VC stove vents smoke out front doors when damper is shut

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New Member
Nov 28, 2021
I have a 40 year old Vermont Casting Resolute stove before catalytic-Stove has worked flawlessly for 40 years - Now I open the bypass damper for about 15 minutes when starting the stove then shut it down after to hold heat - the stove vents up the chimney fine with the bypass damper open but when I go to close the bypass damper it vents smoke out the doors - Any solutions ? I just swept the chimney and cleaned the inside of the stove-Could it have something to do with the damper in the upper back part of the stove ? Is there a space or holes in that damper to let smoke thru when the damper is closed and could they be clogged ? thanx
There are a number of possible causes. Finding out the culprit will take a process of elimination. The first is the flue system. When was it cleaned? If there is a cap screen, was this cleaned too?
Has recent work been done on the house that made it much tighter? Or has there been something added that exhausts air from the house strongly? (new range hood?)
Is it possible that this batch of wood didn't get fully seasoned?

If none of the above then it's possible that the reburn chamber of the stove has filled with ash over the years and it blocking the passages behind the fireback. If that is the case it needs to be cleaned. If the stove has not been rebuilt yet, this is probably the time to do it.
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Thanx for your response _ I just swept the chimney and cleaned the inside of the stove - Where is the return chamber located and how would I access it to clean out ash ? Do you happen to know if the bypass damper on the inside upper part of the stove has spaces or holes in it that allow the smoke the get thru it when it is shut and if they could be clogged and causing it to smoke out the doors ? Stove is 40 years old and never disasembled or thoroughly cleaned-thanx for the info.
Maybe, I don't know. One thing you can do is to disconnect the stove, then vacuum out behind the fireback. This may take creating a smaller hose for your vacuum by taping a short length of 3/4" hose to the vacuum nozzle.
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Part of thr smoke chamber is inaccessable w.o. removing at least the right insert. Then you can snake a vac hose behind tje fireback.

If you can get the stove outside, have at it w a leaf blower down the flue collar and into the opening in the r insert ( no need to remove it)
Thanx for the responses -Still trying to figure out how to access the fireback from the inside of the stove but those comments help
I have no experience with the resolute but with its big brother, the manual showed how to get to that chamber. Smoking when the bypass was closed was almost a guarantee it was necked down or plugged.
Any specifics on how to remove the right fireback would bee appreciated or where to access a manual for the resolute II either online or in print=I probably need to remove the right or left fireback and snake a vacuum hose back there -40 year old stove and ash probably got in thru the holes in the center fireback and now just need to know how to remove fireback to clean out debris-thanx again- getting closer
Getting closer guys -cleaned off that right fireback and located screw just below intake -any idea what type of screw head it is ? Phillips or slotted or square or Allen wrench > screw reluctant to loosen -thanx-getting closer -then how to remove fireback and how to vqcumn and re install - thanx
It is a Phillips head screw-pit Phillips screwdriver on it would not budge-sprayed lubricant on it - any suggestions on freeing stuck Phillips screw ? old man with glasses with head stuck inside stove- thanx
Going to wait until Monday when I go back to work to get long handled #1 Phillips screwdriver and either gas torch or heat gun to heat up screw-at lest found the screw and lubricqted it-getting closer -sorry for all the posts- enjoy your Holiday
If you have time, warm it up and spray it with penetrant like PB blaster. Tap the screw then let it sit for several hours, repeat several times. There are hammer impact drivers available at most automotive storesthat can sometimes loosen up stuck screws. Its likely as not that you will end up having to drill it. Go to a car parts store and buy a cobalt left handed drill bit. Then drill the screw. Using a left hand bit frequently will loosen up stuck screws. Be careful to stay in the center of the screw. If you drill through, then you need to clean out the remains and then run a tap through it. Having to drill screws out of stoves is not unusual. The problem is that the operation of the stove heat treats the bolts to make them brittle. If you apply never seize to the bolts they may come out easier the next time.
Hope to tackle that frozen Phillips head screw in the left fireback in the next day or two - Is it recommended to take off the back and left fireback also and do they have screws and where would they be located ? Also once screw is out of left fireback what is the best method to remove the left fireback ? Using a pry bar or another method ? thanx again
A little extreme, but you could roll the stove into its top, ratchet strap the body, and detach the bottom. Complete access, prep the sides and bottom for recementing, and put back together. Here a vigilant with its bottom off.

VC stove vents smoke out front doors when damper is shut VC stove vents smoke out front doors when damper is shut VC stove vents smoke out front doors when damper is shut
My situation as this point is the I have taken there screw off on the right insert or right fireback and now experimenting with tool and method to remove right fireback so can vacuum behind back fireback-have tried thin pry bar to remove right fireback but does not budge it-anyone have any experience removing right fireback for cleaning after screw holding it in has been removed ? THANX AGAIN