That said, a few operating conditions can lead to a dirty combustor. Most often this is caused by burning materials that produce a lot of char and fly ash. Closing the bypass too soon can also lead to buildup on the combustor from a lowered operating temperature. Pro-Tip: Make sure your firebox temperature is above 500°F (260°C) before closing the bypass damper.
Softwoods like Fir, Spruce and Pine are less expensive than hardwoods, are easier to ignite, and burn rapidly with a hot flame. However, softwoods will produce more creosote than hardwoods.
If you are a serious wood burner using a catalytic wood burning stove, hardwoods are your best choice. Hardwoods such as Oak and Birch provide a longer lasting fire, a shorter flame, and produce less creosote.
* After the first burning, the catalytic combustor should have a light gray powdery appearance.
- NEVER use anything abrasive to clean the combustor.
- Use a soft bristled brush or an old paint brush to gently dust away the fly ash on the combustor.
- DO use a gentle brushing motion.
- DO NOT jam the bristles into the combustor.
- You may use a vacuum in addition to the brush, but NEVER used compressed air.
- Cell blockage can be removed with the gentle use of a cotton swab or pipe cleaner.
- Open the bypass.
- Build a hot fire.
- Once the hot fire is created - close the bypass halfway.
- Burn for 30-60 minutes with the bypass in this position.