Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What is a wood stove or wood heater by defination?

Definition of a Wood stove or Wood heater…

Wood heater means an enclosed, wood burning appliance capable of and intended for space heating or domestic water heating that meets all of the following criteria:
An air-to-fuel ratio in the combustion chamber averaging less than 35-to-1 as determined by the test procedure performed at an accredited laboratory, like Omni.

A usable firebox volume of less than 0.57 cubic meters (20 cubic feet);

A minimum burn rate of less than 5 kg/hr (11 lb/hr) as determined by the test procedure prescribed in §60.534 of the U.S. EPA Federal Register and performed at an accredited laboratory;

A maximum weight of 800 kg (1,760 lb). In determining the weight of an appliance for these purposes, fixtures and devices that are normally sold separately, such as flue pipe, chimney and masonry components that are not an integral part of the appliance or heat distribution ducting, shall not be included.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Installation of a new EPA-certified Catalytic Stove

Improper installation of your woodstove can result in a house fire or cause greater pollution.
If a stove isn't installed properly, it can also affect the draft of the stove. Proper draft is very important in reducing pollution and maintaining high efficiency. Before having your stove installed, be sure to check with local authorities regarding building codes and permits, and notify your fire insurance company.

Below are a few tips that address the importance of proper installation:

1. By using a certified installer, they can determine the proper draft of your stove, make sure all the seals are tight, and ensure that your stove is installed with all safety measures necessary.

2. They will be able to make sure proper flue size and installation is being used.

3. They will make sure that the draft system seals are as tight as possible to prevent smoke from leaking into your house and to contribute to good draft.

Contact your local certified wood stove installer for complete details.

Again, this is very important for your safety and comfort

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How to achieve catalytic combustor light-off and maintain catalytic burning conditions.

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

When initially starting a cold stove, a medium to high firing rate must be maintained for 20 to 30 minutes. 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.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Why is "flame Impingement" bad for the catalyst?

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.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Should you "Hot Fire" 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.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Can an EPA-certified Phase II catalytic stove save consumers 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.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How does burning wood differs from gas and oil?

The news is full of reports about the need to reduce the production of the so-called greenhouse gases.

When their atmospheric concentration increases, these gases, mainly carbon dioxide, cause the average global temperature to rise with potentially disastrous results.

Fuel burning is the main cause of the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Wood, however, differs from the fossil fuels such as oil and gas because it is a renewable fuel.

As a tree grows, it absorbs carbon dioxide from the air and stores it in the wood as carbon. This carbon makes up about half of the weight of wood.

When wood is burned, carbon dioxide is released again to the atmosphere. The same amount of carbon dioxide would be released if the tree died and were left to rot on the forest floor. Our forests can be a perpetual source of fuel, provided they are cared for and managed properly.

Friday, July 21, 2017

What happens when wood burns?

1. Evaporation of water
2. The emission of smoke
3. The charcoal phase

Evaporation of water:
Up to half the weight of a freshly cut log is water. After proper seasoning the water content is reduced to about 20 percent. As the wood is heated in the firebox, this water boils off, consuming heat energy in the process. The wetter the wood, the more heat energy is consumed.

That is why wet firewood hisses and sizzles and is hard to burn, while properly seasoned wood ignites and burns easily.

Re-fueling with wet or unseasoned wood in a catalytic stove will send moist smoke to the catalytic combustor and cause the combustor to stop working. It will cause the stove to struggle and not operate properly. In addition re-fueling with wet or unseasoned wood and operating the stove with the by-pass closed, can cause damage to the catalytic combustor.

The emission of smoke:
As the wood heats up above the boiling point of water, it starts to smoke. The smoke is visible result of the decomposition of the solid wood as it vaporizes into a cloud of combustible gases and tar droplets.

The smoke will burn if the temperature is high enough and oxygen is present. When the smoke burns, it produces the bright red flames that are characteristic of wood combustion.

If smoke does not burn in the firebox, it will exit the appliance and into the chimney where it will either condense forming creosote deposits or be expelled as air pollution. unburned smoke represents an efficiency loss because it contains a large part of the total energy in the wood.

However, catalytic stoves with the use of a catalytic combustor, burns this smoke before it is expelled as air pollution and burns it as a fuel to produce heat that can be 2-3 times hotter than the firebox temperature. This also gives a higher efficiency out of the stove.

At the same time, the catalytic combustor will burn up to 90% of the creosote contained in the smoke.

The charcoal phase:
As the fire progresses and most of the gases and tars have vaporized out of the wood, charcoal remains. Charcoal is almost 100% carbon and burns with a red glow and very little flame or smoke. Charcoal is a good fuel that burns easily and cleanly when enough oxygen is present.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Smoke and your health.

Smoke may smell good, but it's not good for you. If you are healthy, you are not usually at major risk from smoke. Still, it's a good idea to avoid breathing smoke if you can help it.

Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles (also called particulate matter or PM).

microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis. Fine particles also can aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases—and are linked to premature deaths in people with these chronic conditions.

Some people are more susceptible than others:
If you have heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart failure, angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or asthma, you may experience health effects earlier and at lower smoke levels than healthy people.
Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, possibly because they are more likely to have chronic heart or lung diseases than younger people.
Children also are more susceptible to smoke for several reasons: their respiratory systems are still developing; they breathe more air (and air pollution) per pound of body weight than adults; and they're more likely to be active outdoors.
How to tell if smoke is affecting you: Smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, a scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, headaches, stinging eyes, or a runny nose. If you have heart or lung disease, smoke might make your symptoms worse.

Protect yourself! It's important to limit your exposure to smoke—especially if you may be susceptible. Follow the guidelines we have provided in this Web site for using your
wood stove and fireplace efficiently and safely.

For additional information on the health effects of wood smoke, visit

Also, the
State of Washington's Department of Ecology has published a useful booklet entitled, Health Effects of Wood Smoke (PDF)


Friday, July 14, 2017

If you think the combustor not operating properly, do this.

-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.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cleaning the door glass on your stove.

Methods for cleaning the door glass on your stove. 
  (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.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Methods for cleaning the catalytic combustor if necessary.

If it becomes necessary to clean the combustor, below are three recommended methods.

Normally the catalytic combustor requires little or no maintenance because it generates such high temperatures, it is basically self-cleaning. However, should the combustor become masked with soot or creosote, it is possible to burn the accumulation off by opening the bypass and building a hot fire. Once the hot fire is created, close the bypass halfway and burn for 30 to 60 minutes with the bypass left in this position.

Never use cleaning solvents to clean the combustor. It would be wise to check and clean the combustor, if necessary, before each burning season and inspect the flue system for any signs of creosote buildup.

A clean flue helps prevent chimney flue fires.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

What is the best method to determine if the catalytic combustor is working?

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 suggested that this is not a method of determining whether or whether 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.