretty much the same. Only major difference I see is that the Encore has a CAT option to make it more efficient.

    Anyone have one though? Any thoughts on it good or bad?

    Thanks!

    -Emt1581

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    New design for the Encore. You may be the first.
  3. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

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    I have been waiting for someone to test a 2 in1...If you decide to get it I'll be anxious to hear your reviews. Have you ever had a cat stove before?
  4. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    I don't understand. The CAT AND Non-CAT (2 in 1) is new? If so sounds like I'm a bit of a guinea pig.

    -Emt1581
  5. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    I grew up with an Osburn insert....and in the 90's I'm not sure if it was a CAT or not. It was well explained to me and just sounds like a CAT needs more maintenance/cleaning to run well and efficiently.

    -Emt1581
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'd recommend downloading some manuals for the stove choice(s) and read up on clearance and hearth requirements and operation.
  7. pixelmountain

    pixelmountain New Member

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    We just finished installing this stove. I can't really give it a full review yet since we've only used it for a few days. Also, the weather has been too warm to really put it through its paces. But so far it's good.

    I did a few small break-in fires and maybe one or two smallish fires after that without the catalyst. Then I put the cat in and have been running it that way since. So far, so good.

    We need to learn the stove – we've only had a 1970s Mountain Aire until now, which was a smoke dragon and was clunky in many ways. So we're basically having to relearn our wood burning skills. Which is fine, but it means it's hard to review this stove until we have more experience with it.

    If anyone has any specific questions, I'm happy to try to answer them...
  8. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    Hey thanks for chiming in! :)

    What are your thoughts on the ash pan with the lid/handle? Seems like a cool idea but if your bucket is right there...a bit of a pain in the butt.

    Is the cat simple/easy to install or does it take some directions/skill?

    Thanks!

    -Emt1581
  9. pixelmountain

    pixelmountain New Member

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    I thought I was going to love the removable ash pan, but then realized that since I'm in the camp that believes in keeping a good ash bed rather than removing ash as soon it accumulates, I probably will only use it at the end of the burning season. So I'm pretty much ignoring that feature. ;-)

    And yes, I agree that having your ash bucket right there seems simpler than putting a lid on the removable ash pan and taking that outside. But there may be circumstances or certain kinds of usage where that's handy. It might just depend on each person's habits and preferences.

    It's incredibly easy. You just set the catalyst in its compartment in the refractory chamber. There are two pieces of refractory material (an "inner cover" and an "access cover") that need to be placed over it; they just set into their places, no special methods of attachment.

    The manual, which is here – http://literature.mhsc.com/vermont_castings/manuals/30005295_Encore_2N1_2.pdf – shows this on page 20. (Well, actually, they're showing how to remove the catalyst, but of course putting it in is just the reverse.) It's as simple as they make it look. :)
  10. Renovation

    Renovation New Member

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    Thanks for the report, PixelMountain!

    Having a cat option sounds very cool, if it works well. Please tell us what you find, like if it burns differently and longer with the cat, etc.
  11. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I have been kinda alarmed by the way the refractory panels just sit around the cat, seems very unstable and vulnerable to breakage tome.
  12. pixelmountain

    pixelmountain New Member

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    I know what you mean. That was my initial feeling. But after taking it apart and putting it back together a few times, I think it's fine. The outer piece has a little notch to hold it in place. I think it would take an unusual impact to knock it out of place. And I kind of like the simplicity of it all.

    If it broke in normal usage I know I'd be on the phone fast demanding a warranty replacement. ;-) But I don't think it's likely, really.
  13. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, honestly, I'm not liking that ash pan. I'd much rather the Avalon one with the built in handle. Maybe I can rig something similar on the VC...

    As far as the CAT...I think I'll give it at try. Worse comes to worse...I pull it out and still have a 75%+ efficiency stove. But since I get REALLY dry wood, I'm thinking I might as well take advantage of the CAT.

    Thanks for the feedback!:)

    -Emt1581
  14. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Ceiling clearance issues??? Is the stove going into an alcove or something? You can check the clearance req's in the Avalon manual, which is probably available online.
  15. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    We did that at the stove shop.

    -Emt1581
  16. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Never hurts to double check, in the actual room, with a tape measure. :)
    rideau likes this.
  17. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Cat stoves are not a maintenance problem.. I have had this one for decades and I can access the cat without tools and the only maintenance is to use a vacuum with a brush attachment to clean and that takes 2 minutes a couple times a year.. Personally I like how cat stoves operate and plan on staying with cat stoves.. I am sure others will chime in on this one..

    Ray
    rideau likes this.
  18. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    Good to see. I've heard a LOT complain about them and the guy at the shop said they need to be replaced ONLY if you don't do your part in keeping it clean/functioning.

    -Emt1581
  19. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    The cat stoves work well over a wide range of temps and the cats last me 6 years + as a rule.. How much wood you burn and how hot you run determine longevity unless you let the flames hit the cat directly which will crack the ceramic cats.. It is also important to use dry seasoned wood.. Backwoods Savage aka Dennis was unsure of cats like you are and loves them now.. Secondary burn stoves are also popular and have their following as well.. Once you know how to run a cat stove they are easy to use...

    Ray
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  20. nekit

    nekit New Member

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    I've had the Encore 2 in 1 for a little over a week now and so far so good. It replaced a 20 year old Defient Encore Cat stove 0028.

    Compared to the old Encore it seems a little easier to control the heat. The Cat is super easy to remove and clean. The cat is thinner top to bottom compared to the old cat, probably doesn't need as much cat with the air injection too. It seems to run steadier with the cat in, than with just the air injection.

    Just added then fan kit a couple days ago and like the way the heat is distributed with that.

    The only down side so far is the windows get dirty much easier than my old Encore. Must have to do with the air flow pattern.
  21. BigE8817

    BigE8817 New Member

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    Joining late on this one. I just bought the 2 in 1 Encore to replace my old Timberline stove. I have been using it for about 2 weeks now and I love it. I also got the blower kit and it really kicks out some nice heat. I really didn't like the "fall away" door handle and I found out that I could just unscrew the handle from the stub and screw it directly into the door latch. The CAT seems like a good design but this is my first one. The manual says to change to non-cat mode to load the stove so when you do that the CAT is protected by the cover. The ash pan is a little small but easy to empty. My stove came with a 6" round flue collar (different from how the manual showed it) so I had to order the oval to 8" round flue collar to fit my 8" chimney. Definately a nicer looking stove for my living room. :)
  22. Renovation

    Renovation New Member

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    Nice to hear such enthusiastic early reports. The more great stoves on the market the better, IMO. I hope you continue to report. Happy burning!
  23. nekit

    nekit New Member

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    Quote
    "Hello, Nekit, i am very interested in the new encore, i also burned a cat encore from early nintys and had some backpuffing problems, i would appreciate any info you could provide using this stove. my old encore was vented into a 6 inch flu, it really needed a 8 inch. i see this stove is designed for 6 inch. any tips you can provide would be huge, Thanks Marty"

    My old Encore had the backpuffing too, it common in those when you have the fire really going and hen shut down the air too much and the fire starves for air. Haven't had this happen with the new 2 in 1 so far and I've had the air turned down almost all the way. I think with the air injection on the 2 in 1 it always feeds it some air and keeps this from happening. This is just my theory and maybe I just haven't had the right settings to make the backpuff happen yet. So far the only downside I've seen with the 2 in 1 so far is the windows smoke up almost instantly.

    Oh and FYI I've run 6" flue on both my old and new Encore.

    Rob
  24. engineroom

    engineroom New Member

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    I have been using the new VC Encore 2 in 1 for about 5 weeks. I am new to wood stoves so I do not have much of a frame of reference or past experience for comparison. I can tell you the stove lights super easily and retains a fire with ease even on the lowest setting. It burns the wood to to an ultra fine powdered ash every burn. I have been getting between 6 and 10 hour burn times (at low damper settings) based on the type and amount of wood I load. I am heating a 1200 square foot house with it and it seems to be freight train when it comes to heat output. It is not uncommon for me to open the windows in my house a little at times to cool the place down. Visually it is a beautiful stove. I am worried though about future maintenance based on a number of posts regarding the complexity of this stove's design.

    There is one serious problems though. The newly designed removable refractory cover plate at the rear of the firebox breaks like a thin sheet of glass. (has the sea shell design cast into it) Two of them have broken in my new stove in the last 3 weeks. My dealer was very nice about it and gave me one new plate under warranty. I have not been back to attempt to get a SECOND replacement. I am sure he will be shaking his head when he sees me again. He told me that this is an issue with the new 2 in one stoves. Personally I find it a little embarrassing and very annoying. Hopefully VC is already working on a solution in the form of a stout new replacement piece. Lets hope.

    Enjoy and stay warm and if you come across oak leave it for me please. Ill let you have some ash.

    UPDATE:

    My local VC dealer replaced my broken seashell refractory piece (the second one to break). I have been using the stove with the replacement piece for about 10 weeks or so with no problems. Because of the problems I have had I have been obsessively careful when loading the firebox with wood and when using any tools inside the stove. It cannot be stressed enough to a new user of these stoves to be careful when loading them. Never ever load the stove by tossing wood quickly into it, especially heavy pieces. Take a little extra time and always avoid the impulse to wedge in that last key piece of firewood in an attempt to get the stove really full. I did hear about another user who cracked a large section out of the large main refractory piece that occupies much of the back of the firebox. Fortunately VC warrantied that assembly as well and the stove is up an running again. When I asked him what had caused it he said it occurred when he attempted to wedge in one last piece of firewood using one of the fireplace tools. He said the snapping sound wasnt pretty.

    My goal is not to bad mouth VC or their products. I would just like users of these new stoves to be careful and avoid some of the mistakes others are sometimes experiencing. I also hope that the company considers making some changes to their owners manual educating the customer about the refractory and to avoid shocking or flexing the material. Maybe they will even make some changes and add some additional support to the assembly. I guess time will tell.

    Update Late April:
    I have not had any more problems with the rear refractory plate cracking or breaking and I have burning the stove 24/7 for 3 months or so with the replacement part. I heard somewhere that some of the early plates were more prone to breaking than the newer ones. Does anyone know if this is true? And the stove performance? Its great.
    Trilifter7 likes this.
  25. Renovation

    Renovation New Member

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    Hey EngineRoom,

    Thanks for the report, I'm always curious to hear how new stoves are working out.

    I'm glad it's working well for you, except for that flimsy part--how they handle this might be a good test of the "new" VC.

    Can you tell us what your chimney is like? height? double or single-wall stove pipe? Bends? Etc? It'll help to learn this stove's flue preferences.

    Good luck and happy burning!

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