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Vermont Castings Montpelier review

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by allhandsworking, Oct 12, 2009.

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  1. rover47

    rover47 Member

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    Albany New York
    I'll give it a closer look tonight the needle on the thermometer was just getting into the burn range just barely 300. Yes on the smoke and c/o detectors. I could move it near one of the air outlets. That air was hot but not burn your hand hot. Of course I could not hold my hand there very long! I was thinking of mabe a remote electronic probe into the collar by the liner.
    Lets go Yankees!

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  2. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    Sep 30, 2008
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    NYC
    Let me know if you find any thing that works (Electronic probe)
  3. Tech Dude

    Tech Dude New Member

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    Nov 20, 2008
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    Loc:
    Toronto
    Most issues with this stove revolve around the elongated escape channel for the flue gases. This means a little bit longer and hotter start up fire. Pay particular attention to the initial start up with smaller pieces than usual building slowly to larger pieces of dry split wood. The unit is not forgiving on short chimneys (less than 14"), convoluted chimney liner runs and unseasoned wood. If you have a short chimney, it helps to knock out the handle in the flue collar pull down creating a little more draft. Also, ensure after installation, the main upper baffle is all the way back and flat. Don't let the ashes get above the primary air channels in the front under the front brick. Also, remove the brick and baffle underneath if the unit starts to struggle all of a sudden aqnd clean it out. Pain to clean out but that's the price to pay for front loaded easy to access and maintain blower position - no ash dump.
  4. ldedeo

    ldedeo New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
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    Loc:
    Northern,MA
    This will be my 2nd season with the VC Montpelier. Also had the problem with the blackened glass when we first strated using it, but this has improved this season. Do not like that it takes so long for the thermostaticly controlled fan to kick in. It says 20 minutes, but have seen it as long as 1 hour. May seem petty, but do like that it will shut down on it's own. We can hear the fan from the bedroom when it is almost all the way up and it can be annoying when it starts turning on and off when the fire starts dieing out. Has to be cleaned out daily, but not a biggie. I would expect that with wood. Would be nice to have a space that I could mount a thermometer. Our opening to the fireplace was a little larger than there surrounds could accomodate, so I designed and had a custom one built. Turned out cheaper, but was a little more work for me. Would be nice to have better customer support from VC. This is there product. Before finding this forum, I had a problem and they said to contact store I bought it from, but they where closed. This season will be the real test.
  5. rover47

    rover47 Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Albany New York
    Reading another thread about all the problems with this insert all I can say is I'm not having any problems at all.
    Twice now I have timed the blower, It comes on at about 36min. after start up from cold. The temp on the door arch is around 150.
    I run the blower at about the 7 o:clock position and never touch it. My wife who was concerned about "white noise" hasn't said anything yet. I just looked and the info tag is wedged under the blower, when I moved it it made some more noise so back it goes under the blower!
    The glass stays clean, this morning all it needed was a quick squirt with some Windex and a wipe with a paper towel.
    The insert was installed Oct. 22nd and I have been using it almost every day since.
    I think this stove likes a tall chimney, mine is a two story on an outside wall with a full liner sealed top and bottom. There are pics of the install on the site. And I think the real key is good wood.
    My unit is was manufactured Oct.30 2008, maybe VC has made some improvements over the first ones out . I like this insert, gee maybe the Jotul in the kitchen will get a rest this year......not!
  6. moheat

    moheat New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
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    Loc:
    Central MA
    1st of all, I'd like to thank everyone on this forum for all the great information and insight. It was instrumental in helping me make an informed decision, both on the unit and dealer/installer. Anyway, I ordered a Montpelier insert 2 weeks ago Saturday and was told probably a 5-6 week wait. Lo and behold it was installed yesterday...woohoo! Had our 1st small starter fire last night. I didn't think we'd have any fan action and would probably see clouded up glass, but the fan kicked in after about 30 mins (noise was very unobtrusive), and the glass stayed completely clean. Even my teenage daughter, who doesn't have much good to say about anything, remarked how good it looked. Starter fire #2 scheduled for tonight. Hopefully a full burn this weekend to keep the wife toasty (priority 1). Will definitely give a full review after some real use.
  7. Arlo

    Arlo New Member

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    Grow up!
  8. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    NYC
    Oh another Jotul owner with VC envy? Buddy your about 3 weeks too late!
  9. Tech Dude

    Tech Dude New Member

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    Toronto
  10. Tech Dude

    Tech Dude New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Toronto
    If you hear excessive blower noise, it may be from the sheet metal shield over the blower motor in the center of the fan. The shield may be reacting to the magnets changing polarity in the motor. The noise is like an electric razor. To correct this, remove the door/ash lip assembly with the two large Phillips screws on the left and right behind the left and right doors. With a slotted screwdriver, pry the shield up a bit and replace the ash lip/door assembly. Make sure you engage the gasket or ashes will get sucked into the blower.
  11. azsteven

    azsteven New Member

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    Loc:
    Boston Suburbs
    Hi, I'm new to this forum, and I've had the VC Montpelier for about a month now. I'd like to ask the more experienced Montpelier owners about fuel load and burn times.

    Thus far, I have not loaded the fire box up full. I bring in logs in a milk crate, and I figure that with logs sticking out the top, a full create is about 1.3 cu ft. I think the most I've put in was about 1.0 cu ft at once. When I've done this, the unit produces good heat with the primary air control all the way to the right. However the fire burns down to glowing coals in about 3 hours, and the insert is producing a lot less heat.

    The literature from VC suggests a 9-hour burn time, and some other people on this site have said they had similar burn times. So I want to hear about how much fuel you put, in, what kind of burn times you're seeing, and whether your Montpelier is producing heat at the end of that long cycle.

    Thanks for your input!
    Aaron
  12. YZF1R

    YZF1R New Member

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    Southeastern PA
    I reload mine full. Once burning well my primary air is all the way off with the wood still burning and vigorous secondary’s. My average load is within an inch or so of the secondary burn tubes. Also, out to the front within about an inch of the "andirons", with a slight slant to the rear so nothing will roll out into the glass as it burns. (Or nothing big anyway.) I find it will take off easier if I pull coals up to the front and above the ash ledge and sit the front row on them. I also try to not pull coals into the primary air holes just over the rear of the ash ledge and plug them. In other words, it's pretty well stuffed. It will go about 8 hrs., but will be way down at that point with low heat. The blower will still be running though. The blower will run for quite a few more hours if I keep the coals freshly raked and the primary air all the way open. To really keep it cooking without an overly large pile of coals building up, I would say about an honest six hours, although I usually reload in about five hours. So, yes, I "can" go all night and relight with coals in the morning, but for real world heat I reload in the middle of the night when I'm up for that nightly trip I seem to need to make now that I'm older.

    Steve
  13. nwohguy

    nwohguy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
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    Loc:
    NW Ohio
    Hi everyone. I am another proud owner of a VC Montpelier. We just had it installed last weekend. I love the heat output and my wife loves the looks of it!!! We have had three break in fires and now ready to let her go full speed. I have read on other threads where users have placed a thermometer on their insert. Does anyone have one on your Mont? If so where did you place it and what temperature is the safe range to burn at? And where do you purchase a thermometer to use in this situation? I really enjoy reading and gaining valuable information from this site. Thanks.
  14. av8roc

    av8roc New Member

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    Long Island, NY
    Bump.

    Haven't had mine installed yet but I was wondering the same thing..
  15. rover47

    rover47 Member

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    Loc:
    Albany New York
    I have a magnetic thermometer on the center of the arch of the door. I run around 150/200. Allhands thought it was a little hot if I recall. It could be my thermometer.
    I have noticed a funny thing lately, the warmer the insert the quieter the fans seem any one else experience this?
  16. ldedeo

    ldedeo New Member

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    Loc:
    Northern,MA
    Really?????? I also have a magnetic thermometer that I have on the arch of the door and it typicaly runs around 300 +- 20 and it seems to run good there. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
  17. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

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    Burn times... I notice with a good bed of ash I will have hot coals hours later sometimes the next day when im cleaning out the ash i find chunks of glowing coals! When they say 8hour burn times I think they mean that you will have some coals left. The peak heat output is probably like 4 hours then it slowly drops after that.

    I purchased a Rutland thermometer off EBAY it is half moon shaped. The magnet is at the top of the therm. So if you stick it to the arch of the door you can let it overhang near the glass. I get temp from 300 to 550. I removed the surround and tested the top with the therm and was getting sym. temp. so I think it is as accurate as your going to get as far as temp reading!

    I had another therm last year that was round so it would just stick to the door fram it would only get to about 200. Anyway the 2 year old got to it and distroyed it.
  18. propertyguy

    propertyguy New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Southwest US
    I'm new to the forum as far as posting is concerned, but dug through all the postings on the VC Montpelier before deciding to purchase one. We decided to go with it because of the absolute flush mount, its looks and the large viewing area...I have to say it's a champion in those areas. I felt like I needed to post about my experience because you all were very helpful!!!

    I did a self install, full reline, and found the stove VERY easy to install. VC did a great design job by putting wheels on the back, it made sliding in/positioning a breeze. I took off the door, ashlip assembly and all of the refractory panels inside to make the carrying weight inside a little easier. One thing we did NOT do, contrary to the posts on the forum is a block off plate with insulation. We live in the SW US and our winters don't get terribly cold like they do for many of you. The dealer I bought the stove from has installed 100's of them and they never do block off plates. They are also in a colder climate. So whatever that's worth, I thought I'd share.

    We've broken the stove in and are starting to burn it hotter and hotter - it seems to work great (even burned a large unsplit log last night over a hot bed of coals, it did amazingly well!). Overall this insert has converted our large main room from a lukewarm feel with the furnace on into a VERY pleasant room to sit in, filled with radiant heat. No more "cold feet, have to bundle up" complaints from the Mrs. Also, I find the burn of this stove to be fantastic - we had an Avalon Rainier in our last home - this Montpelier is far superior, both from a viewing area size and fire movement perspective (though the Avalon pumped out more heat I think).

    One question for you all....we are going to need to get another surround (we ordered caprice). Does anyone have the Bevel surround they reference on their website? I can't find any pictures of it and would like to see it before I order it. The caprice doesn't work well with our hearth setup.

    If anyone has any questions about a self install of this unit, I will be glad to share my experience, just ask. I did a few things like run power inside the firebox, etc, to make the install extra clean (no exposed power cord). If you want pictures I can see about snapping a few. Let me know.

    I am planning to purchase an ash vac to make the cleanout easier, especially with the air holes in the lower front, that area seems to fill up quickly. I ordered the love-less cougar, what are your experiences with those?
  19. marcoengineering

    marcoengineering New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
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    Loc:
    Southeast Michigan
    Hi, this is my first time posting. I just installed a Montpelier Insert in my home this past August. Works great, love the unit, the wife does as well. I have the classic black with the mead surround, worked great with my "picture window" fireplace. The only issue I have to date(other than the lower speeds fan hum), is that I just started to notice cracks forming in the firebrick plates. So far the back and both sides, I need to look over the bottom when I clean out the ashes. I have not over fired it and I am careful to place the logs as not to bang the sides. Is this normal? I have tried to contact MHSC and the place I bought from, Discount Wood Stoves, but have not heard back from either place yet. I understand these pieces are coverd by a lifetime warranty, but I do have to admit I was concerned about them when I was looking for units, but the wife loved the full glass viewing area and the price was good too. I have a New Engander NC-13i installed in the cabin up north(which works very well and was very well priced and bought through ACE hardware stores) and I must say that when the stove was shipped with a cracked brick(which are the standard fire brick block) and missing screw, one call to New Englander and the parts were at my door in 3 days. So I am a bit concerned as well with the customer service so far. The bricks are not falling apart yet, just have hairline cracks in center of all that seem to open up when they get hot. I am not sure if this is normal for these stones or if in another month or so they will have fallen apart? Any knowledge or comments on this issue would be great. I do appreciate all the comments and information that are on these posts I have learned alot by reading all of them. Thanks....Mark
  20. jfournier

    jfournier New Member

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    Loc:
    North Central CT
    I've heard that the little cracks are normal, just gotta keep an eye on them, and if they open up too far call your dealer and have them get you new ones under warranty. I have a crack in the big brick on the right, it doesn't look like I hit it with wood, just normal wear and tear, i guess...
  21. marcoengineering

    marcoengineering New Member

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    Guess I am glad to hear that sort of. How old is your insert? Does anyone have an older/original insert with the same cracked brick issue? If they never break apart I am fine with that, but my fear is having to get a new set of bricks every year or two, but with a lifetime warranty I have to assume all is good, or some of have a "bad" set of bricks. Still have not heard back from the Dealer or MHSC (Vermont Castings). IF/when I get a reply I will post what they have to say, Thanks.......Mark
  22. jfournier

    jfournier New Member

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    I'd say it's about 5-6 cord old (in the middle of its second season). I noticed the crack in December of '09, if that helps. My stove arrived at the installers in September of '08, so it may have been made after the first batch they made had issues, but possibly not...
  23. marcoengineering

    marcoengineering New Member

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    Loc:
    Southeast Michigan
    I just heard back from the VC dealer today and they said the vermont castings will replace the brick if the cracks get to be 1/4" or larger. I assume that means width and not length. My crack in the back brick is about 1/16" right now the other two bricks are still just hairline. I sent him another email asking what the procedure was. Has anybody got new bricks under the lifetime warranty for the Montpilier Insert from VC? Thanks....Mark
  24. marcoengineering

    marcoengineering New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
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    Loc:
    Southeast Michigan
    Hi guys,

    Finally heard back from VC today about the cracks in my fire bricks/blocks. Here is what they said.

    "Cracks are normal and are not of concern unless you can fit a nickel into the crack. Once a nickel fits then the
    brick needs to be replaced. You do have to go through your dealer for your service/warranty."


    Technical Services
    Monessen Hearth Systems

    Hope this helps someone out there, Still liking my Montpelier alot, but I found out it works best with dry seasoned wood, I'll have better planned and be all set for next year. Even bought an electric 7 ton splitter from Harbor Frieght Tools, works great for my residential and cabin use.

    Thanks.....Mark
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