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Author Topic: wood heaters  (Read 4621 times)

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Offline ely

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wood heaters
« on: January 08, 2015, 11:55:59 am »
I have a question or 5 for those of you more knowledgeable than me...on wood burning stove for the inside of houses, what is the difference in the catalytic and non-catalytic stoves.
am I correct in assuming it is similar to the converters on cars that is supposed to clean up the smoke more for the environment.

I was looking through my moms new lehman bros. catalog when I seen these stoves. they were from france or someplace. looks real nice , just got me to thinking what I was going to replace my wood heater with in the future.

Online beenthere

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2015, 12:52:55 pm »
I think similar to cars only in the fact that there is ignition of the secondary gases from incomplete primary combustion.
I've a wood stove with a cat from Vermont Castings, and after a fire is going good, the cat. is warm, can start passing the off-gases through the cat. It ignites within the ceramic-like honeycomb channels and gives off a lot of extra heat.
All works fine if you want more heat (usually I don't out of that stove) and if the fly ash has been vacuumed off ahead of time.
I understand that they are delicate and can crumble easily, as well as they are expensive to replace. My stove is 14 yrs old, and don't even know if I can get a replacement cat. converter.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Holmes

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2015, 04:12:44 pm »
 I have a Woodstock  soapstone stove with the catalytic combuster. Going on 8 tears now and it's time for a new combuster the original is starting to crack.  I use mostly dry wood.  I have been very pleased with this stove and the lack of creosote.
Think like a farmer.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2015, 09:00:11 pm »
I would say if your not forced to have one on a new stove in your area, do without. Wile they may work its just another layer of problems. Have good dry wood and manage your stove wisely and your good. Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline Piston

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2015, 04:57:25 am »
what is the difference in the catalytic and non-catalytic stoves.
am I correct in assuming it is similar to the converters on cars that is supposed to clean up the smoke more for the environment.

Yes and no.  It is basically the same as a catalytic converter in a car, however, it's not just to clean up the smoke for the environment.  While that is one nice advantage of it, there are others as well.  It also creates much more HEAT by burning those combustible gases that would otherwise be going up the chimney. 

You have two types of stoves (well, 3 if you count "Hybrid's"), the Cat stoves, and the non Cat stoves.  Both types of stoves have their own way of burning off the combustible gases that normally go up the chimney.  Cat stoves do it by using the catalytic combuster that is in the stove.  The advantage of this, is that it lowers the temperature at which the gases would start to burn.  In a Cat stove, you can start burning all these gases when the temperature at the combuster reaches just over 500°. 

A secondary burn, non Cat stove, relies on higher temperatures in the secondary burn to light off and burn those same gases.  The temperature has to get up close to 1,100° in order for the gases to burn.  If it doesn't get that high, all that wasted heat is going right up and out the chimney. 

The nice thing about Cat stoves, is that you can burn them slower, while still being efficient, and capturing the heat out of the combustible gasses.  Also, you can start burning these gasses much sooner than with a non Cat stove (it takes longer to reach 1,100° than it does to reach 500°.) 

I personally like Cat stoves, and I have the same stove as Holmes.  I've had it about 5 years now, and I burn mostly "wet" wood.  (I shouldn't, but I'm guilty of not splitting and stacking early enough).  Cat stoves are more finicky when it comes to dry/wet wood, and it will burn up the Combuster sooner by using wet wood.  Mine is starting to crack and should be replaced.  I already purchased a replacement, but I'm waiting until next season to change it, as I will "hopefully" be ahead with my wood by then, and will be burning dry wood finally. 

My replacement Cat cost me $125. 

If you don't want to mess with the inconvenience of changing out a catalytic combuster every 5+ years, then I'd suggest non Cat.  I'll mention that changing one takes almost no time at all.  However, you do need to clean them occasionally.  I clean mine about once a month and I'm not too religious about that. 

I tend to really smolder my fires, and burn very slowly as I like long burn times.  If you are the type to burn hot and fast, I'd suggest non cat stoves.  They both have they're place and they are both great designs, I think it just depends on which design fits your lifestyle and preferences better. 

-Matt
“What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race.”

Offline ely

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2015, 09:15:02 am »
Thanks for the replies. It concerns me that they are fragile. I did sort of understand that if you aren't real particular about the things you burn it will have problems. I am just studying the what I call high end stoves because I will up grade when my box heater finally gives up... we have no restrictions on stoves here.

Offline Windy_Acres

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2015, 09:39:33 am »
If your stove shopping, you may want to pay attention to stove efficiency, and burn times. We heat a 2400sqft 1900 farm house that is LOADED with double hung windows, sits amid a wind farm, with thousands of bare flat acres on 4 sides, and we sit under the jet stream most days. Suffice it to say, our wood stove gets a workout.

That said, how often you want to fuel it, and how much fuel you want to put in it, will become relevant after your install.

We run a late 70s wood stove, its got a small firebox, it does have a forced fan built into it, to recover allot of heat. It also moves through a mountain of wood, or should I say the house does.

We have a hybrid stove on order, because of the rate of which we move through wood, tired of getting up twice a night to feed it. Basically, Ive got what I found to be the most efficient stove I can find, ordered, to slow down the rate at which we move through wood.

So yes, it has a cat, I will happily deal with it. If we lived in warmer climate, smaller house, no wind, and endless supply of firewood, the stove we have would be great. Yesterday, it was -10F (static temp, been that way for most of the week) with gusts of 50mph...its a part time job keeping the house warm, if it was never colder than 40 degrees and we never had any wind, not a problem.

Neighbor 2 doors down, he and his son, who lives near by in a similar dwelling, both ran out of wood last year and where forced to buy propane, when it was $5-$7 a gallon. Both run inefficient stoves. Last winter here was long and cold, and they where just not prepared.

I keep about twice the amount of firewood on hand than I could use in a worst case scenario. We do have a full propane tank, and new furnace, we just dont like to use it (spelled el-cheapo !)

Offline ely

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2015, 09:52:23 am »
Quantity of firewood is no problem for me. I burn slabs from the mill and dead trees from the property. My house is very well insulated. I am wanting to go with a stove that looks great and burns well.

Online beenthere

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2015, 01:02:17 pm »
Quote
Ive got what I found to be the most efficient stove I can find, ordered,

And will you name what stove that is? Just curious, so if you want to keep it a secret, that is ok. ;)

Look forward to hearing about it.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Piston

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2015, 05:17:11 pm »
Thanks for the replies. It concerns me that they are fragile. I did sort of understand that if you aren't real particular about the things you burn it will have problems.

I wouldn't let that concern you, they really aren't "fragile" per say.  Mine is starting to crumble in places (not major yet, but like I said I'll replace it next season) but it isn't causing any problems.

Remember, I'm one of those who are NOT particular about what I put in my stove. I'd love to say honestly that I burn only nice seasoned hardwoods but that is not the case. I burn mill scraps of white pine, I burn pine firewood that isn't seasoned properly, and I burn unseasoned hickory and white oak.

I really do intend to get ahead this year, but I've said that before too. I just want to point out that the cat stoves aren't fragile, and I hope I didn't give off the wrong impression. 

If I had a non cat stove, I wouldn't burn any differently, and I think most would say that.

It can be a hard decision because really both styles are great, it's more personal preference, and a lot of people just go with whatever the stove they love comes with, not giving it much thought.

I personally won't go with a non cat stove, because I love the way I can burn mine low and slow and still be very efficient with it and burn off most of the gasses the smoke is holding.

I may go with a hybrid for my next stove if I ever upgrade. Currently, I'd buy the Woodstock Progress Hybrid and not look back.

As a side note, for my burning preferences, I will also stick with a soapstone stove, but that's a whole nother thread in itself.
-Matt
“What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race.”

Offline Windy_Acres

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2015, 07:34:50 pm »
Quote
Ive got what I found to be the most efficient stove I can find, ordered,

And will you name what stove that is? Just curious, so if you want to keep it a secret, that is ok. ;)

Look forward to hearing about it.

Didnt think a shameless plug for a stove company was not necessary (dont recall the OP asking about brands), and mentioning brands, and models usually starts a pissing match. But if your going to ask..

Woodstock Progress Hybrid. There is a small stainless independent model made in Washington that is too small for us that is more efficient, like 90% and Blaze king has 2 stoves that are 1% more efficient, but I wanted a soap stone stove, so I traded 1% off for the soapstone, pretty much because blaze king does not have a competing product, uses dealers (there is not one near me, and they are pretty specific about their territories and where I have to travel to buy one) and folks rave about woodstocks customer service, and warranty. Unfortunately, the stove we ordered in October has yet to ship, and is alleged to ship in a week or two. Would hope it arrives before the heating season is over. Would have ordered it last winter, had I know they where going to run low on them.

Someone might find this handy...


EPA guide to stove peformance


http://www.epa.gov/Compliance/resources/publications/monitoring/caa/woodstoves/certifiedwood.pdf

Offline John Mc

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2015, 08:05:03 pm »
You should be happy with your Woodstock stove when it finally arrives. The company has won all sorts of awards for their designs - which is probably why you're having to wait for yours. My sister and Brother-in-law bought a Woodstock stove a few years ago and are very happy with it. (they live a couple of hours from where they are made).
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline blackfoot griz

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2015, 08:34:48 pm »
 

 

Here is another soapstone option. This is our Tulikivi--the entire thing is made out of soapstone.  These operate differently than a traditional stove.  You start a fire and let it run full blast for 2-3 hours. Once the fire has burned out, you shut the whole thing down. What is crazy is that the outside temp of the unit reaches its highest temps about 2 hours after the fire is out.  The soapstone mass holds the heat for days. These are not for everybody, but we love it.  The top section is a wood-fired bake oven. Lots of great meals have come out of that. We rarely use our traditional oven from Oct--May.

 

 

This is a pic of a fire directly in the bake oven.  Get it up to the temp you need, dump the coals down the trap door in the back and throw dinner in.

 

 

My BIL checking on a home made pizza!

Offline enigmaT120

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2015, 02:44:15 pm »
My stove is 14 yrs old, and don't even know if I can get a replacement cat. converter.

I can't remember my stove's model name, but it's also owned by Vermont Castings.  I just got a new catalyst for it from Amazon a couple of years ago.  Lots of parts are still available.  I also replaced the back inner wall, as my original was cracking. 
Ed Miller
Falls City, Or

Offline John Mc

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2015, 05:49:28 pm »
One of the advances some wood stove manufacturers have made in recent years is designing for catlysts to be much more more easily replaceable. I was looking at one in a store a year or two ago that not much harder to replace than cleaning the lint trap in my dryer.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Piston

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2015, 10:41:16 pm »
One of the advances some wood stove manufacturers have made in recent years is designing for catlysts to be much more more easily replaceable. I was looking at one in a store a year or two ago that not much harder to replace than cleaning the lint trap in my dryer.

I think the catalytic combuster that I just purchased from Woodstock, is a different material than the original from 5 years ago.  It's supposed to be stronger, last longer, and burn cleaner, supposedly.... I can't remember where I read that from, so I may not be 100% correct, but just backing up your point about advancements in catalytic technology. 
-Matt
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Offline John Mc

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2015, 11:46:22 pm »
Blackfoot Griz -

Is that what's sometimes called a masonry heater?  That type of thing is what would be in my house now, if I'd known about them 12 years ago when we were building the house.
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Offline thechknhwk

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2015, 09:49:37 am »
@Windy_Acres I like that soapstone stove you posted, and the price is not unreasonable compared to some of the others I have seen.

Offline Windy_Acres

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2015, 11:14:29 am »
@Windy_Acres I like that soapstone stove you posted, and the price is not unreasonable compared to some of the others I have seen.

Thanks, I kinda like Black Foots "furnace ?", that baby has got to be heavy !

Update, my stove shipped yesterday, got a bill of lading number today, its enroute, and should be at my local terminal tomorrow for me to pickup. I opted to pick it, for I got more time than money ! Hopefully, it is worth the weight (and the cost, its not one of the cheaper stoves, but you can spend allot more !)

Shipping weight shows over 800lbs. Guessing its 750ish. Hope it comes somewhat disassembled, not sure how to get 750 through the door. I have a 1000lb hand truck, but that load is too tall (moved my 500lb stove with it, just barely and with two of us), and I will destroy the front door threshold, or whats left of it.

Offline John Mc

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Re: wood heaters
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2015, 12:30:35 pm »
When my borther in law picked up his Woodstock stove at the factory, it was sitting on a VERY stout pallet. That will save a bit of weight, but it sounds as though yo still have quite a handful.

Lay down some boards on either side of your threshold to protect it?
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow