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New cat for fireview steelcat vs ceramic ?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by CLL, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. CLL

    CLL New Member

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    Time for a new cat on my Fireview are the new steel cats working or should I stick with the ceramic opinions ?

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  2. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    My steelie is working well in its second season....and it's from the early batch that others were reporting problems with. Mass hysteria? ;)
  3. 3fordasho

    3fordasho Feeling the Heat

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    I've never had a ceramic last more than 2 - 2 1/2 seasons. They crack and start to fall apart. No signs of that with the steel version.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Chris.

    So far we are good on the steel cats. I am going to try the wash on the cat after this burning season to see if it makes a difference. Our present cat was put in a year ago in February because the old one was one that Woodstock ask for it back. Several of us sent the old cats in and Woodstock is still doing research on updating the cats even more.

    If I were to replace the cat now, I would replace it with the steel cat.

    One thing I have noticed with the steel cat is when we clean I have started using the canned air for cleaning keyboards (use nothing stronger than that!). So I first brush with an old paint brush then blow some air through the honeycomb. This seems to work better. With the ceramic all I did was brush and just lightly tap the cat on a flat surface and the fly ash would just fall out and all was well. But the air seems to work better with the steel cat.
  5. CLL

    CLL New Member

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    I am just finishing my 5th season with the fireview and original cat it has finally started showing some cracks so I was thinking about replacing it before next season....I have had such good luck with the ceramic I am hesitant to go with the steel...However it looks like they may have the bugs out of them now maybe I will try one as far as cleaning goes I usually just go over the cat with the vac using a small nozzle and holding it off the surface of the honeycomb..
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Chris, if it is just starting to crack, getting a new one might be good but I would not switch it out just yet. I'd advise buying the new cat next fall just to have if the other failed. The little cracking won't do any harm but once it starts crumbling and falling apart, then you could switch them out. Sounds like the vac is doing the job for you nicely.
  7. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Chris,

    The original cat on my Fireview also lasted 5 years. Started to crack then, after a hotter than usual fire for me at that late stage in its life. I would also advise waiting until the Autumn before ordering the new cat, just because you are at the end of the heating season, and the warranty on the cat runs for five years. You waste half a year of your warranty if you buy one now. I have a steel cat in the PH now. Liked the old ceramic cat in the FIreview just fine. Never had an issue with it. I think that if you tend to burn the stove over 550 stovetop, then you may be better with the steel cat. If you usually burn at 55o or lower, probably either one is fine. You may get slightly better efficiency from the steel cat (probably do) because it has a finer honeycomb structure which both exposes the gases to more surface and slows the flow down a bit so the gases have a bit more time to burn as they pass through the cat.
  8. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I am much happier with the steel cat than I was with my ceramic. I did the vinegar wash mid season this year and it works as new. Yes, it will take a bit more effort to clean it, but I think it works better and faster than the ceramic.
  9. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    As mentioned, as long as it's not falling apart, keep using it. As long as you aren't getting smoke out of the stack, it is working. Does it still burn well (can you see it glowing sometimes if you look up at it through the glass?)
  10. CLL

    CLL New Member

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    Yes the cat is still working fine I can see it glowing orange when engaged...I probably will wait until fall and see about a new one then ...I might even give this one a vinegar bath when I am done with it for the year if spring ever gets here !
  11. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    If it is as old as you say and cracked, it will not survive being removed from the holder for the wash. Leave it be! Order a new one when you get consistent lower temps and see smoke out the chimney. Woodstock will get the replacement to you in a few days.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  12. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Agree 100%. Don't take the cat out. You'll regret it. Don't try to vinegar bath it. Just burn it while it lasts. And order a new one at first sign of undue smoke out the chimney. Since the cat is over 5 years old it is out of warranty, so there is no rush.
  13. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    +2
    However, if it were to disintegrate. . .

    Mine, from the really early batch, is too small. Needs to be double wrapped with gasket material, or it rattles around in the frame. Not hysteria. . .not me just thinking I perceived something about the performance, which was also an issue, due to exhaust leaking around the cat/gasket instead of being burned in the cat.:confused:

    That said, it works fine for me when gasketed properly. The new batch should fit correctly, and it is supposed to sport an improved washcoat too. ==c
  14. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    The six year warranty would be the determining factor for me. Order the new cat and get the one year credit. The cat is starting to fail and is not going to last another full heating season. Get the one year credit on purchase of a new cat, and avoid having to get a cat in the middle of the ehating season..
  15. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    I had a ceramic cat in my Keystone the first year and it cracked and crumbled about 3/4 through the burning season. Woodstock replaced it with a steel cat (new for Woodstock at that time) and it failed (as did others who were starting to use them). Woodstock replaced the steel cat with another one and it has been great. Quicker light-off's, no thermal shock to crack anything, easy to clean - my vote is to get a steel cat.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. CLL

    CLL New Member

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    New
    The six year warranty would be the determining factor for me. Order the new cat and get the one year credit. The cat is starting to fail and is not going to last another full heating season. Get the one year credit on purchase of a new cat, and avoid having to get a cat in the middle of the ehating season..
    rideau, Today at 8:18 AM ReportBookmark#14LikeReply

    This is what I plan to do ! Think I will try the steelcat this time....Thanks for all the advice !
  17. DaleZ

    DaleZ Member

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    Can you tell by looking at it to determine if it is steel or ceramic?
  18. CLL

    CLL New Member

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    It is ceramic
  19. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Yes., It is obvious.
  20. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I think there are advantages to both. Ceramic burns hotter for longer in my experience but steel resists thermal shock and lights off quicker. I have ceramic in my Keystone and its doing just fine on year 3 with no cracks.
  21. downeast

    downeast Guest

    Recall in the not-so-fine-print in the cat warranty that it is "prorated" for 6 years with a 2 or 3 year 'free' replacement. Like tires.
    And, the noble metal coatings , platinum or paladium, that do the "reburning" of the incomplete wood gases do have a life expectancy, ~ 12,000 hours.
    The design and engineering of wood catalytic combustors is similar to those in vehicles, but with a longer life ( you Engineers and Physicists can explain the why better ).

    Our cat from Sud Chemie is metal. It is cleaned and bathed in vinegar each year--with windows open in June. Past ceramic cats have mechanically deteriorated within 3 years or +/- 12,000 hours of use.
    The first Sud Chemie steel cat was defective. Their service was exceptional, sending a new replacement even before receiving their original steel cat. Thanks.

    Our experience with two wood stoves burning 24/7 here in Downeast northern Maine with no central heating, is that the cat stove, a 2001 VC Encore, burns around 1/3 to 1/2 LESS wood than the Jotul Oslo non cat.
    Both stoves heat approximately the same space, use the same splits, and are tended by the same owners.:cool:
    The Bungalow Effect of John G. in in effect here for non-cat stoves. The Encore primary air can be lowered to near nil for much longer with clean burns and same BTUs as the Oslo.

    BTW this has been a chilled Spring so far: 26 F @ 0615 this morning. For youse thinking about committing full bore to wood heat, it is the Logbutchers' whine in early Spring: "I'm sick of wood!";sick ;sick ;sick
    Close to 7.5 cords used. Next winter's butts have been cut and piled ready for the split and stack routine later this Spring. I'm tired.
  22. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    My 1st season and my cat is starting to rattle it's cage.Getting loose.
  23. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Why would it get loose? Perhaps the gasket is bad? So you take the cat out and shake and it rattles? Strange but perhaps this was one of the first steel cats and I believe some put in a double gasket or maybe 1 1/2. Call Woodstock on this one.
  24. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    That would indicate if you switched to two cat stoves you'd be burning 5 to 6 cords instead of 7.5. If you'd save processing and carrying 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cords a year, I'm surprised you haven't replaced the Oslo with a cat Stove.
  25. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    Yes when i lift the cat out of the stove it rattles in it's frame.No idea if it's steel.

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