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cat vs. non-cat - pro's and con's

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Joful, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Ditto . . . 30-45 minutes after reloading on to hot coals . . . and the stove is cruising and I'm either off to bed, out the door or doing something around the house . . . no baby sitting needed.

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  2. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I've always thought the PE stoves would've gave me a better non cat experience. What type of stove top temp does your stove get on "low"?
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Define low. Are you talking the long decline of a fire, short hot fires or medium cruisers? A low fire on the stove could be 400F stove top, though that is not as hot as it sounds because much of that heat is soaked up by the cast iron jacket. The residual heat can go on for hours due to the mass of the stove. In behavior the Alderleas are somewhat like soapstone stoves in this regard. But on the opposite spectrum you can take it up hotter on the stove top when necessary.
  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    So it seems non-cats are not a viable solution for those out of the house for 8 - 10 hours a day, and not wanting to wake up in the middle of the night to reload every couple hours.

    Ditto.

    So, I guess what you're saying is the curve below is not properly scaled. The portion where the temp shoots way up is not half the burn duration, as shown, but more like the first 45 minutes of an 8 hour burn cycle? Still not an attractive thought, given I'm heating 1000 sq.ft. from a 200 sq.ft. room, but better than what I had assumed from gathering other comments made about non-cat's in various threads.

    [​IMG]

    Still looking for an attractive 2 cu.ft. cast iron cat stove!
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You can make statistics graph in all sorts of convenient ways. Without meaningful x and y scales and info on what non-cat stove was used, where temps were taken, etc., this is just marketing. And in the dead of winter, when you want real steady heat, the cat or firedome graphs would be much more similar.
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You would do well with a cat stove, they are great for the guy that wants long burn times in a small space. In your shoes I would run, not walk, to WS and buy one of their dinky stone cat stoves. Nothing is better for your small space and burn time desires.

    That said, you are having a hard time letting go of the bad information you received about non-cats. They are less complicated than cat stoves and the medium sized stoves above 2 CF can easily make it overnight or through a normal shift of work. You need to decide before bed if you want heat being produced all night. That might mean the house is too hot or too cold when you wake up. The non-cat will generally make your house temps go up and down as the graph above shows where the cat stove with a long and low burn can keep it steadier, again, as the graph shows.
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    There is a severe lack of attractive or conventional looking cat stoves on the market. If you want a cat stove you will have to choose from the limited available styles and learn to appreciate the beauty of utility.
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, guys! I've been slow on coming around to Woodstock, primarily because we preferred the cosmetics of cast iron, and the (slightly) faster response times when lighting a cold stove. But, it really does seem all indicators are pointing us that way. I will have to take a closer look at their clearances, and see how their stoves will work in our setting.

    Speaking of which, I got my gas insert removed last night, and finally crawled into this cavernous fireplace for the first time. I found some very interesting stuff, which will have to be the subject of another thread some time soon.
  9. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I wasn't trying to define it just looking for what your stove in your enviornement does on it's "low" air setting with a full load since it will vary from stove to stove. My Lopi with a full load was like a rocket ship up and then down. I wish that stove could've been loaded full, dialed in to the low air setting burned with a 300-400 stove top while burning clean.
  10. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    If anything I feel like I have my old pre-epa stove back again except this time I can smoulder the wood and still burn clean. That is a "low" burn for me.
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I have no idea how you came to that conclusion. A large, non-cat stove will burn for 8-14 hours depending upon the size of the stove and your heating expectations. The 30NC and Pacific Energy Summit and T6 will burn for 8-12 hours on a full load. The Jotul F600 will burn for 8-12 hours. Any 3 cu ft+ fire box will produce heat for 9 hours or more.
  12. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    You're right, I may have generalized a little too much in my statement. Just meant that if I want to avoid the rollercoaster effect of the non-cats, and maintain room temps in the low/mid 60's around the clock, I'd likely be better off with a cat stove. I think the fact that I'm heating a larger space from a smaller space compounds the advantage of the cat, as I am really only looking at stoves around 2 cu.ft.
  13. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    With most modern, well insulated home fitted with a size appropriate stove in a central location the 'roller coaster' effect is not as big of an issue due to the heat retention of the homes.

    I ain't happy unless it's 75-80 degrees in this house during the winter.


    You would be better off with a cat stove for the following reasons:
    • You will be running multiple stoves and a cat stove allows you to oversize without over heating the house. Which is important.
    • Since you are oversizing a bit, the cat stove will give you longer burns since you can fill it up and burn at a lower temp. Again, important when running more than one stove.
    • You are in an older house and it will never be as efficient as a new house, which means heat retention is not as good. Longer burn times of steady heat help prevent dips in temp. As oppose to a newer home that will hold onto the heat much longer. Again, this is important.
    If you were running one stove that heated your entire home well, either type of stove works just fine. Personal preference is the deciding factor when it comes to which technology you want to use.
  14. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I'd say at least half of the Woodstock Keystones is made with cast iron. The whole front, most of the back, inside guts and framing that holds it all together is cast. You get the best of both worlds with the cast and stone. You also get amazing heat output control with the cat, you can also burn low and slow like a cat or hot like a non cat.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    The good news is that you have a cavernous fireplace. Rear clearance requirements on the really small WS stoves are very large.
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Is the rear clearance relevant for a fireplace installation? Clearance to the surrounding woodwork and mantel would be my concern.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    A mid-sized 2 cu ft PE stove will also burn for that long. Our next door neighbor tells me he has had good coals well after 10 hrs and that is with soft maple. Tom Oyen reports that this model has the longest burn time of any stove he's tested in the store (no cats tested to my knowledge). I think he said they got 16 hrs on one burn. Not sure how exactly they tested but I presume that meant there were enough coals after that period for a restart.
  18. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I know. And if I could find a used T6 I would probably have two by now.
  19. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Begreen, are you saying that a T5 can do the same job as a cat stove, in providing long, even, low, clean burns?
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    When it's cold out yes. The cast iron jacket acts like a flywheel, similar to soapstone. It soaks up the heat making it softer, less radiant. Then it releases that heat gently when the fire is dying down. That makes it more comfortable in a smaller area because the temperature swings are less dramatic.

    It would be interesting to try it in comparison to a cat stove. I suspect the cat stove would have some advantage when it's mild outside. It should have a cleaner low fire burn. In this case we just burn smaller hot fires, then let the stove go out. But once it gets colder out and the stove is not burning at its lowest setting, I don't think there is much difference. That doesn't mean it's a better stove than the Keystone, just different. Each stove has its strengths. In this case I would say the T5 is easier to run and less particular, but requires smaller loads when it's 50F outside. The bottom line is that satisfying results are often more dependent on the person running the stove than the stove itself. I think both stoves are winners.

    FWIW, a buddy had an Intrepid II cat which he liked, but wasn't getting long enough burns in the colder weather. I sent him up to Bellingham and Tom sold him a T5. He was a very happy camper after that.
  21. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Keep in mind, the Intrepid is a VERY small stove. It is smaller than the T4 (1.3 cu ft vs 1.41 cu ft).

    Still, it has crappy burn times for a cat stove, which says more about VC than anything.
  22. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Nope.
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Nope, and that's the point. Without the fireplace he would have to respect those huge rear clearance requirements that WS is famous for.
  24. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I smile everytime I tell one my small fireplace has a 56" wide x 62" high opening. We could host a small dinner party in the big one. ;lol
  25. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    I have noticed a HUGE improvement in how long it takes the Progress to get hot compared with the Fireview. The Progress has a steel fire chamber in direct contact with soapstone panels. The Fireview has 2 layers of soapstone separated by a thin air space. Much faster warm up times on the Progess.
    rideau likes this.

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