Q&A How do I know when Catalytic Converter is bad?

QandA Posted By QandA, Jun 9, 2007 at 5:07 PM

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  1. QandA

    New Member 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2012

    have a wood burning stove with a catalytic converter. It is a "Federal Airtight" the medium size one, which is manufactured by Vermont Castings. I bought this stove new in 1990 or 1991. How do I know when a new catalytic converter is needed? Also, where can I purchase a new thermometer for it?


    It's probably close to time for a new cat, as 5-7 years is the average use. There are two things to look for:
    1. Physical degradation - the converter body is a honeycomb ceramic material - it can crumble after a period of time. Inspect it by removing the stove griddle or top.
    2. Chemical degradation - the catalyst in the converter, which is actually made of "noble" metals such as platinum and palladium, does get used up...or more likely flakes off after an extended period of time. In this case, the stove will produce more creosote in the chimney. You will also notice less heat output.

    The thermometer is a good way to monitor the catalyst. If the temperature is much lower than it used to be, then the catalyst should be cleaned (use either or a very soft brush) or replaced.

    You can get the thermometer at any Vermont Castings dealer. There are over 600 in the US, so you should find one in your local phone book.

    You may also be able to get a replacement catalytic and thermomoter at Condat - http://www.condar.com

    Link: Condar Products Web Site
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