Vermont Castings Merrimack

daveydog

New Member
Jul 25, 2010
20
Central MA
What's the pulse on Vermont Castings out there? Would you have hesitations about buying this new model? The boss loves the big view and design... I'm skeptical about VC after reading about their recent history and all of the negative reviews of various VC products on this site over the last decade.... and this model has no track record... Dealer says new ownership is good and VC should be headed back in the right direction... Has a decent size firebox but sort of low BTU rating... I guess my other question aside from overall build quality is will it throw heat... Do you think the larger glass area on this unit affects it's heat output?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,006
South Puget Sound, WA
It could be a decent insert, but so far we haven't heard much about it. It will take a year or two to start establishing a track record. The insert is good looking and offers a very nice fire view. How much are they asking for it?
 

daveydog

New Member
Jul 25, 2010
20
Central MA
BeGreen said:
It could be a decent insert, but so far we haven't heard much about it. It will take a year or two to start establishing a track record. The insert is good looking and offers a very nice fire view. How much are they asking for it?
$4300 installed (full liner, cast iron surround, etc)...
 

DAKSY

Patriot Guard Rider Moderator
Staff member
daveydog said:
BeGreen said:
It could be a decent insert, but so far we haven't heard much about it. It will take a year or two to start establishing a track record. The insert is good looking and offers a very nice fire view. How much are they asking for it?
$4300 installed (full liner, cast iron surround, etc)...
That's up there with the Hampton HI300 & the Jotul C550, but they're both proven products...
Don't think I'd go with the VC this early in the game...Too many unknowns...
 

allhandsworking

Feeling the Heat
Sep 30, 2008
369
NYC
It looks like a larger Montpelier. This winter will be my third heating season and its been great! I have an 1800 sq ft home and it keeps us comfortable. There have been negative reviews but I think that is due to inexperience and unseasoned wood! If its anything like the Montpelier it will be really nice. You cant beat the large viewing glass of these units! I have posted vids. on youtube to show it operating! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW6bgkRrelM
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,330
Central Mass
All I see is a video of Lady Gaga
 

daveydog

New Member
Jul 25, 2010
20
Central MA
Ok now no posting positive information on the Merrimack please... we're buying today (tax free today in ma) and I'm trying to convince the boss that the pacific energy summit is our boy.... she really wants the Merrimack for that view...
 

thinkxingu

Minister of Fire
Jun 3, 2007
1,125
S.NH
I thought you were talking about the VC dealership in Merrimack, NH for a second. I was gonna give a thumbs-down-a-roo on them--they quoted me almost double the install costs as three other dealers and triple the price for a hearth pad.

Anyway, I steered clear of VC given the negative reviews. I'm not sure I've ever heard a negative on PE--good luck!

S
 

Fsappo

Minister of Fire
Apr 9, 2008
4,331
Central NY
Anything from a company that unstable shouldnt be bought until it's been in the field for a couple of years. Just PE it and be done.
 

Dakotas Dad

Minister of Fire
Mar 19, 2009
1,498
Central Kentucky
Franks said:
Anything from a company that unstable shouldnt be bought until it's been in the field for a couple of years. Just PE it and be done.


Hard to get them "in the field" if they shoudn't be bought...

just sayin'...

somebody HAS to buy them to get real world reviews.. I say go for it, get back to us on how it works..
 
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ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
If the new VC company wants some guinea pigs, let them offer a sweet introductory discount on the new stove, like 50% off. Sacrifice profit to get new product into the field. That's the only way I'd consider buying one of these, and then I'd do it only if I knew the dealer personally and knew they would make things right if VC screwed me over. $4k to install a new product from a new company? No thanks. Surely the Mrs. can understand these issues.
 

daveydog

New Member
Jul 25, 2010
20
Central MA
Den said:
If the new VC company wants some guinea pigs, let them offer a sweet introductory discount on the new stove, like 50% off. Sacrifice profit to get new product into the field. That's the only way I'd consider buying one of these, and then I'd do it only if I knew the dealer personally and knew they would make things right if VC screwed me over. $4k on a new product from a new company? No thanks.
now THAT is a good idea...
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,006
South Puget Sound, WA
Monessen is not exactly a new company. If VC can address the weaknesses in some of their refractory products and put out good new products, they should do ok. I'm hoping they are getting back on track, but it will take a couple years to see.

FWIW, my understanding from the OP is that $4.3K was for the insert,fancy surround, liner and installation.
 

ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
$4.3k for the whole shebang installed is my understanding too. As has been pointed out, that kind of $ will buy a nice insert from many different mfrs. I simply see no incentive to buy the VC. It's an established brand, and the new owner is not a newbie, but the "situation" is new. It "should" work out, and I'm rooting for them, but I wouldn't give them thousand$ without a big incentive and more from the dealer than "VC should be headed in the right direction." I guess they are counting on brand recognition and dealers to wrangle guinea pigs.
 

daveydog

New Member
Jul 25, 2010
20
Central MA
BeGreen said:
Monessen is not exactly a new company. If VC can address the weaknesses in some of their refractory products and put out good new products, they should do ok. I'm hoping they are getting back on track, but it will take a couple years to see.

FWIW, my understanding from the OP is that $4.3K was for the insert,fancy surround, liner and installation.
thats correct
 

thinkxingu

Minister of Fire
Jun 3, 2007
1,125
S.NH
Monessen may not be a new company, but, if I recall, nor were some of the others who owned VC for a bit. Any company with a history of wholly disqualifying past sales for warranty support, leaving hundreds (thousands?) without recourse for defective products, is not one I'm willing to take a chance on.

S
 

patrolman467

Member
Aug 6, 2010
67
Centerville, Tennessee
So, have you made a decision on the Merrimack? Can you get a fire screen with this insert?
 

dougb

New Member
Aug 17, 2010
4
Western, CT
We may be getting the Merrimack as well. I have heard the same negative stuff about VC, but when you look at the materials and features of all stoves, how can you really screw something up that much? I had an old VC Dutchwest free standing unit. Worked pretty well. I think it was a "cat" and should have been serviced better. But now I am in a different house and the only stove that would fit our unusual fireplace was the VC Montpelier. Now my dealer is encouraging me to get the Merrimack instead (for slightly less $$ than the Montpelier). He's coming out to measure my fireplace, so he will be on the hook if it doesn't fit. I've seen some videos and information about the VC facility in Vermont and I think they should be fine to purchase from. I physically checked the workmanship of the Montpelier vs. Jotul 550 (wouldn't fit my fireplace), Lopi and others. The VC actually had an additional burn tube on the inside top that the others did not have. I will keep you posted as to whether I get the Merrimack or Montpelier (or something else)...Doug
 

ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
What is your dealer doing to "encourage" you? Financial incetive? Guarantee to swap for another stove model if the Merrimack is a dud? Yelling "Dooo it?" It's hard to imagine that VC makes the only insert that will fit your fireplace. . .it sorta implies that they have a very uniquely sized/shaped product, for which the market might be very limited. If you shared the dimensions of your fireplace, maybe we could make some suggestions. If you like cats, have you looked at the BK Princess, Buck 80 or 91?
 

allhandsworking

Feeling the Heat
Sep 30, 2008
369
NYC
allhandsworking said:
weatherguy said:
All I see is a video of Lady Gaga
sorry try this It looks like a larger Montpelier. This winter will be my third heating season and its been great! I have an 1800 sq ft home and it keeps us comfortable. There have been negative reviews but I think that is due to inexperience and unseasoned wood! If its anything like the Montpelier it will be really nice. You cant beat the large viewing glass of these units! I have posted vids. on youtube to show it operating! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW6bgkRrelM
 

allhandsworking

Feeling the Heat
Sep 30, 2008
369
NYC
dougb said:
We may be getting the Merrimack as well. I have heard the same negative stuff about VC, but when you look at the materials and features of all stoves, how can you really screw something up that much? I had an old VC Dutchwest free standing unit. Worked pretty well. I think it was a "cat" and should have been serviced better. But now I am in a different house and the only stove that would fit our unusual fireplace was the VC Montpelier. Now my dealer is encouraging me to get the Merrimack instead (for slightly less $$ than the Montpelier). He's coming out to measure my fireplace, so he will be on the hook if it doesn't fit. I've seen some videos and information about the VC facility in Vermont and I think they should be fine to purchase from. I physically checked the workmanship of the Montpelier vs. Jotul 550 (wouldn't fit my fireplace), Lopi and others. The VC actually had an additional burn tube on the inside top that the others did not have. I will keep you posted as to whether I get the Merrimack or Montpelier (or something else)...Doug
It looks like a larger Montpelier. This winter will be my third heating season and its been great! I have an 1800 sq ft home and it keeps us comfortable. There have been negative reviews but I think that is due to inexperience and unseasoned wood! If its anything like the Montpelier it will be really nice. You cant beat the large viewing glass of these units! I have posted vids. on youtube to show it operating! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW6bgkRrelM
 

ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
VC shows the minimum fireplace dimensions for the Merrimack as 29.75W x 23.75H x 18.5D x 25.0W at the rear. I think a BK Princess (and many other inserts) would fit into that space. If the 30 deg flue offset is what you need, the BK flue has a 45 deg offset. It doesn't have the large glass of the VC, but the BK reportedly doesn't put on much of a light show anyhow. Something seems off with the VC spec page. . .3.0 cu ft firebox, but holds only 40 lbs of wood. Many mfrs' specs exceed the usable space in the firebox, but a 3 cu ft firebox will hold more like 60 lbs, and will usually put out more than 55k BTU. Seems like it may have closer to 2 cu ft of capacity. Maybe that's why the two dealer pages I found don't show a capacity spec. . .the same pages show 32k BTU for output, so somebody needs to get the specs straight on this stove. One of the issues with a new product, I guess, which brings us back to the question of what incentive does anyone have to try this new stove. . .
 

ddddddden

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2009
1,487
Central Va
Looks like MSRP on the Merrimack is $2593 + $229 for the plain surround or $499 for the fancy cast surround, so ~ $3100 with the cast surround. . .add $400 for 25' of stainless flex liner, and you're at $3500 for parts. I wouldn't be feelin' any incentive to buy for $4300 installed. Actually, I'd feel insulted at being asked to pay full MSRP + $800 installation to be a guinea pig! Common courtesy would be to offer at least an off-seasonish discount of ~ 30%. To do otherwise implies that the buyer is a sucker.