Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why a FIRECAT catalytic combustor is the best you can buy.


Over the years, I have talked to thousands of consumers that have had FIRECAT catalytic combustors lasting for up to 10 years or more and the units 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 appliance.

Why:

 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 in later postings.

 2. FIRECAT combustors are coated with noble metals that act as the catalyst. They never go away or wear out. Only ageing, abuse or improper operating of the stove will stop them from doing their job.

 3. FIRECAT combustors can save the stove owner a lot of money over the years.

 Consider fuel costs alone. (as much as 1 less cord out of every 3)

By burning low, they will save on fuel costs and best of all with no sacrifice of BTU output.

The FIRECAT combustor will produce temperatures that are at least twice that of the firebox. Therefore, they don't need high flames in the firebox to produce heat to keep warm. In other words, the catalytic combustor is your heat source.

When looking to buy a new wood burning stove, check out the catalytic stove's for their efficiency and do some comparing before you buy.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Shop around before you buy.


As a consumer myself, I don't like being ripped off nor do I like a vendor giving me a lot of hype about their product. I write this article because this is exactly what I see happening to you when your shopping for a replacement catalytic combustor for your wood burning stove. Trust me, I know because I have sold catalytic combustors for 20 years to stove manufacturers, dealers, and consumers. I also know what they should sell for at reasonable prices.

I'm not talking about quality of the product, I strictly talking price. All catalytic combustors for wood burning appliances are EPA approved and have basically the same noble metal coatings. Therefore, I am not promoting any manufactures product. I just want you to beware of the so called "sale price" and other hype you see when trying to buy a replacement catalytic combustor for your wood burning appliance.

Here are just a few examples that I ran across on-line:

1. I noticed on e-Bay a seller offering combustors for a so called "special price". They say, the retail price is $163.79 and are telling the consumers they will save $45.69. I take this to mean the consumer pays $118.10. However, the manufacturer sells the same product and combustor size for $109.51.

I ask, is this a marketing tactic, hype or rip off?

2. I found a dealer advertising a big combustor sale. "Prices slashed".

So what's wrong with that?

As I studied this "big sale", I noticed they advertised only by stove model and not by combustor size. Since many combustors are the same size and interchangeable with other stoves and models, I feel the combustors should be sold for the same price.

These combustors are sold to dealers by part number and sizes, not by the stove they are used in. In other words the same size combustor should be sold for the same price. Sale or no sale.

What this store was doing, was putting special prices on their home page to lure you in, but offering deals only on combustors for stove models that don't sell and probably never will.

In fact, the stove companies these combustors were once used in, have been out of business for over 20 years.

The catch is, combustors of the same size and used in other stoves still made today, were priced at their regular price.

Don't be fooled, shop and compare before you buy. If you have a story to tell or need advise on buying a catalytic combustor for you stove, please let me know. Email- tpcork@bellsouth.net or call Applied Ceramics for honest answers.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Important information about the Catalytic Combustor


Most catalytic combustors used in manufacturing catalytic stoves today are made of a high temperature, honeycomb patterned ceramic substrate.

They are coated with special noble metals like palladium and/or platinum.

The honeycomb pattern gives the combustor surface area for the catalytic coatings.

Note:  I would like to point out that cell density (16 or 25 cpsi) plus the combustor dimensions are both very important to the stove’s operation.  The stove was designed and certified for best efficiency using a catalytic combustor having these features.

1. Open frontal area of the combustor is designed to receive the flow rate of the gases coming from the firebox.

 2. The combustor’s size and cell density will control the residence time needed for the gases to burn within the combustor.

 Always replace the stove’s combustor, when needed, with the original OEM combustor size and cell density for best efficiency and performance of the stove.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Check the combustor in your stove now.


Now is the best time of the year to get ready for the next burning season. Don't put it off until Fall.  It's important to know if the combustor will be ready.


 

Note: Some stoves are equipped with a combustor view port, it should be noted that the combustor usually glows during the first 20 to 35% of the burn cycle when the catalyst is receiving the most smoke and burning at a high temperature. The combustor temperature can reach 1000 F. and produce a glow. However, the combustor does not have to glow to be working. As less smoke is present to burn, the combustor temperature drops and the glow will cease. Therefore, it is suggest this not be a method of determining whether or not the combustor is working.

-The best method is the use of thermo couplings and following the manufacturer’s instructions.

This method will read the inlet and exhaust temperatures of the combustor.

-A more simple method is to visually observe the exhaust coming out of the chimney. When the by-pass is in the closed position and the catalytic combustor is in good operating condition, there should be no dark smoke coming out of the chimney.

-If the catalytic combustor is not working properly, the stove’s operator will notice an increase in fuel usage.

-The stove’s operator will also notice an increase build-up of creosote in the system.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Helpful hints for better burning.




What to do when the combustor is not working properly …

-Check your fuel supply for moisture content. Fuel should be seasoned dried wood. Rain and snow are considered moisture and will produce damp smoke and steam. Both harmful to your combustor, especially when refueling and the combustor is burning hot.

 -Check the flue and chimney, making sure the stove’s exhaust system is not blocked nor has any obstructions.

-Make sure the stove is getting the proper draft.

-Check all movable stove parts to be sure they are working freely.

-Make sure the combustor has not fallen out of its holding device.

-Check the combustor for plugged cells. Follow cleaning instructions.

-Check if the combustor has been in the stove for more than six burning seasons, it might be time to replace it.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper firing. Different manufacturers and stove models require different procedures.

As a rule of thumb, the catalytic combustor needs a minimum of 500 F. temperature focused on it for a period of 20 to 30 minutes to achieve light-off.  This is done with the bypass in the open position.

 Nothing but heat will be going to the combustor at this stage. The catalyst will receive the heat it needs in this period of time.




 
 
 
















What to do when the combustor is not working properly …

-Check your fuel supply for moisture content. Fuel should be seasoned dried wood. Rain and snow are considered moisture and will produce damp smoke and steam. Both harmful to your combustor, especially when refueling and the combustor is burning hot.


-Make sure the stove is getting the proper draft.

-Check all movable stove parts to be sure they are working freely.

-Make sure the combustor has not fallen out of its holding device.

-Check the combustor for plugged cells. Follow cleaning instructions.

-Check if the combustor has been in the stove for more than six burning
 seasons, it might be time to replace it.

-Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper firing. Different manufacturers and stove models require different procedures.




Monday, February 27, 2017

It's a proven fact...




 

Today’s catalytic wood burning appliances deliver 72% or better heating efficiency.

This means that 72% of the energy available in the wood is delivered to the surrounding living area.

 
In addition to the 72% heating efficiency, catalytic wood burning appliances built today will…

- they reduce air pollution by up to 90%

- they reduce creosote build-up. (up to 90% reduction)

- they generate up to 50% more useful heat from each log.

(this means longer burns per load)

- and they save the consumer up to 1/3 on their fuel cost.
 (that's one less cord out of every three)

 

Remember:

It is important to keep the catalytic combustor in top working condition for the best efficiency of your wood burning appliance.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Keeping your catalytic combustor healthy.





 


Never burn foreign matter such as…

garbage,

painted wood,

large amounts of colored paper,

cardboard,

rubber,

plastic,

paneling with glue,

oily products and so on.

Burning these materials will gradually reduce the efficiency of the catalyst.

“Burn only seasoned dried wood”

All catalytic combustors used in EPA certified Phase II stoves have a life expectancy of at least, 10,000 burning hours, when used according to the stove's operating manual. It could be said, that a catalytic combustor’s life is really based on a number of things....

-Operating the stove properly.... (Not burning with firebox door open or perhaps closing the by-pass to soon)

-Proper maintenance habits to both stove and combustor... (Simple things like checking the firebox door gasket)

-Burning proper fuel in the appliance, (This means burning seasoned dried wood only- no foreign matter that could poison the combustor)

-Using a Certified Phase II stove for home heating and not an older stove design. (most stoves built today are designed well and protect the combustor from the firebox flames, the older pre-phase I stoves didn't)