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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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    I was told Sud Chemie and Woodstock were very interested in what's causing this green color and how heat effects it. They tested one green cat retrieved from Woodstock and found it to still be active. I'll be sending mine out this week so it will be interesting to fnd out what they find.

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  2. Armoured

    Armoured New Member

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    Not necessarily. The whole point of a catalyst is that the reaction taking place in the presence of the catalyst can take place at a lower temperature than would be the case if the catalyst were not there. The temperature at which it's glowing would not necessarily be the same - although glowing would be a pretty strong indication it is hot enough, not glowing might not mean it's not hot enough. Boy, that was a mouthful.

    Of course, best to hear what the manufacturer has to say.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalysis
  3. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

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    Todd, that is exactly what I found to be true on my previous cat stove. If you had a full load of wood at the begining of the burn cycle there would be smoke coming out of the chimney unless the cat was glowing. Now at the end of the cycle if it wasn't glowing there was no smoke, however I believe that was due to the fact all the wood had already offgassed.
  4. Stump_Branch

    Stump_Branch Minister of Fire

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    Took mine out friday. Cleaned and shoved some kaowool in the loose corners. Those bits of metal come from the gasket material that wraps the cat, interim gasket or something.

    I had a few cells closed just at the bottom and just in one spot. Brushed it off. Took the combustor housing off, tried to straighen the slight bow in the bottom half, crack in two. Dang. Only 11 bucks from WS...guess im forced to call them now. I put it all back together. And proceeded to do low cat burns this whole weekend. I had one stall, but a bit more air and it came back to life so it was probably me.

    Cat glowed for hours during these low cat burns. Wish i knew what ceramic was like to even compare.
  5. sappy

    sappy Member

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    yea Dennis we have experienced most of these symtoms with the cat folks speak of as well. This am 28 to 32 out got a med fire going at 500 plus stovetop real real orange combester air on 1. I was out in yard and an hour to an hour and a hald lite smoke briefly starteed coming out. Went in and put the air at 1.5 and seems well yet bottem back piece is taking time burning up. 2nd time I have seen this when seeminly all else is going well. I heat pipe D-wall to 250 280plus add a hundred to that for single-usually will be fine-go figure. Also the other thing which is common on here is stove going incredible before Engaging then down to next to nothing after. Don't know if any of this is cat or not as I cleaned it and screen thouroly 4 days ago and as mentioned will most of time glow qite orange.
  6. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    My cat will always glow when I first close the bypass, it may glow for a half hour or may glow for hours on end. I find if I'm on low and have the fans running the cat will not glow as long. I can have a glowing cat turn the fans on and the cat will stop glowing shortly after, if I turn the fans off the cat will start to glow again. I've watched the chimney during all these times and it's always clean, along with the probe being active. I have to order a probe with real numbers so I know what type of temps I'm seeing.
  7. Nater

    Nater Member

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    Got to play with the stove this weekend and not sure if the cat is bad or operator error, or a little of both :).

    I've been running the stove pretty much the same way since I got it. I always loaded on a good bed of coals with stove top of around 200 degrees. I'll load it from 40% to 70% full, depending on the weather. I leave the air full open until it starts to get going pretty well, then turn down to about 50% air. Once the stove gets to about 250 stove top, I'll close it to about 25%. I used to be able to engage the cat at 250, then wait until it would reach 300+ and close it down to about 10%, and then it continue to climb would cruise around 500+ stove top. It worked this way for almost a month.

    It started lighting off at higher and higher temps, and now it stalls at anything less than a 400+ stove top temp. The secondaries start kicking in too so I'm not sure if the cat lights off at all. But the stove top temp falls pretty quick once the secondaries go away. I was able to check the cat again this weekend and everything looks good and I cleaned it again anyway. I made sure it had a tight seal on the gasket too. The screen is also clean. This morning, after I loaded it up, I let it get to a 350 stove top temp. I had to leave for work, so I engaged the cat, and slowly closed it down to 10% air. I left and and when I talked to my wife about an hour later, she said she opened it back up because the stove top temp had dropped to 200!

    Does it sound like I am doing something wrong or do you think my cat is bad? I plan on giving Wood Stock a call today to discuss it with them but thought I would get input here first.
  8. HollowHill

    HollowHill Minister of Fire

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    It doesn't sound to me like you are doing anything wrong. Please let us know what WS says.
  9. Treacherous

    Treacherous Minister of Fire

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    Is this the same steel cat Woodstock mentions using in their wet cordwood burning test?

    http://www.woodstove.com/images/editorial_support/PDFs/wetcordwoodtesting1.pdf

    "Please note: we are using catalytic technology not available during the last NSPS.  We are 
    using catalysts made of stainless steel “durafoilâ€.   The thickness of the material is about 
    0.0025â€Â (2.5/1000), and where it is bonded the maximum thickness is about 0.0075â€.  The 
    thin walls and high cell density result in a huge surface area to face area ratio (meaning 
    more catalytic activity); quicker responsiveness at low temperatures; and less resistance to 
    flow.  This has been one of the best innovations in the hearth industry over the last decade, 
    but you wouldn’t know it by talking to HPBA.  "
  10. KevinG

    KevinG Member

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    Yes, I assume so. The description matches the SS cat I have.

    For what it's worth, after cleaning my screen and engaging at higher temps (250-300), I'm back to peaking at 550 again. Unfortunately, with the warm weather we've been having, that high of a temp just makes the stove room unbearable. So we've been aiming for lower and longer burns over the weekend.
  11. adamscotera

    adamscotera New Member

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    The post about testing wet wood was very interesting. I was assuming that it was the moisture content of my wood that was causing the trouble. I've gone to great lengths and spent lots of time making sure that the burn was well-established before engaging the combustor. From this thread it is looking like a lot of people are getting poor results from their ss cats, which is a crying shame because the ceramic ones are so sensitive to heat (a maladaptive characteristic indeed for a device intended to operate at temperatures from 600-1800 degrees!).
    By the way, I spoke too soon in my last post, as I so often do. I thought the combustor was doing its job because of how stable the burn was and the temperatures I had on my stovetop and flue pipe, but when I went outside to get more wood, even though the burn had been cruising along at an ideal level for nearly 2 hours, I could see and smell smoke coming from my chimney. There was probably a little less than there would have been without the combustor, but based on my experience of a couple of months ago I feel pretty sure that when the combustor is passing smoke like that, it will be completely clogged in a couple of days. So I took it out again and spent the day identifying exactly the temperature range and minimum draft required to burn without visible smoke in the absence of the combustor. Stovetop temp needs to be at least 500, and flue temp (measured 1 inch from the back of the stove) needs to be at least 400, with minimum draft setting about 0.8 (which sometimes makes it impossible to keep the flue temp below 450, but that's the price of burning clean without a combustor). If both temps were high enough but I cut the draft to 0.7, some smoke would start to appear as the oxygen supply dropped just a bit too low. This made me speculate that if I could introduce secondary air, I could reduce the primary air and the burn rate without compromising the completeness of the burn, because most of the time I felt that I would like to slow things down a bit but couldn't because of the oxygen requirement. Anybody have any comments on that idea? (which of course is the basic idea behind non-cat stoves, which employ it in a tightly controlled way)
    Adam
  12. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    FWIW ceramic as a material is pretty damn tough stuff! I never shattered a cat in my 23 years of cat use and/or abuse and I suspect those have had other factors that contributed.. The glass on your stove windows is clear ceramic and it never crumbles.. There are better grades of ceramics and it could be that those who have shattered their ceramic cats had a lesser grade ceramic material or possibly a cat that had been struck or perhaps metal expansion which cracked the cat. I worked at a ceramics company for 6 years and I can tell you they are fired in a huge kiln at over 2000 degrees for a long period of time! This company made the ceramics which were used to create hermetically sealed switches used on the cockpit of the space shuttles...

    Ray
  13. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Woodstock had the same idea. They call it the Progress Hybrid.
    On a serious note: I agree with your conclusion in your earlier post that wood is best split fairly small in this relatively warm climatic situation for the stove to work ideally.
    Your experiment was interesting. I'm not sure how you are going to be able to take that information and use it to get better cat burn?
    Not surprising stovetop temp needs to be 500 because we know firebox temp needs to be 1000 to get secondary burn.
    RE SMOKE DURING CAT BURN}Was the cat just not engaged and your fire smouldering? If your cat is engaged, no smoke should be coming out the chimney unless you are burning with way too much draft and the cat can't handle everything. That should not be going on two hours into a burn. With your stovetop/flue combination temp indicating cat is engaged, seems smoke is either escaping around your cat following path of least resistance, or you just have your draft way too high and are putting way too much smoke through the cat. Possibly increasing draft to combat fly ash/smoke problem only exacerbates it by increasing air/smoke flow, whether problem is obstruction of cat cells or loose fit of cat. Have you been in touch with Woodstock about getting a new gasket for the cat? If not, call and tell them about the burn you describe in your last post. See what they suggest.
    With PH and clean cat/iconal screen, I get a cat burn with no visable smoke with stovetop temperature at 380. Have not had a comtinuimg problem with the cat clogging, nor have I had any visable smoke.
    Do you have a really strong draft? I'm wondering why that fly ash is getting things clogged so quickly. You may be in a revolving door situation: ash obstructs, increase draft to get more air, draft suctions ash into screen/cat, cat requires more draft, open damper more...til death and cleaning time.
    Mine completely clogged really early, but I have been concentrating on keeping draft fairly low to minimize fly ash (thePH burns very completely and the fly ash is very light), and I have not had a subsequent problem. Main thing I do is get the stove up to temp quickly, close draft down quickly thereafter, keep stove top temps moderate-about 400- and draft low. PH puts out plenty of heat at that setting. Aim for as low darft as you can to get heat output you need from Fireview. My Fireview did not burn ash as completely..had a ceramic cat. Never had to clean that cat...annual clean and never anything in it. Maybe ss cat burns more like PH? I always had a lot of ash in my FV box-ash and coals- cleaned about once a week. Do you have a lot of ash? Maybe start with cat and screen good and clean and ash level fairly low in firebox, get flue up to temp that indicates to you with your particular pipe that inside temp is 500 (or get IR gun), engage cat at that point and reduce air level to .5 or so if you have a strong draft (or .8 as in your experiment if you want to try that). It took a long time to get my Fireview to cat temperature...over half an hour. With the SS cat , I suggest keeping the damper wide open and watching closely until stovepipe temp is OK for cat, then engaging and shutting damper way down right away. Then see what happens. I suspect the best thing to do is get the cat engaged as quickly as possible. My Fireview burned very well with ceramic cat at a low draft level..if it works, maybe try to keep the ash level fairly low...a pain to empty ashes twice a week, but worth it if it keeps the screen/cat from getting clogged. I'd be trying to ignite as quickly as possible, and burn as low draft as possible to get heat output I need. Seems lots of people are not running into clogged cats, and I'd really like to know whether it is those who have a strong draft who have the ash accumulation problem.
  14. Stump_Branch

    Stump_Branch Minister of Fire

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    Long post, i like your idea regarding the quantity of ash produced in relation to diminishing cat preformance.



    Anyone know if the wash of precious metals on a cat can "stick" better to ceramic vs stainless? I get the more cells gets more contact idea, but i would think ceramic would retain the 'wash' of Pt and Pd metals better than an alloy. Unless the alloy contained some of the material. But i figure theres a cost factor with that.
  15. Ponderosa Pyro

    Ponderosa Pyro New Member

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    I must admit.I'm having second thoughts about buying the Woodstock PH now.My last stove was a pre EPA model airtight. I thought the hybrid would be the "latest and greatest" My PH will not be shipping until june or later when they figure out the outside air intake kit.Right now it seems Woodstock is using the consumer to test the Progress Hybrid.I'm sure they are/will respond to all problems,but right now I'm not sure I want a stove that is such a pain in the ass to operate.
  16. Stump_Branch

    Stump_Branch Minister of Fire

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    Dont they come with a six month money back tryout? Come december you dont like it they take it back. At least i believe that was true with their other models.

    Hard to test in the summer.
  17. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    They do come with a six month money back warrantee.
    I've had no trouble except the one time clogging of cat, which took a very short time to fix. Other than that, just learning.
    This is an entirely new stove design. Beautiful, very efficient, puts out tons of heat. By the end of this heating seaason we'll have all figured out the tricks to best burning, and Woodstock will have resolved the minor problems. This is an incredibly easy stove to operate, and really safe. Throws out a ton of heat at low temperatures. We owners are going back and forth about details. The SS cat issues are not an inherent issue of the PH BUT are being resolved.

    You've got the best of both worlds...you are getting the PH at the discount that compensates for the fact that we are Wooodstock's test group, but you're getting it after the little issues are resolved. Woodstock made it very clear they were getting these stoves out early at a great price as an incentive so they could get lots of stoves into homes the first heating season and deal with any issues that might arise. They are retrofittting any changes/upgrades to all existing stoves.
    Woodstock is in one place, one climate, one draft situation, chimney configuration, type of wood, burning habits etc. By getting these out to lots of us once the engineering was finished, they are able to quickly see how the stove performs in different situations. I'd say pretty marvelously. I very much doubt you'll find anyone who has a PH and is willing to go back to their previous stove.

    Actually, you probably don't have the best of all worlds, because we got an extra burning season out of these stoves, and life is short...

    Only way you could pay me to give you this stove would be to pay me double--then I'd go buy two new ones...one to use and one to have for anything I might want to build in the future, or as a gift for one of my children or siblings....I've been really tempted to buy a second stove at the great price as an investment.

    I love this stove.
  18. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Worry not, PP! You will not regret the purchase. The few issues that have popped up have been adressed. The only outstanding issue that I am aware of is the cat issue and Woodstock is working hard at determining the problem. I'm sure they'll have it figured out by next season. The Progress is a wonderful and very simple stove. A lot of what you're reading is just folks trying to tweak their burning techniques to get the best performance. But really, load it up, dial it in, and be warm for a long, long, time. That's all you have to do.

    Besides for my cat becoming less sensitive (which again I'm sure will be fixed soon), the only complaint I have is the screen. Mine blocked with ash after a month and I had some issues getting it back in place. Interestingly, I just looked at it tonight (it is visible through the front glass) and it is completely clear. It has been another month since I cleaned it. When it clogged last time it seemed very sudden. The stove was working great then all of a sudden, I didn't have much draft. I don't know what did it but I believe that is something else that will be determined soon with all the people now using the stove.

    For the beauty and function (this stove really does heat!!) and buying from a great company that you can be sure will do everything possible to solve any issue you might have, I can't imagine a better deal. The introductory price is fantastic and you get a 6 month guarantee!

    My only caution would be underestimating how much heat the stove throws. If you have a small stove room, it just might be too much stove. Other than that, I'd recommend it 100%.
  19. chipsoflyin

    chipsoflyin Member

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    Ill second that waulie, what a great stove, my heat pump hasn't run since the install, the heat is long and even, I would love to get a ceramic cat for this stove just to compare, I'm going to pull the dimensions and see if anything is available off the shelf
  20. timusp40

    timusp40 Feeling the Heat

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    This is probably not going to sit very well, but so be it. My last post was less than a week ago when 80 messages had been posted to the origional thread. Now 6 days later, 217 posts from all over the country and a lot of opinions about how to "DEAL WITH THE PROBLEMS", but no difinative solutions. I value the information that one gets here for a simple reason. Real life situations ( I hope not solisatations) from all you out there that want the best performance that you can get out of your stove for the hard earned bucks that you put into it. Seems to me that the Progress and certain SS cats are being test driven right now. The results are all over the map! One thing that keeps hammering back home to me is that for years and years a Woodstock Fireview with a ceramic cat was without a doubt a tried and true sucess.
    Tim
  21. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I have heard this before from a couple different sources in the industry that the wash coat sticks better to the ceramic than steel.
  22. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Here's the solution. If your not happy with the ss cat, Woodstock will replace it with a ceramic cat. I got this straight from the owner.
  23. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    You'll get results all over the place comparing any stove. No two installs are the same, different chimneys, wood supply, operating style, climate, altitude, house size etc.

    We're just about neighbors Tim, I'm between Oxford and Romeo...........
  24. adamscotera

    adamscotera New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions.
    My impression is that the most significant advantage a catalytic combustor can offer is that it can burn cleanly and efficiently at a low burn rate, whereas non-cat stoves may require a little more primary air and a hotter, faster burn in general. The burn I was referring to in my last post was at 0 damper level. I do notice a bit of an air leak in one of the corners, so the fire wasn't starved, but it was moving very slowly and making lots of yummy smoke for the catalyst to feed on, but it didn't have the appetite. If the combustor is not going to work in this situation, it is not doing what it is supposed to do.
    Now, I'm feeling like cat stoves are best suited to doing something that isn't exactly what I want my stove to do- namely, burning for a long time without getting very hot. I'm trying to heat my house from the basement and usually want the stove to be quite hot. However, before anyone suggests that that is why my cat is failing, let me remind anyone who has forgotten that nearly all the components of wood smoke burn at 1100 degrees or below, and the recommended temperature range of a catalytic combustor, over the long term, is 600-1500 degrees, with no problems expected if it occasionally hits 1800 degrees. According to Woodstock's website and manuals, the temperature reading on top of the stove is about twice the temperature in the firebox, so 1500 degrees on the combustor would mean 750 on the stovetop. If the information available is accurate, you should be able to run a temp of 750 on top of the stove all the time without risking any damage to your catalyst. My stove has seen temps like that, but rarely.
    This is a heating device, and it should not fail if the heat occasionally is a little extra-intense. So that can't be it. And I am always trying to find the lowest draft setting that will not make the fire go out. So that can't be it. It has to be the device itself.
    Adam
  25. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Adam, can you add your stove to your signature so all of us know what stove you have? I'm figuring it's a fireview but I may be wrong?

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