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VC Defiant Cat Conv. questions

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by NEKVermonter, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. NEKVermonter

    NEKVermonter New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2013
    Messages:
    1
    Hi, all- I hope you can help me (I am certain you can) understand this Cat Converter and how it's supposed to look when operating correctly. We recently moved into a house that has a VC Defiant with a Cat. Converter & learning how to run this stove properly has me all in a knot. I grew up with a wood stove, but didn't have a cat. We didn't have the air flow control on the one I grew up with either, so this is also new to me.

    First on the damper: So on this stove, the manual states that the damper has 2 positions- open and closed, however on this stove, it appears that the damper is open wide (all the way to the back), then what appears to be a "soft" close (where the handle is pointing straight onto the floor, but still not slam closed); then if you really crank on the handle, so it's facing into the room, then it's really closed. So when we burn dry wood with it cranked all the way shut and the air control closed all the way down (towards the wall as far as it will go), the top of the stove will be 850F degrees, but the stovepipe will only read up to 300F degrees (stays on the lower end of 300 deg.). When we burn in this scenario, the baffle is not glowing red, but the stovetop is super hot, and the flames are HUGE and very, very slow-moving, hitting the top of the stove and then curling down to both the right and left & it's a bit smokey in there. Is the damper supposed to be super tightly closed like this or is it supposed to allow a little air in, like in the position of it pointing straight down to the floor? I am making the assumption that the handle needs to be readjusted, I just don't know how tightly the damper should close when I adjust it.

    Second on the Cat: If I have the damper slightly opened (pointing down to the floor), fill her up with wood, have the airflow on the lowest setting, the stovetop is between 600-700F degrees and around 400F on the stove pipe. In this scenario, the cat is glowing but I can also see flames behind the baffle & I can hear combustion (sounds like an inferno in a wind tunnel), but I cannot find anything anywhere that says whether or not there should be flames behind the baffle where the converter is located. I just read the sound of a torch is overfiring, so I am not sure what to do about this (if I crank the damper all the way shut then the stovetop temp climbs back up to 850F). In this scenario, there's virtually no visible smoke inside the firebox. Is there supposed to be fire behind the baffle?

    And while this is a fault of mine, and I apologize for not taking off the back of the stove & checking to see what the condition of the honeycomb is, but it is freezing cold up here in northern VT & this is our only source of heat in an unfinished house (no sheetrock anywhere) with ice cold cement floors & single-paned windows with more cold air coming in than anyone would dream of.

    Any information is greatly appreciated!

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  2. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    397
    Loc:
    No. NH
    So the damper is in fact a bypass gate, quite unlike some old conventional dampers. The bypasses job is to force ALL combustion gasses through the catalytic element. So yeah, close it tightly.

    Sounds like it's running hotter that it should, but under the circumstances, what are the choices? If you can't be without the stove, then just keep running it and look more closely at it in the spring. If you don't already, get an owner's manual. They're helpful to have, and you can down load one somewhere here or on the VC website probably. BE SURE of the model though. There is sometimes some confusion between "Defiant", "Encore", and "Defiant Encore". Read carefully what it saya on the side of the stove. Sounds stupid, sorry, but it helps to know this stuff.

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