catalytic converter or after burner?

Chilly Willy

New Member
Jan 6, 2019
2
MD
Hi, I'm new to stoves but have been burning in a fireplace for a long time. Looking at stoves and see a lot of complaints from people who have to replace either the converter or baffles/parts of reburn systems. The question is, is there a consensus on which technology is preferred? If the reburn type, are there brands of stoves that the reburn systems /parts are not as good or sturdy than others? Thanks in advance.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,687
South Puget Sound, WA
Most quality stoves go a long time without issue or major parts replacement. Some early secondary tube stoves used steel tubes that failed early, but I think all stoves now use stainless tubes or secondary racks.
Cat stoves have more moving parts and are a bit higher maintenance, but some have the advantage of running at a lower output without smoking up the chimney. This can be good for people that need heat in fall & spring weather when they don't have an alternative heat source. There's a 3d type of stove that uses a hybrid system with both secondary tubes and a catalyst. They are becoming more prevalent with the new 2020 EPA requirements.

There's tons of past discussion on this topic. Just search on cat vs non-cat in this forum.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chilly Willy
Feb 2, 2020
128
Madison, WI
I second researching stoves that use a hybrid system to burn the wood smoke. A good hybrid system will include a catalyst as well as the secondary burn tubes (or chambers). The goal of the hybrid system is to be able to efficiently re burn smoke no matter what stage of the burn you are at. My stove, a Woodstock Soapstone Ideal Steel, has an excellent hybrid burn system and I regularly get over 12 hr burns with it even in super cold weather!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chilly Willy

Chilly Willy

New Member
Jan 6, 2019
2
MD
I probably should have posted this to begin with. My goal is to reduce my electric bill a bit, and to enjoy the view of the fire. I dont plan to use wood exclusively, but I do have a good amount of red oak at my disposal so why not?
The stove will stand between my kitchen/dining room and my family room. Both rooms are each about 400ish sq. ft., so 800 combined. On the far side of my kitchen is a central hallway to 3 bedrooms. I'm not really planning for much heat to travel down the hall, but we'll see. There is a ceiling fan in the family room.
I am going for a stove with a glass door to see the fire. Being super efficient isnt really all that important, but it will certainly be a welcomed bonus. I am looking for a used stove with a good reputation and lower price than a new one. It just seems that most of the newer high tech "smoke burners" wear out or break and can cost several hundred $ to replace.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,687
South Puget Sound, WA
It just seems that most of the newer high tech "smoke burners" wear out or break and can cost several hundred $ to replace.
That's assumption is not correct, particularly for non-cats without a bypass. There are many modern stoves that are very low maintenance. In the past 11 yrs all our stove has had is a stove door gasket replacement which is something old or new stoves are going to need.
 

edyit

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2014
833
Wilmington NY
but I do have a good amount of red oak at my disposal so why not?
no matter what stove you get you're not going to like the results if you don't have seasoned wood (<20% moisture content) oak generally takes 2 seasons to dry enough to burn without it sizzling
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chilly Willy

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,687
South Puget Sound, WA
no matter what stove you get you're not going to like the results if you don't have seasoned wood (<20% moisture content) oak generally takes 2 seasons to dry enough to burn without it sizzling
Yes, and the red oak will typically need a couple of years after splitting and stacking to fully season.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,351
Woolwich nj
I thought just like you that I would be a part time butner. I was wrong. I enjoyed the heat so much I use it as my full time heat. As a cat stove owner my burn times are long. 12+ hours and I can burn low in the fall as well.as the spring. Hybrid is a great way to go. Cat will get you a more even heat and long burn times. Stoves with burn tube have a extended burn times but the heat is a little uneven spiking early with less towards the middle stage of the burn.. There are tradeoffs to anything and nothing is perfect. Do your research and don't let price determine what you get, buy something that will completely fit your needs. Get dry wood, thats the key to any stove and dry wood leads to the best experience
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,126
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I probably should have posted this to begin with. My goal is to reduce my electric bill a bit, and to enjoy the view of the fire. I dont plan to use wood exclusively, but I do have a good amount of red oak at my disposal so why not?
The stove will stand between my kitchen/dining room and my family room. Both rooms are each about 400ish sq. ft., so 800 combined. On the far side of my kitchen is a central hallway to 3 bedrooms. I'm not really planning for much heat to travel down the hall, but we'll see. There is a ceiling fan in the family room.
I am going for a stove with a glass door to see the fire. Being super efficient isnt really all that important, but it will certainly be a welcomed bonus. I am looking for a used stove with a good reputation and lower price than a new one. It just seems that most of the newer high tech "smoke burners" wear out or break and can cost several hundred $ to replace.
Stick with a good, quality name-brand stove that has been around for awhile . . . although I must confess I originally had the same thought of just burning part time to save money on heating oil.

When I realized how easy the new stoves are to operate and began to relish the heat (not to mention the sight and sounds of a crackling wood fire) I pretty much began heating 24/7.

Moving heat in a home is possible . . . although these are still truly space heaters so generally I recommend folks put the woodstove in the space where they plan to spend most of their waking time in the home. I use a cheap electric fan on the floor to push the air towards the woodstove and set up a heat loop to move the heat through most of the home.

Finally . . . the "new tech" has actually been around for a good amount of time now and honestly are pretty tough . . . I'm going on 12 years with my Jotul and only have replaced a couple of gaskets and the baffle blanket (gaskets being a "wear item" and the baffle blanket probably could have been used longer to be frank.)

If you do opt to buy new there are a few things you want to look out for . . . mainly over-firing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chilly Willy