Are Catalytic Wood Burners Worth the Extra Money ?

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smokeyCityTeacher
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Post Thu. Nov. 26, 2009 1:05 pm

I've been reading claims made by wood cat stoves of 40 hour low burn times, efficiency above 80% and consistent low stack temp -- i.e. heat goes to the house not the chimney.

The question is - how much better is this than a good "air-tight" non-cat that gets 70%+ and has burn times of 5 - 8 hours on low burn ?

The cats with the top specs are as much as $1000 or more expensive than the good non cats.
Seems I could buy a lot of seasoned split hardwood for $1000.

Reminds me of buying a Prius. Yeah, you save a ton of money on gas but you pay that money up front (and a lot of it) up front instead of paying as you go over the life of the car. Thus you need to keep that car a long time to get your $$ back.

Anyone have a catalytic wood burner? Anyone have both ?
Coal is producing 50% of our energy without dependence on foreign oil and creating millions of jobs....
Let's tell our government that we don't want this industry bankrupted!
...Instead, how about we spend a few billion researching technology to burn it even cleaner!

Burning nut the 30-95, cord wood in the 30-NC and wood scraps in the potbelly.
Currently restoring a Chubby and dreaming of a Leisure Line Pocono Top Vent

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009to090
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Post Thu. Nov. 26, 2009 2:39 pm

My FireplaceXtrordinaire has a Catalytic Combustor, and not sure if it creates more BTUs by post-burning the gases not burned in the burn chamber. Unfortunately, after 10 years, the honeycomb pattern of the combustor has crumbled to pieces. Probably from the excessive heat generated. The cost for a new one is $500, so I'm not going to be replacing it anytime soon. The chimney is still staying shiney-clean, no build-up at all, so just stick with seasoned hardwood and you should be fine.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

rberq
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Post Thu. Nov. 26, 2009 7:15 pm

I had a Russo with a catalytic combuster, prior to the coal stove. I owned it for 18 years but burned it only about 10. I felt it reduced creosote significantly, but certainly not 100 percent. For reasons I don't understand, there was significant buildup of creosote and soot in the stovepipe close to the stove, less in the chimney.

At a moderate burn rate, the probe thermometer just after the combuster would register 1400 to 1600 degrees. When pushed it could reach 2100 degrees or higher, but that's not good for the catalyst. I don't recall the stack temperatures being low -- they were in the low to middle portion of the "good" range imprinted on the thermometer.

As to 40 hour burn times (was that a misprint?) I don't know if that's possible. All I can say is, mine could not be set to burn low enough for warmer weather, and in cold weather it would seldom go through the night unless I got up and fed it at 3 am. The smoke was not especially clean -- it would stink up the area pretty bad in 40-degree weather when there was rain or fog that kept the smoke from dispersing.

From what I have been told about good non-cat stoves, I would say the catalyst is not worth the dollars and has little or no advantage. Having burned coal for several years now, I would never go back to wood, catalyst or no, even if you gave me the wood for nothing.
Simple answers for simple minds.


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rockwood
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Post Thu. Nov. 26, 2009 8:01 pm

smokeyCityTeacher wrote:I've been reading claims made by wood cat stoves of 40 hour low burn times
That's not possible with any average sized stove, even if burning the best hardwood.
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." -Goethe

smokeyCityTeacher
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 30-95
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Post Thu. Nov. 26, 2009 11:51 pm

40 hr burn time is not a misprint. Its a claim made by Blaze King stoves. I also have my doubts anyone is going to reproduce those times.
Coal is producing 50% of our energy without dependence on foreign oil and creating millions of jobs....
Let's tell our government that we don't want this industry bankrupted!
...Instead, how about we spend a few billion researching technology to burn it even cleaner!

Burning nut the 30-95, cord wood in the 30-NC and wood scraps in the potbelly.
Currently restoring a Chubby and dreaming of a Leisure Line Pocono Top Vent

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coaledsweat
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Post Fri. Nov. 27, 2009 8:59 am

smokeyCityTeacher wrote:I've been reading claims made by wood cat stoves of 40 hour low burn times, efficiency above 80% and consistent low stack temp -- i.e. heat goes to the house not the chimney.
Could you provide a link? I'm calling horse puckey on the 40 hour burn time and the 80%. 80% is difficult for most boilers, a wood stove with those numbers is an "untruth".
Nothing is impossible for people who don't have to do it themselves.


rberq
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Post Fri. Nov. 27, 2009 9:20 am

coaledsweat wrote:Could you provide a link?
Here's a link, and that's what they claim for model KEJ 1107. I don't believe it either.
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Simple answers for simple minds.

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coaledsweat
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Post Fri. Nov. 27, 2009 10:22 am

I see how they do it now, by using their real world numbers.

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Nothing is impossible for people who don't have to do it themselves.

smokeyCityTeacher
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Posts: 768
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 30-95
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Post Sun. Nov. 29, 2009 5:05 pm

coaledsweat wrote:
smokeyCityTeacher wrote:I've been reading claims made by wood cat stoves of 40 hour low burn times, efficiency above 80% and consistent low stack temp -- i.e. heat goes to the house not the chimney.
Could you provide a link? I'm calling horse puckey on the 40 hour burn time and the 80%. 80% is difficult for most boilers, a wood stove with those numbers is an "untruth".
Here's the link with the claim of a 40 hr burn:
**Broken Link(s) Removed**
Coal is producing 50% of our energy without dependence on foreign oil and creating millions of jobs....
Let's tell our government that we don't want this industry bankrupted!
...Instead, how about we spend a few billion researching technology to burn it even cleaner!

Burning nut the 30-95, cord wood in the 30-NC and wood scraps in the potbelly.
Currently restoring a Chubby and dreaming of a Leisure Line Pocono Top Vent

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