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Vermont Downdrafter wood burning stove
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Paul    Posted 10-16-2004 at 03:38:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have a Vermont Downdrafter (that is what the door says) Stove. Does anyone have information on the operation of the stove? I put it in a few years ago and have not used it after trying it for about a week.
When I purchased it had light surface rust that the previous owner had lightly sanded off, it had never had a fire in it (I am guessing it was 5-20 years old) and stored inside a shed. when I burn in it it creates a smell in the house (not smoke) that will set off the smoke detectors and make the clothes smell.
This stove has a automatic damper to vary the amount of air feeding the fire, and the flue damper is located in the stove controled by a lever on the back top of the stove.
If any one has used a stove like this let me know if I am creating the "odor" or if the stove is outgassing something off of the metal.
Thanks for your time

Bob Durrstein    Posted 04-13-2005 at 07:46:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I used a Vermont Down Drafter as my sole source of heat and hot water in Ohio for years in the 1980s. Had an 80 gallon electric hot water heater near it, so ran a 3/4" copper pipe through one of the side vets and then into the top of the heater for a convection loop.

Properly operated, this is the most efficient wood burner available. However it will take a day to get it operating properly, so the early days in fall and late days in spring, it is a PITA to use. The day delay is about what it takes to build up a proper coal and ash bed.

A new or preserved unit will give off smoke and odor as the lubricants used in manufacture are burned off.

There are two basic designs and two variations of each design. Better design has two chambers on either side of the combustion chamber with a heat sensor fan that blows air through the chambers into the residence or structure you are heating. The smaller unit does not have these chambers or fan. Both units have a design with an inverted "V" running front to back in the combustion chamber or just a flat grid. All work essentially the same.

The principle is to get a bed of coals distributed to the sides of the chamber where the unburned gases will meet incoming air with the coals to serve as igniters. This is the increase in efficiency as the gases are the pretty flames you normally see burned inefficiently or not at all.

How to operate: Open the bypass to chimney in the back. Place kindling, and initial fill of firewood on the grid and light - I used paper inserted in the ash removal door at the bottom of the front. Build your fire as you would in any heater. Use the ash door to admit plenty of air to get the fire started. When the fire is burning steadily, almost close the ash door and gradually start closing the bypass valve (handle at back on top) to the chimney. At this time, your chimney must have an established draw. This will force the normally rising hot gases to exit at the sides into the side areas of the Down Drafter en route to the chimney. Once operating properly, you can look in through the ash door and see the blue flames of the burning gases during the coaling process of the wood combustion. Close the chimney bypass completely and the ash door. Trial and error will teach you which thermostat (bi-metallic coil) settings work best for you.


How to reload. IMPORTANT: do not rush. This takes a few minutes. Then, open the bypass to the chimney and partially open the ash door to establish a flow pattern from the front to the back of the unit (with the ash door open, this is a good time to knock the ashes down with a long poker [see note below] and clean out the ashes). If you do not have this flow established you will get smoke and possibly flames into the house. As you close the ash door slowly open the main door so the air flow is from the main door to the chimney bypass. Take your poker and break up the charred wood (surprise – you have been making wood charcoal!) to make the most space available in the unit. Reload and close the main door as you open the ash door again. Let the fire run for a minute or two to get the heat flow through the cold wood to the chimney, then close the ash door and slowly close the bypass valve to the chimney. Tomorrow, reload it again.

NOTE: I made a poker out of 3/8’ rod about 4’ long with a loop at the handle end and a 3”or 4” long right angle on the business end.

Enjoy the warmth :=]    Posted 01-21-2009 at 16:02:18       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi, anyone that has a double "D" ; Vermont Downdrafter that they want to sell, call me at 603-437-7569 or email me. Thanks

Bob B    Posted 04-28-2006 at 13:10:59       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have a Large Vermont Downdrafter Stove. I have been looking for parts for it for years, Has anyone found a source for them? I'd also be interested in buying one, hopefully in the New England area. I live in Massachusetts.

I believe I still have the original instructions that came with the stove.

Herman Bomback    Posted 10-17-2008 at 07:14:38       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I've been using my downdrafter since 1977 and it's still in decent condition although it could use some part replacements.

Have you found a source to buy parts? If you have then please contact me.



Bob B    Posted 01-03-2009 at 16:24:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
The parts are not available from the original company, they are long gone as far as I can tell. There is a company called L & G Fabricators, Inc. in Bennington, VT, Leo there I think used to work for VDD Co. They make a nice line of coal and wood boilers "HOMEHEATER" brand.
I heard one person used a cut up street storm drain as a replacement grate. The side baffles can be cut out of a large I- beam, that's my plan, I'll look at some junk yards for some scrap I-beam parts. I have a home made coil 3/4" copper that goes to my boiler, and partially heats it, but it really doesn't transfere anywhere near the heat that the finned tube does in the other chamber. That one heat my domestic hot water very well. I think you can get a thermostatic damper on the web, I'll look for the link.

Scott Hardin    Posted 10-30-2008 at 17:43:24       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I just purchased a used Vermont Downdrafter and I am in the process of installing. I am trying to find one of three codes that the stove would have been given. 1)U.L. number (underwriter laboratories) 2)C.S.A. number (Canadian Standards Association) 3)A.S.M.E. number (American Society of Mechanical Engineers). I need one of these numbers in order to have the building inspector sign off on the installation. Any help from any reader would be great. Looking forward to heating this stove up.

Roger    Posted 11-25-2005 at 05:33:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]
found this comment about the Vermont down drafter, I just moved in to a house that has one, and would like to use it, if this is still an active email for you would you mind answering a few questions for me???

Bob Soukup    Posted 09-22-2005 at 10:20:14       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have a Vermont Downdrafter in the home I just purchased in Wisconsin.Mine has the two chambers that Mr. Durrstein talked about but both are empty.The home is heated by a propane powered boiler.The wood stove isn't currently hooked up to the heating pipes and wasn't used by the previous owner.I have the 'radiator' which can be inserted in one of the side chambers,then plumbed into the existing hot water pipes.One problem I see is the picture of the radiator looks different than my 'radiator'.Mine is just tubing whereas there's has fins on the tubing (like a car radiator).The manual has two company's listed on it.Vermont Woodstove co. and Columbia Products co. 22 w. Monroe st. Chicago.I can't find info on either on the web.Anybody out there doing what I'm about to do, I'd appreciate any info.

Tom Maslar    Posted 02-27-2006 at 10:03:34       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Interesting article on the Downdrafter, could you possibly send me the contents and pictures of the Coils with the fins you are referring to also a Photo of the Radiator type coil. I am really thinking of upgrading to get the full benefit of this unit. thanks.

Scott L Golden    Posted 09-26-2005 at 19:24:03       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I too have a Vermont DownDrafter.

I am in need of replacement grates. Has anyone found a source for parts yet?

CHRIS    Posted 04-14-2006 at 15:27:51       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have a down drafter that was in my shed I don't know if it works or not but I am intrested in parting ways with it.

Robert Blair    Posted 03-12-2005 at 06:57:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I had one of those stoves about 20 years ago. I believe that is a
coating that you smell, sometimes it takes hours to burn off.
Also If it is the same as the one I had I would love to see pics of
it because I can't find one now or even the company who built it.
I am interested in buying one or having one built.
Please respond at your convenience

Robert Blair

Fern(Mi)    Posted 10-16-2004 at 11:54:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
Salmoneye has offered you the best advice.
Myself not exactly sure what you have. my folks had and used an upright "Cole" stove. A down drafter of sorts I would venture to guess. Used to load it up with wood and a start the fire on top, then it would more slowly burn itself down. The dry wood (or fuel) lasted longer and the heat was evener and efficiently lasted for hours.
Come to think of it. It was the only stove I remember that didn’t burn gopher wood faster than it could be carried in.

If it were me...    Posted 10-16-2004 at 03:59:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
And it aint... ;-)

I'd remove the stove to the yard, attach a 3 foot run of stove pipe to it and fire the heck out of it...

I would rage that sucker and burn off whatever is frying when you light it...The previous owner (or someone else) may have coated the metal with something to prevent the rust you mentioned...Someone also may have 'stove-blacked' or 'muffler painted' the metal and this stuff will have to be baked on to 'cure' it...

When in the yard and you have a good fire going, you can then play with (and get used to) the damper and the di-metallic 'governor' (Just assuming that is what your "automatic damper" is) that opens and closes as it gets hotter or cooler...


Alias    Posted 10-16-2004 at 05:51:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi SE, what's this I read about you retrieving duck by swimming to them. Man, don't you know that water tempature is dropping. Heck, I've already moved my shower handle a little more to the left. Ya know, left for hot, right for cold.

You ever figure out why Kerry didn't protest during Johnson's tenure?

Nope...    Posted 10-16-2004 at 06:30:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
Never did find out why on the Kerry thing...Glad you are back...It was getting bring around here ;-)

As for the pond and the ducks, it was pretty warm...Good thing I was hunting in my shorts, or I'd have really looked silly LOL

I will have to put on long pants for ducks and geese in November...

PS.....I have already lost one nice drake mallard this year because I waited till he was over 'land' to drop him...I swore I would not make that mistake again...From now on I will drop them in the water where I can see the dang things, and I will worry about the retrieve after...I have started (just in the last two days) to carry a 2/0 treble hook with a 1oz cast in weight and an ultra-light fishing rod...As the water gets colder I will feel less like swimming for a duck and this setup works pretty well within 30 yards of shore...


oops...    Posted 10-16-2004 at 06:45:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
That should read:

"It was getting bOring around here ;-)"

Salmoneye, Who Needs A New Keyboard

Alias    Posted 10-16-2004 at 08:39:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
I don't know what I can do to relieve boredom. But, I'll give it my best shot. However, if my shootin brings down anything, I'm not about retreiving in icy waters. .....gfp

Alias    Posted 10-16-2004 at 08:39:06       [Reply]  [No Email]

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