Monday, April 23, 2018

Can a catalytic wood burning appliance save me money?



The answer is "Yes".....Let's say for example, if you have a typical unregulated stove and use three cords of wood (at $100/cord) and save on two chimney cleanings (at $50 each) per season, you can save about $200 per season by purchasing a new EPA-certified Phase II catalytic stove. A new catalytic stove will save an additional cord of wood out of every three cords you burn each season.

Your actual savings will vary according to how often you use your stove and other factors.

Nationwide, the net savings from reduced firewood consumption and fewer chimney cleanings is estimated to be $30 million annually. In addition, the health and welfare benefits resulting from fewer smoke-related illnesses and from reduced materials damage is estimated at about $1.5 billion annually.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Why are EPA approved stoves certified?

Residential woodstoves are one of the nation's largest sources of particulate matter (smoke). Wood smoke also contains significant amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and many other organic compounds. These pollutants are known to cause respiratory and cardiovascular illness and contribute to atmospheric visibility problems and property damage. The EPA regulations require woodstove manufacturers to produce stoves that emit less pollution.

 As consumers replace their older woodstoves with cleaner, more efficient, new stoves, the quality of the air will improve, particularly in residential neighborhoods where wood burning stoves are popular.


Be sure and ask your local stove dealer about the high efficient, clean burning catalytic stoves and watch for my future articles on "Buying an EPA-Certified Woodstove"

Monday, April 16, 2018

EPA certified wood burning appliances

All certified woodstoves offered for sale will have a permanent and a temporary label indicating that the stoves are EPA-certified. The temporary label will also contain information that you will find useful when shopping for a new stove.

The label will tell you generally how clean and how efficient each woodstove is. However, because regulations require all new stoves to burn much cleaner and more efficiently than unregulated woodstoves, there should not be significant differences in efficiency and emissions performance among the certified catalytic models. This holds true for the non-catalytic models as well.

The label will also indicate which stoves are equipped with catalytic combustors.

Perhaps the most important information on the label you will need when selecting a stove is the heat output range. Use this information to help select the right size stove for the space you will be heating.

Sample temporary labels:
  



Thursday, April 12, 2018

What to expect from a catalytic stove today...

It was best stated back in the 1988 September issue, of one of the industry's leading magazines... and I quote word for word from the article: The article reads: The EPA is on record stating catalytics represent the "best demonstrated technology" the industry has today. In other words, it's the federal agency's policy that combustors are the best solution to the wood smoke problem.
The EPA points to the following factors:

-More than 60 manufacturers use combustors in their stove designs.
-Catalytics deteriorate, but the EPA figures consumers can expect to squeeze more than 10,000 hours out of the combustor.
The deterioration of combustors is an improvement point, because the agency compared the lifetime performance of catalyst and non-catalyst units.
They note that catalytics burn cleaner than non-cats during a stove’s early years.
However, the emissions put out by a catalytic stove increases as the combustor ages. Both types of units burn about as clean, when averaged over the lifetime of the stoves, according to the EPA.
(end of article)
This is why the EPA's Phase I and Phase II emission limits, on wood burning stoves, are set the way they are.
However, catalytic stove technology has came a long way since this article was written.
Catalytic stove designs have changed since 1988. The catalytic combustor is now well protected from firebox flames in all catalytic stove models.


I would like to add this comment:

I have talked to consumers over the years, that had catalytic units that held up for 10 to 15 years and were still working on the day they called me.
Easy to see why 
FIRECAT
 combustors are offered to consumers with a 6 year prorated warranty from the date they buy a new catalytic stove. 

A few more related comments:
1. 
FIRECAT
 catalytic combustors are made of high temperature, honeycomb ceramic and will take up to 2400 degrees F. before they reach, what I call a glazing point. Naturally, the stove will never reach this kind of operating temperature to destroy the combustor. They are durable and hold up well under proper operating methods. Flame impingement and thermal shock, not normal operating methods, can be another story altogether. This will be addressed at a later date.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Flame impingement is bad...

Direct flame contact is death to the catalyst. A catalyst burns the byproducts in the smoke. The gases such as CO, HC, and O2 ignite with each other in a chemical reaction in the presence of the catalyst (while passing through the honeycomb configuration).
Direct flame inhibits this reaction by changing the chemical make-up of the catalyst breaking down the substrate or ceramic.


Today's modern catalytic wood burning stoves are designed so that flame impingement is unlikely.  However, it is still impossible. A strong fast draft can pull the flames around the flame shield and into the catalyst. A hot fire with all the primary air controls wide open or perhaps the firebox door or ash pan door ajar are other ways the catalyst might receive flame impingement.





Thursday, April 5, 2018

Hot firing a catalytic stove

Do not "hot fire" your catalytic stove with the by-pass closed.
If this is done with the by-pass damper closed, flames will be directed to the catalytic combustor and cause damage to it.

For many years retailers and installers have advised customers to build an extra hot fire to burn the creosote deposits in the flue system.
This advice is harmful to a catalytic stove and the combustor.

Why? Because the catalyst is reducing the particulate, or creosote build-up, therefore the need to hot fire for this purpose is eliminated.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Simple method to start a cold catalytic stove

For best results, do this.......

When initially starting a catalytic cold stove, a medium to high firing rate must be maintained for 20 to 30 minutes with the by-pass and air in-take open. This will allow the stove, the catalytic combustor and the fuel to stabilize at a proper operating temperature.

Even though temperature can reach 600 F. within a few minutes after the fire has started, if the fire is turned down too soon to a low burning condition, it will result in the fire and/or the catalytic combustor going out.

At the end of a burn cycle, it’s possible that the amount of burning charcoal remaining might not provide sufficient temperature or fuel for the catalyst to stay lit.

During the refueling of a hot stove that has an internal temperature below 500 F., it is best to fire the stove up for 10 to 15 minutes to ensure sufficient temperature and proper amounts of volatile gases for the catalyst to operate well and efficiently.

However, when refueling a hot stove that has an internal temperature above 500 F., no re-firing is necessary.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Knowing how chimneys work is necessary for good stove operation.









Modern, efficient appliances need modern, efficient chimneys. The selection, location and installation of the chimney is at least as important as the type of wood-burning appliance you choose. A properly designed and installed chimney will give many years of reliable service and will allow your appliance to perform properly. An effective chimney is an important part of any successful wood burning system. Many of the reported problems with the performance of wood burning appliances can be traced to chimney deficiencies of various kinds. Knowing how chimneys work is not only necessary in selecting the correct chimney and designing the installation, but is useful in the day-to-day operation of the appliance.

Chimneys operate on the principle that hot air rises because it is less dense than cold air. When a chimney is filled with hot gas, the gas tends to rise because it is less dense than air outside the house. The rising hot gas creates a pressure difference called draft which draws combustion air into the appliance and expels the exhaust gas outside. The hotter the gas compared to the air outside, the stronger the draft.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Cleaning the firebox door glass


  (Always check your owner’s manual first)

1. Wash with ammonia **Recommended** - Make sure fire place is cool to the touch.
Fill a spray bottle with a slightly diluted mixture of ammonia and water. The water helps keep the ammonia from evaporating on the glass and makes it easier to use. Some also recommend using some vinegar in the mixture, although this is not necessary.
 Grab some paper towels and spray the glass. Start wiping the black or foggy glass clean. It will take a couple of times to get a clear window depending on how coated your glass is. If there are some unusually difficult spots let the solution sit and react.
Also take your ammonia and water soaked paper towel and dunk it in the ashes in the bottom of the stove. Using this to scour the glass as the ash will aid in the chemical cleaning of the glass. Wipe clean with a dry cloth.




2. Use a Commercial Cleaner- There are a variety of products on the market that can accomplish the same as ammonia. Follow directions of whatever you choose, and make sure they do not void your stoves warranty.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Read the permanent and a temporary labels on the stove before buying it.

All certified woodstoves offered for sale will have a permanent and a temporary label indicating that the stoves are EPA-certified. The temporary label will also contain information that you will find useful when shopping for a new stove.

The label will tell you generally how clean and how efficient each woodstove is. However, because regulations require all new stoves to burn much cleaner and more efficiently than unregulated woodstoves, there should not be significant differences in efficiency and emissions performance among the certified catalytic models. This holds true for the non-catalytic models as well.



The label will also indicate which stoves are equipped with catalytic combustors.



Perhaps the most important information on the label you will need when selecting a stove is the heat output range. Use this information to help select the right size stove for the space you will be heating.

Sample temporary labels:
  



Monday, March 19, 2018

All catalytic combustors must be EPA approved


  FIRECAT COMBUSTORS



Catalytic combustors are manufactured by Applied Ceramics to a stove manufacturer's specifications. 

Each combustor requires a certain cell density to allow the stove a proper flow rate of the gases.

They are designed to allow proper residence time for the smoke and gases to burn before exiting the stove.

They are also sized based on the firebox volume.

All catalytic combustors must be EPA approved to assure the consumer they not only work, but will meet EPA emission regulations.

Once again, Applied Ceramics Inc. manufactures and stocks a complete line of all catalytic combustors.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Remember, don't wait until the last minute.

Now is probably the best time to check the combustor in your catalytic wood burning appliance.  As the weather gets warmer and your stove is not in use, it may be a good idea to do your maintenance before the next burning season.  Don't wait until the last minute.

Remember the combustor is your heat source, not the firebox temperature. 

If you need a replacement combustor, I strongly recommend calling the friendly sales people at Applied Ceramics Inc.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Spring is just around the corner.




It may be a good idea to start thinking about your stove's maintenance before the next burning season. Don't wait until it gets cold outside this coming fall.   


It's important to remember the combustor in your catalytic appliance is your heat source, not the firebox temperature. If it is necessary to replace the combustor, I strongly recommend calling the friendly sales people at Applied Ceramics Inc. 
They will give you expert advice and the best prices you can find anywhere.

The right catalytic combustor is very important to the wood burning appliance's efficiency.  Applied Ceramics Inc. has them all.