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Why didn't you buy a cat stove?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by dafattkidd, Jul 17, 2011.

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  1. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    If I didn't get such a deal on the BK I probably wouldn't have bought one. The Endeavor is a fine stove, I only have little complaints with it but I'm sure I'll still have some of those with the BK.

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  2. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    Complaints? Sure....until you figure out the quirks of the stove. They burn great, but they're not exactly containing the Sun in a metal box. Shoulder season burn times will freak you out a bit. It shouldn't do "that", but it does. 24 hrs. on Pine, 'nough said.
  3. Wade A.

    Wade A. Feeling the Heat

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    I've had both. Don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but if you want to talk your wife into believing that, YES, she is competent to load and monitor the stove, the one thing you don't want is a Cat.
  4. mhrischuk

    mhrischuk Guest

    So is it true that a non-cat stove is more forgiving and requires less attention?
  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    They both need dry wood. With poor quality of wood, both type of stoves will be a pain to run.

    The cat needs to be engaged (lever flip) at a certain temp. Not much different than adjusting the air controls after a cold start or on a reload.

    Is a non-cat stove simpler to use? Yes.

    Is a Cat stove difficult/complicated to use? No.

    Do you need to "baby sit" a cat stove? No.

    Is one better than another? No, it just depends upon your needs.
  6. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I think that is it in a nut shell, for me it was the wife thing, after heating with wood for 30 years I wanted a stove than ran some what like the old one.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Soupy, yes, that was our routine and we did it because the chimney needed cleaning. I've never yet had a chimney fire nor do I want to experience one. Therefore, when the chimney began getting dirty, we cleaned it. It was not a difficult job as we could finish the job in 15 minutes maximum but was a sort of a pain to be doing it so often.

    Today, we no longer follow that practice. My wife still checks the chimney (old habits sometimes die slowly) 3 or 4 times each winter. We did give the chimney a through cleaning after burning the Fireview two full winters. We really did not need to do it then but out of curiosity wanted to see how much junk we'd get out of the chimney. Around a cup of soot was all. We have now burned 4 full winters and one surprising thing is that we have never yet cleaned the cap!
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    The temperature does need to be up with a cat stove. In the old ceramic cats the interior temperature needed to be 500, which, as you can imagine is not that difficult to reach that temperature in a very short time. The newer steel cats operate at a lower temperature.

    How does turning the stove down keep the cat hot? Good question and thank you for asking. It is simple in that the cat burns smoke. Turn the draft down and you'll get more smoke. To give you an idea, many times we will fill the stove and go to bed. During the night us older folks somehow can't seem to sleep the whole night without having to tend to certain bodily functions. It is also my habit that anytime I am in the house or like at night, in the opposite end of the house from the stove, I naturally go look at the stove.

    Shortly after beginning to use our present stove one night I was up around 2:00 am and was a bit concerned because I could see no reflection from the fire that should have been in the stove. When I went to the stove, I could see only a glow coming from the area of the cat. I could see absolutely no flame nor could I see a hot coal. Yet, with our stove we can look up through the glass and see the cat and that thing was glowing fiery red. The stove top temperature was somewhere around 550 (don't remember precisely) and the house was warm. I was amazed.

    So when I had posted this, some folks got the idea that with a cat stove you get no flame to observe. Not so! All that is needed is to open the draft just a tiny bit and it will look like the pits of Hell itself.

    Another thing happened along these lines after we started using the stove. We were watching the flame and the darndest thing happened. The flame actually appeared to lift right off the wood so that it ended up with a beautiful rolling ball of fire at the top of the stove that seemed to keep moving but stayed at the top. It was beautiful and when this happens it is usually a deeper red color. We were awestruck to say the least.....until I started getting a bit too warm and looked at the temperature gauge. It was 600 degrees and climbing. No problem yet but then it got to 650 and still climbing. I can tell you that it was definitely beginning to concentrate my attention as 700 is the recommended high temperature for this stove. The temperature finally stopped climbing just a tad below 700. Relief! Except it was hot in the house. lol

    We do know for other folks experience that this particular stove can withstand much higher temperatures than 700 but I still would not recommend burning them that hot. We have had ours a little over 700 but found that it is very easy to tame down.

    I do hope this answers a few of your questions about a cat stove but I have experience only with the Woodstock stoves.


    Maybe I can wake up North of 60 for some of his input as he also burns a cat stove and lives up in the Yukon.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    BeGreen, I don't look at this as a debate between the two type stoves but certain questions or ideas come up and the best way to answer them is the way it is being done. I do not feel there is any bad feelings between the members either and sincerely hope it continues that way. It is only members helping members, but thank you for keeping watch too. You do a good job and are appreciated.
  10. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    My Woodstock Keystone is a cat stove and I've got a new Englander 30-NCH almost ready to install that is a non-cat stove. Amongst other stoves I've been around, my Dad had a VC Defiant Encore cat stove and a non-EPA Englander steel plate stove.

    Here are my thoughts for what their worth:

    My Keystone is a great stove. The cat is not complicated or hard to use. I did have the cat replaced (under warranty) after burning it hard last year. The old cat was ceramic, the new cat is steel. I was really disapointed that the original cat crapped out. I've got good wood (as verified by my handy dandy new moisture meter) with moisture content of 20% or less. I think that the demise of the ceramic cat was a combo of a lemon cat to start with and maybe some thermal shock of bringing the cat on at 200 degrees stove top vs 250 degrees. None the less, it gave me a bit of bad taste in my mouth to have had to replace the cat in the first place. Would that prevent me from buying another cat stove - no.

    My non-cat Englander 30 is going to be an intersting stove in comparison. The nice thing about these non-cat stoves is you can burn almost anything in them - if you are willing to tolerate creosote build-up (like burning with green wood). If your wood is less than ideal, you won't potentially ruin the cat. No potential thermal shock issues. The non-cat Englander 30 reminds me of my Dad's old non-EPA Englander in that burning is basically the same. Load the stove up, burn the crap out of the wood - BUT, when you check the chimney, the 30 should not, nowhere near, if at all, line the chimney with creosote. What the Englander 30 will not do (BB correct me if I am wrong) is give me super low, but clean, shoulder season burns like the cat stove will on a full load. I think the work around for this is just to put less wood in the firebox or burn a short hot fire and let it go out - we'll see.

    My Dad's old VC Defiant Encore was a GREAT looking stove, but it never performed to his expectations. It replaced his old Englander and the heat output wasn't the same. The cat was hard to replace and expensive. I think much of his trouble was his wood and burning technique in not getting the stove hot enough to really light off the cat and in doing so, he had an expensive, but good looking, creosote factory - but he saved a lot of wood with those smoldering burns.

    The old non-EPA Englander, great stove, dead solid reliable, could burn ANYTHING wet or dry and blasted the basement install with heat. Not so easy on the eyes and a creosote factory. You had to keep your eye on the chimney with that stove. We still have the stove in storage and might drag it out for camp or workshop duty someday.

    For my Dad, based on his experience with the VC cat stove - he would NEVER own another cat stove. There's no talking him into one.

    I like both, but feel the non-cat stoves with secondary burn tubes are more bullet proof than the cat stoves when it comes to someone who doesn't know or care about how to operate or burn a woodstove.

    Bill
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Unrelated to the topic at hand, but important to me, what year/model Encore did your father have?
  12. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I went with the secondary burn route because:

    a) I had a friend who had a 1980s vintage VC with a cat that he had issues with . . . but now realize that the tech was very early in its infancy at its time.
    b) I was reluctant to get a stove with a part I would have to replace . . . even though I know they can last several years and are a replacement part like other parts.
    c) As a first year burner I was a bit nervous about my wood not being fully seasoned . . . and believed a secondary burner would be a little more forgiving.

    Looking back, would I have changed my decision?

    Honestly, no. I cannot complain about the secondary burning stove I have for both the looks and heat output and I burn it fall, winter and spring. Add in the fact that while the Blaze King gets fantastically long burn times I just find it very, very ugly. The Woodstock Fireview is appealing . . . but the looks are too ornate.

    That said . . . I really like the direction that some of the stove manufacturers are going with both tech incorporated into one . . . and I really like the looks of the new Woodstock stove.
  13. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    I'm not sure the exact model, but I think he got the stove around 1990 - 1992ish time frame. It was definately the Defiant Encore and was black cast (not enameled/proclein finished).

    To my knowledge, the stove is still in service. It is on the third owner, including my Dad. I spoke to the guy a while back who bought it and he thought it was a great stove. I don't think my Dad ever had any refractory troubles with the stove. I know he replaced the cat one time and complained about it being difficult. He top vented into an 8 inch chimney and that chimney was very tall with excellent draft.

    My Dad had high hopes for the VC stove after (from a lifetime of being forced to deal with low budget stoves) moving-up the Englander and other old wood/coal stoves and came away from the experience with a very bitter taste for cat stoves. The VC was sort of a well deserved retirement gift to himself; he replaced it with a pellet stove.

    Post or PM me with any questions. If I can recall the answer, I'll be glad to help.

    Bill
  14. HeatsTwice

    HeatsTwice Minister of Fire

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    This is interesting and the first I had heard of such. I wonder if anyone has any information about the merging of these technologies into one stove.
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Vermont Castings has their 2 in 1 stove line out now . . . and Woodstock is working on a new stove that has both the secondary burner and cat in one.
  16. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    http://woodstocksoapstoneco.blogspot.com/

    It's going to be a very interesting Winter on the forum this year, looking forward to the reviews.
  17. greythorn3

    greythorn3 Minister of Fire

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    i couldnt afford a cat stove.
  18. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Just wondering are you related to Lassie? There is an uncanny resemblance there... :)

    Ray
  19. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    I didnt buy a cat stove for the 1st stove due to not having the knowledge that the BK existed. If it didnt at the time I was going back to straight oil. Pine and spruce are a b_ch to run a long low burn on with very dry wood and keeping the chimney clean.
    As for cat and non-cat......this forum has burnt me out. Just peoples ignorant comments about the extra work and having to run at a higher temp to run the CAT get me feeling we are flogging a dead horse. We can just enjoy what we got. I am putting a stove upstairs next year and its going to have a Cat. The Keystone. I only heat for fun here as our climate is warm with everyones crap/shoulder season wood.
    Still haven't froze to death yet.
    People need to use what works for them. A newer cat stove is as simple as it comes to operate. All peoples wood should be dry/seasoned to get your best bang for your buck.
    Cheers
  20. mhrischuk

    mhrischuk Guest

    I'm just learning by asking questions. I think I saw one ignorant response but over all everybody has neen very helpful. If you get impatient with some of us newbees maybe you should take a breather.
  21. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I don't see anything like that in this thread. There were just people asking questions.
  22. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    Hey, no intention of being nasty. Lots of threads to review on here on how the Cat operates. Check out Woodstock or BKs site and that will remove assumptions. Its just like someone saying a Cummins 12 valve is no good and to much maintenance. ;-)
    Cheers!
  23. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Not sure why he got annoyed as this is just fun off season debate.. I am replacing an old cat stove so I feel qualified to talk about it and my new stove is a non-cat so I hope it works well and I feel the efficiency should be on par with my old cat stove.. Time will tell.. I have nothing against either burn technology and find all the info interesting as I am sure you do.. Feel free to ask any questions we enjoy the debates and learn from them.. One thing I like about the non-cats is the fire show but I hear the new cat stoves do this pretty good.. Which looks better fireview wise? I do not know but suspect the non-cat will excel in this regard..

    Ray
  24. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    Dennis should of let me sleep. :) Sorry guys, tried to run the middle. Lots on this site to review. Didnt want to sound well.....you know...Like an IVY Frank.
    Hope I am forgiven.
  25. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    It's OK North you're still reeling from the Bruins ...

    ;-)

    Ray
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