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Jotul F 400 Castine

Review: Jotul F 400 Castine

Bookmark and Share Reviewed November 05, 2011 by Jotul fanatic

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Jotul F 400 Castine not bad but poor airwash. Not the best traditional Jotul stove
I have owned, used, supplied and installed every single Jotul traditional cast iron stove from the F100 to the F600. Some of my customers who have purchased the F400 have complained about the glass not keeping clean. Initially I put this down to poor quality of wood, draught issues or simply the inability of the user to operate the stove correctly. However, to get to the bottom of this I have now tested this stove extensively. The only clear fault of this stove is the air wash or lack of. In the UK the F400 is supplied with two different inspection cover plates which regulate the amount of air that is either diverted straight into the fire or through the side channels of the stove into the air wash system. The so called USA plate is installed when the stove is supplied and the EUR plate is supplied with the stove (presumably for use in Europe based on the assumption that we burn smokeless fuel instead of wood). These plates supply air directly to the fuel (similar to the primary air flow on a multifuel stove supplying air through the grate). If the EUR plate is used a far greater amount of air will flow directly to the fire rather than through the air wash system, which means the glass will not stay clean. So the obvious choice if you want to burn wood is to keep the USA plate in place (which only has two small holes of about 9mm each instead of the large centre cut out of the EUR plate which is about 40mmx9mm thus resulting in a much greater flow of air directly to the fire and therefore weakening the air wash) The USA plate will greatly improve the air wash dilemma but not cure the problem entirely. The reason for this is that the stove will still draw a very significant amount of air through the clean burn system (a sheet steel plate with more than 80 holes which is bolted to the cast iron baffle plate) The air is supplied to this arrangement via both side chambers and can not be controlled. A previous reviewer described the 'running away' scenario. This is down to the lack of control over the clean burn system. Even if you try to shut the stove down completely by moving the lever to the left the stove will still continue to burn fuel because of the constant air supply through the clean burn system. This supply of air to the clean burn system weakens the air wash by definition. (if all the air is supplied via the air wash rather than just 50% you will have a stronger air wash) This is typical of most stoves using an afterburn/clean burn system where air is lowered onto the fire but in the case of the F400 the ratio between air supplied through clean burn and air wash is in favour of the clean burn i.e. weakening the air wash and resulting in a dirty glass. On top of this the F400 has a very large/wide glass frontage and this compounds the problem of keeping the glass clean. Testing has revealed that if the clean burn system is disabled (easy to achieve but not recommended) the stove is completely transformed; the air wash works perfectly fine keeping the glass clean (apart from the very outside edges) and controlability of the stove is greatly improved. However, this is not how the stove is supplied and can therefore not be recommended to users. So if you don't mind the glass becoming dirty and obstructing the view of the flames you are getting a well made stove with classic design features. The firebox is of generous proportions and will accept logs of 500mm. The efficiency is very high at 84% The F100, F3 CB, F500 and F600 don't suffer from this problem to the same extent.

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Reviewed and rated by lyle hartzell on October 12, 2012

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Reviewed and rated by Dave on April 17, 2012

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Reviewed and rated by Th King on January 26, 2012

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Reviewed and rated by hottr6 on November 26, 2011

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Reviewed and rated by Bill G on January 12, 2011

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Reviewed and rated by robertomondo on December 29, 2010

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Reviewed and rated by tonynelson on February 09, 2010

It’s pretty, but very temperamental. You need WELL seasoned wood or you’ll have a hard time keeping the burn going without the ash door being partly open. ...

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Reviewed and rated by Eddie on January 28, 2010

This is the second winter that I’ve had this stove. My previous home had a Vermont Casting Resolute. My comparisons:

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Reviewed and rated by Jay on January 18, 2010

I’ve got a lot of experience w/woodstoves in general & this one in particular; it’s outstanding. House is 1,500 sq ft, gas heat never comes on if outside temperature >30 F.

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Reviewed and rated by Mass Homeowner on January 12, 2010

I should have read the reviews before buying this stove. It is nearly impossible to get a fire started without constant attention. Smoke bellows out every time the door is open – whether...

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Reviewed and rated by anthony montagna on December 23, 2009

I purchased the castine just before last years heating season. I also was getting smoked when opening the door while the fire was going.
This season its great, yes you do have to let the...

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Reviewed and rated by Scott on December 18, 2009

My number one frustration is tryng to contact Jotul. Their website has no contact location that I can find, If I’m mistake please let me know. Nothing more painful than purchasing...

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Reviewed and rated by Scott on December 18, 2009

I have had this stove for two years as primary heat. Glass broke once for no apparent reason and you can not open door during any time no matter how hot without smoke filling the room. Not real...

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Reviewed and rated by ricesinice on November 04, 2009

It’s 1 in the morning and I should be in bed but, I bought a Jotul F400 stove recently, and it doesn’t seem to be working correctly. I loaded 3 good size logs in it about 3 hours ago,...

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Reviewed and rated by JB on October 18, 2009

It is usually very difficult to start a fire with this stove and requires super dry wood (seasoned 3 or more years for woods higher on the btu scale) and/or lots of kindling to operate...

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Reviewed and rated by dartor@vermontel.net on March 10, 2009

Now that I’ve experienced a winter with this new stove, I still haven’t figured out how to solve the smoking problem. When I first start a fire or the outside draft is poor, my house...

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Reviewed and rated by VTBear on February 12, 2009

I have a love-hate relationship with this stove. When it works right it’s great, but at times it will overheat, no matter what I do. Even with the doors shut tight, the primary air intake...

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Reviewed and rated by Eladela on January 22, 2009

We’ve had ours for three winters now, and it is used constantly from about October to March, everyday. It heats our living room, but our house is big and four finished floors. The rest of...

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Reviewed and rated by Bill B on January 13, 2009

I have to say that I’m very disappointed with the F400. Every time I open the door on the F400, smoke comes out into the room, no matter how slowly I open it. It sometimes “runs...

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Reviewed and rated by Shane on January 10, 2009

This stove is outstanding. I stoke with pinion at 9pm, and there are plenty of coals to restart at 6am. After 13 hours, there are still coals and can be babied to relight with kindling. When...

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Reviewed and rated by Glen NY on January 01, 2009

Try lighting a very high flame paper fire before atttempting to burn wood. I light the paper in several areas and let the flame get high. Close the doors and open the ash pan if necessary. You...

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Reviewed and rated by Glen NY on January 01, 2009

Awesome stove! I have experienced some of the problems listed in this blog, but it just takes some getting used to. I have had all Vermont Castings (2-resolute and a vigilant) and I have to say I...

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Reviewed and rated by TedMaxJr on December 11, 2008

Purchased 3 years ago. Firebox too small. Struggles to get temp in room (900 sf) to low 60’s when outside temp is in 30’s. All other factors seem ok, e.g. draft, seasoned wood,...

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Reviewed and rated by shelley269 on December 10, 2008

Smokes out my house every time I start a fire. BAD BAD BAD. gets hot in about 30 minutes. Very nice to look at. Will...

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Reviewed and rated by H2GURU on December 08, 2008

Super efficient stove that requires more operator exreience on the part of owners w/complaints as I experienced these as well. Its 10 degrees outside and my oil burner isn’t on yet (2000...

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Reviewed and rated by dale on December 06, 2008

Very good stove. fire will not last more than 8 hours and the draft could be better when starting a fire. it appears that all new stove have a smaller firebox to allow for additional space for...

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Reviewed and rated by j. mitchell on December 05, 2008

I am a little disappointed in my new Jotul 400. I can’t fit more than 3 pieces of wood in the box and there doesn’t seem to be enough of a draft to prevent smoke from coming ino the...

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Reviewed and rated by aprilb on November 25, 2008

What a total waste of my tax rebate money. the glass has just broken for the second time, this gets a little expensive at 140.00 a piece. The coals fall out when you open the door, very little...

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Jotul F 400 Castine
Reviewed and rated by lyonred on November 22, 2008

Nice heavy duty stove. Heats up my downstairs and half my upstairs to around 73 degrees. Right now, it’s about 30 degrees outside and I have the stove heating my whole house, without my...

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