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Vermont Castings Merrimack

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

  1. Blackdog

    Blackdog New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1
    I have had my Merrimack for about 14 mos. Has been working great and we love it. Last nite the blower stopped working. The intake was really clogged and we unclogged it and it still doesn't work. The manufacturer never said anything about cleaning the intake in the owners manual. We ordered a new blower fan, it will take 2-4 weeks to arrive. Has anyone replaced one themselves? How hard is it? I tried taking off the lower grate to get to the fan motor, but the screws are in so tight and I don't want to strip them. Has anyone had this issue before?

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  2. dsheehan56

    dsheehan56 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Hi Blackdog,

    I'm sure you already replaced your blower/fans.
    Those two phillips head screws (behind each magnetic door) that hold on the lower grate do come from the factory fairly tight.

    For others.....make sure you use a good sized Phillips screwdriver to fit the head properly.
    Stripping those heads is not an option and would really stink.

    I take my lower grate off every month or so to give the fans a good vacuum cleaning.

    Other than that...the blower assembly is simple to remove/replace.
  3. Riggs

    Riggs Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2013
    Messages:
    91
    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    how is everyone dealing with fan noise these days??? i know it used to be a problems a few years back but i can't seem to find any info about current fans...if there was a fix..or if it's still a problem. i'm down to either a VS Merrimack or a Jotul C550 for our new house...and i've got to make a decision by April 29th when we close on the house.

    i'm still torn...love both stoves...but that fan noise would drive me nuts if it's as loud as everyone says it is.
  4. relicdigger

    relicdigger New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Loc:
    Upstate NY
    Riggs,
    Hi, welcome to the forum. We had a Merrimack installed about a month and a half ago and love it. The fan is a variable speed fan and is quiet even when turned up 3/4 to top speed (we usually run it at about 1/3-1/2 speed and it really throws the heat). The view to the fire is huge and beautiful. In the first month we saved a little over $300 off our heating bill and we loved the nice dry heat. Since we started using the stove we have stopped using our open fireplace. I'm sure either stove will be a great investment for you and give you great warmth for years.
    Mike
  5. dsheehan56

    dsheehan56 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    The Jotul 550 and Merrimack were my two final choices. I liked the look of the Jotul better, but the Merrimack won for 3 reasons.
    1. The mantel clearances were shorter for the Merrimack since it protrudes a bit. Otherwise, I would have had to redo my mantel if I went with the Jotul.
    2. The firebox on the Merrimack allows you to load East/West and North/South. North/South loading is a big bonus imho.
    3. The Merrimack is bigger and can hold more wood. Bigger is better in my opinion.

    My Merrimack had a March 2012 date on it. I don't know if VC ever did anything to quiet the fans or not.
    I did not have the LOUD fans that others have mentioned, but I would get a vibration from them when the stove got real hot.
    In my case, it was a very easy fix. I just added some door gasket under the blower assembly and some insulation tucked in to some other metal on metal locations.
    I typically keep my fans on full blast and you can definitely hear them, but the stove room is also our TV/family room and it's fine.
    If I put the fans on 50% or lower, they are dang near silent.....especially with the TV on.

    Here's what I did to eliminate the vibration that would happen occasionally at high stove temps.

    BlowerMotorAccess.jpg BlowerInsulate.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2013
    begreen likes this.
  6. Riggs

    Riggs Member

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    Mar 8, 2013
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    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    Thanks dsheehan, awesome review. Sort of what I was looking for. What sort of warranty does the merrimack come with? Parts and service or just parts? Also...if you dont mind my asking...what did you pay for the unit?
  7. dsheehan56

    dsheehan56 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
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    Loc:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
  8. Riggs

    Riggs Member

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    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    just some info about the Merrimack i figured i'd share....since i've been tearing up the net searching for reviews.

    ok so i just spoke with a local store owner in my area that has a very solid reputation...and she carries VC, Jotul, Avalon, Mendota and a few other manufacturers...and i figured i'd share our conversation and what she told me and why i've decided to go with the Jotul C550 over the VC Merrimack. now keep in mind...she sells both and services both..and has been a VC dealer for over 25 years. when i asked her about her thoughts between the two models..she said hands down go with the Jotul...and her biggest concern was customer service and parts/maintanance. she said for every replacement part she orders for the Jotul stoves...she orders between 8-10 parts for VC. she noted that Monesson just isn't using quality parts inside the stoves anymore to control costs. she did confirm that the castings are still made in Vermont...but that the parts are low dollar cost efficient and just not holding up very long and maintanance is costly on the VC units. she mentioned she was really sad about the whole thing because VC is the company she got started with and without them..she noted that her company would NOT be what it is today. she also mentioned that a lot of the time they had to go above and beyond to service customers when VC would not help...and they did this to keep the customer and do the right thing even though VC would not step in. she noted that the customer service and warrenty behind the Jotul stoves is top notch and that they just make as really solid stove and she's had great success with them.

    so that's the story that pulled everything together for me. she did say she's had a handful of customers that have Merrimacks and other VC stoves/inserts and that they have ZERO problems and are thrilled with the stove. but unfortunately...it's a small percentage of her VC customers that are happy. it seems if you end up needing any support....that's when things get hairy.

    hope this helps...

    riggs
  9. dsheehan56

    dsheehan56 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
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    26
    Loc:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Hi Riggs,

    That could all be true....or she was simply trying to sell the Jotul 550 she had in stock in the back room.

    Either way, good luck with it.
  10. Riggs

    Riggs Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2013
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    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    Possibly...but I have to order the Jotul...she had 2 Merrimacks in inventory and one on the floor :/

    I'm definetely not trying to piss in anyone's Cheerios...and I know there are some very happy VC owners out there...a few of which are my best friends. There is just an odd trend im seeing, which is people steering clear of VC becuase of customer service and shoddy manufacturing of internal parts...it's just popping up all the time... And that many people cannot ALL be wrong.
  11. dsheehan56

    dsheehan56 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    The Jotul is a great looking east/west stove.
    Good luck with it!
  12. Riggs

    Riggs Member

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    Mar 8, 2013
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    91
    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    you have no idea how badly i wanted that merrimack for the reason of the big firebox and just being able to shove a huge pile of wood into it :) just totally terrified of bad service...with my luck..i'd be the guy who has problems ;)

    i had also looked at the hearthstone Clydsdale...just because it's such a huge firebox...guess the 550 will have to do.
  13. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    560
    You should send the diagram to the manufacturer along with a invoice for consulting services. :)
  14. darkz71

    darkz71 New Member

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    Sep 9, 2013
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    10
    Loc:
    Mass Black Stone Valley
    just signed a deal for a Merrimack today, lots of good info here, I hope it's reliable.
  15. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    New Jersey
    I have the montpelier,the medium size insert, so far so good for me....
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    dsheehan56 thanks for the helpful review and tips. That is a very nice looking stove.
  17. siebel_1

    siebel_1 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Boston
    Not sure if anyone is still monitoring this thread. I am looking to buy a VC Merrimack in the Boston area. I was wondering how much it cost currently in the area.

    dsheehan56 where did you buy your stove from?

    Thanks Khu
  18. MI is Cold

    MI is Cold New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    Michigan
    I've had the Merrimack for about 3 years now and I've been on a mission to be able to open the doors with a fire going and not have smoke roll out. This year I insulated my 23 foot 6 inch stainless flue with 1/2 inch aluminum silicate wool. Thinking that perhaps I am not getting enough draft. So I bought the thickest most insulative material I could at a price of for the whole kit, $220. Results with the fan off, lever to the left, open the doors slowly, and when both doors are about 4 inches open the smoke is in a dead even battle to escape past the fresh air going in. Maybe my house was too tight, so I ducted fresh air pipes through the back of the chimney, drilled holes in the side of the unit itself in a space just to the side of the electric cord panel and piped fresh air to the two holes using flexable copper pipe. It is nice that I'm using outside air to combust instead of air I've paid in some way to already heat. But that had little effect on the smoke problem. I guess I will go back to what I've been doing the last 3 years and wait till the fire has gone down to red coals before I add more wood. I think the box may be too big for the 6 inch flue in some cases where good draw is on the edge. My friend has an old insert and when he opens the door after about 10 seconds it sounds like a jet engine taking off his builds so much draft. He and I put in the same stuff as in his and it is frustrating that we have such different results. Maybe my seal at the top of the insert to the flue pipe is leaking. I may put a fresh rope in and try that.
    I fixed the fan noise by placing rubber tubes under the fan to keep it from vibrating.
    I replaced the door gaskets after 3 years. Works like new again.
    I replaced the fan once after 2 years. Fan motor seized. Ash in the motor I think.
    I stack my wood in the back and when the fire matures I add wood all the way up to the reburn tubes and to the metal bar in the front. Ash sometimes spills over the bar when opening the door. Make sure this ash doesn't get sucked up by the fan. I think that is what killed my first one. Vaccum out the motor every year. It gets coated with ash and makes the bearings go out.
    Take the temp sensor out! Connect the wires that fed into the sensor and you will have control of the fan and not have to wait for it to come on.
    Wood moisture made a huge difference. Dry wood <20% only on this unit. >20% and reburn doesn't work, window gets black, and creosote can form. Buy a cheap meter and cut a log of yours in half. measure from the fresh cut.

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