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Vermont Castings Merrimack

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

  1. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Hey fm you should get an outdoor furnace to heat your pool!! :cheese:

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  2. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

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  3. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    i just got the merrimack installed today, question though the power cord coming our of the right hand side, there is no wa to get the access door closed because of the cord? am i missing something?
  4. WhitePointBeach

    WhitePointBeach New Member

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    Mica...

    Your installer did you no favors on that one. The power cord actually routes out through the sheet metal side of the Merrimack behind the surround. If I recall there is a 3/4" or so diameter hole and the power cord came with 2 rubber bushings to isolate the blower assembly from the sheet metal so the vibration doesn't wear through the cord. Once outside of the sheet metal, then you have to drill a hole through your existing fireplace to get to power somewhere. I am sorry I can't be more specific only because how to get power to the Merrimack is totally dependent on what your installation situation is. If the cord is currently run out through the little cast iron magnetic doors on the front that is probably the worst installation I have heard of yet.

    In my case, I had to drill through 1/4" steel plate that formed the existing firebox surround. Once I was through that I had to route the wire out through one of the older natrual draft side vents and then to a power strip. Mine isn't the most elegant solution either... but it works and is completely invisible from the front.

    I hope this helps.
  5. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

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    Mine routes out on the right side under the cast iron frame. Is there a slight gap between youtr harth and the frame? It does not go through the magnetic side plate.
  6. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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  7. WhitePointBeach

    WhitePointBeach New Member

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    Mica,

    Here are 2 photos of the wiring in my Merrimack. The first shot "Merrimack Wiring" shows the view through the right side (when viewed from the front) little magnetic access door. You can see the wire going from the blower on the left toward the hole on the right. The 2nd photo "Merrimack Wiring 2" shows an interior shot of the wire passing through the sheet metal hole with the rubber bushing in place.

    Unfortunately, I was not willing to go through the trouble of removing the cast iron surround so I could shoot a photo of the outside of the sheet metal on the right side so you could see the actual hole the wire comes out of. That is a pretty big project and it took me quite a bit of tinkering to get the surround on perfect with the insert pushed back flush against it. I am not willing to wrestle the 480lbs beast again.

    No it was not easy to get these photographs, thank Motorola for making the Droid so small and with such a nice flash and macro camera.

    Attached Files:

  8. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    thanks so it looks like u actually drilled through???
  9. WhitePointBeach

    WhitePointBeach New Member

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    Nope... The hole and cover plate where there from the factory. The only drilling I had to do was in my actual fireplace to get through the old firebox and into the vent and then outside of the vent to get to a power outlet in the room. To reiterate... I did no drilling or modification of any kind to my VC Merrimack. I believe the cover plate to that hole shown in the 2nd photograph was on in the closed position and then you unscrewed it, flipped it over and then screwed it back in and then it has the hole. This is a VERY common way that electrical appliances permit cords to pass through sheet metal.
  10. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    perfect i see what u mean now, the guys covered it putting the surround on. well they gotta come back anyway as the surround peices arent flush.

    btw i wrote a letter to VC asking them to fix the fan issue on high problem. maybe they will do something.

    By the way anyone know of a good place to get a half kettle for the top? everywhere i see they want 90 plus for them lol
  11. WhitePointBeach

    WhitePointBeach New Member

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    Here are some excellent diagrams from the Merrimack Instruction Book. It is not perfectly obvious but given the red circles I put on the diagrams that should help.

    You are correct, the hole for the wire to go through is behind the surround. I bet your installer is going to be really surprised when he realizes you want him to route it through that hole properly and find a way to get it out of the existing firebox. This is no trivial feat and depending on the installation can be one of the most difficult parts of the installation. A friend of mine had to hammer-drill through 8" of concrete and brick to route his power cord. Let's hope yours is easier.

    Attached Files:

  12. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    oh jeez thats more good news, lol i like at it this way i paid enough for the insert to be installed i dont care if it takes them 10 hours to finish the job.
  13. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    ok heres one for ya, is there anyway to turn the fans on manually instead of waiting for the 20 minutes to kick on?
  14. WhitePointBeach

    WhitePointBeach New Member

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    Per turning the fans on manually, I do not think this is possible given the controls available. However, I am also not sure why you would want to turn them on before the stove heats up. When you first start the fire, the fire has to heat up the refractory brick, then go through the insulation and then heat up the cast iron and heat exchanger... lots of thermal mass to heat and preliminarily starting the fan manually would only have the effect of blowing cold air around.
  15. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    yeah never thought about that. its odd following the instructions i have been burning smaller fires and tonight will be fire number 3. The first fire the fan came on at the end of the burn and burn 2 didnt come on at all even know glass was burning hot, i figured it was hot in their and wondered why the fan didnt come on. maybe after im done initial burns ill load it up and see what the fan does.


    Do u guys stack and burn the wood against the back? i have been primarily burning towards the front.
  16. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

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    20 minutes of quiet. THEN YOU START TALKING LOUDER.
  17. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    firestarter i guess??? i figured out something the fan doesnt go on until i open the merrimack doors, which im not supposed to do. Any ideas why?
  18. WhitePointBeach

    WhitePointBeach New Member

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    I have experienced the same phenomenon (doors open, then fan comes on). My theory is that when the doors are open the airflow into the firebox is very very high and thus the burn rate and temperature go dramatically up. Therefore the insert heats up more quickly and the fan comes on.

    If you are finished with your break in fires, I think you should start loading up for a serious burn. I have been burning my Merrimack for 2-3 weeks straight (24/7) and the fan remains on at all times (at about 30% power) unless I crank it to maximum speed in which case it cools the firebox too much and then intermittently turns on and off. It is actually quite interesting how the Merrimack "changes character" when it is up to real temperature. The doors just feel softer and close easier, you can feel the heat radiating out from the front, the fan blows really hot air (like from a hair dryer - hot). I load mine with about 5-6 logs cross stacked and then let it go for 3-5 hours depending on the air control lever. After the 1st hour, the stove is HOT and it remains that way until about hour 4 when it starts going downhill. Load it again and then you are good. I have been removing ash about every 2 days while the stove is still really hot. I load it again, and off we go...

    It is tempting to burn with the doors open as the radiant heat into the room increases dramatically. When my stove has a 3" bed of hot coals and 2-3 logs burning and I open the airflow fully and then the doors fully the temperature rises in my living room about 1 degree every 10 minutes which is incredible. So much heat is being radiated that I can't sit in front of it for more than a minute or two without my jeans feeling like they are going to burn my skin. The living room is 14'x28'. The stove is definitely being "overfired" in those conditions. So, I resist the temptation to burn with the doors open because it is just way too dangerous and wasteful of wood. If you want an open fire, a fireplace is the way to go... not an insert!
  19. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    firestarter that is interesting, I am going to do a serious burn tonight and see what the fans do. lol no i dont want to have the doors open but for my first burns it was the only way to get the fans to go on. I will let you know how i make out.

    One more question, I have been burning with the same logs i brought at Home depot and the glass hasnt gotten dirty. Last night i had to switch to some wood my sister gave me but now i have a black film on the inside of the glass that doesnt come off with water or glass cleaner. Is this becuase the wood my sister gave me wasnt cured enough? I thought i saw somewhere that if the wood has 25 percent or more moisture in it that it will leave residue on the glass. If I burn with better wood, wood that i know is dried to a bone will the film on the glass come off? or do i need a cleaning product of some kind.
    Also is there anyway to know if a log is fully dried?
  20. WhitePointBeach

    WhitePointBeach New Member

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    You bring up a good point about wood quality. I have been fighting that same issue here as well. The 1st half cord or so of wood I had was totally dried (stored in a wood shed) and had been dried for about 10 months after having been open air seasoned in rounds for 6 months prior to that. It burned like a dream. Once the stove was hot, I could reduce the air control lever to about 1" from the right stop and the Merrimack would go into full secondary combustion (just flames shooting out of the holes in the metal tubes on the top of the firebox). Recently I got a delivery of 2 cords of wood and it was seasoned as rounds for about 6 months and then recently split. The wood is in great shape (not rotted or anything), but it is not dry enough. It burns much cooler and it is very hard to achieve secondary combustion because of the steam content. I have learned my lesson and will be seasoning my own wood for at least 9 months each year. This requires a big stockpile, but it is the only way to do it. If you look around at the "old timers" who have kept wood stoves burning for the entire winter 24/7 they generally have 2 seasons worth of wood stacked and covered under canvas tarps in their yards. They know exactly what they are doing... dry, well seasoned wood burns soo much better. My father-in-law is one of these guys and he generally has 4-6 cords stacked in his yard. When it gets down a cord or 2 he orders another cord or 2 and let's it sit a year or so.

    Per your glass doors, I wouldn't clean them with anything agressive at this point. I would burn a huge hot fire and see what happens. Most of it might burn off. My doors did a similar thing and got a little residue on them, then I got the stove good and hot and it seem to loosen up. The next time I cleaned the doors, plain old water worked fine.

    In my opinion this stove is meant to burn hot. The doors stay cleaner when it is burning hot and the stove just seems to work better. Maybe this is stating the obvious.
  21. WhitePointBeach

    WhitePointBeach New Member

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    For everybody who hates the noise level from the Merrimack, my experiments with noise reduction should begin within a week or so. I ordered the acoustic dampening material that I need and it should arrive today. Then I will wait for an oppotunistic day to let my stove cool down (it is burning full time) and then I will dissassemble the blower assembly and rebuild it with the sound dampening material in place. I would love to get 15-25dB-A reduction. At that level, you would only hear wind noise at speeds up to 50% or so and then above that the mechanical/electrical noises should be really minimal.

    If this approach yields inadequate nosie dampening, I will go to plan B which is a complete redesign of the blower assembly. This is a much more ambitious project. I plan to use axial flow fans instead of the centrifugal blower that is currently used. Axial fans (like those used in computers for cooling) are MUCH quieter than centrifugal blowers. The tradeoff seems to be pressure output, but I am not sure that would be a factor in this application given the reasonable or low backpressure that should be created by the iron heat exchanger. If anyone out there is a more experiences mechanic engineer who works with HVAC blowers or cooling fan design, please contact me and we could work on this together. I am a bit out of my element as I am an electrical engineer.

    I will update you with the results of my experimentation.
  22. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    wow, yeah let us know and maybe we can forward to vermont castings :)
  23. obrien040362

    obrien040362 New Member

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    clean glass with wet newspaper and ashes from the fireplace works great. Then i hit it with a little windex. I do this with the fireplace cool.

    I am burning 12+ month old cherry and my glass get black in 4 days or so.

    The "self cleaning glass" works when there is lots of flames, but as the fire weakens or is turned down it builds up on the glass.
  24. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    So far I've only really heard rumors of bad reviews, but no actual bad reviews from VC owners.

    Woodstoves are a bit tricky to evaluate since the effect of heating a home can be altered by so many variables. Wind exposure, proper install, dry wood, leaky house. So if someone has a bad situation with one of these variables you'll see a bad review.

    But I've seen lots of so-called bad reviews for lots of different woodstoves on these forums and the beauty is that they can often be remedied.

    I own a VC Montpelier. It heats our home. Any difficulties I have with it so far cannot be blamed on VC or Monessen. We're exposed to the west and northwest with a 1958 house. The insert is in a stone chase on the north end of the house with two other flues running through the same chase. Some of the new windows installed by previous owner are terribly leaky. Plus we're heating 2000 sq ft with an insert rated for 1500 sq ft. AND that 2000 sq. ft. is 1000 sq ft stacked in 2-story fashion.

    When you think about it, that is a monumental task to ask of a wood burning insert. Well it does an alright job, and it looks good doing it.

    I'm considering putting one of the other two flues to use when money permits. Since this would be placed in the basement looks won't be so critical. However the heating job will increase by another 1000 sq ft. (basement, mainfloor, 2nd floor). I'm hoping when temps are above 15* the basement stove will do the job, and if the mercury drop below that I can fire up both.
  25. DeltaBoy

    DeltaBoy New Member

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    I have appreciated this input. I am completing a new house with zero clearance fireplaces. Did not realize the cost of propane - moving out to the country - and with all the wood on my place, I decided to maximize my fireplaces. My wife wants a pretty unit, so the Merrimack and Montpelier from VC look best. It seems your experiences with the Merrimack are good, but for the fan noise. Does the Montpelier have a loud fan, too? This might influence what room i put the unit in?

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