New VC Defiant issues

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wendyvh

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
12
new jersey
I just had a new VC Defiant installed. They advised 6"- probably should have gone with 8" but it's too late now. I've done the priming and working up to a hotter fire. My question is this. I'm used to an old ben franklin. You opened the damper and kept it open unless you wanted to be smoked out. What is the protocol for this stove and the damper? After establishing a well burning fire, does the damper get closed? Also, will you get a better fire with the catalytic converter removed? Thank you for any advice
 

jalmondale

Member
Dec 16, 2021
118
NY
It looks like what they call a 'damper' is also called a 'bypass' in many stoves, and is not the same thing as a damper in a chimney. I'd follow the procedure outlined in the owner's manual - every stove is a little different, and the manufacturer is going to have the best idea of what works for their specific model.

In general, no, do not remove the catalytic converter.

The general procedure for using a cat is: Open the bypass/damper so that flue gasses are not going through the cat, open the primary air intake all the way. Load up the stove, light it if necessary (it'll light on its own if there's a good coal bed), and let it get up to temperature (500 degree flue gasses on a probe thermometer, 250 on a surface thermometer on single-wall pipe). Then close the bypass/damper, and slowly close down the primary air intake (making sure not to smother the fire) until it's stable at the temperature you want - this takes some practice to figure out what works with your stove, your house, and your chimney.
 

ctyankee

Burning Hunk
Oct 25, 2019
184
connecticut
The closest stove to an "old ben franklin," --- whatever that is --- presumably pre epa, would be a stove with secondary burner technology, NOT a cat stove.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,534
Philadelphia
The catalytic combustor simply lets you run clean at lower burn rates without having to sacrifice efficiency, whereas your old Franklin had to put more heat up the flue to keep the particulates ejecting out the top of the pipe.

A 6 inch pipe is typical for nearly all cat stoves made today, with the exception of a few very large stoves (eg. BK King or Kuma Sequoia). I've run five cat stoves, all similar size to your Defiant, on two different 6 inch pipes.

As jalmondale indicated, the owners manual is your best guide. But all cat stoves have some similarities, so I'll give you a basic procedure to compare against the manual:

1. Open bypass damper and air control wide open.
2. Build and light your fire.
3. Close and latch the doors as soon as it begins to light.
4. After load is fully charred, or catalytic probe thermometer shows active, close the bypass. This is typically 15 - 25 minutes after a cold start, if you have dry wood and reasonable draft.
5. You should see cat light off within a few (eg. < 5) minutes, either by probe temperature indication or seeing it glow bright orange.
6. Run stove on high at least 10 minutes, to bake any remaining moisture out of the wood and get cat well into active region.
7. Turn down to desired setting. This needs to be done incrementally with some stoves on some chimneys, it's never a bad practice to do the turn down in 2 - 3 increments on 5 minute intervals.
 

wendyvh

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
12
new jersey
It looks like what they call a 'damper' is also called a 'bypass' in many stoves, and is not the same thing as a damper in a chimney. I'd follow the procedure outlined in the owner's manual - every stove is a little different, and the manufacturer is going to have the best idea of what works for their specific model.

In general, no, do not remove the catalytic converter.

The general procedure for using a cat is: Open the bypass/damper so that flue gasses are not going through the cat, open the primary air intake all the way. Load up the stove, light it if necessary (it'll light on its own if there's a good coal bed), and let it get up to temperature (500 degree flue gasses on a probe thermometer, 250 on a surface thermometer on single-wall pipe). Then close the bypass/damper, and slowly close down the primary air intake (making sure not to smother the fire) until it's stable at the temperature you want - this takes some practice to figure out what works with your stove, your house, and your chimney.
ahh - that makes sense. In my research, folks mentioned bypass. Thank you!
 

wendyvh

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
12
new jersey
The catalytic combustor simply lets you run clean at lower burn rates without having to sacrifice efficiency, whereas your old Franklin had to put more heat up the flue to keep the particulates ejecting out the top of the pipe.

A 6 inch pipe is typical for nearly all cat stoves made today, with the exception of a few very large stoves (eg. BK King or Kuma Sequoia). I've run five cat stoves, all similar size to your Defiant, on two different 6 inch pipes.

As jalmondale indicated, the owners manual is your best guide. But all cat stoves have some similarities, so I'll give you a basic procedure to compare against the manual:

1. Open bypass damper and air control wide open.
2. Build and light your fire.
3. Close and latch the doors as soon as it begins to light.
4. After load is fully charred, or catalytic probe thermometer shows active, close the bypass. This is typically 15 - 25 minutes after a cold start, if you have dry wood and reasonable draft.
5. You should see cat light off within a few (eg. < 5) minutes, either by probe temperature indication or seeing it glow bright orange.
6. Run stove on high at least 10 minutes, to bake any remaining moisture out of the wood and get cat well into active region.
7. Turn down to desired setting. This needs to be done incrementally with some stoves on some chimneys, it's never a bad practice to do the turn down in 2 - 3 increments on 5 minute intervals.
 

wendyvh

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
12
new jersey
Thank you for that info. I'm not burning too hot yet as I'm still breaking in. Not sure about increments on this stove, but I will research further. The Operating manual is not that great. Thanks again for your input!
 
Thank you for that info. I'm not burning too hot yet as I'm still breaking in. Not sure about increments on this stove, but I will research further. The Operating manual is not that great. Thanks again for your input!
Hi. Welcome to the forums. I think when people talk about doing things in increments, or incrementally, they are referring to how you adjust the air, or close the bypass, in a slow step by step fashion, a little bit at a time. I always take lots of time when shutting down the primary air on my stove; usually just closing it enough to see the flames get a bit slow and lazy, and then again 5 minutes later doing the same thing again, adjusting things just enough to see the flames slow down a twitch... I find the entire process of getting a fresh fire going to be a quiet special time for me and my dogs, and I don't want to try rushing it at all! That would be sacrilege! 😉 I generally like to have 45 minutes to an hour to dial the stove in just right. My wife has always put up with this ever since we started burning wood, although she does occasionally try to hurry me up a bit if the dinners set to be served... 🙄 But I love her, so I try to be a good hubby and hurry my butt upstairs if she starts a-hollerin for me (as you can imagine, it isn't always easy...). Anyway, the takeaway, as I see it, is don't try to rush the stove by shutting things down too fast, or too abruptly. Cultivate an air of patience when dialing in your stove, and your stove will treat you right! 😊
 

wendyvh

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
12
new jersey
Thank you so much. I've got lots to learn, but I'm retired, so I have a lot of time. I appreciate your thoughts - and please don't keep your wife waiting for dinner. :)
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,756
South Puget Sound, WA
Thank you for that info. I'm not burning too hot yet as I'm still breaking in. Not sure about increments on this stove, but I will research further. The Operating manual is not that great. Thanks again for your input!
Ask lots of questions. The documentation is pretty good for this stove. Let us know what part is unclear or needs explaining.
 

wendyvh

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
12
new jersey
The catalytic combustor simply lets you run clean at lower burn rates without having to sacrifice efficiency, whereas your old Franklin had to put more heat up the flue to keep the particulates ejecting out the top of the pipe.

A 6 inch pipe is typical for nearly all cat stoves made today, with the exception of a few very large stoves (eg. BK King or Kuma Sequoia). I've run five cathank you stoves,Tall similar size to your Defiant, on two different 6 inch pipes.

As jalmondale indicated, the owners manual is your best guide. But all cat stoves have some similarities, so I'll give you a basic procedure to compare against the manual:

1. Open bypass damper and air control wide open.
2. Build and light your fire.
3. Close and latch the doors as soon as it begins to light.
4. After load is fully charred, or catalytic probe thermometer shows active, close the bypass. This is typically 15 - 25 minutes after a cold start, if you have dry wood and reasonable draft.
5. You should see cat light off within a few (eg. < 5) minutes, either by probe temperature indication or seeing it glow bright orange.
6. Run stove on high at least 10 minutes, to bake any remaining moisture out of the wood and get cat well into active region.
7. Turn down to desired setting. This needs to be done incrementally with some stoves on some chimneys, it's never a bad practice to do the turn down in 2 - 3 increments on 5 minute intervals.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,534
Philadelphia
Thank you for that info. I'm not burning too hot yet as I'm still breaking in. Not sure about increments on this stove, but I will research further. The Operating manual is not that great. Thanks again for your input!
Sorry if I wasn't clear on the increments. After the bypass is closed, and you've run the stove on high for maybe 10 minutes to get the catalytic combustor up to temperature and bake any moisture out of the wood, you'll want to start turning down the stove.

On some stoves with some chimneys, you can go from wide open throttle to shut down tight with no ill-effects. But on others, slamming the brakes on that freight train will lead to back-puffing or severe spiking of the cat temp. So, many prefer to turn the air control down in increments, such as:

1. Wide open
2. Half
3. Quarter
4. Final desired setting
 

DaleD

New Member
Mar 25, 2022
5
Washington
Hi. Welcome to the forums. I think when people talk about doing things in increments, or incrementally, they are referring to how you adjust the air, or close the bypass, in a slow step by step fashion, a little bit at a time. I always take lots of time when shutting down the primary air on my stove; usually just closing it enough to see the flames get a bit slow and lazy, and then again 5 minutes later doing the same thing again, adjusting things just enough to see the flames slow down a twitch... I find the entire process of getting a fresh fire going to be a quiet special time for me and my dogs, and I don't want to try rushing it at all! That would be sacrilege! 😉 I generally like to have 45 minutes to an hour to dial the stove in just right. My wife has always put up with this ever since we started burning wood, although she does occasionally try to hurry me up a bit if the dinners set to be served... 🙄 But I love her, so I try to be a good hubby and hurry my butt upstairs if she starts a-hollerin for me (as you can imagine, it isn't always easy...). Anyway, the takeaway, as I see it, is don't try to rush the stove by shutting things down too fast, or too abruptly. Cultivate an air of patience when dialing in your stove, and your stove will treat you right! 😊
Why is there statements about primary and secondary air? I only have one air damper handle on the right side of my new Defiant. I can only get none or almost none airflow with that handle. Are there 2 air dampers?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,525
Long Island NY
@DaleD , if you have a fairly modern stove with tubes with holes in the top of your firebox, that is where the secondary air comes in. It's generally auto-regulated (i.e. more draft means more pull of air into the firebox through the secondary air). There the smoke particles (etc) get burned, providing extra heat and cleaning up what goes up the flue.
 

DaleD

New Member
Mar 25, 2022
5
Washington
No air tubes in the VC Defiant. It does have primary, secondary and tertiary (catalytic) combustions. On this site I noticed comments that activate primary and secondary air but I only have one air damper that rotates possibly 90 degrees. Thought maybe positions of that valve might activate one or both. She sure isn’t getting enough combustion air.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,756
South Puget Sound, WA
Here's a short operational video.

 
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DaleD

New Member
Mar 25, 2022
5
Washington
Thanks for the video. I start this the same way but no air for flames. They don’t show the ash pan handle and maybe they have to open it to get this kind of fire as well but leave it out of video. My new stove hardly burns the starting paper before going out,,, unless some ash pan air is added. Again, thank you