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BK Chinook Catalyst issues

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Hass, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Hass

    Hass Minister of Fire

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    The first year (2011-2012), the Chinook was AMAZING. I made many posts here, as it was the first year it was available and I was eager to post the incredible results to everyone.

    The Second year (2012-2013) The results were ok. I had some issues with it every now and then, but I attributed it to saying my chimney cap kept getting clogged. So I swept often, and my brain pretended the problems went away after each sweeping. I didn't post here very much because it started to get frustrating. At the end of the year I just gave up on it, and let it sit until now.

    Since it's getting cold and I never cleaned the stove at the end of last season, I decided there's no time like the present to give this old pain the the rump a cleaning and get it ready before the cats and wife freeze to death.

    I scrape most of the creosote off the walls, behind the head shield.. Then I decide I'd better check out the catalyst. It looked dirty, but I poked my head all the way up in there and saw something I didn't think was quite right.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That's the top of the catalyst. Anyone have any thoughts on this? I'm going to email it over to BK to see what they suggest I do and what happened. But I figured I'd post it up on hearth to see if anyone has had a similar situation.

    This BK was used 2 seasons... 1 1/2-2 cord mainly Pine/Catalpa mix the first season, 1-1/2 cord Ash last season. All about 15-16% MC.

    edit;

    Just as a refresher, I have a 792sq/ft house so this stove spent probably 85-90% of it's time burning on 1. It only went on 3 for reloads, and it would sit on 1.5-2 to warm up the house (and clean the cat) for about 15-30 minutes if it was chilly in here because I forgot to load it. Ten it would go back down to 1 for a day or two.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013

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  2. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Looks to me like the gasket is gone. I think this might be an issue with the stainless steel cats expanding/contracting more than ceramic does, eventually mashing the interam gasket to pieces. Please let us know what Chris has to say about it.
    jeff_t likes this.
  3. Hass

    Hass Minister of Fire

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    When I bought the stove I was impressed with the fact that BK actually has an account here on Hearth.

    Not to mention his response time is incredible!

    He said that he had not seen this happen before, and it is covered 100% under warranty.


    I'm excited to have the stove back to the way it was the first season... I may actually look forward to throwing a load of wood in again :)
    Backwoods Savage and jeff_t like this.
  4. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    No need to scrape all the creo out of the firebox and from behind the heatshields. The cat chamber, and flue, yes, clean those out.

    So the chinook has a steel cat eh?
  5. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Curious to hear how it works out for you. Nice to hear BK's customer service is still so helpful (considering you can't even CONTACT Lopi-just a dealer-bleh) You put in your stove about the same time we put in ours and it made me wish BK was in stove shops so I would have heard of them. If they were and had the sirocco out I probably would have gotten that, hearing you talk about the burn times on yours in a pretty identical climate and house size! Still have one eye ball on the sirocco 20, although the Lopi is still doing well I would LOVE the thermostatic control in shoulder season!! (I take it "1" is the low setting?) As I recall this is your only heat source, right?
  6. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    I don't know how active the t-stat is on the Sirocco but on the king it's really slow to open or close. Seems to do a better job closing then opening though.
  7. Hass

    Hass Minister of Fire

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    Yep, it's my only heat source. Since the stove stays at a constant temp except for reloading, the house is generally all the same temp in every room. When I forget to reload it the temp drops down quite a bit, then I just reload it up when I get home and then it heats up quick and evens back out in a few hours... Hearth.com was how I actually found out about Blaze King. I was going to get a Napoleon stove originally and I came here to find out more info about it. Then I heard people raving about these Blaze King stoves on here... So I did my research and figured the new Chinook would be perfect.

    1 Is as low as it goes (thermostat closed) 1.75-2.25 is normal operating range (I would get ROASTED out in no time if I ran it like this for more than 45-60 minutes), 3 is full open for reloads.

    The thermostat is actually more than just a thermostat... I don't know how to explain it. On 1, my house is generally 72-74 degrees regardless of outside temp. The burn time varies with outside temp however. The stove burns hotter on 1 on very cold days (10 degrees) than on warmer (40 degree) days. I think it's because the draft is stronger when it's colder. Also, on windy days when the wind would normally cut through your house, this also increases the draft on the chimney increase stove temp. Negating the effect the wind has on cooling the house down. I don't know how exactly to explain it, but it's seriously like a house thermostat with a temperature setting. Last season it was a little bit more tricky and sometimes the stove would even go out with half a load in it. But now that we've found out the cause (I hope), I'm very excited once again for this burning season.

    I tried the BK dealer in Williamson outside of Rochester. They were the closest to me. They knew next to nothing about the stoves it seemed. I called and tried to get info, and he didn't even know BK sold a stove called the Chinook. Then I remembered a dealer on these forums out in Syracuse. So I begged and pleaded with him to sell me a stove. He said normally they don't sell to stoves outside of their sales area. But I pleaded saying I don't want to buy it from the ACE Hardware in Williamson because they don't know a darned thing about it. Meanwhile, the dealer in Syracuse actually had a Chinook on display and lit it up for me when I came out to visit and buy my stove. :) It started out pretty rough trying to buy one, but then ended up fantastic.
    People on these forums are so helpful, then you meet one from here in real life and it's just incredible how kind some people really are.

    As far as shoulder season up by us... I start burning when the day time highs are in the 50s to low 60s. Like I said before, the draft when it's in the 60s in much less so the stove is actually pretty cool but the catalyst is still active. Then as the outside temp drops, then stove will heat back up. I can usually load every other day when using Ash cordwood or even a little longer if I use scrap oak 4x4s.

    I don't really know much about the technical part of the stove... It's just what I experience when I'm using it and it's my screwed up logic ;) But it all makes sense in my head.

    I totally know what you mean about BK stoves not being in shops. I mention I have a Blaze King and people give you confused looks. Then to really throw them a curve ball I say it's a wood stove with a thermostat, catalyst, and I get 40+ hour burn times. People think I'm just playing lying to them then. I actually have pictures on my phone of what a burn looks like (Or doesn't look like, I mean). Most people tell me it's not a real stove because they don't see any flames, and that's why people get wood stoves. I must be an odd one then, since I chose function over looks.

    I ended up traveling ~200 miles one way to get mine and it was worth it 10x over.

    This turned out to be really long winded, sorry. ha!
    MarkinNC and jeff_t like this.
  8. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I agree on the self-regulating burn. It has little to do with a thermostat, IMO, and more a result of draft changing with weather conditions.
    rdust likes this.
  9. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    I concur.
    I have the t-stat cover off so I know for a fact it has more to do with outside temp and conditions then the t-stat.
    Now maybe his is diff.
    That said I would still buy this stove over again without hesitation.
    Heats a 2 story colonial(2500sqft) with no problem...built in 86.
    But get this I have no plywood on the house..nope just high r and siding..lol.
  10. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    hold on...are you saying your house has NO sheathing?? Holy moly. I can't believe that would pass code wise. We've got old school T&G planks on the original cottage and just horseboard on the addition, but NO sheathing?? Dang. Vinyl or aluminum siding??
  11. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    We have that big temp drop once we run low on coals too (this time of the year, if we fo a small load at about 9pm it really falls off around 5am). Of course our house wasn't really meant to be a house, so it's not really insulated like one, lol.

    We have two Lopi stoves in our old house so I was familiar with the common ones (Lopi, VC, etc) from researching those. I wanted an Endeavor in a serious way, so I never really researched this purchase (hangs head)-even though we switched to the Republic, we were happy with the two DV stoves so I didn't think to look for reviews on the Endeavor/Republic. I only found Hearth after we bought the stove, just randomly seeking other wood burners.

    I do enjoy the fire aspect of the stove though, so I don't know if I would really be happy with a BK. But for some reason I thought they still had a "secondary burn" aurora off the cat, like the tube stoves.

    Lol, much like the looks we get when saying most of the 25 or so cords of wood we have put up are pine. Because you know, you can't burn PINE-it'll burn your house down. We tell those people we have a "special stove" that is from out west that is designed to burn pine. It's not too far off, really, since Lopi is from an area where people seem to burn a lot of pine!

    I wish I had looked for a different stove shop, I HATE the one we dealt with-only we didn't have a problem until the day of delivery and by that point we had no other heat source and it was October. Of course the only other option would also have be a Thelin dealer and then I would have had to drool over those....Even though their wood burning version just doesn't have the burn time to be a sole heat source!
  12. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    A bit off topic I suppose, but building codes were relaxed around here a while back, due to several catstrophic storms that left building materials in short supply. Business was booming, and builders were whining. I know of a couple of developments around here where I would NEVER buy a house. This was a decade ago, not sure what was going on in the mid 80s.
  13. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Yep,no sheathing!
    2x6's that are insulated and high-r, dow board I think it is over those. Instead of the money going to plywood she put it into high-r.
    Vinyl siding over that. There are sway bars and a steel beam involved...plywood in corners the wife thinks also.
    She had the house built before we were married.
    It's a design that is used in Texas.
    We have never had a problem..not even drywall cracking.
    The house is 2500sg.ft. on 5 acres.
  14. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    No plywood here either, I believe it's homosote board on the outside..... but anyway, back to the original topic....

    Let us know how things turn out after BK helps you.
  15. Hass

    Hass Minister of Fire

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    Got the new one. It looks great. Took out the old one, cleaned up the stove inside. Swept the chimney again for good measure since it was very smoky with the old cat at times. The burn was very inconstant, and would go out at anything under 1.5. I just wanted to make sure I got a good fresh start.

    So I put the new one in, and the ENTIRE cat is glowing, not just a small portion of it. Not just a quarter of it for a few seconds then goes back out... but it's glowing steady.
    I got the old cat boxed up, and I'll send it out when the Fedex truck shows up at work tomorrow.

    Will update this again later, but so far the results are day and night. I'm surprised how much of a difference it makes. Here is a side by side of old and new. I would've taken better pictures but my battery died as I was taking them, ran out of power for flash. There's a nice little gap on the right side of the old one... you can see the cardboard it's sitting on.

    [​IMG]


    I was strolling around my photobucket album and found an old picture when I was getting some work done around the house... Everyone here loves stove pictures, yes? Everyone loves cats. cats love cats.

    [​IMG]
  16. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    It would be interesting to know if BK has seen this sagging issue before with the steel cats. Maybe they need a design change or just stick with ceramic?
  17. alforit

    alforit Feeling the Heat

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    Love that Chinook !
  18. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, the lack of feedback from the mfr's on problems with the steel cats has been, um. . .unsatisfying, to say the least.

    These are not the droids you're looking for. Stainless steel is infallible. Everything is covered under warranty. Move along.
    :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  19. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I don't know where BK gets there steel cats from but they kind a look like the old Woodstock steel cat that had some problems. Woodstock took charge, asked for feed back here and worked with Sud Chemie to improve the cat.
  20. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    I think it looks pretty much the same as what Woodstock uses. Sure, they collected a bunch of failed cats for testing, and replaced them under warranty, but I haven't heard one single word about the cause of the problem, just that the stainless cat is a newish technology under continuous improvement.
  21. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    . . .on further reflection, I did hear a word about the cause of the problem. That word was washcoat. We must've gotten a batch of cats that weren't coated properly, or the replacements were coated better. . .something like that. Doesn't explain why my stainless cat still works reasonably well when wrapped 1.5x rather than 1x with gasket material. Doesn't explain what happened to Haas' gasket, which appears to be MIA. . .might think that his stove just shipped without a gasket on the cat, but that doesn't explain why his stove worked fine at the beginning. . .mine did too, BTW.
  22. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I don't know, I was looking at the new cats on WS site and they are different than what I had. The new s/s cat is seperate layered steel plates instead of the old one piece wrapped and crushed into a square. It also has it's own s/s bracket so you don't need to use the old cast iron one with gaskets.

    I did swap out my old s/s cat with WS and exchanged a few emails with Tom but I never did push the issue to find out the problem, just thought they were busy and would take care of it and it looks look they did.
  23. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I too noticed the new cat with the integrated frame. I'd have it, but the one for the FV has been out of stock. Does this mean that you're ready to try a steel cat again? IIRC, you went back to ceramic. . .

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