VC Vigilant wood stove noob here with questions

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Poconojoe

New Member
Nov 23, 2021
5
Northeastern Pennsylvania
New member and a total noob when it comes to wood burning stoves.
I apologize for a long post.

This is my daughters stove. A VC wood burning vigilant.
She had it refurbished by a trustworthy old timer that retired right after he refurbished it.

She didn't use the stove much last winter because the chimney guy didn't install the flue until late winter.

We had a lot of problems with a chimney installer that we're still working out. Hopefully the install was done correctly, but our trust in this guy has deteriorated due to him having to come back and "fix" things. I can elaborate if needed. He did come back several times, didn't abandon us, so I'll give him that.

For reference:
The stove sits on wooden joists, plywood, 5/8" Durock and porcelain tile for a finished surface.
The wall behind it is the same.
The flue is black single wall up to a ceiling thimble box then double wall stainless out through the roof.

Anyway, I have some questions.
This guy states that there should be fire bricks sitting in the bottom of the stove. Is this correct? He wanted to pour fire rated cement in to cover the bottom. I told him no. Reading the manual, I can't find any reference to any fire bricks. It does state not to use any type of grating in the bottom, but no mention of bricks unless I somehow missed that.

Is single wall pipe OK from the stove to the ceiling box? This guy installed single wall, then replaced it with double wall which crushed in where he screwed it to the ceiling box. I assume the ceiling box was meant for single wall considering how it didn't mate well, causing it to crush. Then he came back and changed it back to single wall.

When one of his workers took the pipes apart, he said there was a chimney fire! He said it was due to the outside pipe not being high enough which inhibited proper drafting. They had installed just one section above the roof and did not extend it above the second story roof. They corrected that, but there was all kinds of build up in the pipes and even the stove.

The worker also noticed the gaskets around the three doors looked damaged. He said it was from the chimney fire. They pulled all the gaskets out. They installed new gaskets on the front doors but forgot the gaskets on the top door. They said it was OK to use it! I was about to start a fire when I noticed the missing gasket. They came back, took all three doors with them to thoroughly clean them and install all new gaskets. I hope they bring the doors back! Those things are expensive!

Anyway, Thanks for reading my lengthy post. I appreciate any help you experts can give.

Oh, this is located in northeastern Pennsylvania.
 

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
3,106
Massachusetts
welcome to the forum. you were right to not have him pour cement on the bottom. just put some ash over the bottom. about 1 inch. as far as your chimney fire i think i would start looking at your wood. despite what the wood dealer says about the wood being seasoned it probably isn't. about 5 minutes into the wood burning if that wood is hissing or foaming it's not ready to burn. thats what could have started the chimney fire. you need to get a magnetic type wood stove thermometer. run that stove no less than 450 degrees withe the thermomter on the stove.
gaskets for the doors are a easy thing to do. so it shouldn't to long to replace.
as far as your chimney i would think it is best to let the people who know chimneys answer that one.

frank
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,871
Long Island NY
They say the chimney fire was due to not enough draft (causing build up, causing fire). If true, you likely will have had smoke rolling out of your stove when you open the door. Is that the case?

I'd be wary of the whole chimney stack; making elementary mistakes about what parts can be matched/connected suggests they don't know their stuff.

Is your chimney complying with the 10-3-2 rule (Google that)?

Can you post pics of the setup? @bholler will be able to point out further code and safety issues.

And I second the remarks about wood dryness above. Get a moisture meter, read the instructions on how to properly measure, and evaluate your wood.
 

Poconojoe

New Member
Nov 23, 2021
5
Northeastern Pennsylvania
welcome to the forum. you were right to not have him pour cement on the bottom. just put some ash over the bottom. about 1 inch. as far as your chimney fire i think i would start looking at your wood. despite what the wood dealer says about the wood being seasoned it probably isn't. about 5 minutes into the wood burning if that wood is hissing or foaming it's not ready to burn. thats what could have started the chimney fire. you need to get a magnetic type wood stove thermometer. run that stove no less than 450 degrees withe the thermomter on the stove.
gaskets for the doors are a easy thing to do. so it shouldn't to long to replace.
as far as your chimney i would think it is best to let the people who know chimneys answer that one.

frank
Thanks for the response!
And thanks for confirming my doubts on pouring cement in the bottom. That just didn't seem right from looking through the manual.

She does have a magnetic thermometer that we stick to the top (griddle) door.
No higher than 450... got it. Thanks for that tip.
 

Poconojoe

New Member
Nov 23, 2021
5
Northeastern Pennsylvania
They say the chimney fire was due to not enough draft (causing build up, causing fire). If true, you likely will have had smoke rolling out of your stove when you open the door. Is that the case?

I'd be wary of the whole chimney stack; making elementary mistakes about what parts can be matched/connected suggests they don't know their stuff.

Is your chimney complying with the 10-3-2 rule (Google that)?

Can you post pics of the setup? @bholler will be able to point out further code and safety issues.

And I second the remarks about wood dryness above. Get a moisture meter, read the instructions on how to properly measure, and evaluate your wood.
I don't know if there was smoke when opening the door previous to them extending the chimney.

I will tell her to get a moisture meter. That sounds like an invaluable tool.

I'll snap some pictures next time I'm there.

10-3-2 rule, I have no clue, but I'm learning and I will look that up.

Thanks again for the help.