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Cat stoves are no good

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jeff_t, Mar 22, 2010.

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  1. REF1

    REF1 Feeling the Heat

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    I don't know if I buy that, BrotherBart. I think the majority of people who heat with wood do have a passion for it or they would not do everything that needs to be done to burn wood.

    I wonder if there's statistics on percentages of those who buy a stove for primary heat and those who burn alot of the time, and those who burn every once in awhile.

    As far as the attitude dealers have towards cats, that's another issue.

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Just talk to your local stove store. They will tell you how many people aren't buying them for primary, or even major secondary, heating. Or ask a local wood dealer how many people buy just one cord of wood or less a year.

    Ambiance burning is orders of magnitude above heating with wood.
  3. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    +1 as long as we are talking Memorial to Labor day.
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The average stove owner thinks Blaze King is a hamburger chain. :lol:

    I don't know about the other stove makers but ESW shoves forty to fifty thousand stoves a year out the door. Figure all of the others do the same and the number of people using all of those stoves for even 1/4 of their heating needs is minuscule.
  5. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I'll take the 10' diameter fire pit circled with granite over the BK any day...until it gets cold out. More people around here seem to be turning to wood heat given all the log loads I have seen in the past couple weeks. Haven't seen it before. But agreed, still a pretty minuscule number.
  6. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    So, what you're saying is; I shouldn't install a pipe damper on my Heritage as it will make the stove too complicated?
  7. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    :lol:
    Good one!
  8. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Good point. If you aren't looking for the stove to provide a significant portion of your heating needs then the analysis of stove choice would be quite different. Certainly I don't think that I'd be at all concerned about the "low and slow clean burns" during shoulder season if I was just burning for kicks - I'd simply not burn at all.
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    If I was burning for kicks, I would have kept the open fireplaces.
  10. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    Not so sure about that Brother Bart, Im in peoples house every day and 95% of the people that have wood stoves are pretty knowledgeable and burn for their primary heat. The one caveat is people that buy a house and the woodstove is left by the previous owner, those people are the ones that burn occasionally but the people that go out and buy a stove are pretty much like the folks here. These are just my observations and not to be considered 100% correct in regard to woodburners :)
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    example:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/54692/

    tear out a nice fireplace mantle for a few logs a year... There are thousands of folks that buy fireplaces for ambience and won't touch a stove because they want a bigger fireview and the crackle and pop of a fire. There's a caveman (and woman) in a lot of people. They don't want the hassle and work of stacking and storing a lot of wood. Just looking for the crackle of a nice fire on holidays.
  12. grommal

    grommal Feeling the Heat

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    Nope. If you read what I said very carefully (slow down, it might take a time or two to sink in), I'm saying that adding a pipe damper will make it MORE complicated, not TOO complicated. See the difference?
  13. REF1

    REF1 Feeling the Heat

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    I believe region has alot to do with it, i.e winter temperatures. Around here in the mountains I see smoke coming from chimneys all winter long. Around here, whatever stoves people are using, they use every day. The dealer I bought my stove from said colder winters here are keeping him super busy installing stoves for people switching to wood. They are not ambience buyers. When oil prices go up, so do stove sales. And the lion's share of those sales represent people switching from oil to wood for primary heat.

    800,000 stoves are sold in the USA every year, according to what I've read. While it may be a large percentage of that is ambience buying, it still represents huge numbers of people switching to wood heat. I see new people here every single day who are doing their homework and research. The web allows for consumer understanding unheard of when cats came onto the scene.

    Now that I have experienced an EPA non-cat stove I am glad to go back to a cat. I'll find it much easier to use. Pushing in an arm at 500 degrees is no different than closing the air intake at 450 on this Homestead. Especially using the Elm, which I already know is a great performer and not fussy at all. From everything I have read here since I joined the forum, while EPA non-cat stoves may do the same as a catalytic stove in burning volatiles, they do it with a much more finicky and fussy attitude. Simple to use, as long as you don't mind the details. The Elm I'm getting is a hybrid stove, so I guess I get the best of both worlds without the details and fussy nature of most of the non-cats out there. Some might say there are better non-cat performers than this Homestead, so my experience and observations are very limited and that is quite true. I'm just basing my observations as much on posts here as my own experience.
  14. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    So, you're going with insults and insinuating I am stupid? Good job. Stop being snarky, we're only talking about stoves. I understand how you could hate cat stoves if your only experience is with VC cat stoves (which are completely hit or miss).
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I'd buy this argument . . . or at least the first part.

    Around here I think the majority of folks get a woodstove for "cheap" heat and aren't using it so much for the ambiance . . . but the vast majority aren't wood-burning nut jobs like ourselves . . . they simply want to get an easy-to-use, reliable stove where they can put wood in it and get warm . . . and a number of them still believe "seasoned" wood means the wood was cut to log length in January, dropped off in their door yard in February and at some point between now and September they can cut it up and split it and be good to burn their "seasoned" wood. These folks then will fire up the woodstove in September or October and may or may not get their chimney cleaned during the season . . . and they may or may not have stove and flue thermometers . . .

    For this reason I think Bart is right . . . when you're dealing with these folks it is most likely easier to sell secondary burning tech which is perhaps a little more forgiving to folks burning less than ideal wood in less than ideal situations . . . yeah, the wood certainly will not burn as well in the stove and we may see a few of these folks in the Fall coming here to figure out why the nice view of their brand new woodstove is ruined every time they fire up their stove . . . but many will simply be happy with the heat they are getting and figure the black glass, leaving the air control all the way open, etc. is normal.
  16. grommal

    grommal Feeling the Heat

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    Sorry. I didn't mean to be any more insulting than the "So, what your saying is; I shouldn’t install a pipe damper on my Heritage as it will make the stove too complicated?" comment that came my way. Let's declare a cease fire to keep the thread on track.

    I don't hate cats at all. Never said I did. Had I been in the market for a soapstone stove, I would not have hesitated to buy a Woodstock. I ran the VC for 23 years. I doubt if any woodstove is too complicated for most people to run correctly, at least most of the time. But simpler equals a greater degree of mistake-proofing, as long as the desired degree of operational control can be achieved with the simpler design. And that makes it easier for anybody, especially the less hard-core woodburners, to operate without messing up.
  17. rickw

    rickw New Member

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    Well, to me the reduced wood usage and increased length of burn more than makes up for spending another couple of seconds flipping an additional lever. I think I'm burning at least 25% less wood, and almost never have to light a fire. That isn't a matter of preference, style, or opinion.

    Maybe non-cats are better for newbs, I probably would have destroyed a cat my first year burning. If this was primarily a trade forum (meaning sellers of woodstoves) that would be a great argument. Since it is primarily a users forum it doesn't seem like such a great argument. Now that I know more about it I picked a better stove.
    Well, no need to hot under the, er, lid?...Its supposed to be in the 70s soon. Better for cutting splitting and stacking.
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    25% less than you were burning in what?
  19. rickw

    rickw New Member

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    A Lopi Answer. Decent little stove, but wouldn't hold fire for more than 4 hours or so usually; always had to get up in the middle of the night with it. Surprisingly that little stove went through wood just staying lit, the same amount that would barely keep it going for 2 days keeps the FV going for 3 or more. It was fine for ambience and power outages, but not so great for 24/7.
  20. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Understand. That is as much an argument for mass and firebox size as it is a cat/non-cat discussion. Longer burn time and more heat stored in the mass and radiated during the coal stage of the burn, from more coals.
  21. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Another data point on fuel consumption:

    2008-2009 winter I burned the VC Encore NC from Nov-end of season
    I consumed 4 cords of wood and about 260 gallons of oil heating the house

    2009-2010 I burned the Fireview from the beginning (really October but we had fires in Sept too... new stove and all)
    I've consumed about 3 1/4 cords of wood and around 60 gallons of oil heating the house (estimated oil burn - haven't actually gotten a delivery since last May)

    Many days I burn less fuel in the FV than it took to establish the coal base in the Encore to get it ready to burn clean (i.e. engage the 'Everburn').

    I do agree with BrotherBart's core argument as it is as much an issue of the overall design of the stove as anything - clearly simply dropping a cat into the Encore NC wouldn't be the same (hmm.. did VC do that?). However, I can't help but feel the cat is an integral part of the design of this stove thus it cannot be dismissed.
  22. REF1

    REF1 Feeling the Heat

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    Like many threads, this one has morphed some. If the subject is catalytic stoves are no good, that's nonsense. If the issue is cat stoves are not as easy to use as modern non-cat stoves, because of the difference in one control lever, I suppose that point has merit to some degree. But then the issue of user friendliness must be taken into perspective of the benefits of using a well designed cat stove. As a former and new continuing cat stove owner, I love how cat stoves operate and what cat stoves do - supply long clean burns, and use less wood in a season.

    I've read where Pacific stoves offer longer burn times compared to other non cat stoves. I don't know how they sack up against cats.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    My PE never sacks up with a cat! :coolsmirk: But the cat does like to stretch out near it.
  24. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Cats stoves are fine. But I wouldn't want my sister to marry anybody that owns one. :coolgrin:
  25. REF1

    REF1 Feeling the Heat

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    STacks up, sTacks up.
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