Catalytic Converters to Reduce Fireplace Emissions
Catalytic converters do for wood burning fireplace inserts exactly what they do on your automobile: they reduce emissions. To do this, a noble metal ( such as platinum, paladeium, or a combination) is coated over a ceramic or stainless steel honeycomb surface. All emissions from the fireplace go through the honeycomb and, due to these metals, most undesirable by-products are eliminated. This results in very clean emissions from the fireplace, consisting mainly of water vapor and carbon dioxide. The catalytic converter becomes fowled after a time, typically every 2-5 years, depending on how much the fireplace is used. The downside is cost as a new converter needs to be inserted, which is generally a $150-250 investment. The upside is that the emissions are very clean so your flue will stay clean for years; soot and creosote will not be a problem. However, given the improvements in secondary combustion designs, you may want to consider this alternative due to its maintenance-free nature.
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