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Just engaged the CAT...

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Beetle-Kill, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. Rickb

    Rickb Minister of Fire

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    97 - 98 Monday and Tuesday. 95 Wednesday, 85 yesterday. 78 today and suposed to be in the 40's tonight. Wife gave the ok to start the fire once it cools off a little more!

    I also just resplit a piece of the oak I got this spring from a wood service. Its at 18%!

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  2. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I'm on the road this week for work (far, far, faaaaaar away) but my wife tells me its been in the 90s all week. So no fire for us here. That's hot, but its not unusual to have some Indian summer days as late as the end of Sept here near Boston so I leave the AC in till Oct 1 usually. Then we typically have a cold snap and it changes fast.

    Even so we probably wont have the first "fun" fire in the fireplaces will October and wont fire the stove up until Nov. Earliest Ive ever had a first stove fire is Oct 30, latest is Dec, typically its around turkey day we start.

    Like S. Oak, we don't use the stove until the daytime temps are in the 40s and wont burn overnight till it dips into the 30s for fear of being baked out of here. My house is old and marginally insulated, but its also small and situated for perfect southern exposure thermal gain. I don't need any heat at all to maintain 68~70 inside if its over 55 outside, and for most of the shoulder season its cheap and easy to just fire the gas heat once or twice a day.
  3. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Frost warning tonight. It's OK in here right now since the stove is still warm from last night's fire ;). I'm going to put a small load in a minute. I went to nearly daily fires the end of September last year, so we're not too far off. I must be missing some insulation because the wife would be far from cuddling me if I didn't build a fire with these temps. She might cuddle for a minute during the night, then kick my a** in morning. Our house would probably be low 60's at best by morning, which is completely unacceptable to my better half.
  4. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    I hooked up the Keystone today and put in two splits of River Birch, and one of Paper Birch. Just for looks, not heat. :)
    The next two nights will be in the 40s but daytime high in the 70s, so no need to fire up yet.
  5. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    No anywhere close to engaging my cats!! It was 90f today. I still need to buy a new set of cats as mine were toast, for this winter.
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Working with temperatures in both units everyday, i dont even think about the conversions, but you can do this pretty simply in your head. Just think in "degrees above freezing," and roughly double it (9/5, if you want to geek out). His 5C = 9F above freezing, or 41F. You can do this almost as quick as you read.
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Yesterday it got down to 37 so I Thought it was a good time to do a small breakin fire to rid the rock of any moisture. Kindling, 3 small splits and a chunk of super cedar and she took off nicely, engaged the cat after about 1/2 hour and let her burn out. Doesn't take much to take the chill off this time of year, ended up opening windows later in the day.
  8. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    We'll probably fire up for the first time on Sunday. Predicted high of 63, low of 41, with rain all day. Right now, the change of weather feels great. I had the house wide open at 48 degrees and sunny early this morning.
  9. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    Lucky our high is gonna be like 85 on Sunday!
  10. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I could've made a small fire this morning, instead I dug out a small space heater and let that take the chill out. I'm just not ready to start messing with the stove!
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    We had some frost but the stove stayed cold. We'll wait a bit longer.
  12. fireview2788

    fireview2788 Minister of Fire

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    Tonight my wife told me I could start a fire or she would plug in the space heater.....there's a fire in the stove.


    fv
  13. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Oh to be young and so in love. ;) :)
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  14. Gasass

    Gasass Member

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    After a few break in fires, we engaged the cat for the first time last night and got the stove top up to 500.

    The manual for the Keystone states to engage the cat and turn the air down to 1, then lower it in small increments to get the desired burn.

    We lowered it to 1 and the flame disappeared. Opened the air a little and noticed around 1 3/4 we had a consistent flame.

    Couple of questions:

    Should there be an active flame when the cat is engaged or just red coals?

    Did we need to set the draft higher because the outside temp was only 50 degrees?

    Will it ruin the cat if the air is set that high?
  15. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    I like to keep some flame going.

    Yes. 1.75 does sound a lil' high though, at least it is on the Fireview.
    How tall is your chimney?

    Only if you have enough draft to suck flames through the cat continuously (flame impingement.)
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  16. Gasass

    Gasass Member

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    Chimney is about 18' from stove to cap. 13' of Class A.

    Will it hurt the cat if the flame goes out?
  17. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    18' is sufficient.
    If the house is very tight, that would cause you to run the air control at a higher setting. You could try cracking a window to see if that affects it. Maybe check the stove pipe for leaks, which reduce draft.

    No, running without flame won't hurt the cat, but keeping some flame helps prevent backpuffing.

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/progress-backpuff.80000/

    I wouldn't worry too much about ruining the cat. If you do, you get a free replacement for the first 3 years.:)

    https://store.woodstove.com/product.php?productid=16705&cat=265&page=1


    Congrats on the new stove, BTW. Nice install! :)
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  18. fox9988

    fox9988 Minister of Fire

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    Draft setting should be determined by the amount of heat needed. I burn from 0-2, but normally from .25-1.25. Flames are not at all necessary (the cat burns the smoke), but at .25-.5 I have flames for the first 1/3-1/2 of the burn (more/longer at higher draft settings).
    The screen stops the flames from reaching the cat on my stove, even on high draft settings with a box full of flames. Its strange to watch, looks like the flame would be sucked right through it. A few times I've seen small self sustained secondary flames inside the combustor scoop between the screen and the cat. Posts here say that Woodstock advises that this is not harmful to the cat.
    Woodstock also recommends a draft setting of 2 or below, during regular burns for max efficiency.
    I use a pipe surface thermometer to determine when to engage the cat, too much lag through the stone on a cold start for a stove top thermometer IMHO. I also immediately set the draft to desired burn setting after cat engagement (even if its 0) vs lowering in increments, never had a back puff or cat stall.
    Good luck, you'll love your new stove. How dry is your wood?
  19. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    It will take some trial and error to learn your stove and find your sweet spot. With temps in the 50's expect to set the air a little higher. As the outside temps drop so will your air settings.

    The most efficient burn according to Woodstock is a little bit of flame lifting off the logs with the air setting around 1 give or take.

    When I want a long 12+ hour burn I'll turn it down as low as .25 which will snuff the flame and turn the cat beet red. All you will see in the box is a little red underneath as the wood seems to melt away.
  20. Gasass

    Gasass Member

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    Fox,

    We burned some cherry and maple that has been seasoning about 15 months. I don't have a moisture reader, but I would assume it is dry enough.

    I was under the impression you needed a flame or it would cause some damage. Good to know.

    I've been doing some reading and let me know if I'm understanding this correctly. If I turn the air to 0 with the cat engaged, I will get a longer burn and it will produce more heat?

    One more...How do you know when the cat stalls?
  21. Gasass

    Gasass Member

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    Thanks for the info. 12+ hour burns are possible with the Keystone?...nice! We got about 7 last night, but I'm sure that will improve when I dial this in.

    Red underneath the wood or cat?
  22. fox9988

    fox9988 Minister of Fire

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    Higher draft settings produce more heat-- more air=more fire=shorter burn times. But draft settings above ~2 become inefficient. The smoke passes through the cat so fast it doesn't fully burn. This shouldn't be a concern because the stove will reach max stove top temps at around 2. Lower draft settings--less air=less heat=longer burns. Most people burn around 1. It will depend on the outdoor temps, sqft heated, insulation, wood species, indoor temps, etc.
    Cat stall- picture a match going out. The cat will not relight until the smoke reaches ~550::F, remedied by the same steps taken to light the stove- open bypass, get the temps up, re-engage cat (close bypass), set draft. Most of the time I can glance at the stove from my chair and see a cherry red cat, so I know its working. But the cat doesn't always glow when working. Earlier in the burns there is more off-gassing/smoke and the cat is more active. Later in the burn less so. If the cats not glowing a look at the stove top temp (STT), if its above 250 you're good. An infrared thermometer will also show a hot spot right above the cat, cooler off to the sides when its active.
    Its not as complicated as it sounds. If you have any questions you've found the right place and Woodstock is a phone call away. When you call them, you talk to English speaking people that know their products, most have them in their own homes. Have you read the manual yet? It is written very well. Also Fireview and Keystone operate very much alike and there are many threads about burning the FV. The main difference seems to be, the FV can have very high (over fire) stove top temps when the draft is set to 0, seems counter intuitive but the stove top gets very hot above the cat due to lack of fresh air flow. I've burned at 0 often and never had any problem. The Keystone has a 1/4 inch air inlet hole on in the ash behind the ash pan that the FV doesn't have, probably why 0 burns are fine (at least for me, never heard from any other KS owners about the issue).
  23. Gasass

    Gasass Member

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    I read in the event of over firing, open the draft... thats why I thought less air = higher temp. Makes sense what you said. Thanks!
  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    An example of draft settings. On our Fireview our normal setting is about .75 once the cat is engaged. However, in this weather it would probably be about 1.25, so it can vary a lot depending upon the outside and inside temperature. We usually don't burn in this type of weather as the house is still warm enough but it won't be long now!

    As for flame or no flame, that is up to you. Most times we'll have flame but during the night burns it is common after a time for the flame to die out. Sometimes we won't even see red coals but have seen up to 600 degree stove top like this. Take some time to learn the stove and your installation. It is common for some variance, or in other words, your settings might vary a lot from others. Just keep in mind there are many factors involved here, from weather, draft, type of wood, how dry the wood is, etc.

    Enjoy getting to know that stove! Good luck.
  25. fox9988

    fox9988 Minister of Fire

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    Within reason.......I've never had one with the KS, so hopefully others with experience will reply. I would open the bypass and set the draft to about .3/4. Dennis (Back Woods Savage) is the only FV/KS owner I can remember with first hand experience. Seems like it wasn't really a over-fire, more like a STT that was at the max and needing attention, that was remedied by increasing the draft from 0 to ~1. There are probably others that will chime in.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

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