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Bad Cat or Insufficient Draft (Blaze King)?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Badger, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Badger

    Badger New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
    54
    Loc:
    Central Minnesota
    Hey Guys,

    Well thanks to your help I am up and burning with my used 2002 Princess. It is burning, but I'm not where I would expect it to be. It is dark out when I do my burns so I can't see much smoke, although if I stand in just the right location I can definitely see smoke or water vapor coming out of the chimney. Also, if I stand down wind I can smell a strong smoke odor. Also, if I turn the thermostat down below 1.75 the cat stalls out.

    I did the dollar bill test on the bypass and feel that is sealing good. Also, the wood I am burning is 13% Aspen. I do feel that I have ruled out the wood/ bypass culprits.

    Sooo, either of the next options are expensive and I don't want to make the wrong choice.

    Option #1: Draft. I had the local Blaze King dealer do the install thinking he would know all the tricks.. BIG mistake. I came home to a vertical rise out of the stoke that is ONLY 36" even though I told them I wanted to build a raised hearth next year. Even worse, they went straight up, into a 90 degree Elbow, with a 24" horizontal run into a 45 degree elbow that runs another foot before it enters the thimble. Outside doesn't look to bad, a 16 foot chimney... although I'm not certain I have enough rise above the roof line... it's close, but I'm not sure.

    Now... I am concerned about the design of my chimney, but I have no smoke leakage at start up. She seems to take right off and with in 20 minutes there is whistling from the double wall stove pipe did I forget to mention that earlier.

    Option #2: Cat. I did take the cat out of the stove before I installed and other than some red dust that was packed in about 4 or 5 cells everything look good to me. I used the air compressor to blow off the cat and a 16 penny nail (I know, I know) to carefully free up the clogged cells. During start up, I flip the bypass door right as it hits the active zone and it takes off as long as the thermostat is on 3. When I turn it down to 1 it stalls.

    If you where in my position, would you start screwing around with the chimney or replace the cat?

    Thanks in ADVANCE!

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  2. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    3,058
    Loc:
    Rochester,Ny.
    I know nothing about aspen.
    That said I'm still thinking the cat is on the way out.
    It may look ok but the precious metals that make her work well will go away after awhile...I hear after 6 seasons it's really down hill from there.
    Do you know how old the cat is and if the stove was used a lot ..like in 24/7?
  3. Badger

    Badger New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
    54
    Loc:
    Central Minnesota
    No idea how much the stove was used... I bought it from a contractor is central Wisconsin off of Craigslist. Apparently, it used to be in the cabin of an old Brave's reliever, Whitman or something like that.

    It appeared that the door/ glass gaskets were new, but the bypass gasket was a crusty piece of junk. I scrapped it all out as dust. There were no fibers left. I guess that speaks louder than a testimonial though.
  4. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Rochester,Ny.
    Spend the money on a new cat. I bet you will be surprised.
  5. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    Central Mass
    Sounds like the cats on its way ouit, only way to tell for sure is to buy a new one and put it in, check em out here

    http://www.firecatcombustors.com/category-s/1209.htm

    I bought mine there and it slid right in and works great, good price too, they often have sales, I should have bought an extra last year.
  6. Badger

    Badger New Member

    Joined:
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    54
    Loc:
    Central Minnesota
    Thanks weatherguy. Just noticed, they do have a sale on Ebay, $60 off. Unfortunately, I can only get one right now. Even with that I'll have to ask for forgiveness from the finance committee tomorrow after she opens the e-mail.
  7. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    SE MI
    You have a 90, then a 45, then another 90 (tee), then 16' vertical, correct? That's gonna be tough.

    Got a Firecat for my sister's stove. The first one arrived broken. It was replaced, no questions. Slid right in, though I have no idea how it works. I was going to get the chimney in on Sunday, but somebody forgot to order a ceiling support...
  8. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Central Va
    Air compressor is a NO-NO with cats.
    They say it will blow the catalyst coating off of the ceramic/stainless steel substrate.
    +1 for a new cat.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  9. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Your draft doesn't sound optimal but I agree with others that it sounds like you need a new cat. Also agree with Den, keep away from compressed air, a low pressure air can is ok.
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    So when you remove and replace the cat you are supposed to use a new gasket. Did you use a new gasket around the cat?

    I have eliminated cat stalls by running the cat probe past the 500 degree tick well into the active range before engaging the cat and then leaving the stat in position #3 for ten minutes after the engagement. Then move to 2, wait 5 minutes, then to 1.5 for cruise. You can't just spin the stat down. The cat probe really shoots up as I lower the stat setting near the beginning of the burn.

    If you can get the cat good and hot once, you may be able to burn it clean. Then there's the hot bath cleaning procedure to try and rescue the cat that the owner's manual describes.

    So the cat is ten years old. That'll take many of the 9 lives out right there.
  11. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    When you buy ther cat it comes already wrapped in new gasket, just insert and burn, it comes with tape to hold the gasket on, leave the tape on as it will burn off pretty quick.
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    In the original post, Badger said he removed the cat once and then reinstalled it. Doing so without a gasket and with questionable draft might be the reason for the failure to ignite.
  13. Badger

    Badger New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Central Minnesota
    Thanks for all the response.

    I did remove the cat once and used 20-30psi air to blow out the cat. When I re-installed it I did use a new gasket.

    **Think positive thoughts** Oh well, when I blew the crud out at least I increased the value of my work bench. Anyone interested in purchasing a precatalyzed work bench? I bet it will burn real good and the contamination will only enhance the burn of your cat.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Badger, I agree with others; get a new cat. Also the draft has to be weak with that setup. You might also check to see if that horizontal section is level or now. If level, that is bad. You need at least 1/4" rise per foot of horizontal. This means you need 1/2" rise for minimum. Nothing says you can not exceed the minimum. We have around 1/2" rise per foot in ours.

    On the air, you can purchase some of that canned air like is used for cleaning keyboards as that doesn't have too strong of air.

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