Friday, September 22, 2017

Why a catalytic wood burning appliance? Reason one.

First reason, catalytic stoves are easier to operate than non-catalytic stoves.



A catalytic combustor begins to burn volatile materials in the exhaust stream at 500 degrees F.  Non-catalytic stoves do not begin to perform efficiently until secondary air is introduced to exhaust temperatures that are over 1000 degrees F.

This is a crucial difference for two reasons...
a. The hotter you have to get your fire before you can start operating efficiently, the more heat you send up the chimney.
b. Achieving temperatures of 1000 degrees in the firebox is not easy task for every homeowner.

Getting secondary light-off in a non-catalytic can be difficult for an experienced technician in a test lab, and is much more difficult for a homeowner using cordwood of varying moisture content and density. 

To achieve the advertised efficiency in a catalytic stove, all you have to do is close the catalytic by-pass damper when the exhaust stream approaches 500 degrees F.  This usually takes 30-35 minutes after kindling a fire, or 15-20 minutes after reloading.

The second reason will be in my next post.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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.
 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Air exchange in 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.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

It's important to understand the catalytic combustor in your wood burning appliance.

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.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Operating the wood burning appliance properly.

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.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

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.






 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Smoke can cause you problems.


Another good reason for using a catalytic wood burning appliance....

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).

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! 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.


 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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).




Friday, August 25, 2017

How can I tell if a woodstove is EPA-certified?


All certified woodstoves offered for sale will have a permanent and a temporary label indicating that the stoves are EPA-certified. The temporary label will also contain information that you will find useful when shopping for a new stove.

The label will tell you generally how clean and how efficient each woodstove is. However, because regulations require all new stoves to burn much cleaner and more efficiently than unregulated woodstoves, there should not be significant differences in efficiency and emissions performance among the certified catalytic models. This holds true for the non-catalytic models as well.


The label will also indicate which stoves are equipped with catalytic combustors.


Perhaps the most important information on the label you will need when selecting a stove is the heat output range. Use this information to help select the right size stove for the space you will be heating.

Sample temporary labels:
  


 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Why catalytic stoves are required to have lower emission limits?


It was best stated back in the 1988 September issue, of one of the industry's leading magazines... and I quote word for word from the article:
The article reads: The EPA is on record stating catalytics represent the "best demonstrated technology" the industry has today. In other words, it's the federal agency's policy that combustors are the best solution to the wood smoke problem.
The EPA points to the following factors:
-More than 60 manufacturers use combustors in their stove designs.
-Catalytics deteriorate, but the EPA figures consumers can expect to squeeze more than 10,000 hours out of the combustor.
The deterioration of combustors is an improvement point, because the agency compared the lifetime performance of catalyst and non-catalyst units.
They note that catalytics burn cleaner than non-cats during a stove’s early years.
However, the emissions put out by a catalytic stove increases as the combustor ages. Both types of units burn about as clean, when averaged over the lifetime of the stoves, according to the EPA.
(end of article)
This is why the EPA's Phase I and Phase II emission limits, on wood burning stoves, are set the way they are.
However, catalytic stove technology has came a long way since this article was written.
Catalytic stove designs have changed since 1988. The catalytic combustor is now well protected from firebox flames in all catalytic stove models.


I would like to add this comment:

I have talked to consumers over the years, that had catalytic units that held up for 10 to 15 years and 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 stove.
A few more related comments:
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 at a later date.
It was best stated back in the 1988 September issue, of one of the industry's leading magazines... and I quote word for word from the article:
The article reads: The EPA is on record stating catalytics represent the "best demonstrated technology" the industry has today. In other words, it's the federal agency's policy that combustors are the best solution to the wood smoke problem.
The EPA points to the following factors:
-More than 60 manufacturers use combustors in their stove designs.
-Catalytics deteriorate, but the EPA figures consumers can expect to squeeze more than 10,000 hours out of the combustor.
The deterioration of combustors is an improvement point, because the agency compared the lifetime performance of catalyst and non-catalyst units.
They note that catalytics burn cleaner than non-cats during a stove’s early years.
However, the emissions put out by a catalytic stove increases as the combustor ages. Both types of units burn about as clean, when averaged over the lifetime of the stoves, according to the EPA.
(end of article)
This is why the EPA's Phase I and Phase II emission limits, on wood burning stoves, are set the way they are.
However, catalytic stove technology has came a long way since this article was written.
Catalytic stove designs have changed since 1988. The catalytic combustor is now well protected from firebox flames in all catalytic stove models.


I would like to add this comment:

I have talked to consumers over the years, that had catalytic units that held up for 10 to 15 years and 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 stove.
A few more related comments:
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 at a later date.


 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Why does the U.S. EPA regulate woodstoves?


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 and watch for my future articles on "Buying an EPA-Certified Woodstove"

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