The FIRECAT brand catalytic combustors made by Applied
Ceramics Inc. come in many different shapes and sizes to fit every catalytic
stove ever built. They are made of high temperature, honeycomb patterned
ceramic substrate.They are coated with
special noble metals. The honeycomb pattern gives the combustor surface area
for the catalytic coatings that are applied.The noble metals used are palladium and/or platinum.
Wood smoke gases coming in contact with the combustor will cause a
chemical change to take place. This will then allow smoke to ignite at
temperatures around 500 degrees F. (260 degrees C.)This temperature is easily achieved in the
firebox of a wood burning stove.As the
wood gases ignite and burn within the combustor, clean by-products of water
vapor and carbon dioxide are emitted.
As a rule of thumb, when starting a fire in a cold stove, the combustor
must have 500 o F. of temperature focused on it for 20 to 30 minutes to achieve
The by-pass should be in the open position during this period of time.
This will allow the stove, the catalytic combustor and the fuel to stabilize at
a proper operating temperature.
Even though temperature can reach 600 degrees F. within a few minutes after the
fire has started, if the fire is turned down too soon to a low burning
condition (using the primary air adjustment), 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
During the refueling stage, if the stove’s firebox has an internal temperature
below 500 o F., it is best to fire the stove up for 10 to 15 minutes. (By-pass and primary air adjustment open again)
This will provide increased temperature and proper amounts of volatile gases
for the catalyst to operate efficiently.
However, when refueling a hot stove that has an internal temperature above 500
o F., no re-firing is necessary.
Refer to the manufacturer's stove operating manual for complete details.
To get started perhaps we should first get an understanding of a
catalytic wood burning appliance and its components. Note that only the bypass damper and the adjustable primary airintake will require adjustments during operation of the stove.
First of all allow me to wish you a very Happy New Year and thank you
for visiting my blog. Twice each week throughout the year, I will
post information related to catalytic combustors and catalytic
the information I share will make your wood burning experiences trouble free
and save you money.
Please note, the information I provide is not a comprehensive
guide to the operation of any specific catalytic wood burning appliance. I
would suggest you consult your local fireplace dealer for specific operating
instructions or the operating manual supplied by the stove manufacturer.
If you have any questions about the Firecat catalytic combustor in your wood burning appliance, please contact the friendly sales department at Applied Ceramics Inc.
Question...Is it all right to 'hot fire' a catalytic stove?
Answer...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 not? Because the catalyst is reducing the particulate, or creosote build up, therefore the need to hot fire for this purpose is eliminated.
The news is full of reports about the need to reduce the production of the so-called greenhouse gases. Fuel burning is the main cause of the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. When the atmospheric concentration increases, these gases, mainly carbon dioxide, cause the average global temperature to rise with potentially disastrous results.
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.
Burning seasoned dried wood in an EPA approved catalytic appliance, provides us with clean air to breathe.
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.