VC Montpelier fan

Tsiskwa

New Member
Aug 29, 2019
17
Maryland
We have pretty much decided on this insert. I have read about issues regarding fan noise, but I have read about different issues about literally every insert we have considered, and this seems like it might be manageable. However, I was reading the owners manual and came to a new question: Does anyone know if it is possible to just turn the fan off if we wanted to just sit and look at the fire, for example? Would that need to involve unplugging the power? What about putting the wall outlet on a switch? Would something like that damage the insert at all? Would turning down the dial on the stove itself have the same effect, thus rendering this irrelevant? Just checking before committing. Thank you.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,601
South Puget Sound, WA
The fan noise will be minimal at low speed. You can turn it off. This is the recommended procedure before opening the stove door.
 

Tsiskwa

New Member
Aug 29, 2019
17
Maryland
Ok, next question, which is actually two-fold:

The installer has come up with the idea of building a brick wall behind the insert, on what is currently the kitchen side of our double-sided fireplace. He would leave slits between the bricks (as can be seen on the current hearth in the attached photo) to allow radiant heat from the back of the insert into the kitchen. Thoughts here on whether this would work?

Also, are there any thoughts on the 3" projection kit for the Montpelier? Would that allow more radiant heat into the Great Room where the insert will be installed? How would that balance with the above idea about getting heat into the kitchen?

Thank you.
 

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,601
South Puget Sound, WA
The slits in the brick should be at the top and the bottom so cooler air can enter low and convect out the upper holes. There should be an insulated blockoff plate installed or that heat will convect up the chimney.

What is the 3" projection kit? Do you mean the extended trim for the Mead II surround? Is that necessary to cover the opening? If it means completely covering the fireplace opening it will help more heat to come out of the rear slits in the brick.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,601
South Puget Sound, WA
Thanks for the link, that's the first time I've seen it. Looks nice. I don't think it would dramatically affect the kitchen heat. Just be sure a blockoff plate is put up in the damper area.
 

canboy

Member
Jan 25, 2009
55
Ontario Canada
As a Montpelier owner, a few thoughts on what you are contemplating....

Firstly, I am pretty much in agreement with all that Begreen is saying. I would add that some ROXUL above the blockoff plate would further impede leakage of heated air up the chimney chase.

I am fairly dubious about any major heat benefit/lose from the 3" extension and I think that it won't look near as good as the flush finish without the extension. Seems to me somewhere you were looking for the ability to put a pot on the stove when electricity is not available....3 inches isn't going to cut it. I would just use my barbeque for that situation, especially if it has a side warmer specifically made for pots. Furthermore, you have a large amount of potential thermal mass in all of that brick (entirely inside your house). The brick will get warm and radiate for quite a while.

Based on your pictures, a further issue of the 3 inch extension is that you might find that you are now a couple of inches short of the required hearth coverage in front of the stove of 17.5 inches in the USA. You would want to measure and take that into account before making the decision. Also, I don't see that option available on the Montpelier II. It was definitely there on the original Montpelier.

All of that being said, the door on the Montpelier is very wide. When open, it extends to 27 inches from the front of the stove. That means that any ash or embers clinging to the door have the potential of falling onto your carpet, for portion of the door that is past your brick hearth (about 9 inches). You may want to add non combustible material in front of your existing hearth to deal with this issue (I did).

The fan control on the original Montpelier is continuously variable. I tend to run it very low, as I prefer less noise and warmer air flow. If you run the fan at the highest speed it eventually cools the box down and blows cooler air. The Montpelier II appears to have a 5 speed fan, not continuously variable.

This is the first time that I have seen the Montpelier II. It is compliant with the first phase of EPA 2020, so will be a little more environmentally friendly. But you will have lost some control over how you are burning the wood as there seems to me no ability to add or subtract small amounts of air, as you go. It's either in "start-up mode" or autopilot and I see no explanation of how that works. If this is the first year for the Montpelier II, I would be hesitant. They might have solved a bunch of issues with the original but you might be one of their first testers. One good thing is that they seem to have changed to using a more standard firebrick instead of single panels for the sides and back in the original. A multi speed fan is never as good as a variable speed because sometimes just a slight adjustment can get rid of an annoying warble. If they were selling the Montpelier II last year, it would be nice if someone who has experience with it, could chime in.
 

Kenneth Kline

Member
Dec 11, 2012
30
The fan noise on my new Montpelier annoying. It makes the same loud 60 cycle hum regardless of the fan speed. It may have influenced my choice had I been able to hear it first. This was my first weekend using it and I just finally shut it off while trying watch TV in the same room. I initially installed a wall switch so it's easy to shut off.
 
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canboy

Member
Jan 25, 2009
55
Ontario Canada
Kenneth, I experienced the same issue ten years ago when I first bought the Montpelier. I pulled the fan and operated it on my bench to see if I could isolate the hum. It turned out that there was absolutely no hum when operating on the bench, so it had to be a vibration when operating in the stove. The fan is attached by two screws, to the thin sheet metal skin that surrounds the stove. The skin is too flimsy and a vibration results. So, I used non flammable material to shim under the fan (and between the skin and the base of the fireplace) to elimate the vibration. It took a few tries to get it right, but once done, I haven't had a problem since. Others experienced the same and solved it the same way.
 

Kenneth Kline

Member
Dec 11, 2012
30
Thanks canboy. I'd hate to diassemble a new unit under warranty but I can see myself trying your fix at some point. Can't listen to that hum for too many years.