Friday, December 2, 2016

Tip for operating a catalytic appliance.

Most effective way to operate a catalytic appliance.

The most effective way of operating a catalytic appliance is by utilizing temperature monitors. Ideally, two sensing positions will give all the information needed to tell when to engage the combustor, how well the combustor is operating, when it's time to refuel and when the combustor is no longer operational.

The upstream temperature gauge will monitor combustor inlet conditions.
The second temperature gauge should be mounted on the combustor's exhaust side, about a 1/4" off the surface and centered on the unit. This will monitor the catalytic combustion process. If only one temperature sensor is used, it should be the one that reads the exhaust temperature of the catalytic combustor.
Thermocouplings and thermometers of various designs are available for this purpose

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How can you tell if the 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.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Chimney flues

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.

Successful catalytic woodstove burning starts with knowing proper operating methods.

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 catalytic 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 FIRECAT replacement catalytic combustor sold to the consumer by Applied Ceramics 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. 
Applied Ceramics also has a courteous staff of service personnel to help consumers with any catalytic combustor questions.
Applied Ceramics has a four segment video posted on this blog site’s home page, which contains information about catalytic combustors.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


A message from all of us at Applied Ceramics......

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Prevent efficiency loss

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.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The air exchange in your house.

Where does the warm air in your house go?

Like I mentioned in the previous posting, some air exchange is needed in your home. However, it might be wise to consider the following tips:

1.  Check your ceiling insulation.  When hot air rises much of it is lost through the ceiling and roof.  Lack of insulation in walls and floors will cause heat loss as well.

2.  Caulk around windows, doors, pipes, and other opening in your house.

3.  Weather-strip all window and door openings. 

4.  Close the damper tightly on your wood burning appliance when not in use.

5.  Close off unused rooms if you don't use a central heating system.  Don't waste the heat......
Instead save some money by following these tips.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Keeping the warm air inside your home.

Warm air is always escaping from your house, and is replaced by the cold air from outdoors.

The typical house has one to two air exchanges per hour, and more on windy/colder days. If your house needs more insulation or has a lot of air leaks, you are paying to heat the outdoors. If the air outside is smoky, soon the air inside will be too.

However, your house should not be air tight.  Some air exchange is necessary because of things like exhaust fans, dryers, water heaters, furnaces, wood fires and etc. 

In my next posting, I will offer some suggestions to minimize excess air exchange.

Friday, November 4, 2016

History of the catalytic combustor in wood burning appliances.

It was in the early 1980’s that the catalytic combustor was found to be an ideal solution aimed at answering consumer, manufacturing and environmental problems.
When you stop and think about it, the catalytic combustor was actually a “green product before “green” became popular.

It was in the late 1980’s, that the U.S. EPA began to set standards for stove manufacturers to follow and a new era in wood burning began.

Monday, October 31, 2016

EPA regulations on woodstove smoke.

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.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


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). These 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!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Stove emissions

Standards for particulate matter emissions under the EPA’s Phase II Program.

Unless exempted under §60.530 of the U.S. EPA Federal Register, each wood burning appliance manufactured on or after July 1, 1990, or sold at retail on or after July 1, 1992, shall comply with the following particulate matter emission limits as determined by the test methods and procedures in §60.534 of the U.S. EPA Federal Register:

A wood burning stove equipped with a catalytic combustor shall not discharge into the atmosphere any gases which contain particulate matter in excess of a weighted average of 4.1 g/hr (0.009 lb/hr).

A wood burning stove not equipped with a catalytic combustor shall not discharge into the atmosphere any gases which contain particulate matter in excess of a weighted average of 7.5 g/hr or (0.017 lb/hr).