Catalytic Combustor Wood Stoves
However, when the gases pass through a catalytic combustor, the palladium metal
acts as a catalyst and causes the gases to burn at temperatures as low as 500°F. The
benefit of secondary combustion at lower temperatures means you can burn 10-15%
less wood to achieve the same heat output as a stove without secondary combustion.
Catalytic wood stoves are also known as EPA certified wood stoves and comply with
the particulate emission limit of 4.1 grams per hour initiated by the EPA in 1988.
In addition to reduced pollution, the secondary burn of a catalytic combustor reduces
particulate emissions (smoke) by as much as 90%. This also means 90% less
flammable creosote buildup and fewer chimney cleanings.
If you want to retrofit an existing non-catalytic wood-burning appliance with a
catalytic combustor, you can buy a catalytic damper. These are available as kits and
are usually installed in the flue collar.
Several manufacturers sell retrofit kits, and they may be available from wood stove
retailers. Catalytic retrofits are not appropriate for all types of stoves.
Catalytic wood stoves are clean
burning and rated 20-30% more
fuel efficient than a conventional
The catalytic combustor is a
honeycomb shaped, palladium
coated device that ignites the
gases emitted from burning
wood before they escape up the
The burning of these gases is
also known as secondary
combustion and accounts for the
increase in fuel efficiency.
The purpose of catalytic combustion is to maintain the
heating efficiency of a wood stove when the firebox
temperature drops below 1,000°F.
At 1,000° or more, the gases from burning wood in any
type of stove are re-ignited naturally. But as the fire
dies down, less and less of the gases are burned and a
portion of the wood's heat value is lost.