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Wood Stove Catalytic Converter

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If you have a wood stove catalytic converter, its important to know the correct maintenance and shelf life of this piece. The upkeep is not hard, but your should also understand when to replace it and when it just needs a cleaning.

Generally, this part is rated to last a certain number of hours, usually 12000 to 14000 hours. This usually equates to about six years but can obviously vary. A replacement combustor will go for between $100 and $200 dollars, depending on the brand and make of your heater. For some older models, you may be able to use a generic piece but it must fit the original height, depth, and width exactly..

You can tell if a converter needs to be replaced by looking at the unit. The coating on the combustor is what makes it effective. Loose or missing material, cracks, or other signs of weakness are signs that it should be replaced. You can also tell by just noticing the heat output. A good condition converter will help your stove produce a lot of heat, when it is old and worn, less heat will be created. You can also take a look at the smoke output. A combustor's job is to help produce a cleaner, white smoke. Darker or black smore means that it is not effectively doing its job.

Some things that can reduce the life of your unit include overfiring the stove and burning wet wood. The converter needs to be engaged at a certain heat level and temperature to be effective, usually around 500 degrees F. Wet wood basically sends through steam at a much lower temperature, which can damage the metal coating. Similarly, overheating your heater can cause flames to burn into the converter, causing damage as well. Always use proper fuel and don't overfire.

If it just needs a cleaning, you can easily do that yourself. Remove the combustor from your stove. Clear away any loose ash or debris from the converter using a light brush or towel. This should be done about every 6-8 weeks, or once per cord of wood. A vacuum also works well.


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