Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Using the correct replacement catalytic combustor

Catalytic combustors are manufactured 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.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Understanding how the catalytic combustor works in your appliance.

Normally, smoke will burn, at a temperature of 1000 F. or higher. Burning a stove this hot would require continuous intense fire and would require a higher wood consumption.

The answer to eliminate this is the catalytic combustor.

Wood smoke gases coming in contact with the catalyst, causes chemical changes to take place. This will then allow the smoke to ignite at temperatures around 500 F. or (260 C.)

This temperature is easily achieved in the firebox of a wood burning stove.
As the wood gases ignite and burn within the catalytic combustor, clean by-products of water vapor (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are emitted. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Don't wait until the last minute.

It may be a good idea to do your maintenance before the burning season begins again.  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.

Friday, June 9, 2017

More on chimney flues and proper maintenance

Chimney flues, whether metal or clay lined or made from brick or stone, must be properly maintained to prevent smoke damage, carbon monoxide poisoning or even a house fire. The interior of the chimney should be inspected to make sure it is unblocked and free of excessive creosote buildup. The exterior should be inspected for cracks and inadequate flashing. Check that the damper is open before starting a fire.

During periods of disuse, it isn't uncommon for creatures to set up a home in a chimney. Birds, squirrels, raccoons, bees and wasps are the most common critters found in chimneys and their nests can block air flow from a fireplace. This will make it more difficult to start a fire and more importantly, it may cause smoke to flow into your home instead of up the chimney.

A chimney cap will help to keep creatures out. Use of a spark arresting chimney cap (recommended) will also reduce the risk of a roof fire from floating embers.

Creosote buildup is another important thing to inspect for. Burning wood, especially green wood, results in the accumulation of creosote, a tar-like substance, inside the chimney. Creosote is flammable, and an excess build up can lead to a chimney fire. A build-up of 1/8 inch or more increases the risk of a chimney fire and should be removed.

Inspection of the chimney is best done from the bottom and the top. If you aren't comfortable climbing up on your roof to look down your chimney, you should consider hiring a professional. If after inspecting your chimney, you find that it requires service, this is work best left to a professional.
Use a mirror or lay down newspaper to look up the chimney. Use a powerful flashlight to light your view. When inspecting, look for blockages, cracks, damage and creosote build-up.

Inspect the mortar joints in brick or stone chimneys. Gaps can allow water in, which can lead to extensive damage and it can allow carbon monoxide to flow into a room in portions adjacent to living areas.

If you discover a nest in the chimney, you can try to scare away creatures by wadding up a single piece of paper and burn it in the fireplace. The smoke will be minimal but may be enough drive out any lodgers. You may be able to dislodge a blockage using a piece of lightweight PVC pipe. Be sure to use a long enough piece that it won't become lost in the chimney if you drop it. Only attempt to clear a blockage if you can do so safely and have a stable position to work from. Creosote clean-up should only be done by a professional.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

For best efficiency and longest life

Never burn foreign matter in your stove, 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.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Common causes for poor draft

Here are some suggestions to check if you're having problems with poor draft....

1.   Top of the chimney is too low, not extending above the top of a pitched roof or surrounding trees.

2.   Dirt, creosote or soot lodged in corners or along flue walls.

3.   Loose mortar or cracks in brickwork causing draft leaks.

4.   Spaces between liner tiles.

5.   Dislodged bricks of tiles wedged in the chimney.

6.   Connecting stove pipe projects too far into the chimney.

7.   Chimney clean-out door to loose.

8.   Leaks around chimney connector pipe.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Preventing Down Drafts

Now might be a good time to check your chimney if you have been having problems with down drafts. 
Chimney height must be at least 3 feet higher than the roof at the point of exit.  With pitched roofs, the top of the chimney must be at least 2 feet higher than any point within 10 feet to prevent down drafts and fires from sparking.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The FireCat™ Combustor Video Series©

These topics can be viewed by clicking on the links found on the right hand side of this page under the title The FireCat™ Combustor Video Series©.

  •  Introduction to ACI & Catalytic Woodstoves©
  •  Fundamentals of Catalytic Woodstoves©
  •  Troubleshooting Woodstoves Catalytic Combustors©
  •  Troubleshooting Catalytic Woodstove Systems©
  •  Catalytic Woodstoves & Conclusions©

Monday, May 22, 2017

Understanding the catalytic combustor is very important.

Understanding the catalytic combustor is as important as understanding how to operate the stove.
In other words, if the stove is operated correctly, than the catalytic combustor will operate correctly as well.

Every stove purchased by the consumer comes with an operating manual explaining how to operate the appliance.  It is very important that the consumer read this information before building the first fire in their new appliance.

Every replacement FIRECAT catalytic combustor sold by Applied Ceramics to the consumer includes a brochure explaining everything they should know about the combustor.

Applied Ceramics has a website with combustor information to help the consumer with any questions.  I also have a four segment video posted on this blog site’s home page which contains information about catalytic combustors.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How can you tell the catalytic combustor is working as it should?....

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.

Monday, May 15, 2017

If you feel your catalytic appliance 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.
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.
all movable stove parts to be sure they are working freely.
-Make sure
the combustor has not fallen out of its holding device.
the combustor for plugged cells. Follow cleaning instructions.
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.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Advantages of using a catalytic wood burning appliance.

  Five good reasons are....

   1. Reduces air pollution by up to 90%.

   2. Generates up to 50% more useful heat from each log.

  3. Longer burns.

  4. Saves up to 1/3 on fuel cost.

  5. Reduces Creosote build up. (Up to 90% reduction)