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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. pinewoodburner

    pinewoodburner Feeling the Heat

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    You can go back to the ceramic cat from Applied Ceramics, $79 for the Fireview and $92 for the Keystone if you did not like the SS cat. I don't know how their warranty is and if they are as easy to work with as Woodstock. It is just another option all the Woodstock owners have.

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  2. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, but you have to buy 2 ea, so double that price and you also need to purchase the gasket.
  3. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    My experience has been completely different with the PH versus Fireview. I get much more heat from the PH, burning at a lower and more consistent temperature. One way or another I am getting greater efficeincy, as I get more heat from the same amount and species of wood. As pointed out by others, this stove has greater surface area, larger window, greater mass. Maybe as well as putting a lot more heat out the window it can store and radiate a lot more heat through the soapstone...perhaps conserving heat that previously went up the chimney? My house was chilly before, is comfortable now. Firebox is larger than Fireview, but I am not yet taking advantage of that. My wood is all cut to 16 inch for the Fireview. With 20 inch splits this stoive should put out a monster amount of heat, even at low burn temperatures.
  4. Buck1200

    Buck1200 Member

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    Though this cat situation is leaving me feeling a bit cranky, the stove is still pretty amazing in comparison to the Hearthstone it replaced. That was a smaller stove, but we're burning the same or less wood (warm winter aside) and only firing twice a day at the most, where we used to fire 4 times a day.

    What I'm finding now is that I cannot do the 'dark window' cat burns at all without prompting a cat stall. Just tonight I had a dark firebox after the first hour with a peak of 450 on the top stone and a nice red patch on the wood in the firebox indicating a good draft. But slowly I started to realize that the red patch was getting dimmer. And then just now I see that the stove top has dropped to 380. Went outside and sure enough, that trail out of the chimney is too long and lazy to be steam. Cat stall. So, I've opened the air and am letting the firebox get hot again in hopes that it will stay so once I shut it down a second time. I haven't decided if this is getting worse by the day or this is just the new normal.
  5. WarmInIowa

    WarmInIowa Member

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    You all have had the PH longer than me, should be interesting to see what happens. I was told my WS to expect the steel cat to be overy active for the first couple days and then it would settle into a "normal", which is has now. At first, with the air lever closed all the way, I had a lot of flame. Right now, I've been running a nice CAT fire, its' been completely black, you wouldn't know there was a fire inside except the stove is making noises and the top temp is 480, so it's cranking out good heat.

    Let's keep posting on this so we can help WS figure this out or ask them to do more testing if needed.
  6. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    I'm interested.

    There's a 201 for sale near me. I called Woodstock to see what year it was made (SN 5956 is apparently too old to be in their database), and they told me it would be $125 for a SS cat. Are ceramic cats still available for these older FVs? I'm going to assume the cat is past it's prime since it is an older stove. Stove is going for $600. Adding $200 to get two new ceramic cats will bring it to $800. Not bad for a FV, but kinda high for a stove that is at least 15 years old according to WS (their computer database goes back to 1996).

    Woodstock seems to have had a run of minor complaints posted on this board this season. It's a pity, because they are a small company that really does care about their products and their customers. I'm sure they'll figure this out and won't dodge the problem.

    On another note, I don't agree with some posts I've been reading that they were hasty in releasing their new stove. If anything, it was us burners who kept pushing them. Reminds me of all the wonder drugs currently in trial. Folks have a problem understanding why the miracle "cure" for their cancer that they read about in a Google news search won't be available to them until after they are dead. Then it gets rushed to market for "humanitarian" reasons, and the same people want to sue BP after the drug cures their disease but causes kidney failure after the fact. Like drug development, R&D is a slow process. Let's be patient next time and let them get it right before they start shipping.
  7. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    Haven't posted in a while - so just tuning-in.

    FWIW, we've been burning 24/7 since mid September with the SS cat in my Keystone and it's great. No fear of thermal shock, no cracks or crumbling, no smoke out the chimney.

    I would buy another one in a heartbeat.

    Bill
  8. chipsoflyin

    chipsoflyin Member

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    they have got this stove right, this has got to be the easiest stove to operate ive ever owned, load it up, let it rip, neck it down, forget it. a cat probe makes this process to easy, able to tell when cat stalls. condor makes a digital probe ive been using for a month and a half, wire holds up good no sign of burnt insulation.
  9. jackofalltrades

    jackofalltrades Member

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    I am glad to see this thread. I have a new SS cat in my Fireview. I seldom see it glowing and if it does it never glows more than half way across the face of it. I have to work really hard to get temps over 500 and I have two year dried white oak. I do burn some bigger splits, but I am thinking the cat may be the biggest part of my problem. It is just now a year old, so I am going to watch it the rest of this season and see what it does and go from there.
  10. pinewoodburner

    pinewoodburner Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks Todd for starting this post. It is interesting to some of the issues with the SS cat. It seems like the SS cat has some advantages, the question is will they last as long as the ceramic cat, it the ceramic cat is not abused.
  11. geoxman

    geoxman Feeling the Heat

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    I stumbled across this thread yesterday and it is interesting! My stove FA-288CL had a perfect ceramic cat in it when I bought it, but I bought a SS from woodstock for main use and I kept the ceramic for a backup. I have noticed it gets clogged easily and when it does I rinse it with water and blow it dry. After cleaning the catalyst it ignites easily and cruises between 1500 and 1000 with ease. Cleaning every week was getting to be a PITA and from reading this thread I decided to put the ceramic in yesterday afternoon.
    The ceramic does not ignite at the lower temps but I am getting higher stove front temps, 500-600, for longer durations than with the SS cat? I can only measure the front and cat temp, 1000-1400, on my stove.
    I am not a newb to cats, 20 plus years with the Defiant/Encore, but this is odd. The wood is the same as well as the conditions and this has me stumped??
    The burn time is significantly longer and hotter with the ceramic and I do not see how a catalyst could have that much of an impact on my stove. I have both and I will experiment over the next week or so and see how it goes. The front temperature difference is quite puzzling, but I will play with it. good luck

    Edit..

    For those with the SS. Have you had better results after rinsing or do you just vacuum? I have tried both but after rinsing it reacts much quicker.
  12. 3fordasho

    3fordasho Feeling the Heat

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    I never had much luck with the ceramic cats, had to use the warranty on every one of them. I would get about 2 or 2.5 seasons before they would crack and start to fall apart. Maybe the first one I can blame on wood, but now I'm several years ahead, wood is at least 2-3 years seasoned and under a wood shed. I'm now switched over to SS cats and so far no problems. I have on occasion experienced a stalled SS cat, but opening the bypass, getting the flames going good and re-engaging has solved it. The other occasion was with a very light wood load (1 or 2 splits) and one had fallen way to the back of the stove so not enough smoke or flame was being produced to keep the cat fired off. Now I'm saying all this with fingers crossed as none of my SS cats have a full seasons use on them yet...
  13. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Hardwoods won't gas off as fast as soft woods.
    Try some pine or similar if your cat is in question.
    I know I have starved my cat with a load of ash even if I didn't char it enough.
    That said I have also seen it come to life a hour or two latter doing nothing.
    It might also have to do with not steaming off enough of the water when reloading?
  14. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Rideau: The reason I think my stovetop temp is now following the overall stove temperature is because when I first got this stove I would engage the combustor and the stovetop temp would quickly (in less than 30 minutes) climb to some high temperature (like 500F). It would hang there for a while ( 30 more minutes) and then secondaries would instantly erupt, at which time the rest of the stove would quickly start heating up.

    But in the past 3 weeks or so, I engage at the same 250 stovetop, the stovetop temp CRAWLS up to 300F (takes 40+ minutes, very few or no secondaries), and gradually the secondaries become stronger (no longer "erupting") and the rest of the stove gradually rises up to 500F (measured by IR gun).The stovetop temp SLOWLY lags behind, if I am lucky it eventually gets to 400F peak , the rest of the stove is 520+. This is using bone dry (3 year split/covered) wood. I am burning Beech,Red Oak, Cherry, Cottonwood and Silver Maple.

    At the end of burn, stovetop temps are super low (200F) when there is still a ton of unburned wood in the stove. When it warms up I will check the cat for plugging, but the last time I went through this much wood I checked the cat and it was perfectly clean. The stove is just not behaving the way it did a month ago.

    I have an exterior chimney, uninsulated 20 foot 6" SS liner. I don't think it's a draft problem, because something has changed in the past 3-4 weeks other than the draft. I am burning in similar temp conditions (both warm and cold) as I did a month ago, but the cat is just not behaving anymmore. Yes the Iconel screen is clean.

    The stove still heats well, but I just know something is not right. I am sure between me and WS we will figure it out.
  15. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    One queston.
    Do you guys think if the cat is not has hot as it should be do you think that slows the draw on the fire?
    I have been having more unburned wood chunks left over in a normal cycle then I used to also..way more coal.
    But yet my cat seems pretty much up to par.
    I have noticed my cat is lose in the opening..came right out easy.
    I need to get a new gasket...that could be slowing the draft ..maybe?
  16. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Funny you mentioned those two things: gasket and unburned wood.

    I plan to check the Progress gasket as soon as we get a warm day, it's possible something is going on there.
    I also noticed when I installed the cat the last time, it seemed to fit "loosely" in the opening. I plan to get a good look at that when I open things up.

    Ever since the cat does not throw as much heat, I get more of a thick ash bed. This stove used to INCINERATE the ashes.
    The only other time I had a coaling problem (with the Fireview) was when my wood was drying for only 1 year.
  17. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    We might be on to something..would explain the little bit of smoke I see from the chimney,when I should not be.
    If some of the gas is going around the cat instead of through it..that food be less food for the cat.
  18. TX-L

    TX-L Burning Hunk

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    I have thought of this before, just didn't post on it. A new gasket wrap expands and seals when heated after initial install, ensuring a complete flue gas flow through the cat. I don't know if a loose cat would slow the overall draft as measured in the flue, but the path in the stove might change. The flue gasses/smoke will certainly take the path of least resistance, so IF there is a big enough gap with a damaged or missing gasket around the cat assembly, I could see a potential problem... Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
  19. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    When I pull my pipe this summer I'm also going to change my by-pass gasket also...just to be sure nothing is getting past it.
  20. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    My steel cat was a little loose in the frame last time I pulled it and I also noticed some gaps in two of the four corners where I could see right through to the other side I plugged them with rock wool insulation but it's still not a tight fit like the ceramic cat.

    I recall someone else having an issue with the steel cat gasket and received more from Woodstock to get a tighter fit in the frame.
  21. scotsman

    scotsman Feeling the Heat

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    Uh-oh, there's supposed to BE a gasket around the cat? I've had mine out and didn't notice one. Where's it supposed to be? Mine fits pretty loose, too.
  22. TX-L

    TX-L Burning Hunk

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    I can't say for sure about the Progress, but the Blaze King stoves definitely have a gasket wrap around the cat sidewalls. I would assume that Woodstock is similar, as the stove companies outsource their combustors; maybe from the same supplier(s)? Regardless, I'm sure all cat stoves require all the smoke to travel through the cat element, hence the need to seal around it. Perhaps the tolerances for the opening on the Woodstocks are much closer than the BK? But if it was, it wouldn't slide around so easily, as you described. Your Progress owner's manual should identify the steps for cat replacement after cleaning -- does it mention a new wrap? My guess (ONLY A GUESS) is that it needs one. If so, this might make a night and day difference.

    This is a very informative thread for us cat stove users. Keep the info coming.


    * EDIT: Just looked up the manuals on Woodstock's website. They use gaskets when replacing the combustors for the Fireveiw and Keystone models. There is no manual for the Progress, but we can probably assume it's the same. *
  23. Stump_Branch

    Stump_Branch Minister of Fire

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    Todd i think it was bill who had replaced the gasket. Thread was smokey fireview or something like that.
  24. Buck1200

    Buck1200 Member

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    The Progress has a face gasket, but no wrap-around gasket, which I believe is likely due to the thermal expansion difference between the stainless steel cat and the cast iron pocket it sits in. There is a vast difference in thermal expansion rates going from ceramic (likely alumina) to stainless steel, which must be accounted for in the pocket and seal design in order to prevent mechanical over-constraint (read: broken cat) during temperature cycling. I have not seen the new design cat design of the FV or Keystone, nor do I have any experience with ceramic cats, so someone might check that logic with reality.
  25. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Found it. http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/87678/

    Maybe this is the reason we are seeing problems? I still haven't heard back from Woodstock about this, has anyone had a talk with them lately on this steel cat issue?

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