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Catalytic converter- 1990 Englander model 28-jc

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Dustin92, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Dustin92

    Dustin92 Member

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    We purchased a house from family in august, and have recently started using the fireplace insert. We were unaware that it has a catalytic converter, until today when we removed the steel/ cast iron plate in the top of the firebox to straighten it, as it was warped rather badly (we didnt cause it to warp). The cat was plugged completely with ash and we brushed it with a soft brush, vacuumed it, and then used low pressure compressed air (20psi max) to clear the remaining ash. It is now reinstalled in the stove and has a nice hot fire going. I know it has never been cleaned (until now) or replaced, is this reducing its efficiency or hampering the stove's performance at all? The damper can now be completely closed, where before it had to be left open partially (bypassing the cat). The cat is located where it cannot be seen with the doors closed, so I cant tell if its glowing or not. There is a slight amount of white smoke coming out of the chimney. Thanks!

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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  3. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I think Woodstock sells a 6" S/S cat for the same price but not sure which is best..

    Ray
  4. Dustin92

    Dustin92 Member

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    Will it damage anything to use in this year without replacing the cat? We are just barely scraping by as it is, and simply cannot afford the $129 to replace it. It is definitely producing more heat anyway.
  5. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    No, shouldn't hurt anything. But if the cat isn't functioning well, you would not get as much heat out of your firewood since the smoke wouldn't be consumed by the cat, and you could accumulate more creosote in the chimney.

    Don't let the stove smoulder, and keep a close eye on that chimney, running the brush through it as much as monthly to be certain things are clean and you should be able to keep things safe, even if it's not as efficient as it should be.

    Considering the age and what you found on that cat, I'm guessing it's shot. But, maybe if the original owners gunked it up early enough, and it sat in bypass it's whole life, maybe your good cleaning could have breathed new life in it. Especially if it was still solid and not cracked / missing chunks.

    Keep us updated,

    pen
    raybonz likes this.
  6. Dustin92

    Dustin92 Member

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    Unfortunately we dont have a chimney brush yet, but need to get one. I know this sounds stupid, but how safe is our chimney if a fire should start? It is a brick chimney from the fireplace, brick all the way up through the roof, I have gone up in the attic when there is a HOT fire going and the chimney is ice cold, and no smell of smoke. I am not sure if it is lined or not. The stove was used only occasionally up until last year, and was used to heat all winter. We started using it about 3 weeks ago and have burned it hot.
  7. Dustin92

    Dustin92 Member

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    Anyway, the cat looked pretty good and had a few areas with a small amount of material missing- maybe 1/4" at most. It didnt look cracked and we figured out that it has been plugged for at least 12 years, having to run the damper partially open.
  8. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    There is nothing wrong with a masonry chimney so long as it is sound and there are no cracks.

    When you say brick all the way to the top, are you talking about the outside and inside of the chimney? Or is there a terracotta liner that runs up the inside of the chimney? If it is a very old chimney with no terracotta liner on the inside (the bricks are visible to the sky) then I'd have reservations using the chimney. If there are terracotta liners in it, and they are in good shape (no cracks, chunks missing, etc) then I'd be fine running the unit if it was cleaned regularly.

    Even if money is tight, that chimney brush is something that you really need to have, and luckily, they come cheap. If you don't want to buy the rods for cleaning, you can use rope and do just fine.

    Here's a visual

    Good: [​IMG]

    Not Good: [​IMG]

    pen
    raybonz likes this.
  9. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    If you see no or very little smoke coming out of the chimney when the damper is completely closed then there is a good chance the cat is working, though as pen said if its an original from 1990 I would replace it when budget allows.

    You absolutely DO want to get a chimney brush and inspect that flue, even if it means borrowing the $50 from a friend or relative. If I lived nearby I'd lend you mine, maybe we have some other members near you who can?

    You could have a perfectly sound clay or metal liner now, but it would only take one bad chimney fire to ruin it... potentially costing you an entire new chimney (could be into the 5 figures). And thats hoping a chimney fire doesnt burn down the house. Its not worth taking the risk IMHO
  10. Dustin92

    Dustin92 Member

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    I honestly have not been on the roof, but my dad was up there right after we moved in to repair a leak Around the chimney. He said the brick chimney is filled with cememt, and the round red (I'm assuming terracotta) liner tubes are set in that. There are 3 round tubes sticking out of the top of the chimney (maybe about a foot), one is for the hot water heater, one is for the furnace (which is no longer vented out the chimney), and one is for the fireplace. I think the center (tallest) one is the fireplace. Inside the house, the chimney is about two feet by four feet, and runs in the wall up to the attic.

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