First fire in insert - some questions

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gassy3000

New Member
Dec 5, 2020
2
Ottawa, Canada
Hi, I'm new here.

We had a small fire in our new Regency CI2700/HI500 insert last night. I don't really know what I'm doing, but I read the manual and found this forum and am trying to learn.

Started it with some cardboard and small sticks for kindling, with smaller logs on top. Using seasoned firewood, but I need to get a moisture meter. It took about 30 minutes to get catalytic temps past 500 degrees. I experimented here and found that even with the damper open fully it wasn't getting enough oxygen to really heat up, but with the door open an inch the kindling picked up enough to fully light the larger logs and get temps past 500, after which it was pretty much smooth sailing.

During this starting phase, at one point for a few minutes I had black smoke churning inside the insert. The cat was still bypassed. I *think* this happened when I had experimented with closing the damper, as I was worried my kindling was going to burn too fast and not spend long enough heating the wood underneath to light it. Pretty sure this was a mistake and that billowing black smoke was a sign I needed more oxygen, not less, and if I ran out of kindling then I needed more kindling, not trying to extend the time of the little kindling I put in there. The fire ran cleaner and picked up heat once I cracked the door and gave it more oxygen.

The insert has a digital temp reading of the catalytic converter, which I found very useful to watch what was happening as I adjusted the damper and bypass.

After that slowly burned the logs with damper closed and the catalytic converter enabled, temps around 600-800 and then let the coals die down into the night.

Here's two pics of the morning after:

IMG_0516.JPG


Here's a pic of the inside of the glass door. There's some sticky residue on there now, which I'm guessing is creosote from when I let smoke cloud up when I was starting the fire.

IMG_0517.JPG

I'd rather not try to clean it - Can I burn it off, and if so, how hot do I need to get the fire to burn it off?

Generally speaking, we're not trying to heat the whole house, just have a nice family fire in the evenings. If I repeat this size of fire usually (3-4 logs, temps 600f-900f) am I increasing the chances of creosote issues down the line, or (if my wood is dry enough) is it okay to run these small-medium fires usually?

And, just to confirm, it's okay to leave the catalytic converter enabled when I'm letting the fire die off and it's just coals burning?

THANKS,
Tom

PS, meta-point: I love finding this kind of expert hobby forum. They remind me of the "old web".

EDIT: Just found the long thread about this model, reading now!!
 
Last edited:

gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
501
Central MA
Welcome! Sounds like you're doing fine. As you discovered, it is a good idea to get the fire really cranking before you engage the catalyst. Depending on your chimney you may need to crack the door initially to get the fire hot. Add plenty of wood and get it blazing, then engage the cat.

The black glaze on the window will burn off the next time you have a hot fire. However, the gray ash will build up and should be wiped off periodically to avoid etching the glass. I find that a damp paper towel, dipped in the fresh ash from the firebox, makes an excellent window cleaner. Follow that with a quick wipe with a clean towel, and your window is crystal clear!

It is fine to leave the cat engaged as the fire burns down. By that stage of the burn, there is no more water or aromatic compounds left in the wood that would form creosote, just carbon. It will burn down into CO2 without smoke so you don't need to worry about keeping the cat active or gunking it up or anything like that.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,681
South Puget Sound, WA
There is a lot more information in the Regency CI2600-CI2700 performance thread.
 
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