2021 Vermont Casting Intrepid Flexburn: Looking for experience with, opinions of, and advice about

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aframe_heat

New Member
Dec 23, 2021
7
MD
Hi,
I am strongly considering buying a Vermont Castings Intrepid Flexburn that was manufactured in February 2021. The seller wants $1,200 for the stove, interior pipes and all of the accessories shown in this picture. It looks to be in great shape and was barely used (the seller bought a house where it was installed). The glass has been cleaned since the pic was taken.

I live in the woods and would be using wood from my property to heat at the most 1,000 - 1,300 square ft. (the reason there is a range is we are having a small addition put on our house).

The house is an A-frame and the stove would mainly be used to heat our main floor (kitchen and family room: 700sq ft footprint) - half of that would be single story and half will have a 100sq ft loft above it. The house has a heat pump-oil conversion system, but we would like to switch to using the wood stove as the main heat source - and certainly when we lose power.

I grew up in a house where we used a wood stove as our main heat source, but it was a steel stove that my dad made. I don't have any experience with a catalytic system.

I would love to hear from anyone who is using this stove! Any information, experience, advice, etc, etc would be great!

Intrepid 2.jpg Intrepid.png
 

NewGuy132

New Member
Jan 22, 2021
63
MA
I had one installed in fall. Still getting used to it, but I like it. For my floor plan it heats most of my first floor of my 3200 sq/ft house. If I had a more open floor plan it would heat more. I have to run a fan to get the heat to move around.

C44A4EA3-1F21-4DF4-A663-0629DF52B909.jpeg
 

Sanetracy

New Member
Jan 14, 2022
1
Pennsylvania
Hello,
i’m considering the purchase of a new Vermont Castings Intrepid Flexburn and am wondering what experiences, good or bad, that anyone can share with me regarding the unit. ….burn times, maintenance issues, etcetera. Is this models size overkill if all I’m needing is to heat a 750 square foot space?
 
Last edited:

Earlnemo

New Member
Nov 19, 2020
15
knox county, tn
Hello,
i’m considering the purchase of a new Vermont Castings Intrepid Flexburn and am wondering what experiences, good or bad, that anyone can share with me regarding the unit. ….burn times, maintenance issues, etcetera. Is this models size overkill if all I’m needing is to heat a 750 square foot space?
I've had a 2020 Intrepid in service for 1 year now but make no claims to know much of anything so take this strictly as anecdotal fuzz. I have a small terribly insulated shack in East Tennessee, almost 1000 sq ft but in heating season we keep an office & extra BR closed so actually about 800 sq ft we try to keep above 65 degrees. In our coldest spells it won't quite do that, even if you wake up every 4-5 hrs to feed it. Should note I also do no have the catalyst installed (dealer did not have one) and this is supposed to improve burn time by 15% according to VC literature. Our coldest spells are rare 12-24 hr periods of temps in the teens. We normally do no get more that a day or two where temps do not get above freezing. In normal 20ish overnight lows it will hold us above 65 if you have a fresh load (stabilized) when you go to bed and get it restarted no more than 8 hours later. I am certain my situation is such MOSTY because my old house leaks like a sieve and plan to get attic & windows up to snuff this year (this was also my intent last year, but Covid/ inflation of material costs held me off) There are a TON of variables in any set-up, and finding a knowledgeable Installer/tech is paramount. One other note: Intrepid will only accommodate 14" small splits, which are impossible to buy in my market (16-18" is standard), so if you plan to purchase fuel you will either have to contract and wait at least a year for it to dry, or tediou$ly resaw every piece. (I had to reprocess 3 cords of my existing inventory) I make my own so this isn't a problem for me.
 

Earlnemo

New Member
Nov 19, 2020
15
knox county, tn
And while we are talking Intrepids, I have a question about the air supply holes at the base of the refractory gadget. These frequently get plugged with ash and need to be cleaned out after about every third or fourth burn load. This seems to be an inevitability given the size of this firebox, and because they are only 1" off the floor. I am also a bit confused about the operating instructions for reloading. Second paragraph: "Check to make sure air holes at the bottom of the fireback are not blocked by ash or embers (blockage will reduce performance of the stove)". And then direction #3 says "Open the griddle top and using a poker, push the remaining coals against the rear wall to cover the opening of the refractory." Am I wrong to read these statements as contradictory? I confess, I have been leaning toward the first instruction (keep them clean) and have never heaped my coals against this opening.

Second question: How do you clean out the ash that has gone into these holes? I cannot find a cross-section of this refractory or how this air channel works, so is this even a concern? Does the air move any ash that gets inside back out of whatever channel is in there?

Thanks in advance if you have any insight or advice.





VC Manual.jpg



I have an 1/8 steel rod about 18 long that I use to gently poke them back open, and pull the ash away from this.


VC Flexburn.png
IMG_7942.jpeg
 

NewGuy132

New Member
Jan 22, 2021
63
MA
And while we are talking Intrepids, I have a question about the air supply holes at the base of the refractory gadget. These frequently get plugged with ash and need to be cleaned out after about every third or fourth burn load. This seems to be an inevitability given the size of this firebox, and because they are only 1" off the floor. I am also a bit confused about the operating instructions for reloading. Second paragraph: "Check to make sure air holes at the bottom of the fireback are not blocked by ash or embers (blockage will reduce performance of the stove)". And then direction #3 says "Open the griddle top and using a poker, push the remaining coals against the rear wall to cover the opening of the refractory." Am I wrong to read these statements as contradictory? I confess, I have been leaning toward the first instruction (keep them clean) and have never heaped my coals against this opening.

Second question: How do you clean out the ash that has gone into these holes? I cannot find a cross-section of this refractory or how this air channel works, so is this even a concern? Does the air move any ash that gets inside back out of whatever channel is in there?

Thanks in advance if you have any insight or advice.





View attachment 290328


I have an 1/8 steel rod about 18 long that I use to gently poke them back open, and pull the ash away from this.


View attachment 290324 View attachment 290326

I have a 2021 and don't think that I saw that in my manual about pushing the coals back. It could be that they want you to do that to keep the cat hot. Typically I spread my coals out and toss some splits on top. I'll have to check my manual when I get home today.

As far as the holes go I make sure that they are cleaned out when I start a fire. Other than that I just kind of ignore them. I just use a small piece of kindling to pull the ash our of them.

If you don't have a cat are you operating with the damper open all of the time or are you still closing the damper once the fire gets going? Your house must have horrible drafts to not heat 800 sqft above 65. Ours easily keeps our first floor 72-75 with it being in the 20's outside.
 

Earlnemo

New Member
Nov 19, 2020
15
knox county, tn
Alas, house has no insulation. I'm trying to get new roof finished before I add that. And to be clear, it is only in brief coldest days that it won't keep us above 65.

I close the damper when griddle temp is 450. You do still get some benefit of heat extraction and emissions reduction from the updraft refractory. (15% less, according to VC literature).