High Valley 2500 wood burning stove has me worried...

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MDM

Member
Nov 1, 2019
4
OKC, OK
Hello, I am hoping someone on here can help me with some experience / advice on a catalytic wood insert. I have this High Valley model 2500 insert that I acquired with a home purchase. I have no history on it and have not burned in it yet. FYI, I have no experience with a catalytic wood stove but I get the concept and am/was eager to fire this stove up this winter. I have unbolted and pulled out the steel catalyst housing from the top of the stove to check the catalyst's. What I found has now worried me... I noticed immediately that were cracks in the cast iron at the corners of the rectangle outlet holes in the top of the stove where the catalyst's exhaust. I know that they burn at a high temperature so I do not know if it is normal for the cast iron to crack right there. The catalyst housing that bolts in covers most of the length of the cracks. Is this a sign that the stove is ruined and should not be used?:eek: The combustors themselves look old, well spent, and have cracks/pieces falling out. They were going to be replaced along with all the door, windows, and ash pan gaskets. I am going to pull the stove out for better inspection now.:( The stove itself does not appear to be over heated at all. It looks very good paint is not burnt or white but I can tell it has not been repainted. Also, there is an 8 inch stainless liner up my chimney to the top outside. It doesn't appear to be insulated and has little buildup in it. The pipe is flush with the clay tile and the topper is a standard black clay topper that looks good.

Thanks in advance,
Mike in OKC!
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,463
central pa
Hello, I am hoping someone on here can help me with some experience / advice on a catalytic wood insert. I have this High Valley model 2500 insert that I acquired with a home purchase. I have no history on it and have not burned in it yet. FYI, I have no experience with a catalytic wood stove but I get the concept and am/was eager to fire this stove up this winter. I have unbolted and pulled out the steel catalyst housing from the top of the stove to check the catalyst's. What I found has now worried me... I noticed immediately that were cracks in the cast iron at the corners of the rectangle outlet holes in the top of the stove where the catalyst's exhaust. I know that they burn at a high temperature so I do not know if it is normal for the cast iron to crack right there. The catalyst housing that bolts in covers most of the length of the cracks. Is this a sign that the stove is ruined and should not be used?:eek: The combustors themselves look old, well spent, and have cracks/pieces falling out. They were going to be replaced along with all the door, windows, and ash pan gaskets. I am going to pull the stove out for better inspection now.:( The stove itself does not appear to be over heated at all. It looks very good paint is not burnt or white but I can tell it has not been repainted. Also, there is an 8 inch stainless liner up my chimney to the top outside. It doesn't appear to be insulated and has little buildup in it. The pipe is flush with the clay tile and the topper is a standard black clay topper that looks good.

Thanks in advance,
Mike in OKC!
Have the whole system cleaned and inspected by a pro sweep.
 
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Jacyte

Member
Jan 8, 2015
29
Bloomfield CT
Hello, I am hoping someone on here can help me with some experience / advice on a catalytic wood insert. I have this High Valley model 2500 insert that I acquired with a home purchase. I have no history on it and have not burned in it yet. FYI, I have no experience with a catalytic wood stove but I get the concept and am/was eager to fire this stove up this winter. I have unbolted and pulled out the steel catalyst housing from the top of the stove to check the catalyst's. What I found has now worried me... I noticed immediately that were cracks in the cast iron at the corners of the rectangle outlet holes in the top of the stove where the catalyst's exhaust. I know that they burn at a high temperature so I do not know if it is normal for the cast iron to crack right there. The catalyst housing that bolts in covers most of the length of the cracks. Is this a sign that the stove is ruined and should not be used?:eek: The combustors themselves look old, well spent, and have cracks/pieces falling out. They were going to be replaced along with all the door, windows, and ash pan gaskets. I am going to pull the stove out for better inspection now.:( The stove itself does not appear to be over heated at all. It looks very good paint is not burnt or white but I can tell it has not been repainted. Also, there is an 8 inch stainless liner up my chimney to the top outside. It doesn't appear to be insulated and has little buildup in it. The pipe is flush with the clay tile and the topper is a standard black clay topper that looks good.

Thanks in advance,
Mike in OKC!
Hoping the OP is still getting email notifications.
I have the exact same problem with my High Valley 2500. What ever happened?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,196
South Puget Sound, WA
Just one posting. It's hard to say what they did.
 

Jacyte

Member
Jan 8, 2015
29
Bloomfield CT
Yeah its a long shot that OP will come back and update now.
Just FYI its not a cast section of the stove.. its steel plate and likely weakened due to carburization and the lack of a sufficient radius at the corners of the cutouts. Only thing cast on these stoves is the door and windows.

2.jpg
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,463
central pa
Yeah its a long shot that OP will come back and update now.
Just FYI its not a cast section of the stove.. its steel plate and likely weakened due to carburization and the lack of a sufficient radius at the corners of the cutouts. Only thing cast on these stoves is the door and windows.

View attachment 286691
Most of them I work on look like that honestly
 
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Jacyte

Member
Jan 8, 2015
29
Bloomfield CT
Most of them I work on look like that honestly
I figured its got to be common with this type of design and material. The cracks really can only go as far as the next weld but the plate can eventually lose flatness and get pulled out of whack by the catalyst housing when it warps. Any leak by is just skipping the cat and going out the chimney.
 

MDM

Member
Nov 1, 2019
4
OKC, OK
Ok so I had forgotten about this post until now…
Here is the update to my original post:
I bought a brush kit to sweep the liner out. This was easy after watching some videos online. I used my shop vac and cleaned the powdered soot out of the stove that came down. I came across someone who knew a retired gentlemen that would come see what I was dealing with. He came to look at the stove and as it was stated in the recent discussions the stove itself is thick plate steel not cast iron. The door and window surrounds is all that is cast iron. He suggested to do a smoke test on the stove and liner. He left and came back with a little “smoke bomb thingy”. He lit it inside the stove and closed the door and shut all the air controls and damper. After a few seconds the stove went completely white inside and filled with dense smoke. He pointed out some seepage and movement around the bay windows and door glass, that was the gaskets leaking air. But he was more concerned with seeing smoke come from the blower outlet vents at the top, which luckily there wasn’t any coming out with the blower on or off. At this point he said that with the stove cold there wasn’t smoke leaking into the heated air stream through those cracks. He stated that the stress cracks in the steel and cracked/burnt up catalysts were most likely from poor air control due to worn gaskets allowing more air inside the firebox overheating the combustors. He also said that warming stoves up slowly is key to not causing cracks. They will talk and pop and moan when warming but a lot of frequent noise is sign of heating too quickly. Unfortunately catalytic stoves heat quickly around the combustors when they “take off”. My fireplace is masonry, exterior, 25’ tall, and on the north side of the house, all not great... He suggested insulating around the insert with roxul to reduce thermal shock and installing a insulated 6” liner. The 8” is not insulated and even though the stove calls for an 8” he said it should work fine with a 6” as long as it is warmed before use to help with smoke spillage and don’t use the stove on “mildly cold” days as it would most likely draft poorly. However, an 8” insulated liner will not fit down my chimney without removing the clay tile liner. He said it’s worth a shot to try it on a 6” and if it doesn’t work well then the most cost effective thing to do is to buy a newer stove and I’ll have the 6” already in place.

So, I replaced all the gaskets and had a friend with a welder come weld up the cracks in the top. It may crack again but hey whatever…. I haven’t checked, I’m leaving the new combustors alone and will check them in a couple of years. I did not and have not updated the liner yet as with new combustors the stove works good. I will just sweep it when it needs it. I swept it before this season and it wasn’t bad at all. I will say I don’t think that I would go back with a catalytic stove though as here in Oklahoma our weather is crazy day by day and we go from really cold to a warm spell to mild, just all over the place. This stove likes to just run and burn slow, hot, and long! I’ve had to open windows on some days to let the heat out of the house from the night before’s burn… It would be better suited in a climate that stays cold out for long periods of time. The 2020 October crazy ice storm we had, it worked wonderful and the ash pan is so nice to never have to shut the stove way down to empty ash! I did have my welder friend make a grate to sit over in the opening to the ash pan tray to help keep large coals from falling in there. Just a simple grate with about nickel sized openings. This is a nice stove and I’m happy with it, it’s probably oversized for my house but it saved me money on gas bill!
 
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