Author Topic: Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?  (Read 5071 times)

Spork

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Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?
« on: February 26, 2016, 03:34:40 PM »

I have had exactly one wood stove, so I may be making generalizations that don't make sense.

I have a Vermont Castings Resolute Acclaim stove.  It has a secondary combustion chamber in the back that looks like it's made of "fireproof styrofoam".  (Yes, I know that's not what it is.  That's just what it looks like.)

I poked a hole in the original a couple of years ago being too aggressive with a chimney clean.  I chalked that up to experience and bought a replacement for about $200.

It's been about 2 years again and the stove is showing symptoms that it's burned through.  Air moves too quickly through and you can't always turn the fire down to an optimum low burn.

We are super careful about not overheating the stove.  I really don't think we were at fault on the second failure.

Does anyone have a similar stove setup?  And can you comment on how long these things should last?  $200 every 2 years seems excessive.

Rural

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Re: Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2016, 05:39:08 PM »
No advice, sorry, but posting to follow.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2016, 09:42:47 AM »
No ideas on longevity, but do you think it can be repaired with refractory cement or something similar?  If you haven't actually looked at it, could it be one of your gaskets is bad?

 I've got the original all cast Resolute with the lever actuated horizontal/recirculating burn setup, but I think I am a bit short on draft to make it work properly so I never engage it.  I do have a nagging thought about how much less wood I'd have to cut with a newer stove, but have yet to take the plunge on a newer stove with a re-burner or cat for this exact reason.    Lots of good information on HomesteadingToday.com or one of the wood burning forums. Good luck!  Please let us know what you find out.

Spork

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Re: Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2016, 07:47:20 AM »
I haven't opened it up yet (this time).  We seem to be nearing the end of the burning season around here.... And I have a bit of family emergency that will be going on for several weeks.  By the time I can get to it, it will be time to clean it out for summer.  I'll inspect it then.

From the last time: the material is really fragile and thin.  Think of a 1/2 inch layer of pressed fiberglass insulation for the top/sides.  (It is probably more high tech than that, but that is what it looks like.)  Seeing as this is where most of the heat lands when the damper is closed, I'd hate to use something less than the approved combustion package.

Clean Shaven

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Re: Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2016, 08:09:44 AM »
There's a forum on stoves and such at hearth.com - might be worth searching there and posting your question. 

Spork

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Re: Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2016, 08:48:03 AM »
There's a forum on stoves and such at hearth.com - might be worth searching there and posting your question.

Hmm. Yeah, I should have started searching there.  These folks aren't too happy with this model.  It sounds like it is just a high maintenance stove. 

I'll probably repair any issues I find one more time.... And keep my eyes open for a good deal on a replacement stove.

Highbeam

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Re: Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2016, 10:39:58 AM »
Good plan. You bought a lemon. The VC stoves of the last decade are nothing like the original VC brand. It is as if Mercedes bought a Yugo factory and started putting Mercedes emblems on the crappy Yugo cars and selling them to unsuspecting Mercedes buyers. The VC brand is forever ruined.

They still look great though.

big_owl

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Re: Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2016, 08:30:20 AM »
There's a forum on stoves and such at hearth.com - might be worth searching there and posting your question.

Hmm. Yeah, I should have started searching there.  These folks aren't too happy with this model.  It sounds like it is just a high maintenance stove. 

I'll probably repair any issues I find one more time.... And keep my eyes open for a good deal on a replacement stove.

I was originally going to get one of those stoves but the catalyst thing really turned me off just for that reason.  The whole point of a wood stove is that it's basically bomb proof and requires no maintenance...I didn't like the idea of having to dick around with replaceable parts every season or two.  Ended up buying a Jotul which was still eligible for the clean burn tax credits and requires no fancy spare parts. 

Spork

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Re: Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2016, 09:14:04 AM »
There's a forum on stoves and such at hearth.com - might be worth searching there and posting your question.

Hmm. Yeah, I should have started searching there.  These folks aren't too happy with this model.  It sounds like it is just a high maintenance stove. 

I'll probably repair any issues I find one more time.... And keep my eyes open for a good deal on a replacement stove.

I was originally going to get one of those stoves but the catalyst thing really turned me off just for that reason.  The whole point of a wood stove is that it's basically bomb proof and requires no maintenance...I didn't like the idea of having to dick around with replaceable parts every season or two.  Ended up buying a Jotul which was still eligible for the clean burn tax credits and requires no fancy spare parts.

Just to be clear: there is no catalyst and it is EPA approved. This stove has a secondary combustion chamber where other gases are burned when it gets hot. That chamber is very fragile and gets exposed to immense heat.

I don't know how the Jotul works... But that's how this one works.

big_owl

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Re: Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2016, 05:26:14 PM »
There's a forum on stoves and such at hearth.com - might be worth searching there and posting your question.

Hmm. Yeah, I should have started searching there.  These folks aren't too happy with this model.  It sounds like it is just a high maintenance stove. 

I'll probably repair any issues I find one more time.... And keep my eyes open for a good deal on a replacement stove.

I was originally going to get one of those stoves but the catalyst thing really turned me off just for that reason.  The whole point of a wood stove is that it's basically bomb proof and requires no maintenance...I didn't like the idea of having to dick around with replaceable parts every season or two.  Ended up buying a Jotul which was still eligible for the clean burn tax credits and requires no fancy spare parts.

Just to be clear: there is no catalyst and it is EPA approved. This stove has a secondary combustion chamber where other gases are burned when it gets hot. That chamber is very fragile and gets exposed to immense heat.

I don't know how the Jotul works... But that's how this one works.

Ah, I was looking at the VC Intrepid II which does have a catalyst.  In any case, if you decide to get a replacement someday I have no complaints on my Jotul...


Gone Fishing

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Re: Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2016, 05:38:39 PM »
Prompted by this thread, I asked a buddy how his 10+ year old Jotul has been treating him (his only heat source).  He reported back this it is still running strong with one gasket replacement over that time period.

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Re: Non-cat wood stoves - How long should a combustion package last?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2016, 06:14:27 PM »
I have a VC Resolute Acclaim.  My combustion package is totally shot and I just burn it without the secondary burn.  Like you, I have no desire to replace the combustion package every few years.  I have heard that folks "make" a new combustion package out of regular fire bricks, but I haven't tried that.

I think if your gaskets are good, you should still be able to damp it down correctly - at least I can with mine.  Gaskets are pretty cheap..

I love my stove, but I do wish it was more efficient.