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Old 10-15-2013, 11:29 AM   #1
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Default Wood-burning fireplace inserts - catalytic vs. non-catalytic?

Hey all,

I'm looking at wood-burning fireplace inserts and am weighing the efficiency of catalytic vs. the easy use of non-catalytics. From what I can tell the catalytics are more efficient, but very picky about what you can burn in them, and you must have very good wood or risk ruining the catalytic element, which is expensive. Non-catalytics are not as efficient, but you can burn whatever you want and not worry about it.

Anyone have any thoughts or advice/experience on this?

Also, haven't bought wood for the year yet, and not sure if there's good, cheap, dry stuff available still, so that may factor in.

Thanks

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Old 10-15-2013, 11:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: Wood-burning fireplace inserts - catalytic vs. non-catalytic?

non if you can find one
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Wood-burning fireplace inserts - catalytic vs. non-catalytic?

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non if you can find one
Thanks - can you tell me more about why?
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Wood-burning fireplace inserts - catalytic vs. non-catalytic?

I do believe that only catalytic stoves/inserts are now available, its the law you know.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: Wood-burning fireplace inserts - catalytic vs. non-catalytic?

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I do believe that only catalytic stoves/inserts are now available, its the law you know.
To further that thought, non catalytic cannot legally be sold used. They are scrap only.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wood-burning fireplace inserts - catalytic vs. non-catalytic?

No - the law only dictates maximum emission levels. There are high efficiency non-catalytics that are still well under the legal limits, but just not quite as efficient as the catalytics.

Here is a non-catalytic that comes in at 2g/hr, well below the limits.

http://www.avalonfirestyles.com/prod...=254#specs-tab
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by namu mac View Post
To further that thought, non catalytic cannot legally be sold used. They are scrap only.
Are you guys sure about this? As far as I know the stove only has to meet EPA requirements, which as of a couple years ago included many non catalytic models. Quadrafires and others met this with secondary air injection without the catalytic element.

That said I bought a freestanding blaze king two years ago, it is catalytic, and is the best heating stove I've ever been around. It doesn't have the pretty fire of a quadrafire or others but I can load it once a day and forget it, burn 1/3rd the wood I did with my old earth stove, and I only start about three fires a year. The heat output is very linear also, no big heat than have it peter out over night, etc. Load it, set the thermostat and forget about it. If its in the teens or lower temp outside I will load it once at night and again in the morning, otherwise its only once per day.

No problems as we're entering the third burning season and the reviews on them are very good long term. I'm not up to speed on insert models though. They do cost more than most, but worth it to me. It takes about three days to burn out the coals so I empty ashes after the couple times we leave the house for a few days such as holidays.
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wood-burning fireplace inserts - catalytic vs. non-catalytic?

Catalytics and non catalytics are legal as long as they meet emmission standards. If you want minimum emmissions, go with catalytic. You will also be replacing that catalytic converter about every two years at around $200. They aren't picky about what wood you burn, they don't make your insert more efficient in regards to your wood pile shrinking and you can get a non-catalytic that's almost as clean for less money and maintenance.
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Old 10-15-2013, 10:00 PM   #9
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Default Wood-burning fireplace inserts - catalytic vs. non-catalytic?

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Catalytics and non catalytics are legal as long as they meet emmission standards. If you want minimum emmissions, go with catalytic. You will also be replacing that catalytic converter about every two years at around $200. They aren't picky about what wood you burn, they don't make your insert more efficient in regards to your wood pile shrinking and you can get a non-catalytic that's almost as clean for less money and maintenance.
Blaze king catalytics have a 6 year warranty, I don't know anyone who has had one fail, only read about a couple online. And they are around $600 last I checked for mine. They do care what kind of wood you burn, (dry and seasoned) and no colored paper, etc. and they do produce more heat, they burn exhaust gases off just like the secondary air injection burn of non catalytic models. Our family (many wood stoves from mild western oregon to 7000' cold Idaho winters) have found this to be true including less wood use with the blaze king even compared to high efficiency non catalytic stoves but some of my family prefers others like quadrafire for the nice flame and ability to burn junk mail and wetter wood without worries for the catalytic having issues. Just my real world experience, I don't have firsthand knowledge of other brands catalytic models though. Search online forums and you'll see what is used in places like Alaska or eastern oregon, etc if you want to see what works well in demanding areas and any related issues, there are forums dedicated to wood burning.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:22 AM   #10
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Default Re: Wood-burning fireplace inserts - catalytic vs. non-catalytic?

I bought a Heat n Glo Northstar for my new house about 6 years ago. It is non-catalytic and is a very clean burning unit (3.2g/h). Got a nice fire going in it right now. Only thing I do is have it cleaned every year.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:44 AM   #11
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Both Cat and non cat stoves are sold and used.

To be legal, a non cat stove has to meet EPA standards. Most stoves made in the last ten years all meet this requirement.

I have two non cat stoves, both newer and both EPA certified. Both have a secondary combustion chamber that burns the gasses prior to then exiting the stove, bringing the efficiency up. Although, you must burn these stoves decently hot to burn them correctly.

Dry, seasoned wood is a must, generally with a moisture content no higher then 20 percent, checked on the face if a freshly split piece.

Cat stoves are an advantage for the 24/7 burner. Long intervals in between loads and more of a medium, constant heat output. If you're going to be the occasional burner, and not use it as your sole source if heat, I wouldn't get one, they are often more expensive then your general tube stove. If you plan on getting one, I would recommend blaze king.

If you decide to go with a non cat, these can also be used for 24/7 burning like I do. Burn times are a little shorter and the fire is generally hotter then a cat stove. There are way too many non cat options to mention. Lots out there, some not that expensive.

If you get one, have it done by a certified installer.

DONT buy an old 200 dollar stove from craigslist and just slam it in your fireplace. It's dangerous, against code, and just really a bad idea.

If this is going in an existing masonry chimney you will need to have it lined, cost sits around 1000 for that.

For all the wood stove info you could EVER want... Visit hearth.com and check out the forums.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:48 AM   #12
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And another thought, on the end of your post.

Finding honestly dry wood from a firewood supplier is a crap shoot. What they say is dry, isn't.

They will tell you it's been down for a year, but down in log form laying on the ground doesn't count.

Standing dead also doesn't count.

cut, split and stacked for a year is the way to go.

FIR will season in 6 months if you stack it right.

Alder - year

Maple - a year, sometimes more.

Oak- two years

Good luck!
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:23 PM   #13
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Default Re: Wood-burning fireplace inserts - catalytic vs. non-catalytic?

Thanks all, I had actually been leaning toward the Avalon line in terms of both the cat and non cat. Thanks for the input - anyone have any first hand experience with Avalon?
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:18 PM   #14
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Default Re: Wood-burning fireplace inserts - catalytic vs. non-catalytic?

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Originally Posted by supnah View Post
Thanks all, I had actually been leaning toward the Avalon line in terms of both the cat and non cat. Thanks for the input - anyone have any first hand experience with Avalon?
Top of the line stoves!

I've had one for years. The only thing I would do different if I had to replace mine is get the one that takes wood back to front rather than side ways.
I think you can put more would in front to back, for long nights.
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Old 10-21-2013, 03:39 PM   #15
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Default Re: Wood-burning fireplace inserts - catalytic vs. non-catalytic?

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Top of the line stoves!

I've had one for years. The only thing I would do different if I had to replace mine is get the one that takes wood back to front rather than side ways.
I think you can put more would in front to back, for long nights.
Thanks for the input!
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