Progress Hybrid

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TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
(In response to a conversation regarding removal of the cat and operating with the bypass closed to deal with frequent cat plugging)

After nearly 7 years of frustration with the cat plugging every couple of weeks, that is exactly what I have begun doing this year. For the last few years I have been running the stove with the bypass open most of the time. I honestly have not seen evidence that the cat does much, if anything. I suspect, without evidence, that it is mainly to satisfy EPS requirements. Many have stated that they have no plugging problems with their cat. That has never been my experience burning mainly very good black locust. The screen that was intended to protect the cat never did much good. I understand it was not included in later production. I removed and tossed mine. One more PITA.

I open the bypass when adding wood to increase draft and avoid smoking out the door. I also keep the damper open 80-100% most of the time to minimize carbon buildup in the chimney, which I clean every Spring. I control heat output by the amount of wood I add. If the temp is high enough, the stack is clean, no smoke, no odor.

I've heard the many arguments about burning much less wood with the cat. That has not been my experience. Sometimes folks see what they want to see.
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,418
Indiana
Sometimes folks see what they want to see.
Well I certainly don’t think this is the case here... it’s a well loved stove by so many. The cat will certainly slow things down and increase efficiency, not as much a true cat stove though.
You particular setup is causing more of an issue with cat clogging than others are reporting. Don’t just blame the stove, or insinuate others have their head in the sand. It’s not common. Have you ever measured your draft?
If you keep your bypass open all the time, how can you say the cat doesn’t help with anything?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,166
central pa
(In response to a conversation regarding removal of the cat and operating with the bypass closed to deal with frequent cat plugging)

After nearly 7 years of frustration with the cat plugging every couple of weeks, that is exactly what I have begun doing this year. For the last few years I have been running the stove with the bypass open most of the time. I honestly have not seen evidence that the cat does much, if anything. I suspect, without evidence, that it is mainly to satisfy EPS requirements. Many have stated that they have no plugging problems with their cat. That has never been my experience burning mainly very good black locust. The screen that was intended to protect the cat never did much good. I understand it was not included in later production. I removed and tossed mine. One more PITA.

I open the bypass when adding wood to increase draft and avoid smoking out the door. I also keep the damper open 80-100% most of the time to minimize carbon buildup in the chimney, which I clean every Spring. I control heat output by the amount of wood I add. If the temp is high enough, the stack is clean, no smoke, no odor.

I've heard the many arguments about burning much less wood with the cat. That has not been my experience. Sometimes folks see what they want to see.
I agree with Webby these are very well liked stoves and clogged cats are a very uncommon issue with them. How tall is your chimney? Most cases of cats clogging frequently are due to excessive draft. We can help you get your stove working the way it should if you want help.
 
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TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
You have misread my post. I certainly appreciate that many have had no issues with cat plugging. Good for them, but that has not been my experience. I operated for years with the bypass open because of cat plugging. I observed no benefit from the cat (mainly increased stovetop temp) on those occasions when the cat was clean and the bypass closed . I honestly do not know why I (and others) have problems with cat plugging while many do not. I will continue to operate with the cat removed and the bypass closed for improved heat transfer. I am quite satisfied with the performance of the stove when operated in this manner.
 

Rearscreen

Minister of Fire
Dec 21, 2014
642
Vermont
Sometimes folks see what they want to see.
Well maybe. But I have owned Jotuls, Hearthstones, Vermont Castings all plural and others. None of which were cat stoves. I was forced into the Progress (hearth restrictions) kicking and screaming because it was a cat. This year, on my 5th year of the same cat, wet wood, not a great draft, it still performed (Meaning at about 325, engage, turn air down, it goes to 400). Something is wrong with your set up or might I dare say operator error? Engage too quickly and nothing gonna happen except a clogged cat - in about 2 weeks.
I did replace the cat a week ago as it just wasn't kicking as usual and - oh it was what 5 below?! But when I did pull the old one out, it was clean. My proof that it's working - look outside at the stack. Heat ripples.
Did you call Woodstock? They would be glad to help.
 
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webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,418
Indiana
Please let these Woodstock guys give you the help that’s needed. You are desperate and throwing in the towel without asking for the help. It’s a good stove, we all know that..
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,166
central pa
You have misread my post. I certainly appreciate that many have had no issues with cat plugging. Good for them, but that has not been my experience. I operated for years with the bypass open because of cat plugging. I observed no benefit from the cat (mainly increased stovetop temp) on those occasions when the cat was clean and the bypass closed . I honestly do not know why I (and others) have problems with cat plugging while many do not. I will continue to operate with the cat removed and the bypass closed for improved heat transfer. I am quite satisfied with the performance of the stove when operated in this manner.
Webby and I both told you the most common cause for frequently clogging the cat. Did you talk to Woodstock about the problems? They have very good customer service. Have you had a pro look at your system to diagnose the problems?
 

TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
Did you call Woodstock? They would be glad to help.
Over the years I've tried every conceivable combinations of conditions, including talking to Woodstock and their providing a replacement cat when the stove was fairly new, due to my not observing any benefit from the cat. Some have suggested reduced draft. I operate the stove within the recommended temp limits using both stovetop and stovepipe thermometers. Draft too low tends to contribute to buildup in the stovepipe and stack which I observe in the Spring when I clean the chimney.

My purpose in posting was not to complain about the stove. It was not to seek solutions to cat plugging. I'm past that, After not having posted since 2015, I received a private message from someone asking about operating without the cat due to plugging. That prompted my recent post to share my experience.
 

Rearscreen

Minister of Fire
Dec 21, 2014
642
Vermont
Hey one question, when you say plugged is it grey fine plugged or black plugged?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,166
central pa
Over the years I've tried every conceivable combinations of conditions, including talking to Woodstock and their providing a replacement cat when the stove was fairly new, due to my not observing any benefit from the cat. Some have suggested reduced draft. I operate the stove within the recommended temp limits using both stovetop and stovepipe thermometers. Draft too low tends to contribute to buildup in the stovepipe and stack which I observe in the Spring when I clean the chimney.

My purpose in posting was not to complain about the stove. It was not to seek solutions to cat plugging. I'm past that, After not having posted since 2015, I received a private message from someone asking about operating without the cat due to plugging. That prompted my recent post to share my experience.
We are telling you that you probably have excessive draft. Not to little draft. You paid allot of money for this stove just to run it like a 30 or 40 year old stove you could have bought used for under $500. It seems like a waste.
 

Joyboy

Burning Hunk
Jan 22, 2017
184
Wyoming
(In response to a conversation regarding removal of the cat and operating with the bypass closed to deal with frequent cat plugging)

After nearly 7 years of frustration with the cat plugging every couple of weeks, that is exactly what I have begun doing this year. For the last few years I have been running the stove with the bypass open most of the time. I honestly have not seen evidence that the cat does much, if anything. I suspect, without evidence, that it is mainly to satisfy EPS requirements. Many have stated that they have no plugging problems with their cat. That has never been my experience burning mainly very good black locust. The screen that was intended to protect the cat never did much good. I understand it was not included in later production. I removed and tossed mine. One more PITA.

I open the bypass when adding wood to increase draft and avoid smoking out the door. I also keep the damper open 80-100% most of the time to minimize carbon buildup in the chimney, which I clean every Spring. I control heat output by the amount of wood I add. If the temp is high enough, the stack is clean, no smoke, no odor.

I've heard the many arguments about burning much less wood with the cat. That has not been my experience. Sometimes folks see what they want to see.
What kind of secondaries do you get without the cat installed and bypass closed? I noticed that I get more secondaries with the bypass closed during normal operation.

I would suspect it would heat better and burn cleaner with the cat removed and the bypass closed then just running it with bypass open all the time.
 

Rearscreen

Minister of Fire
Dec 21, 2014
642
Vermont
We are telling you that you probably have excessive draft.
Now I'm curious. Over draft would clog the cat how? Cooling too fast? I'm just guessing I'd love to know as my draft sucks - excuse the pun - but I could never overfire and never have quickly clogged. Lucky for me. But what are the physics?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,166
central pa
Now I'm curious. Over draft would clog the cat how? Cooling too fast? I'm just guessing I'd love to know as my draft sucks - excuse the pun - but I could never overfire and never have quickly clogged. Lucky for me. But what are the physics?
By sucking flyash into the cat
 
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TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
What kind of secondaries do you get without the cat installed and bypass closed? I noticed that I get more secondaries with the bypass closed during normal operation.

I would suspect it would heat better and burn cleaner with the cat removed and the bypass closed then just running it with bypass open all the time.
Secondaries have always looked good whenever the temp is high enough with or without the cat. With the cat removed, I operate with the bypass closed except when adding wood.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,166
central pa
The material on the plugged cat is a white-gray very fine ash. Very easy to remove (vacuum) one I access the cat, which is not so easy.
Yeah sounds like fly ash from excessive draft. How tall is your chimney? Have you had the draft measured? Is it within the specs Woodstock gave you when you asked them about the problem?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,166
central pa
The fact that your last stove was damaged by what you said was chronic overheating is another indicator of excessive draft.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
10,874
Southern IN
I honestly have not seen evidence that the cat does much, if anything. I suspect, without evidence, that it is mainly to satisfy EPS requirements.
The stoves are tested by the EPA for particulate emissions, which are published. The cats work, based on those numbers.[/QUOTE]The screen that was intended to protect the cat never did much good. I understand it was not included in later production. I removed and tossed mine. One more PITA.[/QUOTE]The screen on my stove catches a lot of ash dust. It needs cleaning more often than the cat does. I brush the cat twice during the season. But I have a 16' chimney which doesn't draft excessively, and I run a Keystone, not a PH. If your draft is excessive, maybe a screen can't catch as much dust.
How tall is your chimney? Liner to the top?
It seems that the screen also serves to keep flame from hitting the face of the cat. How is that avoided in a PH with no screen?
I can just reach into the cool stove with a brush to clean off the screen.
I've heard the many arguments about burning much less wood with the cat. That has not been my experience.
I've only had cat stoves so I can't say how much less wood they might burn than a non-cat. bholler says he's using about the same, running his cat stove pretty high, but that might be due in part to the particular stoves he's comparing, I don't know.
 

TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
FWIW, I operated a Woodstock Fireview for 24 years. Never had much issue with the cat. Replaced it once. Eventually the replacement disintegrated (crumbled) and I removed it and continued to operate the stove. I normally operated with fairly high draft because of buildup in the pipe and stack at the end of the season. After 24 years years the internals were somewhat distorted, probably due to excessive heat, and Woodstock had a deal on the PH so I replaced the Fireview.

I continue to use fairly high draft to keep the temps high enough to minimize pipe/chimney buildup.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,166
central pa
The stoves are tested by the EPA for particulate emissions, which are published. The cats work, based on those numbers.
He is not comparing a cat stove to a non cat stove though. He is running a stove designed to have a cat in it without one.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,166
central pa
FWIW, I operated a Woodstock Fireview for 24 years. Never had much issue with the cat. Replaced it once. Eventually the replacement disintegrated (crumbled) and I removed it and continued to operate the stove. I normally operated with fairly high draft because of buildup in the pipe and stack at the end of the season. After 24 years years the internals were somewhat distorted, probably due to excessive heat, and Woodstock had a deal on the PH so I replaced the Fireview.

I continue to use fairly high draft to keep the temps high enough to minimize pipe/chimney buildup.
I don't think you understand what I am talking about when I say you have excessive draft. I am saying that it sounds like your chimney pulls to strong a vacume on the stove because of that a large amount of fly ash is sucked into the cat which cloggs it quickly. Get your draft within spec and I would bet the stove will run as intended.
 

Rearscreen

Minister of Fire
Dec 21, 2014
642
Vermont
one I access the cat, which is not so easy.
I assume you meant "once" Now I'm really confused. Are early Progress stoves cats hard to get at? Are they different? Mine comes out in about 30 seconds no tools. IF you are attempting to clean it #1 by sucking with a vac and #2 not taking it out that's a no go.
 

TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
The screen on my stove catches a lot of ash dust. It needs cleaning more often than the cat does. I brush the cat twice during the season. But I have a 16' chimney which doesn't draft excessively, and I run a Keystone, not a PH. If your draft is excessive, maybe a screen can't catch as much dust.
How tall is your chimney? Liner to the top?
It seems that the screen also serves to keep flame from hitting the face of the cat. How is that avoided in a PH with no screen?
I can just reach into the cool stove with a brush to clean off the screen.
When I last contacted Woodstock for replacement clips for the screen ( which they sent me no charge) they told me they no longer use the screen in the PH. In my case the screen was crusted with hard to remove build up. Its removal had no bearing on the cat plugging issue. My chimney has a liner and extends about 24 feet above the stove (two story house + pitched roof + 4 feet above roof).
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,166
central pa
When I last contacted Woodstock for replacement clips for the screen ( which they sent me no charge) they told me they no longer use the screen in the PH. In my case the screen was crusted with hard to remove build up. Its removal had no bearing on the cat plugging issue. My chimney has a liner and extends about 24 feet above the stove (two story house + pitched roof + 4 feet above roof).
What was the buildup like on the screen???
 
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