Frequently Asked Questions - F.A.Q.
>> Helpful information on responsible wood burning <<
I have a catalytic combustor in the top of my wood stove. Can I clean it and how often does this need to be done?
After the first burning, the combustor should have a light gray powder-like appearance. Should the combustor’s cells become masked with fly-ash, use a paintbrush or soft-bristle brush and dust the combustor gently. Never use anything abrasive to clean the combustor. A vacuum cleaner may be used, but never use high-pressured air to blow the cells free of any build-up. Any cell blockage can be removed with the use of a pipe cleaner or cotton swab. Should the combustor become masked with soot or creosote, it is possible to burn the accumulation off by opening the by-pass and building a hot fire. Once the hot fire is created, close the by-pass halfway and burn for 30-60 minutes with the bypass in this position. Applied Ceramics suggests checking and cleaning the combustor before each burning season begins, if necessary.
How do I know if my catalytic combustor needs to be replaced?
The catalytic combustor has a six-year (6) life expectancy when used according to the stove owner’s manual. Although, some combustors have operated with efficiency for as high as ten years, the combustor’s life is based on the stove operator, maintenance, fuels used, and the stove manufacturer’s design. Click here for more catalytic combustor information.
I need a piece of glass for my double door stove and I don’t know what model it is.
The double door glass kit fits the Models 26000 Old Buck (Little), 27000 Old Buck (Regular), and 28000 Old Buck (Big) and consists of the following: 2 pieces of 6 ½” x 9” glass and 2 gaskets for the glass.
My glass has a black film on it. How can I clean it?
You can clean your glass by using an oven cleaner and paper towels or razor blade. You can also make a solution of vinegar and water.
I would like to replace the gasket around my door. What do I need?
Depending on your model, you need door roping and/or ash bar wicking. You will also need a 2.8 oz. tube of silicone..
I have an older Buck Stove and I would like to convert it to a freestanding stove. Is this possible?
Yes, it is possible. You will need a stack and a pedestal to do so. First, you must determine which model you have. To do so, measure the rectangular opening on the top of the unit. If the opening is 13 ¾” x 3 ¼,” you have either a Model 26000 Old Buck (Little) or a Model 27000 Old Buck (Regular). Order part # FA 260421 for the stack and part # FA P4171B for the pedestal. If the opening measures 16” x 3 ¾,” then you have Model 28000 Old Buck (Big). Order part # FA 280421 for the stack and part # FA P4171B for the pedestal.
I have an old double door wood stove with a 3-speed thermostat (CPI bar). It only works on high. What is needed to make it 3 speeds again?
The CPI bar is no longer available. You will need to replace your CPI bar with a CPI replacement kit, which consists of a thermostat disc, rheostat, rheostat knob, and the wiring schematic. This replacement kit is variable speed (not 3 speed like the older CPI bar) and is adjusted with the rheostat knob. Order part # MA 100120.
I have a wood stove and want to make it gas. Can I do this?
No, we do not recommend doing this. If you changed from wood to gas, it would not only void the warranty of the gas log set, but you run the risk of damaging gas components in the log set itself and your home.
My wood stove has developed a crack in the top. Can this be repaired?
Yes, it can be fixed. Buck Stove repairs units during the summer months. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (828) 765-6144 for further directions.
Regarding gas valves, what is the difference between a Millivolt and Modulating unit?
A Millivolt unit has the capability of using a remote control or wall thermostat to regulate the temperature setting. Whereas, the temperature of a modulating unit is controlled by changing the knob setting on the unit itself.
Should I purchase a catalytic or non-catalytic unit?
Normal rule is, for a primary heat source, choose the catalytic unit. For supplemental heating, choose the non-cat unit. Catalytic units have efficiency rating of 72%. There is more maintenance with a catalytic unit. At some point, depending on how you operate the unit and the type of wood burned, you will probably need to replace the catalyst. Non catalytic units have efficiency rating of 63%, which is quite high for a wood burning unit. There is not a big price difference between catalytic and non-cat stoves.
Do you sell direct?
No, we do not sell whole units directly to the public. We sell through dealers. To find a dealer, click on the dealer locator and enter your zip code. To better serve our customers, we do sell replacement parts (visit our online store for all your needs) or email/call us so we can better serve you!
How may you contact us?
You may reach us (828) 765-6144 during our normal business hours, M – F from 8:00am to 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time. You may also email us at email@example.com or by using the link on the homepage.
More catalytic combustor information:
WHY DO COMBUSTORS NEED REPLACED?
- THERMAL SHOCK – OCCURS WHEN REFUELING WITH WOOD CONTAINING MOISTURE EITHER ON IT OR IN IT. MOIST SMOKE IS SENT TO THE COMBUSTOR WHEN THE BY-PASS IS CLOSED AND THE RESULTS ARE THERMAL SHOCK AND CRACKING OF THE SUBSTRATE. A CONTINUAL PRACTICE OF THIS WILL CAUSE THE COMBUSTOR TO DETERIORATE.
- FATIGUE – THE CATALYTIC COMBUSTOR HAS A SIX-YEAR (6) LIFE EXPECTANCY WHEN USED ACCORDING TO THE STOVE OWNER’S MANUAL. ALTHOUGH, SOME COMBUSTORS HAVE OPERATED WITH EFFICIENCY FOR AS HIGH AS TEN YEARS, THE COMBUSTOR’S LIFE IS BASED ON THE STOVE OPERATOR, MAINTENANCE, FUELS USED, AND THE STOVE MANUFACTURER’S DESIGN.
- MISHANDLING – OR ABUSE TO THE COMBUSTOR. A FEW EXAMPLES WOULD BE … DROPPING IT, USING ABRASIVE TOOLS FOR CLEANING IT, USING HIGH PRESSURE AIR TO BLOW THE CELL FREE OF ANY FLY-ASH BUILD-UP, USING CLEANING SOLVENTS TO CLEAN IT OR PERHAPS BEATING ON IT TO REMOVE IT FROM IT’S HOLDING DEVICE.
- DIRECT FLAME IMPINGEMENT – FLAMES BURNING FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME DIRECTLY INTO THE COMBUSTOR WITH THE BY-PASS OR DAMPER CLOSED WILL CAUSE THIS. ALLOWING THIS TO HAPPEN WILL CHANGE THE CHEMICAL MAKE-UP OF THE CATALYST AND CHANGE IT’S REACTION AS WELL.
- FLAME IMPINGEMENT ON A CONTINUAL BASIS WILL CAUSE THE SUBSTRATE TO BREAK DOWN. SOME OF THE REASONS FLAME IMPINGEMENT OCCURS ARE OPERATING THE STOVE WITH THE FIREBOX DOOR AJAR OR THE ASH PAN NOT CLOSED TIGHTLY. OTHER REASONS MIGHT BE THAT THE DOOR GASKET NEEDS REPLACED OR THE AIR INTAKES ARE LEFT WIDE OPEN AFTER THE BY-PASS HAS BEEN CLOSED. UNCONTROLLABLE DRAW OR FAST DRAFT CAN BE CONTROLLED WITH THE USE OF A BAROMETRIC DAMPER.
- POISONING – THIS HAPPENS BY BURNING MATERIALS OTHER THAN SEASONED DRIED WOOD. FOREIGH MATTER SUCH AS GARBAGE, PAINTED WOOD, LARGE AMOUNT OF COLORED PAPER, CARDBOARD, RUBBER, PLASTIC, PANELING WITH GLUE, OIL PRODUCTS AND SO ON WILL EVENTUALLY KILL THE EFFICIENCY OF THE CATALYST.
CATALYTIC COMBUSTOR CLEANING
NORMALLY THE CATALYTIC COMBUSTOR REQUIRES LITTLE OR NO MAINTENANCE. BECAUSE IT GENERATES SUCH HIGH TEMPERATURES, IT IS BASICALLY SELF-CLEANING. AFTER THE FIRST BURNING THE COMBUSTOR SHOULD HAVE A LIGHT GRAY POWDER-LIKE APPEARANCE.
SHOULD THE COMBUSTOR’S CELLS BECOME MASKED WITH FLY-ASH, USE A PAINTBRUSH OR SOFT-BRISTLED BRUSH AND DUST THE COMBUSTOR GENTLY. NEVER USE ANYTHING ABRASIVE TO CLEAN THE COMBUSTOR. A VACUUM CLEANER MAY BE USED, BUT NEVER USE HIGH PRESSURED AIR TO BLOW THE CELLS FREE OF ANY BUILD-UP. ANY CELL BLOCKAGE CAN BE REMOVED WITH THE USE OF A PIPE CLEANER OR A COTTON SWAB.
SHOULD THE COMBUSTOR BECOME MASKED WITH SOOT OR CREOSOTE, IT IS POSSIBLE TO BURN THE ACCUMULATION OFF BY OPENING THE BY-PASS AND BUILDING A HOT FIRE. ONCE THE HOT FIRE IS CREATED, CLOSE THE BY-PASS HALFWAY AND BURN FOR 30 – 60 MINUTES WITH THE BY-PASS IN THIS POSITION.
APPLIED CERAMICS SUGGESTS IT WOULD BE WISE TO CHECK AND CLEAN THE COMBUSTOR, IF NECESSARY, BEFORE EACH BURNING SEASON BEGINS.
WHY THE COMBUSTOR MIGHT STRUGGLE TO DO IT’S JOB
- LIGHT-OFF - WAS NOT ACHIEVED BEFORE THE STOVE’S 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 500° F. OF TEMPERATURE FOCUSED ON IT FOR 20 – 30 MINUTES TO ALLOW PROPER LIGHT-OFF.
- REFUELING - 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 HAIRLINE CRACKS WILL OCCUR ON THE CELL WALLS.
- MASKING – BLANKETING THE COMBUSTOR WITH A SUBSTANCE THAT PREVENTS CATALYTIC ACTIVITY.
- PLUGGING - 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 500° F. TO KEEP THE CATALYST ACTIVATED. THIS ALSO OCCURS WHEN BURNING MATERIALS THAT PRODUCE LARGE FLAKES OR CHAR, LIKE WRAPPING PAPER OR CARDBOARD.
HOW TO MAINTAIN CATALYTIC BURNING CONDITIONS
WHEN INITIALLY STARTING UP A COLD STOVE, A MEDIUM TO HIGH FIRING RATE MUST BE MAINTAINED FOR 20 – 30 MINUTES. THIS WILL ALLOW THE STOVE, THE CATALYTIC COMBUSTOR AND THE FUEL TO STABILIZE AT A PROPER OPERATING TEMPERATURE EVEN THOUGH THE TEMPERATURE CAN REACH 600° F. WITHIN A FEW MINUTES AFTER THE FIRE HAS STARTED. IF THE FIRE IS TURNED DOWN TOO SOON TO A LOW BURNING CONDITION, IT WILL RESULT IN THE FIRE AND/OR THE CATALYTIC COMBUSTOR GOING OUT.
AT THE END OF A BURN CYCLE, IT’S POSSIBLE THAT THE AMOUNT OF BURNING CHARCOAL REMAINING MIGHT NOT PROVIDE SUFFICIENT TEMPERATURE OR FUEL FOR THE CATALYST TO STAY LIT.
DURING THE REFUELING OF A HOT STOVE THAT HAS AN INTERNAL TEMPERATURE BELOW 500° F., IT IS BEST TO FIRE THE STOVE UP FOR 10 – 15 MINUTES TO ENSURE SUFFICIENT TEMPERATURE AND PROPER AMOUNTS OF VOLATILE GASES FOR THE CATALYST TO OPERATE WELL AND EFFICIENTLY.
HOWEVER, WHEN REFUELING A HOT STOVE THAT HAS AN INTERNAL TEMPERATURE ABOVE 500° F., NO REFIRING IS NECESSARY.
CATAYTIC COMBUSTOR TEMPERATURES
COMBUSTOR TEMPERATURES CAN BECOME EXTREMELY HOT DURING OPERATION. TEMPERATURES ABOVE 1800° F. WILL DAMAGE THE CATALYST. TEMPERATURES BETWEEN 1400°F. AND 1600° F. ARE NORMAL, BUT TEMPERATURES BETWEEN 1200° F. AND 1400° F. ARE RECOMMENDED.