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Vermont Castings Montpelier Fan/Blower Question

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Parkview154, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Parkview154

    Parkview154 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Hi all,

    I purchased a Montpelier Insert in September and had it installed in October. When we first started using the stove, the fan would come on at around 200 degrees regardless of what we were burning. Generally speaking, we've been burning a mix of EnviBlocks and semi-seasoned (moisture ~26%) cordwood.

    I had the chimney cleaned 2 weeks ago by the guy who installed the stove and he said to stop burning the un-seasoned wood. The chimney had a fair amount of creosote buildup and we don't burn 24/7 either. So now we're just burning the EnviBlocks.

    The past few days on Long Island have been brutally cold. And I've noticed that it takes much longer for the fan to kick on. (The fan activation temps were gradually increasing since I've owned it, but yesterday was particularly noteworthy.) Instead of being 200 degrees (between the fan outlets, above the door) the fan turns on around 300 degrees and runs for a minute or two, and then shuts off again. Yesterday I loaded the cold stove the same way I always do (4 blocks) and it began to heat up. When the blocks caught, I closed the door. But the fan didn't come on full time until the temperature of the front of the stove approached 420 degrees.

    It's been less than 6 months that we've had it, so I called the dealer and they want to charge me a small fortune to service the stove. They said Vermont Castings covers parts only under their crappy warranty. They said that it might be the blower, or the rheostat, etc. He couldn't tell me if the huge variation in the fan activation temps was normal or not.

    So what do you guys think? Do you think there's something wrong with it or is this normal? I don't want to pay to have the stove serviced if there isn't anything wrong with it. And for my fellow Montpelier owners, when does your fan turn on? Any advice?

    Thanks again! You guys are always a huge help.

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  2. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Messages:
    450
    Loc:
    Ouisconsin
    Did you pull the fan and clean/dust in there? It sounds like something might be insulating between the firebox and the thermostat.
  3. Parkview154

    Parkview154 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Hi Black Jaque,

    No I haven't checked the fan. I didn't know it could be removed easily. Do you have a diagram or pictures on how to get it out?

    Thanks
  4. Bluerubi

    Bluerubi Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Messages:
    140
    Loc:
    Auburn, NH
    My VC merrimack fan requires 4 screws to be removed to pull out the whole fan assembly (two for the grate in front, and two on the fan housing). I'm on my third fan, the first was replaced by the installer at my house after about 6 months, and there has been no charge for any of it, the second time I did it myself since it was insanely easy to do so. I'm actually stunned with how good the VC warranty has been, where any issue I've had has been dealt with no questions asked.

    You could also just bypass the temp switch and not have to deal with it anymore. No cost to do that one.
  5. Parkview154

    Parkview154 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Is the fan and rheostat/thermostat part of the same assembly?

    What was wrong with the fan that it needed to be replaced three times?

    When the fan turns on it sounds fine. Very smooth humming, no grinding or unusual noises. It just doesn't like to turn on and stay on.
  6. Bluerubi

    Bluerubi Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Messages:
    140
    Loc:
    Auburn, NH
    Excessive noise was why they gave me two new ones. This one is currently doing well.

    Mine is all part of the same unit with a little contact probe that rests against the stove. The whole thing slid out in one piece, and for testing purposes I just used a couple aligator clips to jumper the switch. No damage done, completely reversible, and enabled me to turn on the blower whenever I wanted.
  7. Parkview154

    Parkview154 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    My hubby's an electrician so I might make him take a look at it tonight :)
  8. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    703
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    There is a snap disk to control when the fan starts and stops. It is located under the front center of the firebox behind the center of the fan unit. The fan will not come on until the fire warms the front slanted firebrick to the preset temperature. I am not sure how your bio-bricks burn but if the bottom of your pile does not start burning it will not heat the snap disk. Wood, with its irregular shape and air gaps, starts burning on the bottom pretty quickly. If your bio-bricks basically do a "top down" burn they will heat the convection air passages before they heat the snap disk. I expect it is the difference between wood and bio-bricks that you are seeing.

    On the current production Montpelier the fan, rheostat, and snap disk are part of the same assembly.

    If you want to check the snap disk you need to remove the fan assembly. To remove it you first have to remove the cast ash tray and fan doors. There are two screws inside the doors just under the ash tray. Once the ash tray is out of the way there are two screws on the vertical bar at each end of the fan assembly. (see edit note) Remove those four screws and slide the assembly towards you. As you remove it you should see the snap disk against the steel firebox. If your snap disk is screwed to the steel firebox you have one of the earlier production models. You will have to remove the two screws holding the snap disk after the fan assembly is out of the way.

    KaptJaq

    EDIT NOTE: If it is an earlier production Montpelier there will only be one screw on each vertical bar at the sides of the fan assembly.
  9. Parkview154

    Parkview154 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Awesome KaptJaq! Thanks so much!
  10. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    703
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    Unless something changed this season Vermont Castings covers parts and labor for warranty. No, they don't pay $100/hr portal to portal like the dealers would like but they do cover the dealers expenses.

    The first thing I would do is get some dry wood (maybe a couple of supermarket bundles?) and start a wood fire right on the bottom firebrick. If the thermostat works correctly then the "problem" is the how the enviblocks burn. If , after that test, you still feel there is a problem and your dealer is not helping or wants to charge an excessive amount to check it out I would contact Vermont Castings for help. They will not help you directly but I have seen them put pressure on the dealers to make things right. You can contact them via this form:

    http://www.vermontcastingsgroup.com/contact/

    Good luck with the stove...

    KaptJaq
  11. creativeguy

    creativeguy New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    massachusetts
    Fan blower noise solution. This has been foolproof for me. First, remove the cast iron ash tray and doors in front of the blower by taking out the screws at the inside upper corners. Then pack fiberglass insulation under the round cylinder that holds the blower. Pack insulation above it as well. And finally pack insulation between the rectangular blower housing and the underside of the firebox. This stops all vibration which is the source of the noise. I used a screwdriver to push the insulation in. Works great. Been running the fan 24/7 and it stays smooth and quiet.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  12. jflazz

    jflazz New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    mass
    What kind of insulation?no chance of fire hazard / this sounds like solution to my problem,Thanks

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