Blaze King Operating Questions

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BC_Josh

Member
Oct 23, 2023
126
Nelson, British Columbia
Hello everyone. My first post in here. What a great resource! I'm in Nelson, BC, Canada.

Can anyone answer a few questions about operating my woodstove? I am running a brand new Sirrocco 20.2 manufactured by Blaze King with the catalytic burner and damper bypass systems, and, just finished initial firings to burn off the paint smell (phew! -- very awful smell, but glad it's done now). I'm burning mostly Douglas Fir and a bit of larch too.
I have a few issues I'm not seeing in the manuals on how to do certain things:

1) it says in the manual to always do a "gradual" thermostat knob adjustment. I'm not sure how slowly they consider this to be acceptable? To gradually turn it up or down over a ten min' period? I doubt it and saw a Youtube video where a woman demonstrated turning down a Blaze King stove slowly but all in one go, so about four seconds to go from high to mid-range temperatures (from a channel named BlazeKing but you know how the interwebz are -- not sure if it was legit).

2) The fellow who installed the woodstove said it was good to do a hot firing at least once a week to clean out the stove, chimney and catalytic burner. I don't remember him saying how long to do the burn for.... is that a quick burn? I don't want to pester him because I know this is his busiest time of the year. You don't want to run your stove blazing hot for too long, right, because it can eventually warp the steel on it? Blaze King seems to suggest that a hot fire daily is good. How long do you think I should do this for?

3) Also, in relation to question #2, how long should I burn it hot to try to clean some of the black on the glass door?

4) And, lastly, it must be OK to leave the catalytic burner on when the stove cools off, and the needle on the gauge on top of the stove goes down to the "INACTIVE" stage of temperature? I mean, they wouldn't make you get up in the night to shut off the catalytic burner.... so I'll assume it's OK to let the stove cool down without turning the handle to disengage the catalytic burner. Right?

Thanks for spending the time to read this.
 
With the cold weather now approaching it will be easier to run the stove at a higher temperature. That will help clear the glass somewhat.
 
1) it says in the manual to always do a "gradual" thermostat knob adjustment. I'm not sure how slowly they consider this to be acceptable?

No replies from the more experienced folks. I'll give some inexpert answers for whatever they are worth. But take a look at https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/starting-a-fire-and-running-an-epa-stove.179714/

I've got a Princess, not a Sirrocco, but I suspect that they are similar enough.

The manual is vague in some places. After either a cold or hot load, once the fire is going well and the cat gauge is active, I turn the air down by about 1/3. I give it time (2 to 5 minutes) to stabilize, then turn it down by another 1/3. If that's still hotter than needed, I wait for it to stabilize again and then turn it down to its final position.

2) The fellow who installed the woodstove said it was good to do a hot firing at least once a week to clean out the stove, chimney and catalytic burner. I don't remember him saying how long to do the burn for.... is that a quick burn? I don't want to pester him because I know this is his busiest time of the year. You don't want to run your stove blazing hot for too long, right, because it can eventually warp the steel on it? Blaze King seems to suggest that a hot fire daily is good. How long do you think I should do this for?
The manual suggests leaving the air on high for 20 to 30 minutes after either a cold or hot load. @BKVP recently suggested closing the bypass shortly after a hot load if the cat is active. A hot load can sometimes pin the cat gauge in less than 20 minutes. I start turning the air down around 15 to 20 minutes, or sooner if the cat gauge is past the middle of its range. Leaving the air open and the fire hot longer helps to remove moisture from the wood and burns some of the moisture-related combustion products in the firebox.

IIRC, flue temps from cat stoves (when the cats are engaged) are lower than is common for non-cats, but the cats burn much of the combustion byproducts that might otherwise deposit in the stack. The flue temp / deposit profile is different for cat v. non-cat stoves. Hopefully someone else who knows more will post some info. The info is probably in these forums already, but finding it can take a while.

Following the manual's procedure means doing a short (20 to 30 minute) hot fire on each cold or hot reload. Depending on usage pattern, that could once a week / month / year, or it could be a few times per day.

Re pestering the installer: some post-installation support should be considered part of the installation.

3) Also, in relation to question #2, how long should I burn it hot to try to clean some of the black on the glass door?
if you often do long, slow burns you might as well get used to deposits on the glass. On my Princess, 20 minutes of wide open air with a 1/2 load of wood cleans enough to notice, but not all of it. Running it for a few hours at 1/2 air cleans most of it.

4) And, lastly, it must be OK to leave the catalytic burner on when the stove cools off, and the needle on the gauge on top of the stove goes down to the "INACTIVE" stage of temperature? I mean, they wouldn't make you get up in the night to shut off the catalytic burner.... so I'll assume it's OK to let the stove cool down without turning the handle to disengage the catalytic burner. Right?
Right.
 
Hello everyone. My first post in here. What a great resource! I'm in Nelson, BC, Canada.

Can anyone answer a few questions about operating my woodstove? I am running a brand new Sirrocco 20.2 manufactured by Blaze King with the catalytic burner and damper bypass systems, and, just finished initial firings to burn off the paint smell (phew! -- very awful smell, but glad it's done now). I'm burning mostly Douglas Fir and a bit of larch too.
I have a few issues I'm not seeing in the manuals on how to do certain things:

1) it says in the manual to always do a "gradual" thermostat knob adjustment. I'm not sure how slowly they consider this to be acceptable? To gradually turn it up or down over a ten min' period? I doubt it and saw a Youtube video where a woman demonstrated turning down a Blaze King stove slowly but all in one go, so about four seconds to go from high to mid-range temperatures (from a channel named BlazeKing but you know how the interwebz are -- not sure if it was legit).

2) The fellow who installed the woodstove said it was good to do a hot firing at least once a week to clean out the stove, chimney and catalytic burner. I don't remember him saying how long to do the burn for.... is that a quick burn? I don't want to pester him because I know this is his busiest time of the year. You don't want to run your stove blazing hot for too long, right, because it can eventually warp the steel on it? Blaze King seems to suggest that a hot fire daily is good. How long do you think I should do this for?

3) Also, in relation to question #2, how long should I burn it hot to try to clean some of the black on the glass door?

4) And, lastly, it must be OK to leave the catalytic burner on when the stove cools off, and the needle on the gauge on top of the stove goes down to the "INACTIVE" stage of temperature? I mean, they wouldn't make you get up in the night to shut off the catalytic burner.... so I'll assume it's OK to let the stove cool down without turning the handle to disengage the catalytic burner. Right?

Thanks for spending the time to read this.
An important point is that you and I are burning softwoods. Our woods get going much faster and hotter than the super dense eastern hardwoods.

1) Meh, you can quickly turn the dial but the risk is going from a raging firebox on max setting to a really low setting can cause backpuffs because the wood is still raging. Don't sweat this too much. Go from max warm up setting to maybe halfway for 5 minutes and then turn to your desired cruise setting. A big tip here is don't warm it up too hot for too long which makes it easier to turn down because the internal intake valve isn't already closing off to cool it down. It's easier to slow down a fire that hasn't turned into a raging inferno. Or calming down a family member once they're really hopping mad vs. just a little steamed.

2) I suggest you get a flue probe thermometer. These stoves, burning softwoods, can overtemp the flue if you let the fire rage too long. The factory cat thermometer won't tell you this. Advice from eastern folks will be based on them burning a much different and slower fuel. I run a new fire hot until the flue temps get near the danger zone which is usually less than 15 minutes after cat engagement using very dry fir. Always close the bypass when your cat meter says active. You could melt out the innards of your stove if you don't close that bypass on time. Once the bypass is closed, in theory, if everything is working right, you can run the whole load of fuel on max thermostat setting but in my experience, the flue gets too hot for my comfort when doing this.

3) You will almost never burn off the gunk. Don't bother trying. If you want it clean you will need to use a razor blade and some sort of lubricant. It will quickly get black again anyway. Fortunately, if your wood is dry, only the bottom corners get black. Maybe 50% total of the window. It can get a thick bark on it. Not a film. Besides, there's not much to see when the thing is running low in cruise mode where most people run their stoves most of the time. A little glow from the wood, some sparks, maybe a ghost flame, and the eery glow of that orange cat above.

4) Yep. Leave the cat engaged until you're ready to reload. As the fuel load reduces to nothing the catalyst will cool but by the time it is cold enough to be inactive there is nothing in the smoke stream to feed it. That's why it got cold and why it won't plug up the chimney.

You're going to really enjoy burning a BK in the NW. A very long season of not terribly low temperatures.
 
No replies from the more experienced folks. I'll give some inexpert answers for whatever they are worth. But take a look at https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/starting-a-fire-and-running-an-epa-stove.179714/

I've got a Princess, not a Sirrocco, but I suspect that they are similar enough.

The manual is vague in some places. After either a cold or hot load, once the fire is going well and the cat gauge is active, I turn the air down by about 1/3. I give it time (2 to 5 minutes) to stabilize, then turn it down by another 1/3. If that's still hotter than needed, I wait for it to stabilize again and then turn it down to its final position.


The manual suggests leaving the air on high for 20 to 30 minutes after either a cold or hot load. @BKVP recently suggested closing the bypass shortly after a hot load if the cat is active. A hot load can sometimes pin the cat gauge in less than 20 minutes. I start turning the air down around 15 to 20 minutes, or sooner if the cat gauge is past the middle of its range. Leaving the air open and the fire hot longer helps to remove moisture from the wood and burns some of the moisture-related combustion products in the firebox.

IIRC, flue temps from cat stoves (when the cats are engaged) are lower than is common for non-cats, but the cats burn much of the combustion byproducts that might otherwise deposit in the stack. The flue temp / deposit profile is different for cat v. non-cat stoves. Hopefully someone else who knows more will post some info. The info is probably in these forums already, but finding it can take a while.

Following the manual's procedure means doing a short (20 to 30 minute) hot fire on each cold or hot reload. Depending on usage pattern, that could once a week / month / year, or it could be a few times per day.

Re pestering the installer: some post-installation support should be considered part of the installation.


if you often do long, slow burns you might as well get used to deposits on the glass. On my Princess, 20 minutes of wide open air with a 1/2 load of wood cleans enough to notice, but not all of it. Running it for a few hours at 1/2 air cleans most of it.


Right.
 
Thanks everyone for the responses, I sure appreciate your input. I'd reply more but it's time for me to go to the woodshed, grab a load and light a fire! Back soon for more conversation. ~BC Josh
 
No replies from the more experienced folks. I'll give some inexpert answers for whatever they are worth. But take a look at https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/starting-a-fire-and-running-an-epa-stove.179714/

I've got a Princess, not a Sirrocco, but I suspect that they are similar enough.

The manual is vague in some places. After either a cold or hot load, once the fire is going well and the cat gauge is active, I turn the air down by about 1/3. I give it time (2 to 5 minutes) to stabilize, then turn it down by another 1/3. If that's still hotter than needed, I wait for it to stabilize again and then turn it down to its final position.


The manual suggests leaving the air on high for 20 to 30 minutes after either a cold or hot load
if you often do long, slow burns you might as well get used to deposits on the glass. On my Princess, 20 minutes of wide open air with a 1/2 load of wood cleans enough to notice, but not all of it. Running it for a few hours at 1/2 air cleans most of it.
I cleaned the glass for the first time the other day, I used a razor blade first then I used some all purpose Windex grease cleaner (green in colour) then rinsed the door with some warm water on a rag, washing it out and repeating the rinsing process. Seemed to work well.
These stoves, burning softwoods, can overtemp the flue if you let the fire rage too long. The factory cat thermometer won't tell you this.
OK; thanks for the heads up. Do you know how long it would take to overtemp the flue?
 
I've forgotten to close the bypass a few times, and it burned medium hot for twenty min's or so, and it was in the active zone on the cat thermometer...... how much damage does this do and to what? Is that damage to the bypass door? Or, damage to the cat? ..... Sorry, I'm still a bit of a newbie here... and the principles of a catalytic system still aren't totally clear to me. I do follow the manual as much as I can however.
 
OK; thanks for the heads up. Do you know how long it would take to overtemp the flue?
Easily within the first 10 minutes after cat engagement if your fuel was dry, loose, and smaller. With a tight, dry , full, load and of big splits in a cold stove, it can be closer to 20 minutes after cat engagement. As stated above, a flue meter is very useful here. Flue temperature redline is 1000 degrees F. Class A pipe is not rated for continuous operation above that.

I've forgotten to close the bypass a few times, and it burned medium hot for twenty min's or so, and it was in the active zone on the cat thermometer...... how much damage does this do and to what? Is that damage to the bypass door? Or, damage to the cat?

You could melt your bypass gasket retainers. The thin metal brackets that hold the bypass gasket in place at the mouth of the bypass opening. They easily succumb to excessive heat by design and can even just fail for no good reason at all. Replacing these is a cutting and welding job inside the stove in a very difficult place to access. You probably won't be able to find anybody to do the repair so the stove will be trashed. Be very careful not to melt these. The cat is out of harms way, the bypass door is very thick, replaceable, and not harmed this way.
 
Easily within the first 10 minutes after cat engagement if your fuel was dry, loose, and smaller. With a tight, dry , full, load and of big splits in a cold stove, it can be closer to 20 minutes after cat engagement. As stated above, a flue meter is very useful here. Flue temperature redline is 1000 degrees F. Class A pipe is not rated for continuous operation above that.



You could melt your bypass gasket retainers. The thin metal brackets that hold the bypass gasket in place at the mouth of the bypass opening. They easily succumb to excessive heat by design and can even just fail for no good reason at all. Replacing these is a cutting and welding job inside the stove in a very difficult place to access. You probably won't be able to find anybody to do the repair so the stove will be trashed. Be very careful not to melt these. The cat is out of harms way, the bypass door is very thick, replaceable, and not harmed this way.
I'm almost having buyer remorse now... Jeez... finicky stoves these BK cat stoves and kind of scary thinking of the ramifications of burning out your system and trashing the stove. But, the good news is, once you fiddle with them in the right way, they save a lot of fire poking and reloading.
 
I'm almost having buyer remorse now... Jeez... finicky stoves these BK cat stoves and kind of scary thinking of the ramifications of burning out your system and trashing the stove. But, the good news is, once you fiddle with them in the right way, they save a lot of fire poking and reloading.

If you install it per the manual and operate it properly you should be fine. There are some consequences for not doing so, the cat stoves are not as forgiving of mistakes as a noncat. Yes, once your setup is correct they are super easy to run with very long burn times and no fiddling during the very long burn.

BK did make some improvements to the bypass gasket frame with the newest model princess to hopefully reduce the melting but they still weld in so are not practically replaceable.

The symptom of short burn times you were having are very likely caused by high draft. Once that is sorted out, you'll be in great shape.
 
What I've found out on my BK (boxer) is no matter how hot of fire I get, the glass is never clean. Its a big tease because the boxer has a huge glass door. I gave up trying to keep it clean. And seeing how much wood is left in the stove isnt easy to do with a dirty glass. Another thing is the hottest cycle on the stove is when its turned down all of the way. The cat glows orange as the flu temps lower. Turning the knob to a higher setting only increases the flu temp because of the higher flame output. This doesnt increase my stoves overall temp. I've yet to experience the throw in some wood, set the temp and walk away for X amount of hours. The stove temps vary as different pieces of wood ignite. When I think I have the stove at a good flu temp, a half hour later it will be 200 degrees higher, so I have to adjust again. Good luck, there is a learning curve.
 
Yeah, the cat gets hotter at low output settings for me too. But stove output definitely increases as I turn up the thermostat even though the cat may cool. You’ve got to give it time. Try not to micromanage it. Just turn the knob higher if you want more heat and lower if you want less. Just not so low that the cat meter falls to inactive.
 
On mine (with a young cat), the cat gauge goes up until I turn the air down below about 1/3, and usually drops below that.