VC Aspen C3 "Temporarily Unavailable"

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wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
164
KS
I have noticed for the last month or so, maybe longer, that VC has the Aspen C3 showing as "Temporarily Unavailable" on their website. I figured this was maybe due to supply or manufacturing constraints. However, some digging found this thread out on the internet, recently created: https://www.small-cabin.com/forum/3_10867_0.html

It claims there was some issue with missing data from the previous 3rd-party lab EPA certification of the stove. This would also be a plausible explanation for why it is unavailable. Ultimately I'm not concerned about mine and am very glad I got a stove at the end of summer when I did, but I will be curious to see how this plays out.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,705
SE North Carolina
I’m shaking my head….. I wonder how many others tests from the third party did not include the data as well. To be forced to stop shipping a reasonably priced stove that is tax credit eligible at this time of year…… that’s gotta hurt.
 
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Rose Lane

New Member
Nov 5, 2021
31
Maine
I have an Aspen C3 that was installed by a dealer this summer. New double walled chimney, straight, no bends.

Been using it for about two weeks now and the thermostatic controller does not seem to work as advertised.

We have multiple wood stoves and this is the only one I can't get a clean burn from. If I shut the door, the fire starts smouldering and the smoke runs opaque out of the chimney. All our other stoves run clear smoke out of the chimney- same wood.

Contacted VC and they said the wood wasn't dry enough. Wood was felled in 2019 and split in 2020; all the other stoves can get a clean hot fire without an issue.

I'm concerned about creosote buildup from running cold fires if the door is closed and obviously, can't run the stove with the door open without monitoring.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,428
Downeast Maine
I have an Aspen C3 that was installed by a dealer this summer. New double walled chimney, straight, no bends.

Been using it for about two weeks now and the thermostatic controller does not seem to work as advertised.

We have multiple wood stoves and this is the only one I can't get a clean burn from. If I shut the door, the fire starts smouldering and the smoke runs opaque out of the chimney. All our other stoves run clear smoke out of the chimney- same wood.

Contacted VC and they said the wood wasn't dry enough. Wood was felled in 2019 and split in 2020; all the other stoves can get a clean hot fire without an issue.

I'm concerned about creosote buildup from running cold fires if the door is closed and obviously, can't run the stove with the door open without monitoring.
What are the other stoves and what kind of firewood? One year is not long enough for hard maple, beech, locust, oak, and some other very dense woods. Even a year is not long enough for birch where I live. Older stoves are not as picky with how well seasoned the wood is, but EPA 2020 approved stoves are.
 

Rose Lane

New Member
Nov 5, 2021
31
Maine
The other wood stoves are also brand new- a Pacific Energy Super LE installed last year (2020) and an Esse Ironheart installed two months ago. The Pacific Energy meets the 2020 cert; the Esse being a cookstove might have a different set of requirements?

The wood we have is a mix; I'm not sure of the exact variety other than that there isn't an issue with the Pacific Energy....
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,705
SE North Carolina
I have an Aspen C3 that was installed by a dealer this summer. New double walled chimney, straight, no bends.

Been using it for about two weeks now and the thermostatic controller does not seem to work as advertised.

We have multiple wood stoves and this is the only one I can't get a clean burn from. If I shut the door, the fire starts smouldering and the smoke runs opaque out of the chimney. All our other stoves run clear smoke out of the chimney- same wood.

Contacted VC and they said the wood wasn't dry enough. Wood was felled in 2019 and split in 2020; all the other stoves can get a clean hot fire without an issue.

I'm concerned about creosote buildup from running cold fires if the door is closed and obviously, can't run the stove with the door open without monitoring.
Get a moisture meter and check room temp fresh split face. If it’s 20% or less follow up with your dealer and VC. I have read some other posts (other forums as I was considering one) about the Aspen C3 not burning well. There was a replacement or resolution with one of them (I think). From looking at pictures the air controller is like to fail in the closed position.

This model is starting to sound like a Goldilocks stove from posts here.

Evan
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,428
Downeast Maine
The other wood stoves are also brand new- a Pacific Energy Super LE installed last year (2020) and an Esse Ironheart installed two months ago. The Pacific Energy meets the 2020 cert; the Esse being a cookstove might have a different set of requirements?

The wood we have is a mix; I'm not sure of the exact variety other than that there isn't an issue with the Pacific Energy....
I love the Ironheart and almost ordered one, but I do know it is not picky on wood. However, the PE is, so I agree that there probably isn't anything wrong with the firewood if the same firewood burns well in the PE. Perhaps there is something wrong with your VC, from what I understand that wouldn't be a novel thing. Nice to see another member in Maine!
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
164
KS
I have an Aspen C3 that was installed by a dealer this summer. New double walled chimney, straight, no bends.

Been using it for about two weeks now and the thermostatic controller does not seem to work as advertised.

We have multiple wood stoves and this is the only one I can't get a clean burn from. If I shut the door, the fire starts smouldering and the smoke runs opaque out of the chimney. All our other stoves run clear smoke out of the chimney- same wood.

Do you have at least 16' from the floor where the stove is sitting to the outlet of the chimney? (per the manual 16' is ideal - I have 14.5' with 2 45 degree elbows next to each other, but no issues from this so far)

Look inside the air intake at the rear bottom of the stove. It should look like my picture below when the stove is cold (assuming my stove is correct). You can check to make sure the chain is holding it in the open position. If the chain isn't there or is loose then the flap would fall closed. It should close down intentionally as the stove heats up, and you should be able to see this - you could use a mirror or something if the back isn't very accessible in your installation when things are hot.

I have only had 4 or 5 fires so far in mine, and I've had to leave my door open for 15-20 minutes on startup. I may be able to close it sooner as I figure out the perfect way to set up the wood for startup. Once it's really going, I don't have any issues other than severely smoking up the glass at the end of the coaling stage when I'm letting a fire die down.

I just bought a cheap Harbor Freight moisture tester but I haven't even bothered to try it yet. I am burning Honey Locust splits that have been seasoned for ~3 years and kept dry. I second the above post about getting a cheap moisture tester.

20211022_181746.jpg
 

Rose Lane

New Member
Nov 5, 2021
31
Maine
Get a moisture meter and check room temp fresh split face.
Great advice- I didn't know such a thing exists. We also, of course, are in the situation that I would think many people end up in: we moved here last year, and firewood more than one year old is not generally available!
 

Rose Lane

New Member
Nov 5, 2021
31
Maine
Nice to see another member in Maine!
Likewise!
We love the Esse- cooking on wood is amazing. We are setting it up for hot water as well (as of yet incomplete).

My husband is suggesting we swap out the Aspen for the Morso 2B- it looks like it would fit the small space.

Our dealer- Rocky's - has been very helpful about the issue. I will get a moisture meter just to be sure, but it sounds to me from general internet research plus what the dealer has indicated- the stove just has problems that go beyond wood.
 
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Rose Lane

New Member
Nov 5, 2021
31
Maine
Do you have at least 16' from the floor where the stove is sitting to the outlet of the chimney?

Look inside the air intake at the rear bottom of the stove.....
Good points. No on the first- the Aspen is in a single story separate work space- about 400 square feet and I'd guess the run floor to ceiling where the chimney is to be about 9' or 10'.

I will get out the camera phone and check on the air intake. Thank you for the photo of the correct position- the manual is not useful with regards to that.

Same issue with the glass getting smoked up. Again, compared to the Esse or the PE, the Aspen glass is dramatically hard to keep clean.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,428
Downeast Maine
It could be a draft issue with such a short flue, but I am also a bit biased towards the Morso ;) I'll see what my 2b Classic manual says for flue length, but the standard probably doesn't need as much flue since it doesn't have the upper chamber. Either stove should be able to cook you out of a 400 sqft space if operating correctly.

Agreed on cooking with wood, and our Tim Sistem North is connected to our DHW. I hate using my electric glass top range oven and look forward to stove season during the summer.
 
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wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
164
KS
Good points. No on the first- the Aspen is in a single story separate work space- about 400 square feet and I'd guess the run floor to ceiling where the chimney is to be about 9' or 10'.
That's just to the ceiling? How much more chimney do you have from the ceiling to the outlet cap (when I say outlet, to clarify, I mean where the smoke comes out the top of your chimney, outside)? That is all included in that 16' measurement. If you have 9-10' to your ceiling, you are probably not too far away from 16' once you add in the Class A pipe from the ceiling on up to the cap. If so that can probably be ruled out as an issue.
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
164
KS
It could be a draft issue with such a short flue, but I am also a bit biased towards the Morso ;) I'll see what my 2b Classic manual says for flue length, but the standard probably doesn't need as much flue since it doesn't have the upper chamber. Either stove should be able to cook you out of a 400 sqft space if operating correctly.
I quickly scanned through the 2B manual and did not find anything. I think that manual might actually be worse than the VC Aspen C3 manual, ha. Sure looks to me like several of the stove manufacturers need more resources in technical writing.

I do hope VC gets the documentation/retesting done on the Aspen C3 soon. The closest Morso dealer was 3 hours farther away than VC/Jotul/box stores that carry US Stove, etc. and the Aspen C3 is certainly at a better price point, and a larger firebox and the option for an OAK. The Morso has manual air control and 5-6% better efficiency, which is really impressive.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,428
Downeast Maine
I quickly scanned through the 2B manual and did not find anything. I think that manual might actually be worse than the VC Aspen C3 manual, ha. Sure looks to me like several of the stove manufacturers need more resources in technical writing.

I do hope VC gets the documentation/retesting done on the Aspen C3 soon. The closest Morso dealer was 3 hours farther away than VC/Jotul/box stores that carry US Stove, etc. and the Aspen C3 is certainly at a better price point, and a larger firebox and the option for an OAK. The Morso has manual air control and 5-6% better efficiency, which is really impressive.
Indeed, I didn't see anything in my manual either. Morso doesn't even include a front clearance to combustibles, only side and rear.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,705
SE North Carolina
I quickly scanned through the 2B manual and did not find anything. I think that manual might actually be worse than the VC Aspen C3 manual, ha. Sure looks to me like several of the stove manufacturers need more resources in technical writing.

I do hope VC gets the documentation/retesting done on the Aspen C3 soon. The closest Morso dealer was 3 hours farther away than VC/Jotul/box stores that carry US Stove, etc. and the Aspen C3 is certainly at a better price point, and a larger firebox and the option for an OAK. The Morso has manual air control and 5-6% better efficiency, which is really impressive.
Both Aspen C3 and 2B are tax credit eligible(I think)
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
164
KS
Both Aspen C3 and 2B are tax credit eligible(I think)
They both are, or the Aspen C3 was... I guess that's a thought. I wonder if this impacts the eligibility for the tax credit? It was EPA certified, but now that is a little gray. Of course this is based on something random I found on the internet for as far as I know. May need to seek further clarification on that. I presume if it retests and meets the 75% HHV then there are no issues, but if for some reason it doesn't, I wonder what the means for the existing stoves. It is still listed in the EPA Burnwise database (which I have saved a copy of for tax records).
 
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Rose Lane

New Member
Nov 5, 2021
31
Maine
That's just to the ceiling? How much more chimney do you have from the ceiling to the outlet cap (when I say outlet, to clarify, I mean where the smoke comes out the top of your chimney, outside)? That is all included in that 16' measurement. If you have 9-10' to your ceiling, you are probably not too far away from 16' once you add in the Class A pipe from the ceiling on up to the cap. If so that can probably be ruled out as an issue.
Right- yep, I didn't understand. 9 or 10' to underside of ceiling- then easily 4 or 5' after that. So agreed, should be good.
 

Rose Lane

New Member
Nov 5, 2021
31
Maine
I quickly scanned through the 2B manual and did not find anything. I think that manual might actually be worse than the VC Aspen C3 manual, ha. Sure looks to me like several of the stove manufacturers need more resources in technical writing.
Speaking of stove manuals- we used to have a camp that had a 1979 VC Vigilant. It was so beautiful, and came with the original manual. Absolutely a gorgeous document, handdrawn in a 1970s style, with pages and pages of detailed instructions. I actually took photos of the manual when we sold the place- I wonder if I can find them. :)
 

Rose Lane

New Member
Nov 5, 2021
31
Maine
Update on this one: shortly after I posted on this thread, I noticed two cracks, one one each side, of the Aspen. There is no way I ever over-fired this stove, because I was monitoring it closely all the time that it was in use (as it was giving me problems, the primary problem being burning too cold; smoldering, and the fire going out.)

The dealer replaced it with a new Lopi Answer, the only correct-sized product they had in stock. I'm having similar problems with the Lopi (difficulty getting a fire going and keeping it going, difficulty getting this 350 square foot newly-built structure warm)- despite that we now have exclusively kiln dried wood in the mix. I should probably start a new thread to ask how to get the Lopi working right. 🤓

Note- this is one of three structures that we heat exclusively with wood. It's the only one giving problems.
 

wjohn

Member
Jul 27, 2021
164
KS
I'm sorry to hear that. I've been getting my Aspen C3 much hotter than yours and have not seen any cracks or other damage so far.

On the flip side, from what I remember when I was pricing stoves, that was very good of your dealer to replace it with a Lopi Answer. As I recall that stove was about double the price of the Aspen C3. I am following your Lopi thread and will be curious to find out what the issue is.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,428
Downeast Maine
Update on this one: shortly after I posted on this thread, I noticed two cracks, one one each side, of the Aspen. There is no way I ever over-fired this stove, because I was monitoring it closely all the time that it was in use (as it was giving me problems, the primary problem being burning too cold; smoldering, and the fire going out.)

The dealer replaced it with a new Lopi Answer, the only correct-sized product they had in stock. I'm having similar problems with the Lopi (difficulty getting a fire going and keeping it going, difficulty getting this 350 square foot newly-built structure warm)- despite that we now have exclusively kiln dried wood in the mix. I should probably start a new thread to ask how to get the Lopi working right. 🤓

Note- this is one of three structures that we heat exclusively with wood. It's the only one giving problems.
I think your structure is too tight and you need an outside air connection.
 
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Rose Lane

New Member
Nov 5, 2021
31
Maine
I'm sorry to hear that. I've been getting my Aspen C3 much hotter than yours and have not seen any cracks or other damage so far.

On the flip side, from what I remember when I was pricing stoves, that was very good of your dealer to replace it with a Lopi Answer. As I recall that stove was about double the price of the Aspen C3. I am following your Lopi thread and will be curious to find out what the issue is.
We were very pleased to get the stove replaced promptly, but we paid the difference, so; yes, the Lopi was $2300 or so and the Aspen was credited against it.
 
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