Cracked glass on my Jotul woodburning stove

lkplatowJanuary 15, 2008

Hi all. We have a Jotul F400 that was installed in December 2005. We burn it pretty much nonstop from November through March. We've had an unseasonably warm spell and did not burn the stove last week. I went to clean the glass before lighting it yesterday and noticed that the glass had a crack in it, maybe 3" long, extending upwards at the bottom center of the glass. I called the place where we bought it and they said it was safe to burn with the crack, as long as the glass was still intact and no pieces were actually broken out of it. They offered to order new glass for me but it will cost $102, plus I have to install it myself (or pay another $49 if I take the door to the store to have them do it, and $129 if I have them come to the house to install it). I figured that if it was safe to burn, we'd just wait til the end of heating season to replace it. However, we've had it burning since yesterday and this evening, the crack got much longer - it is now an upside-down U about 4" high and 4" wide at the bottom of the glass.

I have NO IDEA how the glass got cracked - we hadn't done anything differently. We do occasionally have logs fall against the glass but I never cram stuff in and shut the glass against it. There was a bit of creosote on the bottom part of the glass, which means the last burn was a low smokey overnight one where the logs were probably pretty close to the glass -- but that's pretty much what we do every night. That night we had more creosote than normal, which I think was due to the fact that the last wood I used wasn't quite seasoned enough.

Does anyone have any experience with cracked glass? Is it really safe to burn this way or should I stop burning til we get the replacement glass (will take about a week and a half, which will be a significant ouch-er on the oil bill). And does anyone know what cracked the glass in the first place? I really don't want to have to shell out $102 for new glass on a regular basis! Thanks!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would say it's probably OK to burn with a crack in the glass. If the glass should fall out - that's another story. Not sure why the glass cracked - maybe a defect in the material.

I believe that your woodastove has Ceramic glass in the door (you should ask your stove dealer). Ceramic glass is good to 1400F. Tempered safety glass is used in glass fireplace doors and lower btu heating units. Tempered safety glass is good to about 500F and will crack if a burning log rests against it. Ceramic glass allows radiant heat to pass thru while tempered safety glass does not.

Ceramic glass is expensive. For comparative pricing of the glass with your Jotul dealer, you can call Schott Appplied Energy Systems (1-800-822-0600). They make Robax, a transparent ceramic glass. Prices range from 47 cents per square inch (for a rectangular shape) to 60 cents per square inch for more complex shapes.

I have an order in with them currently to replace the tempered safety glass in my fireplace doors with ceramic glass.

Best to you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Schott Applied Energy Systems

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 7:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had to replace my glass several years ago during a stove rebuild where I got stupid and accidentally broke the glass on both doors. I went to my local stove dealer and they referred to it as "ice" glass. Well anyway, I think what Gary is saying is absolutely correct. I'm posting this just to tell you that $102 is insane in my opinion. I can't remember exactly how much I paid, but I do know it wasn't anywhere near that much! Replacing the glass is simple as long as it's cut accurately.

I get a little nervous about using your stove with cracked glass. What if it falls out when youÂre not home or during the night?


    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 6:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know how it cracked but I am speculating either a log rolling forward and/or your glass had a flaw in it. If you had creosote build up and ash fall out when you opened the door a log rolling forward was likely the culprit.

I also own a Castine installed in Jan 2005 (with no cracked glass yet)and I think you have to be very careful loading the stove. Given the design of the stove of its tiered airwash system and narrow depth (the front has more room than in the back) it makes sense to do what is normally not recommended and put the larger base pieces in the front of the glass instead of the back of the stove. By doing this it will act as a barrier in preventing the top pieces to roll forward and into the glass.

As for using the stove why not try using it. As long as smoke isn't coming through the glass I think you are safe. Just make sure your CO detector is working as a precaution.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 1:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I broke one of the glass panels in my Jotul insert last month. My Jotul dealer couldn't get a replacement for at least 7 days since it had to be ordered. He recommended I use a local glass company instead since it woudl be quicker and cheaper. I think the Jotul replacement pane was $120 if I remember correctly. The glass dealer (a local place that does car windows, house windows, etc.) quoted me $90 and had it done in 5 minutes. Those custom-cut pieces of ceramic glass are expensive! They also shatter very easily as I found out. I just bumped it with a pointy end of a log while I was loading the firebox and it completly shattered.

BTW- I would not run the stove with a crack in the door glass. If the glass were to shatter while you were sleeping or out of the house the results could be pretty bad.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 10:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Ceramic glass allows radiant heat to pass thru while tempered safety glass does not."

- I replaced the glass in the left side bi-fold doors with ceramic glass and kept the tempered safety glass in the right side glass doors for a comparison. The result? I felt no difference in heat thru the ceramic glass versus the tempered safety glass. None. Nada. Zip. I may have un-tempered the tempered glass from years of burning a hot fire. Not sure if this is relevant to heat transfer thru the glass.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 3:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I guess then you are contradicting your post on Jan. 16. That's okay! I'm not trying to be nasty. I know that they do use tempered glass in bi-fold doors which are used on fireplaces but you must use ceramic (ice) glass on stoves due to the much higher temperatures.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 6:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well I was burning the stove with the cracked glass during the day when I was home, taking care to only load a little at a time and ensure that nothing fell forward and hit the glass. Even with the careful burning, each day the crack would get a little bigger. Last night, a big chunk finally fell out, so no more burning for me til the new glass gets here. Figures it's some of the coldest weather of the year, too!

I've had the glass on order for a week now - they told me it would take a week but when I called them today, they had no clue where it was. Great. The price through the dealer is $102 - I called a local glass place today cause I was sick of waiting on the dealer but they quoted me $160 - yikes! I guess I'll give the dealer til Monday to figure out where the glass is - they said they had to call Jotul and would call me back, then never did. If they don't get back to me by Monday, I'll suck it up and go to the local glass place -- I'll end up spending the difference on heating oil anyhow if I keep waiting!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 7:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My stove came with cast inserts if you didn't want to use the glass. Yours didn't come with those by any chance, did it?

I'm glad it happened while you were home.

Didn't you check out that link I posted? Seems a lot cheaper to me and you probably would have had it by now too!


    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 8:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I received my ceramic glass in 2 days from Schott. I gave you their link in a previous post. Not sure why you don't call them.

Yes I am indeed contradicting (actually correcting) one of my previous posts. I bought the ceramic glass because I read about the additional benefit of passing infrared/radiant heat through the glass. My experiment shows no difference in ceramic vs tempered glass. Once I moved the steel mesh curtain to the sides, I felt equal heat coming thru both types of glass. The real reason for ceramic is the 1400F heat rating vs 500F for tempered safety glass.

Take care.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 11:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The glass in our door is an arch shape and I'm not sure how I'd give measurements to mail order the glass. I guess I could try tracing our broken piece of glass, but I'm worried about getting something custom cut and then it doesn't fit. That's why I haven't looked into any of the mail order options....though if my dealer doesn't have some news for me when I call today, I may have to.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 11:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Schott knows the glass size based on the model number of your stove. They offered to take back my 4 pieces of custom-sized glass if I wasn't satisfied. They also provided a roll of hi-temp insulating gasket for the glass.

Your arch shape may take longer to fabricate than my 4 rectangular pieces.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 1:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hi if it was me id remove the glass carefully and use it as a template to make a temp insert and old cookie sheet is a good doner for the metal , once you have it marked just use snips or a saber saw with a fine toothed metal blade , then mount it using some furnace cement and gasket rope, this will hold for a very long time and give you a chance to heat and hunt up a better deal on the glass.just a thought

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 1:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know these messages were posted a while ago, but I have a couple of questions about my Jotul stove. We wanted to buy an F400 and the fireplace store said it was way too big. Our house is 1800 square feet. It is a 2 storey home but we keep all the doors open on the main floor and wanted the heat to rise to the 2nd floor. We wanted the stove to heat the entire house (which I know is optimistic). Anyway they insisted that we buy a Nordic 100 and I think it is way too small. Not only does it not heat anything upstairs (we keep the fan on our furnace running) but we have trouble keeping the main floor warm as well. I know we live in Canada and have cold winters but at -10 C (not sure about the conversion to F) we can't keep the main floor warm. I really am thinking about replacing this with a bigger stove but I want to get opinions of other Jotul users (and people who heat 2 storey approx 1800 sq ft homes). Also our class cracked too - the stove only fits 16" logs and it is hard to fill - a log slipped and cracked the glass. We were quoted a $250 replacement cost. If I am getting rid of this stove, I'm not sure I want to do this. I would be interested in what anyone thinks of the above.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 2:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi there. I'm the OP of this thread and we've had our F400 for 3-4 years now. We are outside of Philly so not as cold as you. This year has been a real test of the stove, because our downstairs furnace has been broken since thanksgiving so the woodstove has been basically heating our entire house and it was a colder-than-normal winter. It does very well til the temps get down into the teens and twenties - then it's a little more than the stove can keep up with.

Anyhow, our house is about 3000 sq ft, 2 stories, with an open floor plan. The f400 definitely heats the whole house - the upstairs much more so than the downstairs - the rooms downstairs that are farthest from the stove can be a good 5-10 degrees colder than the rest of the house and the upstairs is usually about 6-8 degrees warmer than the room where the stove is. I would think that how well the heat travels through your house probably depends a lot on how open your floorplan is -- the room where we have the stove is open to most of the downstairs and has a 2 story area that is open to an upstairs balcony, so heat can dissipate very well. We don't turn on our furnace fans or anything to circulate the heat - when I do that, the house just ends up feeling drafty and the heat circulates just fine without the fans so I don't bother.

Also, I've learned a couple things with the Jotul. The wood has to be VERY dry and VERY seasoned in order to burn well. I find that wood that's been seasoned for at least 2 years burns great - anything less than that, and I've got to futz with it. And gosh-help-me if I'm bringing in wood that is damp from snow or drizzle - it burns (with a lot of futzing - keep the door cracked, open the ashpan door, add lots of kindling, etc.), but the stove doesn't get up to a good burn temperature that actually heats the house.

Also, I find that I need to keep the stove hot - no smoldering long burns at a lower temp like I used to do with the woodstove I had 20 years ago. I have a thermometer on the top of the stove off to the side (following the diagram in the instruction manual for the stove) and I find that if I don't have that thermometer reading 500-550, I'm not generating enough heat to actually make the house comfortable. I'm lucky in that I work from home, so I have the luxury of feeding the stove every couple hours to keep it burning hot.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 5:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I find that the catalytic converter woodstoves are much touchier than those that are designed to burn efficiently without catalytic converters. You have to watch the temperature range to take advantage of the extra efficiency of the catalytic converter.

We had a Jotul 118 box stove back before they had a window in the front, and that was a great old stove. Very efficient without a catalytic converter, and really easy to start a fire and keep fires going. We used that stove for about 11 years of living in the hills as our sole source of heat.

We now have a Vermont Castings woodstove that came with the house we're in now that relies on a catalytic converter, and this takes much of the fun of having a wood fire away even though this one has a window in the front. Fires are harder to start, and as I said above, you have to watch the temperature range to get efficient burning.

Oh well, times change.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 9:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This isnt covered under your warranty? My bestfriend had the same thing happen with her wood burner. She called the company directly and they sent her a new piece of glass free of charge

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 4:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

lkplatow I am surprised you are not using a firelight F600 given your total square ftage. I agree the F400 is a finicky stove and needs very dry wood. It becomes even more finicky when it is rear vented like mine.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 8:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We bought a Jotul F 400 about 3 years ago, and the glass cracked not long after we brought it home. In my opinion, the glass cracks far too easily during normal use. The catalytic converter is also a nuisance because it makes it difficult to open the door when the stove is operating--once the chamber depressurizes the smoke backs up into the room.

Also, the ash pan is tiny and has to be emptied after every use.

The stove is very attractive (when it has glass in it), but other than that it is a piece of crap. I will never buy another Jotul product.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 2:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Jotul F400 Castine does not employ a catalytic converter. Nor does any other Jotul stove as far as I can recall. Keep this in mind when evaluating Nathan's comments.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 5:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm the OP of this thread -- had totally forgotten all about it!

Yes, the F400 has no catalytic converter, but it does have a baffle system that recirculates and reburns the smoke, which works great most of the time. I have had smoke back up into the room -- usually on days when I'm not getting a good draft (warmish days or ones where the wind is blowing in certain directions) and I open the door too fast.

I also broke the glass again last year - totally my fault this time -- I was refilling the stovetop steamer and accidentally spilled water down the front of the stove onto the glass - it cracked instantly. I found a local 3rd party glass guy who made me a new piece for about $70. Hopefully that's the last time I'll break the glass.

Other than that, I love this stove - I keep saying that it was the best money we ever spent. Our wood this year is super-seasoned and the stove has been very low maintenance - we've had to do very little futzing with the fire. We do scoop the ashes pretty much every day, but I don't have a problem with that - we do it in the morning before stoking the fire back up.

lakelifer - I had wanted the F600 but the woodstove guy talked me out of it -- said we'd roast ourselves in the room where the stove is, and I think he was right. Even with the smaller F400, that room gets crankin' sometimes -- not unpleasantly hot but definitely "take off your sweater" temperature. Although the room is open to the rest of the house which lets the heat circulate, I think that room (which is our main TV room) would have been basically unusable if we had gone any bigger on the stove.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 8:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just had the glass break in my Jotul 500 (4.5 years old). I must agree with several of the comments above. I like my Jotul, but I love my catalytic stove (Fireplace Extraordinare). It is much more efficient and as a result I have to split a lot less firewood. I can raise the temperature in a room with 19 ft ceilings and a loft rapidly and keep it 10 degrees warmer than I would with propane. In my basement I have a Jotul and it is much less efficient and takes a lot more wood for the same warmth. Eventually it will go out to my workshop and be replaced with a smaller catalyic woodstove. They cost a lot up front, but with fuel prices being what they are today it pays for itself quickly.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2010 at 4:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have a Jotul F400 in a remote cabin and we love it. At first we didn't like it at all, but then my husband found, tucked away with the instruction book, an alternate draft unit. Apparently the "US" style draft has a very small opening, while the "European" style one is much larger. He took off the American draft that came on the stove and installed the European one, and voila! The stove isn't finicky anymore. You still have to start it up with some decent dry wood (and we use little fire starter sticks underneath the kindling to make it quicker) but once it gets going it will burn almost anything.

About the F400 being too big for an 1800 sq ft house, our cabin is only about 650 sf and while it will nearly cook us out of that I wouldn't hesitate to put it in 1800 sf. I might even think it to be a bit small. In our home we're going with the F500 because we think it is better for overnight burns than the F400.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 8:32PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Indoor/Outdoor Fireplace
Does anyone own an indoor/outdoor dual sided fireplace?...
Converting wood fireplace to gas fireplace
Help, I'm overwhelmed. Any link to a good site that...
Lennox Montebello See Through?
Anyone have some first hand experience with this unit?...
See-through fireplace
Does anyone have any experience with the Lennox Montebello...
Putting television IN firebox of fireplace
Long time lurker, first time poster. I've searched...
Sponsored Products
Emile Henry 4.2 qt. Stew Pot - Black - 714540
$100.00 | Hayneedle
Bayou Classic 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet
Whitehaus WH33-515-L Retractable Kitchen Pot Filler Faucet Polished Chrome
$389.00 | Blue Bath
Tile Murals: The Tile Mural Store Building Materials Laughter and Garlic 24 in.
Home Depot
SomerTile 11 x 9.75-inch Casablanca Thalia Porcelain Mosaic Tile (Pack of 10)
Tile Murals: The Tile Mural Store Building Materials Vineyard Window I 24 in. x
Home Depot
Southern Enterprises Cartwright Espresso Convertible Slate Gel Fireplace Dark Br
$409.98 | Hayneedle
Pewter Whitehaus WHKPFCR3-9550 Wall Mount Retractable Kitchen Faucet
$559.00 | Blue Bath
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™