About Me


I have been burning wood stoves as my primary source of heat most of my life. I am very familiar with the function and installation of them. I am a fire bug! I love fire, I love to watch fire, but most of all I love to educate others to do it safely and responsibly.

I actually manage a retail store during the day that sells, installs, cleans, and services all types of stoves. I have installed them myself. I am constantly troubleshooting and talking to customers about the use and operation of wood, gas, and pellet stoves and fireplaces.

On the other side of it I have visited many different manufacturing facilities. Attended tons of factory training’s and the HPBA expo.

I am sharing this all with you because I believe that I am uniquely qualified to share my knowledge and experience with you in a helpful way. I hope that this site will help educate you in an efficient and safe way to heat your home that is responsible for your neighbors and the environment.

I try very hard to keep the articles generic and not trying to sell you on a specific brand or model. (Although I do have my favorites!) 🙂

All feedback is welcome and especially if you have any questions that you would like me to answer specifically I would be happy to do so. My sponsors on the side of the page as well as donations are what support me and keep this site going so visiting them or sending a small donation would be greatly appreciated.


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16 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I am currently considering a wood burning fireplace insert. I like the look of the Vermont Castings models (specifically the Merrimack), but can’t find reviews anywhere online. I have seen some comments about Vermont Castings poor customer service, which makes me a little leery of spending the money. Do you have any experience with VC inserts, or do you have any recommendations as to reliable brands? Thanks!
    (I’m sorry to leave this as a comment, but couldn’t figure out how else to message you.)

    • I really appreciate your comment. The Montpelier and Merrimack are both beautiful inserts. I do have a lot of experience with the Montpelier and I would recommend it. If you look at my post on Vermont Castings in general you can see that I am not a huge fan of their customer service. It is not the worst in the industry but I would not call it the best either. So if I was going to buy a Vermont Castings I would definitely make sure I was very comfortable with the local dealer as being in the business for a long time with a good reputation. That way if you happen to have any issues you can rely on the dealer to go to bat for you and make it right even if Vermont Castings is struggling with it.

      I have been a big fan of the Montpelier and had very few problems. It is a beautiful insert with probably the largest door/window that I know of. I would definitely own one myself if I had the place for it. The only thing I would make sure you have at least 15′ of liner pipe, or more at higher elevations. They are a little sensitive to the draw of the liner so that needs to be done really well.

      I apologize that I don’t have much experience with the Merrimack, it has been out for a few years and I have always had my eye on it for bringing it into my store but just have not done it yet.

      The Stove Guy

  2. my wife and I live in fl. and it does get cold down here last year a week straight of ther high of 48 down to 20 +25 degrees we got a encore 2 in 1 cat stove and love it. we have a 2900 s.ft home and with l.p, heating gas at $5.00/gal. this stove is fantastic at 500 degreeson the temp gauge got the house up to 74degrees at medium heat and had to open the hallway doors to move some heat down to the bedrooms. haven’t bought gas in almost 18 mos. the best investment we ever made. nice to hear someone endorsing a great stiove when they changed hand and had some problems in the past great for vermont castings thanx again Les

  3. We live in North Carolina. Our home is 3600 sq. ft. (1600 sq. ft. are in the basement, the other 2000 sq. ft are on the main floor.) It is a highly energy efficient home with spray foam insulation and good quality windows. The main floor is open to the basement with 2 open stairwells. As it stands right now, our heat pump rarely needs to run to heat the house because the house holds it’s heat. We are looking at the Vermont Castings Encore. Like your wife, I love the style with the warming shelves and especially the red color. My husband is concerned that 1.) it is going to be too big for our home and 2.) that he has read reviews that there are a lot of maintenence issues with this stove. What are your thoughts on this stove based on the info I provided?

  4. I live up in Northern California and I used to have the Vermont Casting Defiant, wow, that thing cooked me out of here. Too hot, but it had some kind of issue as it would not hold a fire overnight. I ended up replacing it with a Hearthstone Tuscon gas stove, very very cute but too expensive to run. Now I want to get back with wood heating, and need some advice on which stove to buy _ my house is not very large (under 900 Sq Ft), naturally I don’t want anything too big, but just enough. Not too small either. Doesn’t have to look too fancy, but should be nice. I want something easy to work with. Years and years ago I had a Fisher , Oh boy did I LOVE that stove, with the two things in the front that I could turn to damp it down or crank it up. But I heard they don’t make Fishers anymore. Please advise me ? THANK YOU !

    • First you should read this article:

      You need to pick what type of stove you want. But I would consider the Hearthstone Tribute or Craftsbury.

      There are a lot of great stoves that would do the job but read that article first to help narrow it down a little more.

  5. Hi,

    Your store wouldn’t happen to be in the Seattle area would it?

    We have had a Vermont Castings Aspen to six or seven years in a small cabin. Over the past couple of years it has been getting more and more difficult to keep it burning hot. We even leave the door slightly ajar for the maximum air flow. The door fully open is not enough.

    Last winter we had two chimney fires in spite of sweeping the creosote out every other week or so. Before that we’ve had our chimney professionally swept once or twice a year each and every year.

    I think it needs to be completely dismantled and cleaned with worn parts replaced. Can you recommend anybody in the Seattle/Tacoma area (we’re on Vashon Island) who is particularly experienced with Vermont Castings?



    PS: What do you think about Creosote Sweeping Logs? They seemed to just turn the creosote into a glass like layer on the inside on the stove pipe that I could not scrape away with a chimney brush. I ended up replacing my whole stove pipe.

    • Emailed a friend of mine to see if I can get you a referral in that area.

      So chimney fires can only happen when creosote (unburnt fuel) builds up in the chimney. Then lights on fire.

      Creosote only builds up in the chimney when the stove is not burning properly, usually not hot enough. Almost never is it something wrong with the stove.

      Almost always it is either an understanding of how to build a hot fire or not properly seasoned wood. If your glass is getting any black on it, you are not burning the stove hot enough. A little white haze or light brown is normal but no black. If you are getting black cut your wood smaller, and leave the door open longer to get a really hot bed of coals established then you can add larger pieces and start shutting down the damper but only after you have that hot coal bed established.

      Let me know if that helps.

      The Stove Guy

  6. I think it is worth noting that cast iron stoves can completely fail if you overfire them, this does not happen on plate steel stoves…

    • Not exactly true. I have seen plenty of both cast iron and steel stoves fail with over firing. Steel will get stress cracks usually right around where the door frame is cut out.

      It is extremely hard to overfire and damage a stove using cord wood, almost every stove I have seen damaged the customer has been burning either kiln dried or pressure treated wood. I have seen much more damage to homes and stoves by people not burning their stoves hot enough.

      The Stove Guy

  7. I just purchased a Vermont Casting Montpelier medium insert. I have a problem of smelling smoke and a darkened glass. The insert was installed by a professional company. Can you help me with this problem?

  8. Thanks for all your into. We have an Encore 2550 from 2004 which started acting up in 2010. Previously we used it for primary source of heat burning it all night without any problem. Now we can’t control the temp. My husband as replace gaskets and checked heat sensor…..still no luck. He can’t seem to find anyone local in Portland, OR to fix issue. I read your review of the Encore and don’t see any mention of overheating issue. Do you have any ideas or can you recommend someone knowledgeable in the Portland area. Thanks, Renee

  9. Hi, I noticed your comment above about the Montpelier being sensitive to the draw of the liner. We have a Montpelier in the lower level of our house. It only really needs to heat two small rooms. Half a level up we have a Pacific Energy wood stove that heats the rest of the house and keeps it nice an toasty. The room with the Montpelier is always cold. The wood burns inefficiently and there is always lots of gunk in the chimney when I clean it, and the glass always gets black. The same wood burns perfectly in the Pacific Energy wood stove and the chimney is much cleaner when I clean it. We have at least of 20′ of chimney height on the Montpelier, straight up, with a 6″ flexible liner in it. Any thoughts as to why the Montpelier isn’t burning well? Where is the air intake on the Montpelier? I suspect it does not get enough air.

  10. I have been in the market for a stove to put into our house – I recently had a few very large red oaks taken down and have about 6 cords of wood stacked with no where to burn. As we are getting to the point where we will be putting an addition on the house now comes the time that we are including plans for a wood stove and hearth to be installed with the addition.

    I am a big fan of the look and the heat retention of the Hearthstone Soapstone stoves but have read a lot of reviews about the amount of time that it takes to heat up the stove vs a cast iron stove. I found a few places on line that talked about the combination cast iron and soapstone stove that Hearthstone has, the Phoenix, but have found very little in regards to online reviews/information on the stove besides on the Hearthstone website.

    Have you had any experience with this stove?

  11. Mr. Stove Guy, I am writing to you concerning a Vermont Castings Stove I recently acquired, and trying to decide what to do with it. It is a Resolute Acclaim, 0041, WH 12167, date code 1233. It is missing front and rear grates, plus the andirons,. It does not have fire brick, but has the cast iron back pieces. I am not familiar with this unit, is it a “cat” unit, and what is the combustion package? Is it worth spending the money on the combustion package? Thank you and I will be awaiting your reply, Tom Shuster

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