Vermont Castings Encore 2550 Air Leak/Overfire/Not behaving as it's old self...

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oldAGE

Member
Jan 14, 2008
107
South Central WI
Hello from "Getting Colder South Central WI"

I have searched and read numerous threads concerning the overfiring and control of various stoves and VC issues. Now I am looking for assistance from the VC owners/rebuilders and other folks with great experience.

I have had my VC Encore 2550 since it was newly installed in 2000. I have learned to use the stove and love the stove. I can set it and forget it and keep it at 550. I could feed it, adjust heat, and do just about everything including leave it unattended while out and about.

This past Xmas, I filled her up and set it as usual. By the time I cleared the house of smoke and actually removed burning logs from the stove and tossed them in my driveway, I realized something changed. One day it was acting like it had for seven years and a day later, a completely different beast. It was so hot that my double walled stove pipe paint flaked in some places and when I touched it (with gloves), the paint was soft and smeared -- factory paint that was seven+ years old.

I have changed the ash pan door gasket, top load door gasket with the recommended "$6 per foot wire bound" gasket, both door gaskets, fireback gasket, and reseated/cemented the side panel gaskets. I performed all the dollar bill tests and still, I feel she is not behaving.

Back in the old days, I could set the primary air to one third opened with CAT engaged (damper closed) and she would sit at 550 (griddle top temp). Close primary air and she would cool down, open and she would warm up. I would load it to the top, set it down to 1/3 opened and she would hold overnight. Now, with just a couple of pieces of oak in her -- not even close to being fueled -- and the primary air completely closed down, she sits at 500+. This is not normal behaviour. I used to close it down and the fire would nearly extinguish.

I had my local dealer come out today for a look-see and he informed me:

1) even with primary air closed all the way, it should run at its most (or almost) efficient. Load it up, close it down, and you will have a nice 450 - 550 fire. Well, that is not how it worked for the past 7 years.
2) My gasketing work seemed fine and dandy... A slight adjustment of one door as the opposite door cross brace was rubbing the gasket slightly.
3) My griddle gasketing had some slight gaps... We attribute that to it not compressing well just yet. I expect that it will "settle in" with time.
4) With it burning, a little smoke or fire test shows that air is being drawn in in a couple of places -- At the primary air (he claims that is normal... it's not a complete seal) and where the bottom plate meets the primary air channel plate (he tells me it is not abnormal -- maybe a little cement gasket for an inch or two on the corner will do the trick).
5) The stove looks great and well cared for...

I have checked the secondary air and believe that is behaving correctly. Even so, with the damper closed, there should be no secondary air introduced into the burn chamber.... at least not enough to keep the fire burning hot.

I was accustomed to this behaving in a manner that it is now making me frightened. Suggestions are greatly appreciated.

AGE
 
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downeast

Guest
oldAGE said:
Hello from "Getting Colder South Central WI"
I have changed the ash pan door gasket, top load door gasket with the recommended "$6 per foot wire bound" gasket, both door gaskets, fireback gasket, and reseated/cemented the side panel gaskets. I performed all the dollar bill tests and still, I feel she is not behaving.
Back in the old days, I could set the primary air to one third opened with CAT engaged (damper closed) and she would sit at 550 (griddle top temp). Close primary air and she would cool down, open and she would warm up. I would load it to the top, set it down to 1/3 opened and she would hold overnight. Now, with just a couple of pieces of oak in her -- not even close to being fueled -- and the primary air completely closed down, she sits at 500+. This is not normal behaviour. I used to close it down and the fire would nearly extinguish.
I had my local dealer come out today for a look-see and he informed me:
1) even with primary air closed all the way, it should run at its most (or almost) efficient. Load it up, close it down, and you will have a nice 450 - 550 fire. Well, that is not how it worked for the past 7 years.
2) My gasketing work seemed fine and dandy... A slight adjustment of one door as the opposite door cross brace was rubbing the gasket slightly.
3) My griddle gasketing had some slight gaps... We attribute that to it not compressing well just yet. I expect that it will "settle in" with time.
4) With it burning, a little smoke or fire test shows that air is being drawn in in a couple of places -- At the primary air (he claims that is normal... it's not a complete seal) and where the bottom plate meets the primary air channel plate (he tells me it is not abnormal -- maybe a little cement gasket for an inch or two on the corner will do the trick).
5) The stove looks great and well cared for...
I have checked the secondary air and believe that is behaving correctly. Even so, with the damper closed, there should be no secondary air introduced into the burn chamber.... at least not enough to keep the fire burning hot.
I was accustomed to this behaving in a manner that it is now making me frightened. Suggestions are greatly appreciated.
AGE
Our 2001 brand new Encore 2550 ( our third) had a similar out of control air problem out of the box. First, the primary air flap was not closing completely--a chunk of furnace cement blocked it from closing. The cable should be adjusted for correct control. Also the ash pan door hinge was off center and would not close competely, it was adjusted. Many serious air leaks come from the ash pan ass'y and door. There were a few openings between the cast iron plates where furnace cement was either not set into the joint or fell out. Vacuum out as many passages in the Encore as possible.
In a few years of 24/7 or hard burning, the secondary probe can deteriorate, basically "burning out". It is a simple replacement.

Your dealer should have smoke pellets to do a cold test on the stove's air. There seems to be some changes in CFM customer service. Give them a try if your dealer or some of the suggestions can't solve this.
 

oldAGE

Member
Jan 14, 2008
107
South Central WI
Webmaster said:
Tell us about the installation and chimney situation.

You also don't mention exactly why you removed the logs, etc..... what exactly happened?

I assume you have 100% checked the catalytic converter and the ceramic around it, etc.???
Sorry - Shall do.

I have the stove corner mounted but my chimney is off-set. It is located in a lower level that is partly exposed. I have, inside the house, DuraVent double walled 8" stove pipe with the standard Oval to round, two 45 degree bends, and two feet of straight pipe between. My chimney is DuraVent or Simpson doublewalled 8" stainless. The chimney is boxed in an insulated wall and about 8 feet tall through the main floor of the house and then exits to my attic for a very short rise (less than three feet) and then out of the house, boxed, for about 10 feet to the cap.

Mind you, I have not been able to get on the roof yet to check the chimney but I will suspect that everything is fine. When I start the fire, I get the expected amount of smoke, etc.

I started the fire as usual and slowly fed small splits. When it was around 450 degrees and starting its coal bed, I added wood. As I would be home all day, I loaded her up a bit. I believe I had the damper engaged. I went out to shovel and a while later, my wife called for help. Smoke was pouring from the stove pipe, chimney meet point, and coming out the chimney. I figured it was the classic back puffing gone wild. My griddle temp was off the chart and when I touched the stove pipe, the paint came off. So, the back puffing wasn't the classic "chimney too cool" problem. I closed down the primary air to try to choke it off and it wasn't budging. Albeit, time seemed to be standing still and I had a bunch of people in the house. I checked the chimney for obvious flames -- the attic, the walls for warmth. Everything seemed fine. It would not cool down so the next insane move was to get the fuel out. Absolutely stupid in hindsight but it helped do the trick.

Once it was cooled down to "normal" operating temps, it ran "fine." That is when I noticed that it would not move from over 600 with no primary air and just two large splits (normally I could get six to eight in). Subsequent fires have been as written -- starts normally but runs in the 600's with just a little wood in it and primary shutdown to "closed" and damper set on.

I have removed the lower fireback, and checked the CAT. It is in one solid (actually two pieces) piece, just the usual fly-ash that needed to be blown out, and is not new, but not falling apart or otherwise damaged. I was actually surprised how good it looked. As mentioned, I gasketed the Fireback, doors, top, ashpan door, etc. The dollar bill test is flawless with the exception of the top loading door but I suspect that it will eventually settle and form a good seal. The tech said it should not be a concern.

I hope that helps.

AGE
 

oldAGE

Member
Jan 14, 2008
107
South Central WI
downeast said:
Our 2001 brand new Encore 2550 ( our third) had a similar out of control air problem out of the box. First, the primary air flap was not closing completely--a chunk of furnace cement blocked it from closing. The cable should be adjusted for correct control. Also the ash pan door hinge was off center and would not close competely, it was adjusted. Many serious air leaks come from the ash pan ass'y and door. There were a few openings between the cast iron plates where furnace cement was either not set into the joint or fell out. Vacuum out as many passages in the Encore as possible.
In a few years of 24/7 or hard burning, the secondary probe can deteriorate, basically "burning out". It is a simple replacement.

Your dealer should have smoke pellets to do a cold test on the stove's air. There seems to be some changes in CFM customer service. Give them a try if your dealer or some of the suggestions can't solve this.
When I was checking the CAT and replacing the fireback gasket, I tried checking the probe with a mirror. What I was able to see was a metal probe that seemed corroded but there. As for the secondary air, it was free and clear, fully functional and set according to an older service manual. I saw that it can be replaced from outside and it seemed simple enough with two small screws. Can someone explain what that might be doing? I thought the secondary air was to aid in drafting but is beyond the firebox. What might it cause? If too thin, too quick a response to the heat sensitive spring causing it to open to much, too early?

As far as the cold test, the tech was using my long lighter and some newspaper, nothing fancy. With a cool fire of about 225, he showed me where the flame from the lighter was being drawn into the stove from a few points. I never had to worry about this so I don't know if these small leaks have been there since the start. He told me otherwise that everything looked great... nothing obvious.

AGE
 

webbie

Seasoned Moderator
Nov 17, 2005
12,176
Western Mass.
My first comment is that I think your "runaway" fire was probably a decent little chimney fire which occurred in the first few feet of pipe. This would create very high temperature, cause the draft to "feed upon itself" and therefore get very strong, and in general cause the situation that you described. So that guess means a "chimney too hot" problem as opposed to too cool.

As far as what has happened since.....some things just to keep in mind (I'm not saying that there is nothing wrong!)...

You are obviously a little gun-shy now that this has happened...normal "conditioned" response. Add that to the fact that there are no two days, months, weeks, wood piles, etc....that are exactly alike. What I am getting at is that "the way it used to be" may be thrown off a bit by various parameters which tend to change.

Now onto more mechanical stuff. First thing is that it is very common for 2 or 3 pieces of wood to make the stove top as hot (or even hotter) than a larger load, because more wood can tend to cool off the entire load. So I would assume that you have tried some fuller firebox loads, and even some larger or slightly more wet pieces and it still runs away???

Of course, we must assume that you have more than one magnetic thermometer? These things can be inaccurate and can stick - so the difference between 550 and 600 (either way) is not much.

You want to check some of the basics that Downeast mentions.....and, especially, the operation of the primary air damper - as you mention, this may be able to be fitted tighter.

As mentioned, you may have already done this....but you should try a larger load and see if it just runs away again. Comparing the old larger loads with the new 2 or 3 pieces is difficult. I am almost certain that your first problem was the result of a "jet engine" chimney pipe fire.
 

swestall

Minister of Fire
Oct 29, 2007
1,033
Connecticut
westallinsurance.com
MIght be nothing but check you thermometer to make sure it didn't go out of calibration by overheating.
Fix the backplate gasket.
Did you vacuum out the refractory chambers?
Assume you resealed the top when doing the sides.
Backpuffing: to stop usually requires more air not less: open control.
600 on that stove is not a problem.
 

oldAGE

Member
Jan 14, 2008
107
South Central WI
First, I would like to thank everyone for replying. I would also like to keep the conversation going a bit just to make sure me, and countless others, take into account a great deal of information from this community of experts. That is one reason that I titled this the way I did so that when others search keywords, they can see my experience, information provided by the community at large, and deal with their problem as I did before posting. The only reason I posted is because I thought I had taken into account everything including the manufacturers designated dealer expert opinion on my condition. So, now I continue:

To address a couple of questions:

1) After the gasket work, I also added a brand new, second thermometer to see how accurate my older one was compared to the previous. They are approximately 25 degrees apart. Nothing that I am concerned about.
2) Just to reiterate, my concern is that the fire is not behaving as it used to. Again, at 1/3 primary air, it would hold at 550. Now, at fully closed primary air, it runs 550 - 600. Also, there is an obvious slow moving flame on a couple of pieces whereas prior to this, the flame would douse and the coals would glow a low yellow orange and the griddle temp would cool below 400. So, I understand that 600 is not an issue on this stove. I have run it at 650 when I needed more heat on 10 below and wind driven days. I am not concerned about the operating temp. I am concerned about the runaway condition again. As mentioned, I am gun shy.
3) My primary air makes the solid "DinK" sound when closed down. I can push on it and it freely opens wide and release it and it falls onto its housing solidly. Based on what we did yesterday, fully closed is still allowing a bit of air to draw the test flame into it but again, I don't know how "normal" that is. Downeast Maine, can you do me a favor and test your 2550 and let me know your finding? I just put a low flame around the the primary air and see that it is gently pulled in when primary is fully closed. Not strong enough to blow out the flame
4) The same test shows no leaks at the front doors or the ash pan door. Only a little air leaking at the left rear bottom for about an inch -- draws the flame in a little. This is just behind the left rear leg. Downeast Maine, if you can test that and let me know your findings???
5) Swestall - As mentioned, have two (older and brand new thermometers) both work fine +-. What do you mean by "fix backplate gasket?" Do you mean what I am finding with item 4) just above? Refractory has been completely cleaned out when I fixed the lower fireback gasket. You can eat off it. What do you mean by "resealed the top?" The griddle gasket was replaced with VC OEM wiremessed fiberglass. A couple of slight gaps (can see a bit of light in a couple of places about an inch long) because it seems to take a bit for the weight of the griddle to settle. I now have a substantial log sitting on it to help press it down.

My next steps based on what has been proposed here thus far is to get off my duff and get back to the business of making good fires. I would like some clarification on some of the questions I ask above and will put in an order for a new secondary air probe.

Thanks to all you wonderful folks.
AGE
 

swestall

Minister of Fire
Oct 29, 2007
1,033
Connecticut
westallinsurance.com
The gasket I meant, is the bypass damper gasket; sometimes it does not seal correctly and benefits from replacement; even helps if the damper plate has some small warpage.
If you have air being sucked in at all you have to fix that as it will produce surprising results; you wouldn't think those small leaks would make such a difference but they do.
The actual stove top on those units sometimes develops air leaks as well. The refractory cements cracks and allows air to be sucked in between the top/side unions.
 

oldAGE

Member
Jan 14, 2008
107
South Central WI
Thanks Swestall - I will replace the damper gasket. As for the stove top, I did the little fire test and find no air drawn in between the top, sides, and back. As far as fixing small leaks, what I currently have is your standard gasket cement. On the VC 2550, the place I am getting air is at the primary air intake (a slight amount) and a space that I can't seem to designate... possibly where the bottom meets the back.

So, the next question is this... is a little squeeze of gasket cement enough or is there another recommended "cementing" solution short of tearing the stove apart at this time.

Thanks again.... Oh, one more thing, a preferred source for parts? I would like to replace my Secondary Air Probe Assembly. My local dealer is telling me it's a two to four week delivery plus additional cost for shipping. I would much rather buy for a reasonable price, pay reasonable shipping, and from existing stock.

Thanks again.
AGE
 
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downeast

Guest
Just back from an out of town assignment, sorry about the late response AGE.

Primary air "flap": yes, there is a solid "dink" sound when fully shut down and falling into its housing. When shut down ours is closed completely onto the housing.
It is not an air tight fit however; very little air will get thru. The draft tends to suck the light metal flap into the stove. For tech comparison: in the start of an Encore cat cycle, once the cat has "lit" and the air control is full closed, the top temperature goes down to +/- 325 F with afull load of wood. It will stay there for 5-8 hours until the fires die to small coals. We actually prefer the cat and air control of the Encore to our non-cat Jotul Oslo. Longer fires, less wood for a similar amount of heat. But the Encore has other issues.

Our Encore has no leaks as you say at the "left front bottom". It should be a concern. Try the light test as was said: strong drop light in the stove ( cold ) in a dark room. You should see leaks leaking light. ( hey, onamatopoedia sp. ). Our top loading door has always had very slight cracks in the space between the top plate and cook top door, with no effect on the control of the fires.

Do you burn screaming hot fires with the ash door open up to no more than 500-600 F once per day ?

Try CFM VC customer service, you may be suprised as I was by the changes.

Good luck.
 

oldAGE

Member
Jan 14, 2008
107
South Central WI
Thanks Downeast Maine. Thanks for checking things. I asked that you check the LEFT REAR BOTTOM if you can again, not the left front bottom. If you can look, you will see just to the right of of the left rear leg (which is from the left rear corner traveling along the back of the stove) a bolt position and a seam. From the leg along the back for an inch or two I am getting a slight draw. That is really it. For the record, I have a secondary air probe assembly on the way. No longer an inexpensive item. :coolmad:

I keep the ash door opened only long enough to start the fire with paper, kindling, and a couple of 1" splits. Once those are going, I latch down the the ash pan door and keep the primary air opened. I then slowly add larger small splits and get the stove to about 300+ and back down the primary air to about 1/2. As the stove rises into the 400s, she is producing coals from the original adds. I then add yet larger splits and when she has a decent coal bed and is around 500 - 600, I shut the primary to about 1/3 and engage the damper. From that point forward, she used to sit at 550-575 like a rock. Let it burn down and when she needed fuel, she would cool down a bit, I would add wood, let it sit for a few minutes, engage the damper, and she we get back to 550 - 575 and sit there like a rock. Rarely touched the primary air.

I was so comfortable with this behaviour for the past seven years that I would think nothing of leaving the house for hours at a time. I would back her down slightly to not generate too much heat while we were gone but it was like your best friend... always reliable and always there.

So, welcome back and if you could check that left REAR bottom for me, that would be appreciated. Your primary is sounding like how mine operates. For the record, I will be starting a fire tonight as there is a bit of a breeze and it is reasonably chilly. I want to see how this goes again now that my dealer has said "it looks fine." Also, I did call VC and actually ended up arguing with the kind woman about how my dealer is not providing me with the service that I expect. She stood fast and said to complain to them and ask them to call Customer Support on my behalf. I did call and have not heard back from them yet.

AGE
 
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downeast

Guest
oldAGE said:
I asked that you check the LEFT REAR BOTTOM if you can again, not the left front bottom. If you can look, you will see just to the right of of the left rear leg (which is from the left rear corner traveling along the back of the stove) a bolt position and a seam. From the leg along the back for an inch or two I am getting a slight draw. That is really it. For the record, I have a secondary air probe assembly on the way. No longer an inexpensive item. :coolmad:
II was so comfortable with this behaviour for the past seven years that I would think nothing of leaving the house for hours at a time. I would back her down slightly to not generate too much heat while we were gone but it was like your best friend... always reliable and always there.
So, welcome back and if you could check that left REAR bottom for me, that would be appreciated. Your primary is sounding like how mine operates. For the record, I will be starting a fire tonight as there is a bit of a breeze and it is reasonably chilly. I want to see how this goes again now that my dealer has said "it looks fine." Also, I did call VC and actually ended up arguing with the kind woman about how my dealer is not providing me with the service that I expect. She stood fast and said to complain to them and ask them to call Customer Support on my behalf. I did call and have not heard back from them yet.AGE
OK AGE, done. I do follow orders. The bottom seam from the left rear on our Encore has ~ 3" of solid cement that is ~ 1/4" thick along the lower rear seam from the left rear leg between the rear and bottom (ashpan ass'y) plate. No air leak found in that area. We have a bottom hearth shield making it difficult to see the complete ash pan unit ass'y to the side, rear, front plates. So far so good on ours.

Don't be intimidated by so-called "customer service" clerks. Don't argue or get angry, but FIRMLY move it up the hierarchy. "Please give me your supervisor? " Or, go to the CFM site, "Corporate". Take names, then call the CEO, COO, or Chief Engineer, etc.... Yes, START at the top. Keep trying. They do have a technical department. You can say for example," This may be beyond your repsonsibilities, can you direct me to technical support." Yes, it is a a PITA, but good execs do not wnat bad reps.
 

oldAGE

Member
Jan 14, 2008
107
South Central WI
downeast said:
oldAGE said:
OK AGE, done. I do follow orders. The bottom seam from the left rear on our Encore has ~ 3" of solid cement that is ~ 1/4" thick along the lower rear seam from the left rear leg between the rear and bottom (ashpan ass'y) plate. No air leak found in that area....<snip>
Thanks. I didn't mean to sound demanding. Have (had) a nice fire going and it is still not behaving as expected. So here is a question for the pros... Like your solid cement, I have what you see on the right rear but the left rear where it is leaking a bit of air doesn't have the same look of cement oozing out. What kind of cement should I use? Is the black stuff that is called Gasket Cement an appropriate product to use by squeezing a bit along said seam on the outside of the stove into the gap and then maybe trying to work some of it in deeper with a toothpick or a piece of cardboard? Or, is there another product I should try?

Or, do I pull the lower fireback, vacuum out what I can and try to work it in from the inside. The kicker here is I don't know if I am reaching the appropriate seam from either side???

I am just so frustrated with VC. I understand how to get ahead in customer service as I used to manage a level 2 support organization. I figured by telling them their dealer knows less than me would be an indicator for them to move me to the next level. Now I have to go back to my old tricks as you indicated. Telling everyone I speak to that I need to speak to their supervisor.

Thanks again. Heading into the zeros and below for the rest of this week... Oh how I will miss my stove.

AGE
 

oldAGE

Member
Jan 14, 2008
107
South Central WI
Downeast... I double checked again and I think we are talking about the wrong Left Rear location. From the Owners Manual, I am looking where the Back (item 6) meets the Bottom (Item 44)... not where the Ashdrop (item 53) meets the bottom (item 44). From what I can tell, the Back sits ON the bottom.

Another way to look at this is to find item 42, the Primary Air Frame. Just above the top of the Primary Air Frame you will see a straight (jogs a bit in the middle along the form of the primary air intake), uninterupted seam that runs the entire length of the back of stove. When viewing from the back, on my left side I can see an ooze of cement just inside the seam and on the right there is nothing. For about 3 inches from the right corner toward the Primary Air Frame, if I hold a match to the seam, the flame is drawn into the stove.

Once again, thank you for your assistance. Time for a photo I think.
AGE
 

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downeast

Guest
oldAGE said:
Downeast... I double checked again and I think we are talking about the wrong Left Rear location. From the Owners Manual, I am looking where the Back (item 6) meets the Bottom (Item 44)... not where the Ashdrop (item 53) meets the bottom (item 44). From what I can tell, the Back sits ON the bottom.
Another way to look at this is to find item 42, the Primary Air Frame. Just above the top of the Primary Air Frame you will see a straight (jogs a bit in the middle along the form of the primary air intake), uninterupted seam that runs the entire length of the back of stove. When viewing from the back, on my left side I can see an ooze of cement just inside the seam and on the right there is nothing. For about 3 inches from the right corner toward the Primary Air Frame, if I hold a match to the seam, the flame is drawn into the stove.Once again, thank you for your assistance. Time for a photo I think.AGE
Thinks we got a problem of communication. Photo did it: what kind of digicam did it ? Just last week we gave up our waterproof film camera; too many Luddite name -calling among our friends outdoors. I will check our Encore again tonight.
Craig had a good point about being "gun-shy" after one problem with a stove. Possible ? Furnace cement may do it. It comes in a tube for a chaulking gun to pressure it into that crack---good try. BUT:

That seam looks like poor ass'y. Since the stove is under warranty, push for a solution with a time limit. Go to the top as we agree, to decision makers, not their employees. I was extremely annoyed in 2000, with CFM as well as their dealer ( former VC exec ! )who promised me personally that he would check the stove before delivery. Since the stove was for real time heating, I had an independent stove installer/rebuilder do the repairs without waiting for the zone manager to "look at it" when he was "in the area", then got the cost refunded from the companies.

I am surprised that a few stove buyers posting here accept poor workmanship and QC that would be completely unacceptable in any appliance ( e.g washing machines, refrigerators.....) costing less than 1/2 as much as the average name wood stove.
 

oldAGE

Member
Jan 14, 2008
107
South Central WI
First off, I am a Canon man. Have a few SLRs and now a couple of Canon Digitals. The appending text and arrows are with Photoshop Elements. The cool thing about the Canon "A" Series point and shoots is that have an available waterproof casing for about up to 120+ feet. It goes for about $140. So, you can be a "Modern Luddite." Don't need anything more powerful than Elements. It does the trick nicely... Now back to our regularly scheduled problems...

Yesterday morning I injected a bit of gasket cement into the crevice just to see how she behaves. Last night started a fire and just kept it easy. Again, not behaving as anticipated. Very little control. This morning I woke to 11 below and knowing I am going to be here all day I went for broke.

First, it heated a lot more quickly than usual. With just my kindling start, my newest thermometer had me at almost 400. Added a couple of smaller splits and turned it down to 1/2. It got to 600 and I closed down the primary completely. There it hung with a slowly dancing flame. Again, normally this would douse the flames almost immediately and the stove would cool. When that got to good coals and the stove started to cool, I put in two decent sized splits (it can hold easy eight to 10) and engaged the damper. The addition of fuel cooled the stove down effectively and it sat at about 450... and then she started to move... With two splits, the damper engaged, and primary air closed, she moved back over 700.

So, yes I was gun-shy but I have learned this stove so perfectly that I knew things were not right. I couldn't imagine what would happen with more fuel in it.

AGE
 

oldAGE

Member
Jan 14, 2008
107
South Central WI
Interesting addition. I just read about the other guy with the Encore and the reply about "almost no smoke..." Hmmm. So, I went out to look at my chimney which I have done in a long time and there seems to be plenty of smoke with the cat engaged. Actually, more than usual by a long shot. I am really not getting that "rumble" anymore either. Many would say their stove would dance but I wouldn't ever say that... I would just get a low rumbling noise initially. That seems to be missing.

Before I started all this, I removed the fireback and checked the refactory and cat and all looked fine. Everything in one piece with just the usual flyash. Hmmm.... Ideas?

AGE
 
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downeast

Guest
Back again...we got to stop meeting like this. 8-/
When VC and Jotul first developed their cat stoves, the lifetime of catalysts according to Corning was measured in hours of use. The VC engineers in Randolph, Vermont felt that two winters of hard 24/7 use in northern temperate areas ( upper midwest, northern New England, Canada) was a conservative safe limit for Corning cats. Three years max including the vinegar bath cleaning routine. Over the years with 3 cat Encores in 3 locations, I find that 2 seasons is about it. It is worth the extra money to replace the cat under their pro-rated warranty ( now I buy cats from Sud Chemie in Norwood, Mass ).
Perhaps Craig or someone with more experience could explain how a worn or clogged cat could affect the burn negatively.

Intense research both online and with SLR pros, and extreme angst got us the Canon PowerShot A720 IS. We are in that steep, very steep, learning curve with a new technology. The image stabilization and 6X optical zoom and viewfinder are pluses. Rain and snow? Well, I'll be careful with a ziplock or quick shots. Soon I'll even be able to show stove and woodpile pinups. We just dropped a 3 foot DBH hollow core red oak for next winter. No pics yet. Some scarey felling.
 

oldAGE

Member
Jan 14, 2008
107
South Central WI
Thanks for the info. I guess as my Cat looks like it is in good shape and is clean, it doesn't mean that the ceramic is doing it's thing anymore. I have a new secondary air probe assembly coming this week and will order a new Cat. Do you have a link to Sud Chemie's retail site. All links through their PDF doc for the ceramic catalyst are dead-ends.

ps. Have the same camera. Still in box awaiting a birthday later this week.

AGE
 
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downeast

Guest
oldAGE said:
Thanks for the info. I guess as my Cat looks like it is in good shape and is clean, it doesn't mean that the ceramic is doing it's thing anymore. I have a new secondary air probe assembly coming this week and will order a new Cat. Do you have a link to Sud Chemie's retail site. All links through their PDF doc for the ceramic catalyst are dead-ends.AGE
Link to Sud-Chemie stove catalysts: http://www.sud-chemie.com/scmcms/web/content.jsp?nodeId=5715&lang=en
Other makers now have "long life" catalysts also, but Sud-Chemie ( Matt Daniels, engineer ) has been reliable and responsive.

Now we have a small air leak in our Jotul Oslo. Another post here.
 

oldAGE

Member
Jan 14, 2008
107
South Central WI
Thanks. I found that page. Obviously, a bit more Luddite Like ordering process requiring the use of that thing called a telephone ;)
Thanks again, your time and effort is greatly appreciated. I posted another thread about expected behavior of a worn out catalyst. We'll see where it takes me (us). Good luck with your Jotul. I understand that they are very simple relatively speaking.

AGE
 
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