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Calling In The Warranty On Woodstock Steel Cat

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Todd, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Just wanted to let everyone know I received my new ceramic cat from Woodstock on Wednesday and sent the green colored steel cat back to them for testing. The new cat is definitely more active than the old steel, hotter temps for longer. I'm sure like most other new cats whether steel or ceramic it will be hypersensitive for the first week or so then settle in for the long haul but it's nice to see it light off so quickly and stove top up to where they should be.

    I hope Woodstock comes back soon with some testing info on these steel cats before this thread dies but if it does I will revive it.

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  2. HollowHill

    HollowHill Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, Todd, we'd sure be interested to hear what you find out. I also have a new cat, SS, and sent my old one back. Will update this thread if I hear anything back on mine. The new one sure has behaved differently than my old one so far (about a week of use). Lights off easily and temps climb nicely, although that is leveling out, maybe due to it getting broken in.
  3. HollowHill

    HollowHill Minister of Fire

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    Terry, sorry, I misunderstood :red: I'll be most interested to hear how you make out. I'm a newbie with no experience, so I really appreciate hearing about everyone's experiences. I'm not getting the burn times or heating my house as well as the more experienced people are. Probably due to my inexperience, so everything I can glean from others is of tremendous help.
  4. scotsman

    scotsman Feeling the Heat

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    HH--No apology needed. I'm new to this, too. I AM glad I had the FV experience as a basis for comparison, but my overall experience is limited. The people on Hearth have been a gold mine of useful information (as well as good-natured "harassment" for my errors) and I am constantly picking up information that I can use to gain the most from the stove. I am confident that the PH will ultimately produce as much and probably more heat than our FV did. It's just a matter of time and whether I can avoid "reverse operation" syndrome in the meantime!! :roll:
  5. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Terry: You certainly have a "Texas sized" sense of humor to put up with us. I look forward to your posts, and I can hear your Texas accent clearly.

    I just put my new SS cat in this morning. It lit right off at stovetop 250 - the best part is there are no longer any black clouds coming from the flue at these lower stovetop temps. I knew something was very wrong one day when the stovetop temp was stuck at 300F, and I could see huge dark clouds of smoke outside my window when the cat was engaged. If that's not the sign of a stalled cat, I don't know what is.

    Regarding something HH said about low stovetop temps with the Progress, I know Ciccio is consistently getting stovetop temps over 500F, even over 600F, but he is engaging at 400F stovetop still using his original cat.I just have a hard time forcing myself to let the stove get that hot before engaging, I feel like I am wasting wood to heat the stove, but his reported burn times are still excellent. Time will tell how well this new cat works, but so far it lit off good, with no black smoke. I just wish it were colder out to really test it out - it's not loaded even half way today.
  6. 3fordasho

    3fordasho Feeling the Heat

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    [quote author="fire_man" date="I just put my new SS cat in this morning. It lit right off at stovetop 250 - the best part is there are no longer any black clouds coming from the flue at these lower stovetop temps. I knew something was very wrong one day when the stovetop temp was stuck at 300F, and I could see huge dark clouds of smoke outside my window when the cat was engaged. If that's not the sign of a stalled cat, I don't know what is.

    [/quote]


    Sounds exactly like my PH experience recently and this morning. Reloaded at 225f stove top with 4-5 medium sized splits, after 20mns or so and 250f+ top temps I engaged the cat and cut back the draft to just slightly open. Had to leave for 45mn-1 hour, came back and the stove is only at 300F and smoking out the stack. At this point I had to leave for work so I left things as they were as the flame action in the box was fairly active and the flue temp was at 400f. As far as I know it was still smoking when I left but hard to tell if it was smoke or steam in the early morning light. I was suprised by the low 300F stove top temp a good hour after a reload.

    My recent experience with overnight burns: load the stove about 75% full at 9pm, work the draft down to just cracked above open after the wood is well charred. (I would close the draft all the way but that results in smoke smell in the house which I would like to avoid). at 5am the stove has been only at 200-225F stove top temp and enough coals to restart but I would have had more in the fireview, (as well as higher top temps in the fireview) Now the house is plenty warm, probably warmer then with the fireview but outside temps are higher also. Wood supply is very well seasoned elm and ash, same wood the fireview was fed just before I removed it to install the PH. I do recall some of the first burns resulted in a good 300f top temp at the 8 hr mark but that seems to have tapered quickly to what I have now.

    The stove was installed on Feb 1st and has gone cold a couple times due to the cat screens falling out or coming out of position (at least I seem to have that solved) or I've been burning the fireview in the backroom only because of warm temps.

    Now don't get me wrong I love lots of things about the PH, but I really would like to see longer burns, (I'd be happy to have 300F top temps and lots of hot coals after 8 hrs), solve the smoke smell in the house with draft closed, and fix the stalling cat issue. FWIW I've notice the same SS cat issue in the fireview - easy to stall, sometimes must bypass to up flue temps and re-engage.
  7. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    I also definitely noticed reduced stovetop temperatures after a 9 hour overnight burn relative to when the SS cat was brand new. The first few Progress fires resulted in 300F + stovetop temps 9 hours after loading 3/4 full. After the first Month or so, morning stovetop temps were dropping close to 200F. I have notified WS that I question if the SS cat is remaining "active" on the downward part of the burn cycle for as long as it should.There are plenty of overnight coals left for the cat to feed on, but the older cat seemed asleep.
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    The Progress is indeed a different stove but I see no good reason why you can't run the stove top up to 600+ degrees. That thing would surely throw some serious heat for sure but I can't see where it would do any harm. But in the end, it all depends upon how much heat you need. If you get enough heat with a 500 degree stove, then by all means run it at that temperature. But what about those below zero nights with a howling wind? I'd think you would indeed then run that stove at 600 degrees or higher. That stove is built to take those temperatures.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Tony, you shocked me with that statement (in bold). For sure you will have to run the stove a bit longer to get that higher temperature but I'm betting in the end you would be talking only a few minutes difference in burn time; not even enough to notice if it weren't timed. In addition, if the stove does operate better using those temperatures for engaging, then I could see no good reason to not at least try it and if it works, that's Great! That is what I would do. It is sort of like owning a work horse. Sometimes you have to let these stoves work and then they will perform better.
  10. scotsman

    scotsman Feeling the Heat

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    Well, Tony, it's like this--in my family y'had t'be able to take some sandpaperin' without haulin' off and gittin' mad (aka "flyin' off th' handle), 'cause in our bunch, if they didn't LIKE you, they'd leave y'plumb alone! So, when ever'thin' is saucered and blowed, y'better have uh sense o' humor or y'won't survive long hereabouts. Furthermore, we take th' attitude that you're a friend 'til y'prove y'ain't, not th'other way round! As for the "accent"? I really don't have one! ;-)

    After examining the cat/housing relationship, I decided to try this:

    The black 1/8" gasket that Ron wanted me to put on the top and sides was put under the cat and up the sides to the larger gap on each side, where it was tucked in. Then the 1/4" gasket that retains the shield was used on the top and both sides, into the same gaps and tucked in. Both got tucked in about 1/4" into the housing all the way around and completely sealed.

    The logic: With the cat properly seated against the cat gasket, there was a small gap at the bottom between the cat and the housing. It appeared that tucking the gasket only on the top would have forced the cat downward into this gap and more away from its back gasket seal on the top. Since there was quite a bit of wiggle room along the topside, lifting the cat just a touch to put the black gasket in was no challenge. Then with the cat properly aligned from the bottom support the black gasket provided, I pressed down on the cat and installed the shield gasket into the top gap and tucked it into both sides as was done with the black one. Once the top gasket was installed, I carefully pushed the cat back into the gasket (by hand) to make sure it was in contact all around the perimeter. It seemed to be properly aligned and seated in the back gasket all around.

    Then, after re-installing the shield, I used 3/8" gasket material in the shield retaining groove.

    So, the new cat is now installed and essentially double sealed tightly into its housing.

    I ran this all by Ron and he approved. So, now I'm lighting the stove this afternoon to get it ready for the test tonight. I intend to burn two loads and then check to see if the cat is still seated. So, with blow-by eliminated, it should be all cat performance. At the moment we're a buck and a quarter in and I've got flue temp of 425 and top temp of 350 at 25% intake and 100% open damper--cat engaged. So, now we wait . . .

    You got any thoughts on the procedure? I'm just tryin' it. Might work, might not, but don't see why not at this point.
  11. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    What a great thread!

    I thought I should chime in with my current Progress experiences. I've been burning for 2 months and I burned somewhere shy of a cord.

    My cat is definately not as sensitive as it was when new. It also isn't as sensitive as it was after a month. So far, though I think it's leveled off. And I'm still really liking it's performance. I generally engage at 300 stove top instead of 250 like I had been and the cat always lights and doesn't stall. I usually reload between 200 and 250.

    Hollow Hill's post regarding stove top temps is right on. I can easily get the top temps to 550+ with a 3/4 load if I turn it low early and let the cat do the work. I can load it full and leave the draft a quarter open to where the firebox look's like hell itself (but a very beautiful looking kind of hell), and the top might peak at 520. I get exponentally more heat from the stove in the second scenario. I think the slanted baffle really sends the heat right through the large window creating some fast and strong heat transfer.

    My burn times are still fantastic. With a 3/4 or more load I can easily have top temps still at 300 or higher after 9 hours. Then, the stove will stay between 250 and 300 at least 3 more hours. We usually burn one load like that at night and then two small loads during the day. But if we're both out during the day, two loads a day works fine. Granted, the outside temps have also been very steady and not exactly frigid for quite some time.

    I'm really curious when we start to get the info from all the cat testing. When the cat is working, this really is one heck of a stove.
  12. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    My new SS car arrived yesterday. When I took the old one out of the holder (remember Fireview here) all this metallic powder fell out all over the place. It looked like gold metalflake. I packed up the old one to return it to WS and included the old gasket material with some of that powder on it. The cat is sitting right side up.

    Attached Files:

  13. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I had some of that metallic powder as well but is was more silver looking. The gasket pretty much disintegrated in my hands when I pulled the cat out. I wonder if this gasket should be replaced more often?
  14. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    My gasket held somewhat together, but it had been replaced around New Year's, I think. I stuffed some of the pieces in with the new gasket to keep it tight.
  15. jdonna

    jdonna Member

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    I noticed the same thing as well. Seems like it is the ferrous part of the gasket coming off of it.
  16. jdonna

    jdonna Member

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  17. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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  18. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    So: I read that, at Condor's site. They claim their "Steelcat" combuster cuts fly ash, improves flow of flue gasses and reduces cleaning intervals. Also, lights off 100 degrees lower than ceramic. Sort of the opposite of what a lot of people are experiencing with the Fireview and PH ss cats. But it would appear the metallic flaking observed is expected and simply mica, not part of catalyst but of gasket. Seems people should be ordering replacement expanding gaskets with their catalysts. After heated the expanding gaskets are fragile when disturbed. Since the ss cat seems to be requiring frequent cleaning, it may require frequent expanding gasket replacement. I'd guess when people experience metal flaking on cleaning their combusters, as some have, perhaps need to replace gasket? Isn't Woodstock's cat made by a different company? Does the PH have this expanding gasket? If so, I don't think it is where one can get at it to replace it. Maybe a part of what is happening is fragility of such a cat which leads to crumbling when handled for cleaning, which leads to not tight fit and air flow between side and honeycomb upon subsequent use which leads to less efficient burning....IF there is even such a gasket in the cat. IF that is occurring, simply gasketing between the cat housing and the cat won't stop all cat bypass airflow....AND , IF that is happening, it becomes really important to minimize the number of times cats need to be removed for cleaning... Fireview or PH..... Just some thoughts. Don't even know if the PH has such a gasket.
  19. scotsman

    scotsman Feeling the Heat

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    Gasket in PH looks like regular stuff, like door gasket or top gasket. Cat slides in and seats against gasket which matches perimeter of open side of cat. Would not be hard to replace at all. Don't know what expanding gasket is, but this looks like "normal" braided, white, 3/8" gasket material. It appears that all by-pass could be stopped in PH even if there was no gasket at the back, by sliding gasket into and around cat's metal housing (sides). Housing is a sleeve about 1/16 - 1/8 larger than outside cat dimensions, with just enough perimeter space to put gasket material in and work in with putty knife for a very tight fit. That's what I did two days ago and it appears to have eliminated any possibility of blow-by.
  20. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    What people are referring to is known as interam gasket which is a high temp gasket which contains mica that expands and seals the cat once heated. My old CDW used it around the cat and basically has to be replaced once it's been heated and the cat has been removed..

    Ray
  21. bjkjoseph

    bjkjoseph Member

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    . They are bought from a cat company and S/S cats are actually more expensive than the ceramic cats. The reason they have gone to S/S cats is because ceramic cats are sensitive to thermal shock and can crack or crumble which this is false.....a new ceramic cat for the fireview cost me over 200 bucks....ss is only 125
  22. jdonna

    jdonna Member

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    When I got some time, I will have to post what my SS cat looked like when it was pulled out.

    I think it would not hurt to have Interam gasket on hand, the outside foil of my SS was slightly warped, which I believe the expansion and contraction of the stainless steel cat was hard on the expanding gasket. I think the ceramic cats have little to no expansion during its burn cycle. I have the ceramic cat burning now and am pleased to see just a slight whsip of steam and 500 degree stove top temps. Looks good for a cat that was the original from 2001.

    I wonder if shiming the catholders inside dimension down before installing a SS cat would be a benefit to a tighter fit?

    But for now, I am running the Ceramic cat with the old scoop!
  23. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    bjk, the cats are $125 if bought through Woodstock. More $ elsewhere.
  24. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I think the fragility of the interam gasket with the "expansive" SS is an issue. In the Fireview, the cat and gasket are housed in an iron frame. The whole assembly lifts out for cleaning, so it's not like the gasket really gets disturbed. I haven't opened the frame since installing mine, but there are loose pieces of something rattling around in it. . .gasket = my guess. The SS cat may be the best thing since sliced bread, but that doesn't matter much if you can't keep it gasketed. Doh!
  25. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Thought I'd give a little update on what I've found switching all the cats and scoops around. I'm sticking with the s/s scoop and ceramic cat setup. Seems like any fine ash that can get through that small mesh screen will either settle on top of the scoop or go right through the larger celled ceramic cat. The old scoop gives me a more even burn and seems to breath better but also lets more ash into the cat.

    When I had the s/s scoop and steel cat I still had more fly ash build up on the cat because of the smaller cells. The old scoop and s/s cat combo builds up fly ash even quicker. I think if Woodstock went with a larger screened scoop the cat would just plug up sooner and require more maintenance.

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