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Why the combustor might struggle to do its job

Light-off was not achieved before the stoves by-pass was closed. This means the catalyst was not at the temperature necessary to receive and burn the inlet gases. This will result in the combustor cells plugging with fly-ash and creosote. When starting a fire in a cold stove, the catalyst needs 260C (500F) of temperature focused on it for 20 to 30 minutes to allow proper light-off.

Refueling with wet or unseasoned wood will shut the catalytic combustor down at once. This will result in the combustor’s cells plugging with fly-ash and creosote. This will also cause thermal shock to the combustor’s substrate and hair line cracks will occur on the cell walls.

Masking blankets the combustor with a substance that prevents catalytic activity. This can occur when burning materials other than seasoned, dry wood.

Plugging is a build-up of soot, creosote and/or fly-ash in the combustor’s cells. This occurs when the combustor is operated or positioned improperly. Inlet gas temperature must be maintained around 260C (500F) in order to keep the catalytic reaction alive. This also occurs when burning materials that produce large flakes of char, like wrapping paper and cardboard.

Provided that combustor is fired with seasoned dry wood only and by-pass lid is closed only after Firecat® has reached its operating temperature of 300C (570F) or more, the catalyst should always burn itself free.

In case that it can’t burn free, it might either not have yet reached its operating temperature, or flues within combustor are clogged. Now we’ve to distinguish simple clogging by fly-ash and the real bad plugging that occurs as a consequence of poisoning. While cleaning the combustor might be easy in the first case, it might be due for replacement in the second.

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