Monday, October 15, 2018

What assurance do I have the catalytic combustor will last in my E.P.A. certified appliance?

You will be given a prorated limited lifetime warranty from Applied Ceramics which states, Applied Ceramics warrants to the consumer who purchases a Firecat Versagrid catalytic converter as a component in an E.P.A. certified solid fuel appliance, to replace at no charge to the consumer the Versagrid catalytic converter that ceases to function within three (3) years from the date of purchase by the original consumer, providing we receive a dated copy of the original bill of sale for the stove, along with the original Firecat catalytic converter. Applied Ceramics also offers special prorated prices on the converter for the 4th, 5th and 6th years of the stove's life if ever needed.  They couldn't make this offer, if they had doubts about the longevity of the unit.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

What makes todays woodburning appliances so clean burning?

Wood smoke is unburned fuel, some of which accumulates in your chimney as creosote while the remainder exits the stack as smoke. The key to reducing air pollution from woodstoves is to burn fuel more completely.

Three things make a stove clean burning:
a. How it is designed.
b. How it is installed.
c. How it is operated.

Many stove manufacturers use catalytic combustors to burn fuel more completely while others use a variety of design features such as baffles, secondary combustion chambers, and introduction of secondary air.

EPA-certified catalytic stoves offer up to 90 percent reduction of particulate matter over the older conventional model stoves. This is based on laboratory testing.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Questions often asked by catalytic appliance owners.

1.  Is it safe to burn painted wood in your fireplace or stove?

Answer:  That is a very bad idea!

Burning treated lumber, petroleum products,  painted wood, trash, and such, releases toxic chemicals into the atmosphere (including your home!), and could cause other damage, as well.

For example, a catalytic combustor in a wood stove can be destroyed by certain chemical agents found in these items.

Fireplaces and stoves aren't designed as incinerators, and it is neither safe nor environmentally sound to use them as such.

Stick with seasoned dried firewood for your heating needs. This way you will be protecting your health, and your neighbor’s health as well. 

2.  Should I burn wood with termites in it?

Answer:  I wouldn't choose it over nice dry clean wood.

Wood with termites in it is more likely to be either rotten or moist, having been outside for long enough to attract the critters.

As such, it will not be a good source of heat and will likely not burn well.

In addition, if you are storing termite riddled wood near your house (and I assume you do keep your firewood within easy reach of your fireplace or woodstove...) you are running the risk of introducing them to your house itself.... need I say more?

3.  Can I burn particle board in my catalytic stove?

Answer:  Not a good idea!

Particle board and press board have bonding agents that can poison the catalytic combustor over a period of time and cut back on the combustor's efficiency.   

4.  Can I use fire starters to get my fire going?

Answer:  I can only speak for the combustor in a catalytic appliance. Remember this, the by-pass is in the open position for 20 to 30 minutes when initially building a fire in the firebox.  This means nothing is going to the combustor but heat to light it off. When it's time to close the by-pass the fire starter should be completely used up and nothing harmful will be directed to or through the combustor. Check with the stove's manufacturer to be on the safe side. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Cycles of firing.

Don't expect perfectly steady heat output from the fire. Wood fires burn best in cycles. A cycle is the time between the ignition of a load from charcoal and the consumption of the load back to a coal bed.

Each cycle should provide between four and eight hours of heating, depending on how much wood was used and how much heat is needed.

Plan the firing cycles around your household routine. If someone is home to tend the fire, use a short firing cycle. If you must be away from the house during the day, use the extended firing cycle.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Smoke spillage.

A survey of households that use wood for heating showed that a large majority of users had experienced smoke spillage at least once. Smoke spillage can be reduced or eliminated through good system design and proper appliance operation.
The smell of wood smoke can be pleasant to some, but inside your home it’s a sign that the wood burning system is not functioning properly. The smoke contains harmful air pollutants which can be irritating or even dangerous in high concentrations. Properly designed, installed and operated wood burning systems do not spill smoke into the house.

There are three main reasons why some wood burning systems smoke:

1. Bad system design: There are design characteristics that can make a wood burning system more likely to spill smoke. Most of these characteristics result in low flue temperature and low draft. Outside wall chimneys and long flue assemblies before exhaust reach the chimney are just a couple.
2. Extreme negative pressure in the house: Energy efficiency practice and new building code rules are making our houses more and more air tight. This makes the house energy efficient, but also makes them sensitive to depressurization when air is exhausted from the house. Other exhaust appliances used in the house can cause extreme negative pressure in the house when they are operating.

3. Improper woodstove firing technique: When a wood fire is starved for air it smolders, producing a relatively cool, smoky fire. The temperatures throughout the system are low. During a smoldering fire, the chimney will not be receiving the hot gas it needs to produce strong draft.

And remember, when refueling first open the by-pass before opening the firebox door.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Rekindling a fire from hot coals.

To rekindle a fire from hot coals, rake the charcoal towards the front of the firebox where the combustion air enters. Place the pieces of wood on and behind the coals. Open the air intakes fully and leave them open until the pieces of wood are well-charred.

This illustration shows the arrangement of logs for an extended fire.

Allow the fire to burn with bright turbulent flames until the wood is burning well. This should take about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces and the moisture content of the wood. If the appliance is catalytic, this will also be ample time for the catalytic combustor to light-off. Now the by-pass can be closed and the air intakes regulated for a nice even burning fire.

Be sure to read the stove's operating manual for complete instructions.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Catalytic combustor cleaning methods.

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.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Read the stove's labels before buying.

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:

Monday, September 17, 2018

Why buy a catalytic appliance?

Today’s catalytic wood burning

appliances deliver 72% or better

heating efficiency.

This means that 72% of the energy

available in the wood is delivered to

the surrounding living area.
In addition to the 72% heating

efficiency, catalytic wood burning

appliances built today will…

- they reduce air pollution by up to


- they reduce creosote build-up. (up to

90% reduction)

- they generate up to 50% more useful

heat from each log.

(this means longer burns per load)

- and they save the consumer up to

1/3 on their fuel cost.
(that's one less cord out of every  


It is important to keep the catalytic

combustor in top working condition

for the best efficiency of your wood

burning appliance.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Fueling techniques.

Techniques for fueling may vary, but shown

 below are the two most common.

Small pieces of wood arranged loosely in a crisscross pattern burn quickly because the combustion air can reach all pieces at once.

Larger pieces placed compactly burn slowly
because there are fewer spaces where the air
can penetrate the load.

Never add just one or two pieces of wood to a

fire.  Three or more pieces are needed to
form a sheltered pocket of glowing coals that reflect heat toward each other and sustain the fire.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Check list for better wood burning efficiency.

-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.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Need a replacement catalytic combustor?

If you need a replacement combustor, I strongly recommend calling the friendly sales people at Applied Ceramics Inc. 

 Applied Ceramics has the size you need and can get it to you fast.

Use the information on my home page and contact them today.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Catalytic combustors must be EPA approved.

Catalytic combustors are manufactured by Applied Ceramics 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.