How Combustors Work

What Is a Catalyst?

A catalyst is a substance that lowers the activation energy required for a chemical reaction to take place, without being consumed by the reaction. Heat is required to activate the reaction.

Platinum and/or palladium are the catalytic substances in Condar combustors. These precious metals are applied to the honeycomb of the combustor (either ceramic or steel), using a patented washcoat technology.

Catalytic Reaction in Combustors

When your woodstove reaches 500°–700°F (260°–370°C) at the beginning of each burn cycle, it is said to have achieved "light-off." (Note: Temperature range applies to ceramic combustors. For steel combustors, light-off temperature is reached faster, at approximately 400°–600°F (204°–316°C). Use a woodstove thermometer to monitor temperature.) Light-off temperature means there is sufficient heat for the catalytic reaction to take place.

After closing the damper (bypass), wood smoke passes through the platinum/palladium-coated honeycomb of the combustor, producing the catalytic reaction. Ash, particulates, and harmful gas exhausts are converted into water vapor and carbon dioxide, which safely exit your chimney without polluting our air.

Get More Heat from Your Stove

When your catalytic combustor causes this chemical reaction to occur, significant heat is released as a result. Perhaps the greatest benefit of maintaining your combustor is capturing heat that would otherwise be lost up your chimney. The total practical heat output of your woodstove is increased by as much as 50% with a new combustor!

A Safer Way to Burn

A well-maintained combustor makes your woodstove safer. Your combustor helps cut down on creosote formation, which can build up in your stovepipe, a dangerous fire hazard. The annual check-up and cleaning by your chimney sweep is quicker and easier when your combustor is operating properly.

Life-Span of Catalytic Combustors

Although precious metals are not consumed in the catalytic reaction, the coating slowly degrades as a result of friction from wood smoke. As the' surface area of the coating flattens, the combustor gradually loses its effectiveness.

After approximately 12,000 hours of stove use, you will notice a significant loss in heating efficiency. At this time, your combustor should be replaced. Be aware, you may not be able to see a noticeable change in the appearance of your combustor, but you will certainly feel the difference!

By replacing your combustor, you effectively restore heating efficiency to your stove. Light-off temperature is reduced and you get more burn-time before having to reload. Ultimately, investing in a new combustor means more heat from your stove, saving wood fuel, and conserving time, money, and our natural resources.

See annual woodstove use in hours, based on your geographic location in the United States.

What Our Customers Are Saying:

"My woodstove is ten years old, so I was surprised to find that Condar Company not only offered a combustor for my stove; they actually had it in stock and at half the cost of the original! I can already confirm the installation and fit is perfect. I'm confident the combustor will perform as well or better than the original, and I'm recommending Condar to every woodstove owner I know." -Dan James; Hamilton, Michigan


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