How to Operate a Catalytic Stove/Insert

Although a catalytic wood stove or insert behaves similarly to a regular wood fire, there are a few key differences in operation. These differences help the catalytic stove produce long, stable burns. With proper operation, a catalytic combustor can easily last 10 years before it needs to be replaced and Regency offers the industry’s best warranty on catalytic combustors, alongside our leading Limited Lifetime Warranty.  

Note: Due to regulations, the new EPA-certified burning wood stoves, inserts, and fireplaces are cleaner burning and more efficient. Therefore, burning practices and habits from older models to the new ones need to change to adjust for the technology and more restrictive passages. To properly burn these units, you will need to lengthen the unit's kindling (startup) period compared to old wood stoves. A well-established and hot bed of coals is required before any large pieces of wood can be added. It is essential to get your unit hot before adding more wood. Think of each new piece of wood like a bucket of water that will cool your fire. Only use well-seasoned wood with a moisture content of less than 20%. 

Starting a fire in a Catalytic Stove/Insert

For the best results make sure there is a 1-2” thick bed of ashes before starting your fire.

  1. Crumple lots of black and white newspaper (avoid colored newspaper or paper with lots of ink)
  2. Ensure both the bypass & air control are fully open
  3. Build a log cabin/teepee of small finger sized pieces of pieces of kindling – ensure you stack wood to allow lots of airflow between pieces
  4. Light Paper & Close Door 95% of the way – allowing space for significant airflow
  5. Once kindling has fully ignited (engulfed in flames), add additional kindling and close door approx. 95% of the way.
  6. Once the second batch of kindling has ignited, add 2-3 wrist-sized pieces of wood and close the door again approx. 95% of the way (Air control & Bypass still Open)
  7. Once the wrist size pieces have fully ignited, add an additional 2-3 wrist sized pieces and close the door again approx. 95% of the way
  8. Once the second batch of wrist-size wood has ignited, close the door and allow the fire to build. Keep the air control in the fully open position along with the bypass.
  9. Once the fire is just starting to die down, crack the door open and hold it ajar for a few seconds for the air to adjust. Then add 2-3 large pieces of wood stacked in a manner that allows airflow. (Air control & Bypass still Open) 
  10. Once the large pieces have ignited, close the door completely (Air control & Bypass still Open)
  11. Once the large pieces have fully ignited and your firebox is full of flames, add 2-3 more pieces of wood & close the door
  12. After the second load of wood has fully ignited and your firebox is full of flames, you can fully load the firebox (Air Control & Bypass still Open)
  13. Allow the new wood to ignite fully 
  14. Adjust the air control to the desired level
  15. Let the stove or insert heat up
  16. For best performance, wait until your unit has been running for a while and is quite hot before engaging the catalytic combustor. This step is more of an art than a science and will depend on your specific burning situation; however, you can aim to engage your catalyst between 700-1000 F (370-540 C) by pushing the bypass rod towards the unit. Do not activate the catalytic combustor below 500 F (260 C).
  17. Walk away! Your wood stove/insert is now burning efficiently, cleanly and will produce stable heat for hours to come!

Maintaining a fire in a Catalytic Stove/Insert

If you are adding wood to your catalytic stove you will need to first disengage the catalytic combustor before opening the door. The catalytic bypass rod may be hot so make sure to use the tool or wood glove that came with your unit. Once the bypass has been opened you can open the door and reload as you would a traditional fire. Once the door has been closed, re-engage the catalyst by closing the catalytic bypass (again using the tool or a glove). The stove is now ready to burn for many more hours!

Key Differences between Catalytic & Non-Catalytic Stoves

The primary difference between a catalytic wood stove and a non-catalytic wood stove is the need to disengage the catalytic combustor prior to opening the door. The catalytic combustor requires a certain temperature to operate correctly and opening the door while it is engaged has the potential to cause damage to the combustor.

The catalytic combustor is also susceptible to damage from burning objects other than properly seasoned wood. If you burn paper materials with heavy levels of ink, extremely wet wood, trash, or biological material you risk damaging the catalytic combustor. It is very important to only burn properly seasoned wood in your wood stove and nothing else.

Burning Tip: High levels of airflow will result in quick, hot, and visually stunning fires, whereas a low airflow setting will result in darker, stable heat producing, and longer-term burns.

Building a fire in the Regency Cascades Catalytic Stove

Building a fire in the Regency Cascades Catalytic Insert

You May Also Like…