burning without a combuster

steve reynolds Posted By steve reynolds, Sep 18, 2013 at 6:05 PM

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  1. steve reynolds

    steve reynolds
    New Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    i have a blazeking royal heir (the big one) i forget the model, i know there was two. anyway. i bought the unit used last year and i had a creosote problem where i had to clean pipes at least once a month. a week or so ago i took the combuster out and it was absolutely thrashed! now i know why my pipes needed cleaned once a month.

    anyway money is tight here and i am wondering if i can burn this stove without the combuster for a couple .. months. at least till i can afford one.

    i know what the combuster would do if i had a new one. but.. here is the 100 dollar question.
    what is the difference in burning without one and burning with a totally thrashed one like i did last year? is it a fire hazzard without it?

    i know it is best to burn with the proper equipment but i might need to go a month or two without it.. please be honest. is it a big hazzard?

    wouldnt it actually be better to burn wothout it as compared to a totally thrashed one?
  2. Heatsource

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 19, 2011
    Northern CA
    I'd call blazeking directly and ask them.
    they told me running a Princess w/o the cat installed was ok.
  3. kuma.jason


    Jun 11, 2007
    Rathdrum, ID
    I've gotten this question before from our own Kuma Sequoia (cat stove) users. The answer is yes... temporarily. It's no different than burning your stove with the bypass open. If Dave says he's gotten the OK on a princess before, it's not likely that another BK cat stove will be different. Probably worth a call anyway for 100% peace of mind.
    begreen likes this.
  4. rdust

    Minister of Fire

    Feb 9, 2009
    As others have said it should be ok but check with BK. With the Bypass closed the exhaust path is the same cat or not. The stove will obviously not be very efficient(think smoke dragon) and will likely soot up the pipes/chimney just as bad as last year.
  5. Nick Mystic

    Nick Mystic
    Minister of Fire

    Feb 12, 2013
    Western North Carolina
    When we bought our house ten years ago it came with a Woodstock Classic in the basement and an insert in the upstairs living room. The original owner told me he heated the entire 2300 sq. ft. home with just the Woodstock Classic. When I looked at the stove I saw that the catalytic cumbustor bypass lever wasn't working and the bypass was always open. I asked about this and the guy said he just burned it without engaging the cat and had done it like that for years. Well, after we bought the place I worked on the stove and got the cat working again. However, when I inspected the 8"x11" clay tile flue that the Woodstock used it was perfectly clean! It looked like it had never been burned in. I know he burned the stove really hot because he melted a big chunk of the top plate in the stove right away!
  6. daleeper

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 18, 2006
    NC MO
    I don't think you will hurt the stove any more or less with the cat out of it.

    I believe this model stove was prone to having the top of the firebox warp anyway, and needs to be checked over before ordering a cat. Check to see that the bypass plate sets over the hole well enough to force the air through the cat. If there is a large amount of gaps between the plate and the hole, then the cat is probably not going to work very well anyway.

    I'm guessing the plugged combustor is only a portion of your creosote problem. Sounds like your wood is not as dry as it needs to be. Saying that to say that even a new combustor will plug fast if the wood is still green, so when you do get the new cat bought, keep an eye on it.

    Is the old cat broken up? Were you able to remove it without tearing it up? If so, I would try soaking it per instructions found on the combustor sites on cleaning the cat, and try to salvage it. After soaking, if it softens the crud up, then use some of those small pipe cleaners to clean out the holes in the cat, get a new gasket and try it out. Would cost very little to try other than time, and the cat may very well still work if you can just get it cleaned up. If the crud is still hard after soaking, then most likely any attempt at removing it will also take the coating off as well.
  7. begreen

    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    South Puget Sound, WA
    There are a lot of folks burning incorrectly that will respond - "I've been doing it this way for years and it works for me". That doesn't make it right. I have a relative that is one of them. Burned for years in a Vigilant with the bypass left open. It ate a ton of wood. When I looked at it the bypass was warped badly.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
    Minister of Fire

    Feb 14, 2007

    Yes, you can burn without the combuster but won't get as much heat so you will be using more wood.

    No Steve, I do not think you know why the "pipes" needed cleaned once a month. That was not a fault of the "combuster" at all. The fault is the fuel you are attempting to burn. If you could explain what you are trying to burn you would no doubt then understand why you had to clean so often. If your wood was good dry wood, that would not have produced the creosote nor would it have plugged the "combuster."

    So the question is, "What kind of wood were you burning and how was it dried?"
  9. rdust

    Minister of Fire

    Feb 9, 2009
    You could also have issues if you smolder the fire even if the wood is good. With a BK he could be turning it down to smolder mode, doing that with a bad cat with or without good wood will cause trouble. Of course it's probably the wood since that's always a big part of the problem. :)
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