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)

Vermont Castings Encore Two in One Reviews for 2011

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Free Monomoy, Nov 2, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Free Monomoy

    Free Monomoy Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Cape Cod
    Now that the burning season has officially started and the rust is off, I'm looking for some honest reviews on the new 2 in 1 Encores and, more specifically, your thoughts on catalytic operation. My 1986 Encore Cat is getting tired and the refractory is in need of replacing. I'm at the point of frustration with rebuilds and repairs and considering a new stove. After years of VC ownership transfer and the overall mess, It appears as though most kinks are worked out and the mothership is back on track with VC.

    For those of you that run the new 2 in 1, how are they running, what are your thoughts? It's not long enough for the true test of time, but let's hear the latest.

    I plan to run in cat mode as much as possible. What's this about taking a minute to switch modes when it's always been a flip of the damper and the ensuing adjustments after the cat warms and fires?

    Looking forward to hearing your input.

    Thanks

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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

    First, I do not run a 2-in-1 stove.

    In regards to some of your questions; to go from everburn mode to cat mode you need to remove the front panel of the assembly in the firebox and insert the cat. To run in everburn mode you need to remove the cat.

    From what I have read and seen, the refractory assembly will last longer and should be cheaper to replace. Also, the cats are cheaper to replace as well. As far as rebuilds go, they still have just as many gaskets. Keep that in mind if you had an issue replacing all of the gaskets. It's not an issue to me, but for some it is.
  3. Jack768

    Jack768 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Messages:
    131
    Loc:
    Long Island
    I'd be interested to hear any 2011-12 season reviews as well -- the 2-in-1 Defiant is (on paper) ideal for where I want to put it. Durability and maintainence costs are my concerns. Browning, how often do these gasket rebuilds need to be done, in your experience?
  4. Free Monomoy

    Free Monomoy Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Cape Cod
    Thanks, points taken. Replacing the gaskets isn't so much an issue. Thanks for the clarification on the cat mode. I assume when the cat is in place, the stove operates exactly like the older versions, ie my stove, which is what I desire. Certainly will be nice to have easy access to the cat!

    Hope all you folks that have a year + on your new encores chirp in with some reviews!!!

    Thanks
  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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

    I have heard through my local dealer, which I have spoken with many times and is actually a really good and honest dealer, that owners of the new 2-in-1 stoves that also owned previous Encore/Defiant models are reporting less wood consumption. Which means burn times should be longer. How much longer is up in the air.
  6. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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

    I can't say at this point since I have only had the Encore installed for about a month. I have heard that it is recommended that it should be done every five years, I believe. The Door/griddle gaskets would probably go sooner than that, but that is typical for most stoves due to the heavy use of those gaskets.

    If you have purchased all of the correct sized gaskets, which I didn't on the doors and back panel :red: , dis-assembling the Encore and re-gasketing the stove was not overly complicated and the stove re-asembled easily. Moving it in and out of the small fireplace I have it wedged in was a different story, but that is my own self-inflicted problem :lol:
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,826
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Did the dealer indicate how most folks are burning - cat or downdraft?
  8. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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

    Cat was implied, but not confirmed since the conversation was in regards to the catalytic costs and new assembly upkeep.
  9. BigE8817

    BigE8817 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Maryland
    I have a 2010 2in1. I love it! Much cleaner and more efficient than my old Timberline smoke dragon. The stove goes between Cat and Non-Cat with the flip of a lever on the left side of the stove. Doing that flips the Cat in front of the smoke path. Cleaning it takes a few minutes and no tools. My only complaint would that the ash door lever is hard to turn. I plan to put a little grease on it. The stove came with a 6" round flue collar and it wasn't very clear in the manual. I had to buy a new collar that was 8" oval. The delay was a little frustrating. I got the blower kit and it really pumps out the heat. I definitely recommend this stove. My house is 1700 sf. and it does a good job heating it.
    Eric
  10. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,112
    Loc:
    Western VA
    Close, but not quite right. The 2in1 stove is a cat stove when the cat is in place and a down draft secondary burn type stove with the cat removed. The bypass has nothing to with cat vs non-cat.

    Which model VC to you have, the Defiant or Encore? I like the looks of these 2in1 stoves and based on some reports we've seen last burning season, it sounds like the black days of VC may be behind them.

    Can you give us a review of your stove, how it burns, your burn pattern from cold start to overnight burn, house size - all the nosey stuff us stove geeks want to hear!

    Thanks,
    Bill
  11. BigE8817

    BigE8817 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Maryland
    Bill,
    I have the Encore and I have only used it in Cat mode. The house is 1700 square feet built in 1907. Most walls have been insulated and all the windows have been replaced. It is a 2 level with bedrooms upstairs. The stove is in the corner of my living room. There is a large archway leading to the foyer and stairway. Last year I came home from work and would light the stove and in about 30 min it was nice and warm in the room. I used a ceiling fan to spread the heat. It was usually about 80 degrees upstairs when I went to bed (around 11). I was able to relight at 8 am using the coals. I would load it up and set it to high for about 10 min then turn it down to low for the night. No problems with smoke on the glass. Ash removal is nice and easy. I love the top-load and it makes the stove much safer for me since I am almost blind.
    Eric
  12. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,112
    Loc:
    Western VA
    Very nice. Now we need some pics... ;)

    Bill
  13. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    414
    Loc:
    No. NH
    All very interesting but the problem has often been with 0028's and other Encores themaintainence costs. Non-cat Encores and Defiants were no better. Does the 2-in-1 thing have a fountain assembly, refractory assembly , or other equally expensive stuff in there which will require replacement periodically and muck up a perfectly good burning season? How long before iron firebox parts wear out?

    Might be a few seasons before we have some idea, so do as you will. Saving wood is cool, but a $300.00 plus labor bill can sort of be a wet blanket. Come to think of it, so can I!
  14. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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

    The fountain assembly and catalytic assembly are now one in the same. They are made out of harder material that should last a lot longer, making maintenance costs cheaper (but, that has yet to be determined due to the fact that the stoves are only going into their second burn season). If I remember correctly, the replacement costs are less expensive than the old fountains and assembly. They are also using a new catalyst which is cheaper to replace. I believe the replacement costs for the cat were about $100 which is in line with other cats.

    The stoves are still using a heavy amount of gasketing material, so a gasket rebuild will still be needed every five years or so.

    Has VC straightened out the issue of castings wearing out? I have no idea. I have never been able to get the whole story as to how and why castings worn down. I am running a 0028 and the firebox is in very good shape.
  15. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    930
    Loc:
    Ottawa, ON
    Something surely went south with the casts VC used in the newer stoves. When I picked up my 0028 encore (free) it looked beat up from outside, the inside was in a very good shape...nothing bent, no signs of weak cast spots (red areas from overfire). Then when I picked up the 2550 (free) it looked great from the outside but the firebox was rough. upper/lower fireback all bent, hood practically melted, bypass assembly bent. Perhaps the 2550 was excessively overfired and the 0028 was not, but surly from the outside you would think it was the opposite. I believe the older models had much better castings.
  16. Gadget

    Gadget Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    33
    Loc:
    North Carolina
    From the Vermont Castings Webpage:

    Limited Lifetime Warranty
    Guaranteed to last — Vermont Castings boasts the most comprehensive warranty in the industry with a Limited Lifetime Warranty on all castings, combustion systems and door glass.


    http://s40.photobucket.com/albums/e212/sharkology/HEATING/?action=view&current=VIDEO0068-1.mp4

    http://s40.photobucket.com/albums/e212/sharkology/HEATING/?action=view&current=VIDEO0069.mp4
  17. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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

    I think the key term in that phrase is 'limited'.
  18. Gadget

    Gadget Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    33
    Loc:
    North Carolina
    Based on the info in the 2nd video link above, it looks lie they have eliminated some gaskets and done away with the soft refractory material. Both seem like substantial steps toward reduced maintenance cost and hassle.
  19. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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

    That is correct, the fragile, expensive refractory assembly has finally been eliminated. Also, they use a more traditional catalytic combuster which is far cheaper to replace. They still use a lot of gaskets, though. Which I'm fine with.
  20. nekit

    nekit New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    NW Indiana
    I've been burn the Encore 2 in 1 for almost a year now. I'm very happy with it. It replace a 0028 cat Encore that I had used for about 5 years, but was much older than that.

    The new 2 in 1 has a much better refectory box, cast stone like material. Switching between cat and just 2nd air burn takes only about 30 seconds to remove the cat. Also very easy to inspect and clean cat. Build quality is quite nice.

    I have had it back puff on me once, my old Encore did this too. Have a good healthy burn going and shut the air down too much to go to bed. Started back puffing after about 1/2 hour.

    The glass seems to get smokey a little more than my old Encore. I usually clean it every or every other day. Cleans really easy if you do it when it's warm, not hot, with Windex.

    I burn without the cat when it's 30 degrees and warmer. Burn easier and put out less heat.

    I can't seem to get the advertised burn times, but that seems to be the case with most wood stoves. Seem to get about 7-8 hours of burn with the cat. I could probably get more if I loaded it all the way up, but that would warm my house too much. I usually have 3 splits med/lrg in when I go to bed at 10 and it's burned up by 5 or 6 am. Burning Black Oak mostly.
  21. Gadget

    Gadget Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    33
    Loc:
    North Carolina
    Thanks for the feedback Nekit.

    All of it makes sense except the part about not loading it all the way up because it would warm the house too much. What keeps you from controlling the burn / output by reducing the incoming air and thereby maintaining the heat level and extending burn time?
  22. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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

    Are burn times any different with the new Encore or about the same?
  23. Free Monomoy

    Free Monomoy Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Cape Cod
    NeKit, Thanks for the comprehensive review. My new Encore is on order and my old 28 that served me well will soon be on the market.
  24. nekit

    nekit New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    NW Indiana
    My house isn't that big 1300 sq ft. If I load it all the way up. Even with the air down low. It gets pretty warm about midnight.
  25. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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

    Good problem to have.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page