Need some help with a Vansco (Treemont?) TAC 520 insert stove

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SamuelL

New Member
Oct 28, 2021
2
MD
Hi all, I found a Vansco TAC 520 stove (insert model) for next to nothing and had it installed when I put a new, full length 8" liner in our old chimney while it was being repair a few months back (chimney was 125 years old and crumbling).

Anyway, we're novices to wood stoves, I've only had experience with old cast iron monsters that relatives had when I was younger. For better or worse, I've got this TAC 520 installed and I've started using it after replacing all the broken firebrick that it was lined with. No prior experience with cat stoves though I've been around stoves before. I did get some seasoned oak, a cheap moisture meter to make sure the stuff going in the stove was dry, and have a stove-top thermometer.

I've been scratching my head on a couple things and figured I try posting here from some help.

  • The manual?
    • I haven't been able to find any info on this thing or a manual, or even a manual for any similar Vansco model. Does anybody know if copies of these still exist? I'd love to know what directions it gives and see any electrical diagrams that might be available (read on...)
  • The blower
    • The previous owner apparently killed the original blower switch on this stove and converted it to manual. Seems to work alright and the electrical seems fine. When the stove gets up to about 275-300, I plug it in and the blower comes on. Is the blower only sending heated air out the front or does the blower affect the cat in some way as well? If so, should rig up something to trigger this blower automatically at a certain temp?
  • Is possible to get a new cat for this stove?
    • The plate on the side says it takes a "Corning long life 25 cell (part no. 963005)" catalytic converter. Great right? Except I've searched all over and there doesn't seem to be any reference to this part on the internet.
  • Where is the cat located?
    • stupid question, but I can't figure where it would be. Doesn't seem to be any openings or covers inside or out where you could access this.
  • Not a ton of heat for the amount of wood I'm using, is that normal for a cat stove?
    • It seems to heat up slowly and put out less heat than the much older cast iron stoves I've been around before. Takes at least an hour of burning from cold to get coals that sustain the fire with the damper closed down. Temperature of the stove doesn't really go up until I do that and then climbs to about 300*F (temp on the top of the stove). If I load the stove up I can get to maybe 330-350* but and it puts out some heat, but nothing like those old stoves I remember. Is that normal for a old cat stove like this? Just a sign that the cat needs replaced?
I appreciate any advice or feedback. Overall the stove is in decent shape considering its age, but I know it isn't very efficient even if it were working perfectly. I hope to have a better stove some day but can't afford that for the foreseeable future. For now I have to make do and try to get as much heat out of this thing while being as safe as possible.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,301
South Puget Sound, WA
Finding parts or a cat could be a challenge. The cat appears to be discontinued.
 
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SamuelL

New Member
Oct 28, 2021
2
MD
Finding parts or a cat could be a challenge. The cat appears to be discontinued.
Thank you!

That is the confirmation I needed on the cat size - I was having trouble finding any mention of it, I think I came across one of these cats in stock somewhere when I was searching last week but I ignored it because the listing didn't specify any old Vansco models. I'll have to go through my search history but I may be in luck.

For other parts I should be able to make do or come up with a work-around. Already had to do this with the damper and relining the firebrick.

I've been working to get the old cat out. I'm assuming the bolts at the inside front are holding something in place that is hiding the old cat. No manual to confirm but it's the only spot that makes sense. the bolts / nuts were in bad shape so I've been taking it easy, spraying some WD40 and giving a partial turn. 2 out of 3 nuts loose so far. If I can get the old cat out I'll take a picture for posterity.