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Intro to Catalytic Wood Stoves

Quality Wood Burning StovesLooking for a high quality catalytic wood stove? UFS member hearth stores offer a full line of luxurious wood burning stoves at a great value.

A high quality catalytic wood stove burns smoke and produces a great deal more heat than a typical wood stove while using a lot less firewood.  Proper installation of a catalytic stove by a professional installer is essential, to ensure that the extreme temperatures don’t cause a house fire.  If not installed correctly, instead of a reduction in fumes, there will be an increased pollution problem.  Catalytic stoves are innovative heat sources but aren’t without potential hazards.

The catalytic combustor or catalytic converter in a catalytic stove resembles a honeycomb.

The converter greatly reduces the required temperature for burning smoke.  Smoke usually catches fire at about 1100 degrees.  With the catalyst, smoke is burned inside the wood stove at just 500 to 550 degrees.

The catalyst rapidly heats up.  Within 20 minutes of reaching 550 degrees, the catalyst can get as hot as 1700 degrees.  How quickly it heats up depends upon:

  • The size of the catalyst,
  • The amount of firewood, and
  • Whether the firewood is seasoned or wet.

Extreme heat is produced by a catalytic stove, and a large fire isn’t required to warm up a sizable space.  Once the stove is giving off sufficient heat, the air in the stove can be choked down in order to produce smoldering flames or to extinguish the flames altogether.  The additional smoke from the lack of air fuels the catalyst.

Because of the way the catalytic wood stove operates, the burn time of a load of wood is significantly increased, the amount of wood required to heat is reduced, and there is less creosote deposited in the chimney lining.

Prior to Installation of a Catalytic Wood Stove

There are a few things to investigate prior to the installation of a best value catalytic wood stove, all of which certified professional installers are familiar with:

  • Luxury Wood StoveObtain any necessary permits from local building code authorities.
  • Contact your fire insurance company about your plans to install a catalytic wood stove.
  • Determine whether the current flue in your chimney is a size which fits requirements for the catalytic wood stove.  It’s important to use the flue diameter recommended by the manufacturer so that the needed draft to operate the stove is produced.  If the flue is improperly sized, the result could be that smoke leaks into your home.

Other matters a professional installer will tend to during installation include ensuring that the seals that connect the flue to the stove are tight, which will help to prevent leakage of smoke and will promote good drafting.

Tips for Maximizing Benefits of Catalytic Wood Stoves

  • Burn only seasoned wood, not freshly cut wood.  It usually takes from six to nine months for wood to dry out, if it is loosely covered and stacked outside in a way that air can circulate through the wood pile.
  • Use a catalyst temperature monitor, if it isn’t included with the stove.  With a monitor, you can avoid engaging the catalyst before light-off or wasting benefits by waiting too long to light-off.
  • Initially light the stove in the bypass mode, in which smoke bypasses the catalyst.  Only engage the catalyst when the stove burns hot, but don’t overheat the appliance.
  • Quickly begin with a hot fire, which will put the catalyst to work faster; once it is lit, the catalyst stays lit even when the fire burns at a much lower temperature.
  • Minimize door openings for hours of continuous burning.