Brand new Vermont Castings Defiant 1975-CAT-C

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Mar 22, 2022
4
Iowa
I had a VC Defiant Professionally installed brand new Fall 2021. Brick chimney 35' with new 6" liner. Previously used with Drolet non cat, one year, and VC Defiant from 1980, rebuilt, used one year, still leaked so abandoned for new. Waited 6 months for unit to be built. Super excited to buy a REAL stove.(Real expensive)
The new stove is beautiful (Twilight, but not blue enough for me) and easy and efficient compared to older models. Efficient as if Half the wood of old leaky stoves and SUPER easy ash removal over the DROLET. Oh, no its NOT too big. I have an old cold basement made of cement and brick, and I am happy and warm for the first winter in my life. Except that everyone wants to sit in the basement rather than leaving me alone in my happy place.

Problem: Cat disintigrated after a month in the fall. I read the instructions. I followed firing proceedure. I can regale you with the limitations of the stove, feel free to ask, or accuse me of ignorance, or stove abuse. I want to know what I did wrong. The dealer can't tell me. Stove was never over-fired. Temp was consistent and within spec. Wood was flawless oak. Perfectly seasoned. Not even wet from snow or rain. It was easy to operate and maintain.
Second CAT supplied under warranty. I monitored even closer checking for temperature fluctuations or spikes for a week. Cleaned, all OK, Looked whitish but clean as a whistle. A month goes by and the cleaning shows a cat disintegrated in the housing. Dealer and manufacturer are confused. The only unexplained is the steel sheet in between the firebrick in back of the stove is misaligned compared to exploded diagram in instructions, but CAT fit fine and temp gauge moved when stove was at temp-(I was told the probe gauge did nothing, I figured it out). It doesn't seam to leak, but dampening down required engaging cat, thusly sending heat over cat. Maybe the internal auto temp damper is not restrictive enough. Most people have draft problems. I do not.

Am I the only Human to buy one of these new ones? or am I the only one to actually use it instead of just look at it? I can't find anyone on the entire Internet who has posted operation of this unit new. Either I am the only one with a defective unit, or the only one with a new one that uses it. Am I the only one with Two CATs that disintigrated in a month? They are supposed to work at 1000F, My stove has never been that hot. And it doesn't burn cold.

I fix things for a living more complex than a cast iron box. Anyone have experience with disintigrating Catalytic combusters?

It has been working fine without CAT, just more smokey. I would like it to work as I paid a large sum for the very reason of efficiency.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,474
central pa
Your problems with all of the stoves were most likely caused by excessive draft due to your 30' chimney. Install a pipe damper or two and things will work much better
 
Mar 22, 2022
4
Iowa
Thank you for the advice. I asked dealer/installer the same thing, he didn't do it. I only paid for install for insurance companies sake. I will be installing secondary flue damper to slow draw. It does pull like a train. I have had the opposite in other installs, exterior or short stack. As I am mr. fix it till deaths door(I will tighten the knob to hell, or oil St. Peters Gate) Most folks have a draft problem, I do not. I forgot to mention the previous stoves I Did have a flue damper. And had to reinstall and re-fab and cement properly the damper flap to function properly. Including this house on other non cat stoves. That helped. You are the first person to give me actual problem solving advice. 1920 house. Fighting the good fight in This Old House, Que the bass Clarinet, Bob Villa.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,474
central pa
At 30' one damper may not be enough. The only way to know is a draft measurement. There should never be any cement on a damper anywhere .