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Vermont Castings Merrimack

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by daveydog, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. tamms_1965

    tamms_1965 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    Wilmington, OH
    Thanks, my inspector/installer checked it out and in his words it is "one of the best" you can get. I ordered it today and it actually came in $100 less than the orignal quote:)

    This is a great site....glad I found it:)

    Tamms

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  2. Joseymack

    Joseymack Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Central ma
    Fan Output
    My question is although I am happy with the inset, it seems my fan heat output is very minimal sometimes... I have a large open area and a fan to keep the heat down. My issue is I feel with the fan on high there really isn;t a very large output to the room of warm air? Kinda weak and almost hard to feel. is this normal. How do I test this?
  3. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    194
    Loc:
    pennsylvania
    i have the same problem, fan makes alot of noise but barely pushes out hot air. i have to burn for 6 plus hours to feel any real heat in the house.
  4. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    Dayton, Ohio
    The merimack is a 150 cfm fan which was an issue with me when i purchased it. The other unit i look at was alot cheaper and had a 300 cfm fan.

    But after running fires all winter i don't have to much issue anymore. It would be nice to have more cfm at times, but the air would cycle through the unit faster and discharge at a lower temperature.

    My room is also large (30' x 30') with high ceilings and i can get it to 74 degrees when it is zero outside after a good 24 hour burn and then it is just a maintenance fire.

    I have had my room to 78 degrees (too hot) with outside temps in the teens.
  5. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    Dayton, Ohio
    Jay Clark or anyone

    What type of brush do you recommend to clean the flue?

    Poly brush? My installer said I should buy a 12" ductwork poly brush and cut down to 8" diameter. This does not seem right for a 6" flue. It might work well going down but could be hell coming up.

    They have stainless brushes at lowes that says safe for stainless flues, but I have heard you don't want to use stainless on stainless.

    Thanks in advance for you help
  6. Clarks ACE Hardware

    Clarks ACE Hardware Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    75
    Loc:
    Ellicott City, MD
    Musky,

    A 6" poly brush will do just fine and is your safest bet.
    Something like this: http://www.acehardwareoutlet.com/ProductDetails.aspx?SKU=48392

    Definitely do not use a steel brush on a stainless liner. A stainless brush will have less of a corrosive effect but you will still be scratching/pitting the surface of the liner.
  7. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    Dayton, Ohio
    A few comments on the fan and my first cleaning

    Over the weekend i took my fan out and cleaned all the pet hair/dust that accumulated over the winter. So you might want to check you fan. I had quite a bit with a golden retriever. Any idea what and where do you apply oil? What type of oil?

    So I took some time to study the fan as i did all winter. I believe most of the fan noise comes from the sheet metal bottom plate vibrating either from the fan or from the air circulation or from heat waves (it seem to get noisier as my fire gets hotter). So I cut a 5/8" thick board about 3" wide and slid it under the sheet metal pan. There was a 5/8" gap between the pan and my hearth. To check it I turned on a hair dryer to trigger the thermostat and it sounded alot better. Like 200% better, but the real check will be with a fire.

    I also took out the top baffle to clean the flue. I did verify when the dampner is all the way to the right all air is cut off except maybe some leakage at the automatic dampner. I am calling the automatic dampner the dampner that is open when you push the level all the way to the left to trigger the dampner open. I think vermont calls it something else. I am not sure what cause this dampner to eventually close. Also the automatic dampner opening is a little larger than a quarter.

    On a side note:
    Some have complained that the fan takes over an hour to kick on after a new fire, mine is like 45 minutes to 1 hour. I wondering if you triggered it with a blow dryer would it just cool down and turn off or with a semi hot fire would that be enough to get it over the hump (kick on and stay on). Without a fire it just turns off but maybe with a fire it would not. Another test for next year.
  8. elevatorman

    elevatorman Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    SC
    Well its been a while since Ive been on here but I have been very please with my unit... I would Like to try and maybe silence the fan like others have done here... maybe when I clean the Flue i will do this.. well back to gathering wood for next winter... :p
  9. Roufs

    Roufs New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Twin Cities, MN
    Hi all. My husband and I recently upgraded our fireplace insert with the VC Merrimack. Prior to the Merrimack we had a tiny no name insert that didn’t produce much heat, so we opted for a larger unit. The unit is beautiful and does provide an ample amount of heat; however, I’m fed up with the smoking back into the house, not to mention the fan takes an hour and a half to turn on! So if anyone can help us trouble shoot this smoke spillage issue, I’d appreciate it.

    Unlike many other posts our unit smokes in whenever the doors are opened, not just when we’re starting the fire. Our chimney is 16’ tall with a 6†stainless steel liner, we open the damper, turn off the fan, open the door SLOWLY, and ensure the ceiling fan is turned off, and our house was built in 1947…. it’s far from air tight. And the chimney was cleaned this fall when we changed out the fireplace units. Tonight we tried opening an outside door when reloading the fireplace only to have smoke back in the living room.

    We have talked to our fireplace retailer and moved the rheostat attached to the fan motors closer to the firebox with no resolution in the time it takes the fan to turn on. We’ve been waiting for a week for the retailer to research the smoking back issue and haven’t heard back.

    My husband and I are so frustrated with this unit, being experienced fireplace users, we can’t figure out what is not working and have debated re-installing our old tiny fireplace insert!! Please help us resolve the smoke problem!!
  10. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,854
    Loc:
    Amanda, OH
    Well I will only attempt to stab at the smoke issue. Smoke back in the room has got to be a draft problem, simply not enough to keep the firebox evacuated. Maybe it was adequate for the previous smaller unit butr apparently not for the bigger one. Have you sweep lately to make sure there isn't an obstruction? Does the insert give instructions for minimum chimney height? And is your chimney high enough above the roof to allow a good draft. Sometimes if your draft is maginal for the appliance a lower barometric day can have adverse effects on performance.
  11. shayes8888

    shayes8888 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2010
    Messages:
    22
    Loc:
    7 miles west of Banks, Oregon
    This is our second year with our Merrimack. Fan on issue... yes, it takes time to come on. The key is building a hot fast burning fire. The burn efficiency is tied to the temperature of the entire unit - all 400 plus pounds of cast iron - so to start cooling off the unit before the best operating temperature is reach defeats the whole purpose. We lay a good supply of dry kindling and progressively larger fuel and let this get going for 5 or 10 minutes with the door ajar using the latch. Shut the doors and the damper flap shuts in 30 minutes and the fan comes on 5 or 10 minutes later. We also can get smoke into the room. However, to minimize back drafting we first wait until all fuel is burned down to coals. Open the door and keep ajar at least a minute to establish a draft with the "new" air supply coming in from the front of the unit. Then slowly open the right door and fill the firebox. As far as fan noise goes, ours is usually on high for the first hour or two, then I shut it down to 50% or so and close the damper down all the way right. On high our fan competes with the dishwasher's noisy attitude. On 50% it creates a stereo effect with the refrigerator. (Put on the noise canceling head phones and you can't hear it at all!) Our wood is Douglas-fir, dried at least a year. With dry wood and a hot fire to start we only clean the glass once a week, if that. We also have welder's gloves when working with the hot stove, and a dust buster to clean up the front. The unit easily heats our upstairs great room which is 28'x48' with 17' clearstory ceiling.
  12. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    Dayton, Ohio
    Heres my solution to fan noise. Zvox 555 system. The DE feature works great! As long as I can hear the tv the noise is not an issue with me.
  13. ernie

    ernie Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    68
    Loc:
    Missouri
    If your blower takes so long to come on, just bypass the thermostat, it is not needed. So what if sometimes it blows cold air! I have bypassed every thermostat on every stove I have owned.

    Ernie
  14. jvoelker

    jvoelker New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Queenstown, MD
    So, after having the Merrimack for a little over a year, I'll tell you what I have run into:

    As I stated earlier, the unit was chewing through wood...so much that I stopped burning as I was just wasting it, smoke was pouring into the room and the fan sounded like a jackhammer. Unfortunately my dealer passed away shortly after I purchased it, so I was left dead in the water with options on what to do....VC refuses to help out the consumer unless going through a dealer. BUYER BEWARE HERE. I began data mining and came across a direct line to a Monessen employee who was very sympathetic to my problems, but it took until MAY for anyone to contact me to come fix the stove. I kept getting the run around from VC/Monessen that they were investigating the problem and would get back to me shortly. To make a long story short, they concluded the stove was put together wrong, with massive air gaps in the stove body, hence the rapid burn of the wood and very high temps which I could not control. The technicians did find that assembly of the stove was incorrect The day the stove was fixed (great customer service by the dealer who picked up my servicing my unit), it was 90 degrees outside and summer continued so I could not test the unit.

    Now that it is cold and am burning again, I have a whole host of new problems and my frustration grows with Vermont Castings. I am finding there is no heat output with the unit now, smoke continues to pour out of the doors, and burn times are still short, and the fan noise is now worse than it was a year ago. Due to all the time delays, problems and fearing further problems, I have asked VC to give me my money back. They have declined, inferring that all the problems are probably my fault, not theirs. I am very disappointed in them as I grew up with VC stoves and they were great. VC's customer service leaves alot to be desired and I will never purchase another one of their products and I continue to tell all I know about their shortcomings.

    If anyone is considering buying a Merrimack...do not do it. If you want a more detailed explanation send me a personal message and I'll send you my phone number and I'll discuss in detail all that I have been through with VC over this lemon of a wood burning unit.
  15. Joseymack

    Joseymack Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Central ma
    Seems my merrimack is popping and clanging way too much? Not overly hot in my opinion any ideas why
  16. dbnewlon

    dbnewlon New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    Western Mi (LP)
  17. dbnewlon

    dbnewlon New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    Western Mi (LP)
    I've had my Merrimack for almost three months now. I'm amazed at all the problems folks have had, I've had none of it. I have very little issue with smoke coming back into the room and the fan is not overly noisy, if I need it to be quieter I just turn down its speed a bit with the variable potentiometer. I have insert installed in a fairly small family room (10X12) that is in the end of our 2300 sqft house - so I made a wall opening and put in a fan that circulates the warmer air into the living room and the colder air comes back into the family room from the kitchen. I also made an opening in the ceiling at the foot of our basement stairs so heat from the same fan circulates down into the finished basement. I also had a cold air return put in near the Merrimack so heat is pulled out of the room into the furnace & whole house humidifier that we run 100% of the time-negating the issue with lowering humidity.

    Even in late April, the Michigan nights are still getting down to 32, so I routinely light a fire at about 9:00 by putting a couple pieces of wadded up newspaper and lot of kindling and pine cones with a few dry oak logs on top. With the lever in the far left position (open) I light it and close but do not latch the door. After it ignites a lot of smoke builds up in the chamber, so I don't open the door!, not until the draft kicks in and I can see all that smoke get sucked out of the chamber. (this takes about 3-5 minutes) After 35-50 minutes the fan turns on, (I also turn on our in-wall circulation fan and ceiling fan) at this point the kindling is mostly burned up into coals so I slowly open that door and a puff of smoke comes out while I load up the chamber with seasoned oak. I then let it burn for another 30 minutes, when it is apparent everything is burning good, I close the lever to the right and go to bed about 11:00. For many hours through the window of the insert I can see a slow billowing of the flames, almost like a slow motion fire. It is then pouring out the heat and very little smoke is going out the chimney. When I get up at 6:00 there is still red hot coals enough so that all I need to do is throw the lever to he left, put a 3-4 logs in and close the door - they ignite on their own from those hot coals. When I leave for work I throw a few more logs on and throw the lever to the right.

    The heat output of this unit is phenomenal. It is a heavy beast, at least 400 lbs., and that much metal takes quite a while to get fully heated up, but once it is heated up it stays heated up for a long time, putting out heat for hours after the fire goes out. The claim that this unit can keep a fire going for 12 hours in the brochure is something I've not been able to accomplish. I use seasoned red oak and maple, and it burns for a long time but if it stays burning for 8 hours I'd be surprised. Maybe this is an estimate including how long the unit puts out heat including the time even after the flame is out. I still don't think it would be 12 hours. But the heat this stove puts out raised our 66 degree house up to 75 degrees in about 4 hours, and when I get up in the morning, it's still 70-72 degrees at the thermostat in the living room. I haven't had any really cold Michigan weather to try this out in, but so far I am estimating it has saved me about 200$ in natural gas costs over 3 months. With the 350$ gas bills we can get in December-February, I estimating I can pay this unit off in around 5-7 years. If it will last that long, it will have been a solid investment.

    Beyond the financial side of things, this stove is very efficient. We are burning much less wood and getting much more heat then we ever could with our fireplace. We also are getting a whole lot less smoke in the house. It has also made our whole house much more comfortable to live in. We came home from church today and the house was down to 65 because I didn't light a fire last night. So, I lit a fire at 1:00 this afternoon, 4 hours later now the living room is 73 and the family room is a toasty 88. It sure feels good when you come in from a 45 degree day. If I were to rate this stove on a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 9, the only reason I wouldn't give it a 10 is that is doesn't keep a fire as long as I expected...maybe others have found a way to achieve this, but I have not.
  18. dbnewlon

    dbnewlon New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    Western Mi (LP)
    What kind of wood are you burning? I burned apple and cherry for a while and found that mine didn't get very hot either - I switched to Red Oak and Maple and now it gets very hot.
    Mine does make a clang sound when it is first heating up, but then, after that it's pretty quiet, until it cools down and then it clangs again.
  19. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    194
    Loc:
    pennsylvania
    i also have a merrimack, i also did run into issues regarding the fan not turning in an acceptable amount of time, so i had the dealer jump the thermal switch so i could put it on manually. other than that i am very happy with the unit
  20. Terra

    Terra New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    I just ordered the Merrimack on Thursday. $4290. includes an extra panel for behind the standard panel since our fireplace is ridiculously large. I should be having it installed in about 3 weeks. I cannot wait! I've had a propane fireplace for a few years, and while it was nice and all, nothing beats a wood fire, and the smell of the fireplace and the look of crackling wood.
  21. Dan

    Dan New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    West Granby, CT

    I just ordered mine as well. Stove w/ cast surround was 3300, 35' insulated pipe kit was 450, install w/ custom extra panel (big fireplace too) was 1100... with tax the total job will be ~4600. I have a huge slate cap to the chimeny, so the install dude said it would be a bit of work to do the install... I was sold on 3.0cuft firebox, cast iron look, and 350sqin viewing area.
  22. Dan

    Dan New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    West Granby, CT
    Install went great yesterday- very pleased with the aesthetics of the stove. However, during the install the cast piece on the door latch (small part the roller screws into) cracked! The installer said this was somewhat common, which I can imagine. Replacement part will be here this week until then I can't use the stove. Anyone else have the part break? Being a small cast piece, I was thinking of getting one machined out of solid steel so I would not need to worry about it.

    image.jpg
  23. Terra

    Terra New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    I'm glad you like the look of the stove. I have no clue about breakage-my stove is being installed on Friday. I'll update that that time, but I'm sure you could have one made for minimal cost. Hopefully the part comes in for you and the replacement goes smoothly.
    Somewhat common that a piece breaks? That's hardly acceptable.
  24. Terra

    Terra New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Well, I've had the insert for 4 days, we're right in the middle of a hurricane and I've built my 3rd fire-I LOVE this insert. The fan noise in very minimal, the Living room is toasty in just a little while, and it is SO pretty. The first night we had it, we had a fire and the entire downstairs was almost intolerably hot! When I woke the next morning, the fan was still going, still had hot embers in it, so the downstairs was still toasty warm.

    I was worried that with the hurricane, the wind would cause the smoke to blow back down, but so far so good. We're up to 50mph winds and all is well. I'll let you know what happens when Sandy hits land.

    The fan DOES take a while to turn on, but the bigger the fire, the faster it comes on apparently. I guess if we get medieval on it with the wood at the start, it'll kick on faster. I doesn't really matter much. I hope I still feel this way when it's 20 degrees outside!
  25. Dan

    Dan New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    West Granby, CT
    Week #1 with the stove and we love it. Getting long burns, great heat - blower really helps put out really hot air - waiting for below freezing nights here in CT to see if it can keep the furnace off! As for the blower taking a while to turn on, I find that as the stove heats up the natural convection of the stovve getting hot "sucks" cold air in the bottom as the heated air rises through the air jacket of the stove. I think this airflow prevents the bottom from heating up fast enough to kick the blower on fast. I put some of my fire gloves (basically welding gloves) in front of the bottom air intake when I start up the stove and it seemed to speed up getting the fan to kick on... just a thought. I like the automatic feature of the blower as I am getting embers that last very very long - almost 18 hours after a load, so the fan will continue to run until the stove cools then shuts off. Only thing I have yet to master is the the automatic damper control were you push the lever to the left into the "springy" zone then back to where you want the damper once the stove heats... just haven't had the patience to try it and see how it works.

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