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So is cat or non cat best for long burns?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by oregonrider, Sep 27, 2007.

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  1. oregonrider

    oregonrider Member

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    I've done searches and I'm still confused as to which is best for a long controlled burn. I want a stove for 24/7 but worry about it over firing during the day when I'm at work. Also want one with min. clearance at the rear so it doesn't stick out as far as the smoke dragon I have now. I'm thinking about a PE super27 but want to make sure I'm making the right choice. Roben.

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  2. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    This is one of those "religious arguement" questions. You will see folks making claims in both directions, and so it boils down to who you believe. I tend to think that cats may do a bit better, but not hugely so. I think thermostatic control may be more useful, preferably on both primary and secondary air. A thermostat will probably do more to prevent overfires when you are gone than anything else.

    Of course one of the biggest factors is firebox size - the bigger the box, the longer the burn, all else being equal, more BTU's into the box, at a low burn rate, it will take longer to get them back out...

    Gooserider
  3. oregonrider

    oregonrider Member

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    Which stoves are thermostatically controlled? Roben.
  4. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    "Which stoves are thermostatically controlled?"
    Blaze King cats, some/all VC cats.

    There are also other catalytic stoves that just plain burn for a long time without a stat like the woodstock stoves. I chose to go a different direction than a stat and chose soapstone. It takes a long time to get hot and takes along time to cool off so even if the fire dies off, the thing keeps making heat for enough time to carry you through until you get home when you can relight and recharge the stone.

    You're asking a lot of that smallish PE stove to do the long burns. Perhaps the summit with its EBT technology which acts kind of like a stat in that it tries to mainatain a minimum heat level in the stove even if you shut the draft completely off.
  5. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    It is my belief that in the midsize or smaller stoves you will likely get a better slow burn in a cat stove since a subdued fire tends to produce more smoke and a cat stove thrives on smoke. Non-cat stoves rely on a hotter firebox temp for a clean burn and thats harder to achieve on a long slow burn. You can run a bigger firebox hotter for longer becasue they just plain hold more wood so you don't have to damp down your burn as much to get long burn times.
  6. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    The "EBT" equipped PE's (non-cat) Many VC's, some (all?) Blaze Kings, possibly others, but those are the ones I can think of.

    Gooserider
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Cat stoves are designed to burn long and slow and use the smoke as fuel. Kind of like the "air tight" stoves of the 70-80's without the pollution. I easily get 10-12 true burn with hardwood and plenty of coals left for refiring. In comparison I use to have a non cat with a slightly smaller firebox and was luck to get a 8-9 hour burn. I think the BTU output was about the same but the cat stove put it out a little slower. If you want a consitant 12 hr burn from a noncat you should look at one with a 3cu ft firebox.
  8. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    Our experience has been the same, we get longer burns with catalytic models, in general. Most of the non-cats have more air going through the stove and the consumption rate is faster. For a medium size stove a catalytic will be preferable for long burn times. However, I burned a VC Acclaim for nearly ten years and was getting 9 hour burns using it as my primary heater 24/7. It was rated at 40K btu/hr and is a non-cat. But the Acclaim non-cat design is significantly different from most other non-cat designs. It acts a lot like a catalytic. I think the new Everburns may end up with a similar result after some tweaks in the design, if they choose to do it. For now, the Everburns do not achieve the same long burn times that we can achieve with the catalytic models. And yes, we're only talking about 60 to 90 minutes difference. But that may be just what you need.

    Sean
  9. Gunner

    Gunner New Member

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    The super 27 is a 8-10hr stove, if you need longer burns you may want to look at something else.

    In the 3+cuft range there are stoves that will burn 12-14hrs. Other than Blaze King I have not heard of any stoves that consistently burn longer than that. Apparently Blaze king has a 2.8cuft that burns 30hrs and 4.? cuft that burns 40hrs, If you single you may want to consider them.

    Tell us more about the house you want to heat. Burn times are irrelevant if it doesn't fit your heating requirements.
  10. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

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    I have the Lopi Declaratin and it is stated to have a 12 hr burn time, and it is not cat. It has a 2.9 cu ft capacity. Haven't had the opportunity to try it out yet as I installed it this year.
  11. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

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    If you're looking for an "old school" reliable steel stove that burns long,
    look into the Buck Stove line. Some of their big 'ole Cat stoves burn a
    good 12hrs. +
  12. oregonrider

    oregonrider Member

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    1000sf built in the '30s no insulation in the walls, lots in the attic and under the floor. double casement windows with storm windows. 325sf living room where smoke dragon lives. pellet stove in dining room. pellet is on thermostat. use smoke dragon when I'm at home but can't get an all night burn with it. I'm beginning to think that a small to medium cat stove might be a better way for me to go than a medium to large non cat. roben.
  13. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    Can you blow in insulation into the walls?
  14. oregonrider

    oregonrider Member

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    I probably could but I'd rather put the money into a new stove. My electric co-op says only 16% of heat escapes thru uninsulated walls. roben.
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    In general, cat stoves will burn longer overnight - and more even. The exception might be certain newer downdraft models with fireboxes of 3 cubic foot or more - I have been hearing good things about these in terms of burn times.....examples - VC encore NC, Harman, new Lopi model, etc.
  16. oregonrider

    oregonrider Member

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    I think I'd rather have a smaller cat stove that still burned long than another big tank like my smoke dragon. It's a schrader 3 cu. ft. 36" h 28" w and 28" d. It's really dominates my living room. roben.
  17. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    Oregon What burn time do you want? Stove size plays a large part of this. Cat or Not. There is only so much magic in a stove.
  18. oregonrider

    oregonrider Member

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    north I'd like to get an 8 or 9 hour burn. roben.
  19. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    Well we turned away from the VC intrepidII because with the rear cat, the clearance to walls was more than double what was required of the Morso 7110, but I am not looking for 24/7 burning out of it.
  20. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Anything smaller than 2 cubic feet - even with a cat - might be tough for those overnight burns....especially with western wood.
  21. oregonrider

    oregonrider Member

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    Yes I figured about a 2 cu. ft. would be min. I want an overnite burn, I don't really care if it goes out during the day when I'm gone to work. I'm gone between 10 1/2 to 12 hours. roben.
  22. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Here's my $0.02 about them. What I don't like about secondary burn is that depending on the wood, flames need to reach up to the tubes to keep it lit, its secondary burn isn't self-sustaining. Sometimes I have a fire going, secondary burn is going great, then the pile collapes on itself and flames no longer reach the secondary burn and it goes out. It happens about twice a month, I usually open the door and reshuffle the logs to get it going again. A cat, once it's going it's carefree your fire can fall on itself won't matter. I believe you can't turn down secondary burn units as much as cats, since secondary units need flames to rise up and keep it lit a cat doesn't have that problem. Being able to turn it down more than usual though may not be useful you may have to keep your unit at medium to keep up with the heat your house is losing (as was my case). What I don't like about a cat, you have to wait for it to reach a temp to engage and I am the type if I start a fire and then do something I won't remember to come back to engage the cat. I'm also frequently running late and, like I can start a fire and lower the air down prematurely and when I come home know by the temps the secondary burn kicked in on its own. I also know everytime I walk past the fire if I had a cat I know I'll be triple-checking the cat is engaged cause I panic about things like that. The best thing about the secondary burn in my opinion, bar none, is the fireworks. Secondary burn is beautiful, it entertains me and people who visit, the whole top inside glows with rolling, clouds of blues and purples, and oranges, with sparkles, and waves of flames that dance, it is mesmorizing. I really enjoy getting a fire started, opening up a beer, and watching the secondary burn for hours thinking about life. My in-laws cat stove is surprisingly boring in comparison to sit in front of, just doesn't do it for me.

    It's really in the eye of the beerholder which suits who best. This is my opinion, not to say it's right but if you'll be actually "watching" the fire I think the secondary burn units and their "fireworks" factor the way to go. If your goal is just to heat the house and not watch the fire I'd put the edge towards the cat unit. If you want even heat, I believe you'll get marginally more even heat with a cat stove but secondary burn or cat you'll get a lot more with soapstone. Soapstone offers a significant difference in evening heat out. My unit is only soapstone lined secondary burn unit, and my unit is light years more even than my in-laws metal cat unit. If you're burning oaks & locust you can get overnight burns with a 2.4 cu ft minimum firebox I'd say, if you're burning pine you need 3 cu ft.
  23. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I agree
    with a lot of wat Rom says The cat is no different than closing the damper, in fact it is the damper It resoundly closes You will not mistake activation it is almost spring loaded and clamps shut

    As for waiting all fires require you to get then to secondary stage of burning meaning the wood should show a char on its surface at that time one usually reduces air IT is also this time is when the Cat can be engaged So there are no extra trips and if you damper down again you have yto wait till you reach that stage it the same Cat or non cat stove.

    the beauty of it all at this point the thematically controlled air kicks in and self adjust to promote secondary burn In fact its feed in is into the Cat combustion chamber.

    Now this in not just cool room air but air that has been circulated around the fire box and super heated before being injected into the Cat combustor chamber.. But that is not all that is happening the smoke now that the damper is closed is forced down over the hot coal bed getting super heated plus particular burn off occurs even before entering the secondary cat combustion chamber. It too enter the cat combustor super heated Its a cold night real cold and I need heat What I will do is bring the stove up to 600 degrees (surface mount middle griddle temps)

    and activate the Cat, The thematically controlled secondary air will do its best to hold that temp through out the load Usually my primary air is either completely shut down of less than a quarter open If I want 650 I still can open more air
  24. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    I have never owned a secondary burn unit. With the Woodstock Keystone I recently got, which is a cat-soapstone stove, once I have my stove up to temp and can engage the cat, when I then cut the air back, I also get an absolutely mesmerizing fire display. The gassification of the wood becomes so apparent as you see the gas itself burning, not the wood, flames will passively dance from the wood to the firebox top, flicker, flare, almost go out, re-flare back to the wood. I don't believe its as active and vivid as secondary burn units from the descriptions and videos I've seen, but it is nonetheless an absolute delight to watch. Cat and soapstone; in my opinion, as good as it gets for manageable, efficient, long lasting and even heat.
  25. oregonrider

    oregonrider Member

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    I've not seen either, both sound nice. I want to get more controllable heat than I have now. I can hit mid 80s to mid 90s in the living room even with both ceiling fans running, About 80 in the dining room/kitchen. and 60 in the bedroom and bath. roben.
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