VC Aspen - Is a full rebuild necessary, or is there an easier solution?

ToastyInDE Posted By ToastyInDE, Jun 12, 2019 at 8:32 AM

  1. ToastyInDE

    ToastyInDE
    New Member 2.
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    Apr 20, 2019
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    Northern Delaware
    Hello community. I've been very thankful for these forums since I was recently gifted a VC Aspen that I'd like to install in my new home. There's a wealth of knowledge here and I've learned a ton by reading through many posts. I do know about the issues with the Aspen, particularly the clogging of the primary air plate. I also know that it's not the preferred stove of this site. Truth be told, it was free and the issues don't bother me too much since I probably won't be using this stove for everyday heating.

    The question I have is whether or not I need to rebuild the stove. Like I said, it was gifted to me by my parents who used it as an everyday heater in their small 800 ft2 house. It's probably 15-20 years old and beyond replacing the door gaskets, it hasn't had much if any maintenance. When I got it, I decided to clean it out and replace some cracked firebricks (originals) so I took the top plate off and it was unsurprisingly full of ash. After removing the ash, I noticed that a fair amount of the refrac cement was cracked and loose between the left side wall and the secondary air channel and it just came right out (photo 3249). The cement between the right side wall and right secondary air channel was in better shape, but was still cracked (photo 3241). There are other places where cement is missing (ohoto 3242) and when I removed the firebricks and gave it a good clean, there were plenty of pieces of loose/dislodged cement that I found.

    Here's my question: Do I need to get this stove completely recemented, or is there an easy solution - some way I can fill in the obvious joints that need cement without disassembling the thing? If it's the former, I might just forgo the effort and $$ and buy a different stove because this one does come with design issues and it's undersized for our 1500 ft2 home. I do need to buy firebricks, flat gasket to put under the top firebricks, and a bottom heat shield to replace the DIY piece of sheet metal it currently has, so right now I'm looking at about $150 to get it up and ready to pass visual inspection. If I have to put too much more $$ into it, it might not be worth it. Also, if it does need to be rebuilt/recemented, is this an operation that I could do myself or does it require someone with skill and experience?

    Thanks, and looking forward to hearing your advice.
     

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  2. jetsam

    jetsam
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    Dec 12, 2015
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    You can get a large modern tube stove for $1000.

    Is $1000 minus the cost of repairs worth more to you than dealing with an undersized wood-gobbler?

    I wouldn't use it as a primary heater even if it was in mint condition, personally. A 1cf firebox on an old stove probably means very short burn times.

    Might be worth fixing up for an outbuilding heater.
     
  3. Diabel

    Diabel
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    Jan 11, 2008
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    What he said!^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Not worth the time and sweat.
     
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  4. webby3650

    webby3650
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    Sep 2, 2008
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    It’s an older stove, but still has a secondary combustion system. That being said, I wouldn’t spend a penny on the thing after having been around them. They don’t burn well at all.
     
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  5. ToastyInDE

    ToastyInDE
    New Member 2.
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    Apr 20, 2019
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    Northern Delaware
    Thanks Jetsam, Diabel, and Webby. I think you've convinced me to replace it with a new unit. What I can do is store the VC in the basement and if we ever decide to sell the house, take the new stove with us and leave the Aspen for the next owner to deal with.
     
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  6. Kevin Weis

    Kevin Weis
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    Mar 3, 2018
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