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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,084
central pa
Ah, but I do. Cutting draft reduces velocity which reduces entrainment of particulate matter, i.e. ash, which can plug the cat. Not complicated. But too low draft brings its own issues.
That is why you need to set your maximum draft. That will then determine your draft through the rest of the range. And if you are running it correctly that cat will burn off all of that crap you are putting into your chimney. It will also in the process convert it into heat.
 

georgepds

Minister of Fire
Nov 25, 2012
873
May or may not apply to the present situation

I had problems with my cat clogging last year. The screen clogged too. When I opened the top to clean the cat, it was black with creosote. Disaster

Something was wrong. Turns out the bird guard at the chimney cap clogged. Replaced the cap and all was well

An example of the opposite problem, too low a draft

If anyone finds out what the pressure difference should be, let me know
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,084
central pa
May or may not apply to the present situation

I had problems with my cat clogging last year. The screen clogged too. When I opened the top to clean the cat, it was black with creosote. Disaster

Something was wrong. Turns out the bird guard at the chimney cap clogged. Replaced the cap and all was well

An example of the opposite problem, too low a draft

If anyone finds out what the pressure difference should be, let me know
Woodstock would have that info. I dont work on many of them at all and have had no reason to find out yet.
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,384
Central Mass
Bholler, you have more patience than I imagined, I have the most problems in my job with engineers because they have tunnel vision. Too much draft will cause the cat clogging with the PH, as you have stated numerous times, I should know I have one with too much draft. I clean mine once a month and have toyed with getting a damper but have been too busy to get it done. If I got to the point of not using the cat I would make the time. You can bring a horse to water.
If your cat is clogged with black, I would question the wood, mines white ash.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
10,807
Southern IN
The cat isn't burning like it should in my BIL's Fireview, due (I'm fairly sure) to the bypass door gasket leaking, and not as much smoke going through the cat to get converted to heat. The output of the stove is weak, compared to what it should be. I know, since it used to be my stove. Sure, I could do like the OP and open the air to 80-100% and get some heat out of it, but I'd be loading the stove every few hours. And even though the stove top might be within temp spec as the OP claims his stove is, I would be subjecting the interior parts to excessive flame heat and it would end up like his Fireview did, warped and destroyed. If he ran his Fv for 24 years and only replaced the cat once, I assume his cat wasn't working most of the time and he was running the air high and the flame big, just to get some heat out of it. He probably should have gotten a tube stove, not another cat.
I certainly wouldn't want to do all the work required to run a stove at 80-100% air, burn three times as much wood and load the stove three times as often but if that's what you like to do, have at it. :confused:
Most people run their stoves on low air, and heat their homes just fine. My normal air setting is .5 on a scale of 4, or about 12%. Later when it's down to coals, I might open the air to 25% for a couple hours. I get 8-12 hrs. on a load, depending how much heat I need.
I'm pretty sure that of all the people that read this thread, exactly zero of them are going to adopt his methods of operation. It certainly has been an entertaining read, though. ;lol
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
2,896
Downeast Maine
The cat isn't burning like it should in my BIL's Fireview, due (I'm fairly sure) to the bypass door gasket leaking, and not as much smoke going through the cat to get converted to heat. The output of the stove is weak, compared to what it should be. I know, since it used to be my stove. Sure, I could do like the OP and open the air to 80-100% and get some heat out of it, but I'd be loading the stove every few hours. And even though the stove top might be within temp spec as the OP claims his stove is, I would be subjecting the interior parts to excessive flame heat and it would end up like his Fireview did, warped and destroyed. If he ran his Fv for 24 years and only replaced the cat once, I assume his cat wasn't working most of the time and he was running the air high and the flame big, just to get some heat out of it. He probably should have gotten a tube stove, not another cat.
I certainly wouldn't want to do all the work required to run a stove at 80-100% air, burn three times as much wood and load the stove three times as often but if that's what you like to do, have at it. :confused:
Most people run their stoves on low air, and heat their homes just fine. My normal air setting is .5 on a scale of 4, or about 12%. Later when it's down to coals, I might open the air to 25% for a couple hours. I get 8-12 hrs. on a load, depending how much heat I need.
I'm pretty sure that of all the people that read this thread, exactly zero of them are going to adopt his methods of operation. It certainly has been an entertaining read, though. ;lol
I run my tube stove in basically the same way and have no issues. If I'm home and can tend to it all day it's a different story and I run small loads with mostly open air. I check my chimney every time it warms up and it still looks the same as it did before I started burning. I expect a few cups at most. I was worried I'd be cleaning it every month, even with my marginal wood. I just keep the stove pipe above 230f and haven't had any issues.
 

prezes13

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2014
919
Connecticut
I agree with bholer. OP has at least two issues which may put him in danger of burning down his house. He has exesive draft(plugged cat). It’s relatively easy to correct(key dumper). Also he has looks like wet wood. It burns because of his strong draft but, because it’s wet and he has no cat he puts tons of creo in his chimney. One day with dry wood god forbid it will catch on fire. I understand that OP wasn’t complaining but people here try to help others to burn their stoves safely and we should be glad that pros like bholer, webby360 and others are willing to help.
 
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weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,384
Central Mass
The PHs are know to burn wet wood without blinking an eye, theres a video on you tube where they burn wood with a mc of +30. Not recommended but it burns it fine.,
 

TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
Also he has looks like wet wood. It burns because of his strong draft but, because it’s wet and he has no cat he puts tons of creo in his chimney.
Wood is definitely not wet. It was split more than 5 years ago and has been covered (not enclosed) with a tarp. I clean the pipe and liner every Spring. It is not difficult. All deposits are easily removed with a poly (not metal) brush appropriate for SS. I do not deny that high draft is the source of cat plugging. But I have never been able to maintain proper stove top temps (using the cat when clean) with the damper cut back to low levels. Thus my current method.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,084
central pa
Wood is definitely not wet. It was split more than 5 years ago and has been covered (not enclosed) with a tarp. I clean the pipe and liner every Spring. It is not difficult. All deposits are easily removed with a poly (not metal) brush appropriate for SS. I do not deny that high draft is the source of cat plugging. But I have never been able to maintain proper stove top temps (using the cat when clean) with the damper cut back to low levels. Thus my current method.
What were your pipe temps when running with the cat?
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
10,807
Southern IN
Wood is definitely not wet. It was split more than 5 years ago and has been covered (not enclosed) with a tarp. I clean the pipe and liner every Spring. It is not difficult. All deposits are easily removed with a poly (not metal) brush appropriate for SS. I do not deny that high draft is the source of cat plugging. But I have never been able to maintain proper stove top temps (using the cat when clean) with the damper cut back to low levels. Thus my current method.
What stove top temps do you consider "proper," and what are you seeing, with the cat working and the air control low vs. your wide-open air method? An IR thermometer gun is useful for getting temperatures from all over the stove.
I generally see 500+ over the cat for several hours at the beginning of the burn when the cat is glowing. The rest of the top, and the sides, aren't that hot. When the stove top over the cat gets down around 300, after 6 hrs. or so when I'm burning at a 'winter rate,' I'll open the air a bit and it will hold 300 for a few more hours. That is with my 1.4 cu.ft. fire box, half of what the PH has.
I observed no benefit from the cat (mainly increased stovetop temp)
That's a benefit in my book. Are you meaning you don't see an increase in room temp? I agree, cat output may not be all that great when compared to what a little bit of flame and some glowing coals are doing to heat up the stove. But any heat the cat can provide is a gain, and it keeps the liner clean.
BTW, what is your chimney setup? 24' liner inside masonry chimney? Is the liner insulated? Block-off plate at the top of the fireplace box to keep heat in the room? Is there any way to get a pipe damper on your setup. Or better yet, two dampers?
Maybe the way you burn the stove is a result of your trying to get enough heat into the space? How large an area are you trying to heat? What is the layout? How is the insulation and air-sealing? Burning the stove as hard as you do, a lot of the heat is blowing through the stove and up the chimney before it can be absorbed by the stove and transmitted to the room. Now, with big flame in the box, some of that radiation will get the sides of the stove hotter than a cat-only burn would, so that's something. But these stoves are most efficient at extracting heat from a load of wood when they are burned at lower rates than what you are describing. I think most PH burners can have flame in the box with the primary air control (what you call the "draft," which confuses everyone) almost closed.
Burning hard, you are also blowing a lot of particulate past the secondary too fast, before it has a chance to burn, and you have no cat to clean it up. Hence the high amount of creosote in your liner.
 

TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
What were your pipe temps when running with the cat?
I rigorously followed the Woodstock manual to keep stove top and stove pipe above 300 before engaging cat. After reducing damper, however, temps would not hold. Increasing damper to increase heat obviously increases draft and ash entrainment, thus my dilemma.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,084
central pa
I rigorously followed the Woodstock manual to keep stove top and stove pipe above 300 before engaging cat. After reducing damper, however, temps would not hold. Increasing damper to increase heat obviously increases draft and ash entrainment, thus my dilemma.
You can be below 300 pipe temp what was it dropping to? When you say damper are you referring to the air control the bypass damper or a pipe damper?
 

prezes13

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2014
919
Connecticut
I have oak split and stacked in a wood shed for over 4 years and it is still hissing. I get only about one cup of creo when I clean my liner once a year. That’s why if you say you have gallons of creo coming out of your flue when you clean it I say your wood is wet. Get a cheap moisture meter and see what the moisture content really is you might be surprised. Don’t take anything we say here as an insult. We all like to talk about stoves, wood, burning techniques, just to help each other. Some people here like bholer or webby360 deal with wood stoves and chimneys for living. Their input here is highly regarded they helped a lot of people run their stoves properly.
 

TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
What stove top temps do you consider "proper," and what are you seeing, with the cat working and the air control low vs. your wide-open air method?
I always shoot for the range as indicated on the thermometers: top 250-670, pipe 235-470. I am happy with the lower end of that range. Unfortunately when the cat begins plugging the draft drops and combustion virtually ceases. I never run full open damper with the cat engaged.

An IR thermometer gun is useful for getting temperatures from all over the stove.
I know. I have one and use it frequently.

I generally see 500+ over the cat for several hours at the beginning of the burn when the cat is glowing.
The cat is not visible on my stove. Perhaps it is on yours. I have no way of knowing if the cat is doing its thing except by stove and pipe temp. My stove top thermometer sits pretty much directly over the cat.

BTW, what is your chimney setup? 24' liner inside masonry chimney? Is the liner insulated? Block-off plate at the top of the fireplace box to keep heat in the room? Is there any way to get a pipe damper on your setup. Or better yet, two dampers?
I have a 6" SS non-insulated liner installed in the chimney. Vertical 40" take-off from the PH to 90 elbow to opening to liner at wall. A few years ago Woodstock advised that even with the damper fully closed there would be enough air for combustion. I tried it and basically made coke. The PH damper can cut back draft more than enough.

I think most PH burners can have flame in the box with the primary air control (what you call the "draft," which confuses everyone) almost closed.
See above.

Burning hard, you are also blowing a lot of particulate past the secondary too fast, before it has a chance to burn, and you have no cat to clean it up. Hence the high amount of creosote in your liner.
I've always had a lot of build-up in my pipe and liner since day one, even before the liner with a tile lined chimney. The effort to clean the pipe and liner annually is the same whether a little or a lot. With cat removed, I use the damper to control stove temp to stay in the lower end of the recommended range. Stove top temps of 400 or so are perfectly adequate. The stove can easily keep my adjacent rooms 50 deg above outside temp when I need it. The stove is not too small for my needs and I don't need to "push" it.
 
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TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
You can be below 300 pipe temp what was it dropping to? When you say damper are you referring to the air control the bypass damper or a pipe damper?
With the bypass open or cat removed, the pipe temp drops only when the stove needs wood. With a plugged cat and the bypass closed there is virtually no draft and combustion ceases and temps drop. By damper, I mean the combustion air damper that is the part of the PH stove used for draft control.
 

TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
I have oak split and stacked in a wood shed for over 4 years and it is still hissing. I get only about one cup of creo when I clean my liner once a year. That’s why if you say you have gallons of creo coming out of your flue when you clean it I say your wood is wet.
The reality is that if my wood is still wet (which I extremely doubt) after being split, stacked, stored covered outdoors for 5 years I'll just have to live with that.
 
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prezes13

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2014
919
Connecticut
Honestly I believe that if you got your draft to woodstock specs and installed back your cat, you would see a big difference. Your chimney would be much cleaner, you would have more heat, and used less wood, given that there is no other issues like wet wood for example. What you doing now is like driving a turbo diesel truck with the turbo taken out. Is it possible? Sure thing. My f350 company truck will haul 6000 lbs trailer without the turbo, but what a difference when the turbo is working.
 

prezes13

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2014
919
Connecticut
Yes I agree, you got what you got.
 
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weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,384
Central Mass
Do you have the ash pan? It seems very few people that have an ash pan have the cat clogging problem, if any at all.
 

TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
Do you have the ash pan? It seems very few people that have an ash pan have the cat clogging problem, if any at all.
Yes, and I normally empty it about once a week. I let the stove die down, rake the ash into the pan, empty the pan, reinsert it, and restart the stove.
It works very well.
 
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webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,370
Indiana
I think most PH burners can have flame in the box with the primary air control (what you call the "draft," which con
No, this is not what we have referred to as “draft”. That’s the primarily air control which everyone here is familiar with. We have been asking if you’ve ever measured the draft of your chimney..
 
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TJL

Member
Jan 27, 2015
52
PA
No, this is not what we have referred to as “draft”. That’s the primarily air control which everyone here is familiar with. We have been asking if you’ve ever measured the draft of your chimney..
The statement attributed to me is not mine. I don't know who made it.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,084
central pa
The statement attributed to me is not mine. I don't know who made it.
Do you want help getting your stove to work properly? If not that's fine but don't advise others this is a good or safe way to run a stove.
 
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webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,370
Indiana
The statement attributed to me is not mine. I don't know who made it.
I quoted it from your earlier post which has now been edited. Who made this statement then?
 
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