Dialing in the Drolet Escape (1500, 1800 and inserts)

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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
6,173
SE North Carolina
The great value of these two stoves means lots have been sold. The intent of this tread is to help owners figure out the best/ most efficient way to run their stoves or inserts.

I think the simple design is great but I am wondering if the easy breathing nature of this design results in an over draft condition for certain installs, thus not running at optimum efficiency.

If you have an escape report
1. How your stove has been running and , if you can,
2. Flue height and
3. Temperatures either stove top, flue gas (and where it’s measured from), and
4. Do you have a damper installed, or any other modifications you wish to share.

I will reply with my data.
 
Evan, thanks for starting this thread. I hope that other owners chime in with their experiences. Collectively, as a group, perhaps we can solve issues that owners encounter.

This is my third season with a 1500 Escape. The main issue that I have had is getting good stove top heat.

Year 1. Not enough stove top heat. Too much heat going up flue. With SBI's help it was determined that I had too much draft. Installed manometer to measure. SBI sent secondary tube inserts (washers that fit into secondary tubes) Pretty much worthless.

Year 2. I installed dampers to reduce draft. I enhanced the dampers to restrict the airflow. I was able to control draft. Still not enough stove top heat. Too much heat going up flue. Primary air that washes the door glass would ignite unburnt gas. I could see flames from the lower section of the door. The lower portion of the door glass would get covered in soot and creosote. It was determined that the stove body and the door frame were not on the same plane. This created a void at the bottom of the door where air would leak into the firebox.

Year 3. I have tried multiple methods to get the door to seal. My seal is a lot better than before. Passes $ bill test. I do get more stove top heat. Where before I had a hard time getting to 375 F STT, now I can quite easily get 550 F. But it still is not enough, and a lot of hot air still goes up the flue. In general my flue temps is 200 F higher than my STT.


My current set up is this:
Stove top to top of chimney is 14.5 feet.
Double wall stove pipe.
Digital K type thermocoupler at 18" above stove top. Probe measures center of stove pipe.
Two inline stove pipe dampers. One is an assembly that is attached on top of my 24" DSP. The other is installed at 16" above the stove top. I hardly ever use the lower one.
Manometer to measure draft. Probe installed at 4' above stove top.
Outside air kit plus the ability to draw inside air. I can draw completely from outside; completely from inside; or some from each (although I never had tried that).
I do have a blower that I recently installed. It is from another stove. I made an adapter plate so it fits the 1500. I am just starting to use it. It does help send heat toward the area in front of the stove.

I live on a hill. Nearly every direction from my house is lower. I have a 700 foot driveway and my house is 100 feet higher than my mailbox by the road. It gets windy up here. That effects my draft. I can see in the fire and on my manometer, and hear it thru the chimney when the wind increases.

I hope that other owners provide their set up and any concerns they have with their stoves.
 
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Do these stoves have an unregulated primary boost air into the front lower firebox?
 
The Escape 1500 is loaded E/W. The Escape 1800 can be loaded either way. That will have a direct effect on the volume of wood loaded and how the fire burns.
 
I have the 1800i insert. It’s installed in an interior chimney with 24’ of insulated liner.

It was clear from the fist fire that it was overdrafting just by looking at it. The intake whistled when when it was closed.

I am measuring flue gas temps right at the appliance adapter. I was unable to keep temps below 900 and it was a raging inferno. I tried blocking the dog house air hole wi screws 1 then to then all 3. Not much change. I then blocked what I believe is the unregulated secondary air intake first a third then half. The effects were noticeable. But the consequences was that the air wash air and primary doghouse air were now out of balance. Flue temps dropped some. It was clear that while I could block the dog house air the the air wash was now too strong.

The solution was a damper. I was able to drill a hole in the appliance adapter and install an unmodified key damper.

The results are better. I can cruise with the damper full closed and keep my temps under 1000 throughout all parts of the burn. If I turn down soon enough. I can cruise at 750 degrees with a small to medium amount of flames. Get it good and hot it can roll 90% secondary flames at 950 degrees. 575 stt blower on. Judging by looks slower rolling secondaries I’m not over drafting. Ie no blow torches. Let it get too hot bed turning down and the gates of hell have boiling motion and not blast furnace appearance.

Is it perfect? I’m not sure. I believe I can now under fire the stove. I can get 5-6 hours of 400+ degree flue temps on a 3/4 load of my dense yellow pine from a cold start. With the damper closed I get considerable smoke rollout when I open the door.

A note about my temps. My probe is I contact with the damper. Depending on how far in or out the probe is positioned temps can vary at much as 100 degrees.

I’m still learning this stove. It’s seen 10 loads so far this year. Brings me up to a total of 30-40 loads in total.

I have a magnahelic I will try to install. No promises my to do list is long.

Things I don’t understand. How do flue temps at the appliance adapter correlate to temps mess 18” high. Is a 750 flue temp at the collar and a 450 stove top (off center, blower medium to medium high) mean I have my draft dialed in? Could I still have an over draft? Is it under drafting? What don’t know how hot I’d have to run the stove (flue temps) to get a stove top temp off center above 600 degrees with the blower on medium.

Things I’ve considered;
modifying the damper to close off the open spaces of the damper. Adding a diy turbulator above the baffle adding some air flow restrictions above the baffle.
 
The Escape 1500 is loaded E/W. The Escape 1800 can be loaded either way. That will have a direct effect on the volume of wood loaded and how the fire burns.
Loaded both ways the burn is front to back but much more pronounced center burn with a NS load. EW seems to be more top down. More uniform front to back.

I have a good bit of pine cut short to NS and it’s much easier to pack tightly pack a load haven’t weighed loads yet to see which way I can pack tighter.

I can say I NS is superior IMO.
 
Do these stoves have an unregulated primary boost air into the front lower firebox?
I have not been able to determine where the air wash comes from. (I think it’s controlled by the primary but don’t really know. I can’t see any unregulated boost air.
 
Do these stoves have an unregulated primary boost air into the front lower firebox?
No sure if you would consider this unregulated. There is an 1/8 inch hole that becomes uncovered when the air control level is 3/4 - 7/8 of the way open. This hole leads to a 'doghouse' in the firebox, front center. There are three apprx. 5/32" holes in the doghouse that face the firebox. I think is would be considered boost air.
Also as the air control lever is closed a 1/2" diameter hole opens up. These goes to the same place as all the primary air....to the air wash that enter above the glass, and is suppose to keep the glass clean.

Dialing in the Drolet Escape (1500, 1800 and inserts) Dialing in the Drolet Escape (1500, 1800 and inserts)
 
The Escape 1500 is loaded E/W. The Escape 1800 can be loaded either way. That will have a direct effect on the volume of wood loaded and how the fire burns.

Yes, agreed, though not as much of an option in the shallower 1500's firebox.
It all depends on how you cut your wood. I cut mine so that I can load N-S. Right now 90% of my loads are N-S. I have plenty of longer 16" splits, so I do use them E-W.

I can't really see calling the 1800 a N-S loader. It is 16.5 inches from the rear firebrick to the inside edge of the front stove body. That would put a 16" split right against the glass. When I load I try to keep my splits inside the 2 - 3 " front lip. I like to keep them within the firebrick area. A 13 , maybe 14" length would fit the 1800.
 
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I have not been able to determine where the air wash comes from. (I think it’s controlled by the primary but don’t really know. I can’t see any unregulated boost air.
Evan, on mine this is where the air wash comes in. All the primary air feeds the air wash. In the post above you can see my primary air fully closed. My control is a lateral east - west movement. Your appears to be a push pull movement.

Dialing in the Drolet Escape (1500, 1800 and inserts) Dialing in the Drolet Escape (1500, 1800 and inserts)
 
Evan, on mine this is where the air wash comes in. All the primary air feeds the air wash. In the post above you can see my primary air fully closed. My control is a lateral east - west movement. Your appears to be a push pull movement.

View attachment 306413 View attachment 306414
The air control appears to be the same. I never noticed the 1/8” hole on mine. I the insert just doesn’t have much room to take pictures.

The knob is push pull but it just connects to the air control plate and make it pivot open or closed. It’s my least favorite aspect of the stove. Nearly impossible to repeat the same setting. And it’s sticky metal on metal friction.
 
I have not been able to determine where the air wash comes from. (I think it’s controlled by the primary but don’t really know. I can’t see any unregulated boost air.
I'm looking forward to this thread growing. I'm hoping to report my own experience. The air wash I think comes down from the top of the glass. In mine anyways there is a small strip where the air comes into the box and washes down over the glass.
 
No sure if you would consider this unregulated. There is an 1/8 inch hole that becomes uncovered when the air control level is 3/4 - 7/8 of the way open. This hole leads to a 'doghouse' in the firebox, front center. There are three apprx. 5/32" holes in the doghouse that face the firebox. I think is would be considered boost air.
Also as the air control lever is closed a 1/2" diameter hole opens up. These goes to the same place as all the primary air....to the air wash that enter above the glass, and is suppose to keep the glass clean.

View attachment 306411 View attachment 306412
Yep those three holes look like a typical boost air setup. My stove has two holes like that, plugged them with a couple screws and it made a big difference.
 
I'm looking forward to this thread growing. I'm hoping to report my own experience. The air wash I think comes down from the top of the glass. In mine anyways there is a small strip where the air comes into the box and washes down over the glass.
The air wash does come down from the top thru the small strip you describe. The air enters from under the stove (see pictures above) then flows left and right to the sides of the stove. Then it flows up to the top where it is dispersed thru the small strip. If you look inside your stove you can see the tubing where the air flows.
 
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Yep those three holes look like a typical boost air setup. My stove has two holes like that, plugged them with a couple screws and it made a big difference.
Todd, Could you please explain the issue you had with your stove and the difference plugging these holes made.
Was this with a Drolet Escape or with the Jotul stoves you have listed in your signature?
 
I’m going to ask a general question how do we know we have draft under control without a draft pressure measurement??

Until I can correlate my temps at the appliance adapter and damper with temps 18” up I’m relying mostly on fire conditions in the box.
 
I’m going to ask a general question how do we know we have draft under control without a draft pressure measurement??

Until I can correlate my temps at the appliance adapter and damper with temps 18” up I’m relying mostly on fire conditions in the box.
Good question. I am not sure if you can. Reading the flames is an art and a science.
Do you see flames quickly 'rounding the bend' of the front of the baffle and going up the flue?
Are your flames more like 'flags fluttering in the air' or like 'liquid being poured upward'?

With your tight set up, I imagine it would be hard to fit a manometer or magnehelic connection so that it is not in conflict with the damper.
 
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Cold start final damper setting full closed. Air control 20% open. 800F flue temps at the adapter. Pull the probe out 3” and it’s 680F.
 

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Todd, Could you please explain the issue you had with your stove and the difference plugging these holes made.
Was this with a Drolet Escape or with the Jotul stoves you have listed in your signature?
This is with my F45 but I’m pretty sure if not all surely most non cats have this extra boost air and I feel it’s just another unregulated primary air to help pass the EPA test. With my stove that boost air acted like a blow torch and made the load burn faster in the middle of the load. Flue temps were higher and burn times shorter. I have more control now with a nice front to back burn with easy 12+ hour burns. Internal Flue temps range from 400-600 and stove rarely gets away from me.
 
Cold start final damper setting full closed. Air control 20% open. 800F flue temps at the adapter. Pull the probe out 3” and it’s 680F.
Could you post the picture of your flue exiting the stove. I have seen it before but can't seem to find it.
 
Could you post the picture of your flue exiting the stove. I have seen it before but can't seem to find it.
The hole the the thermal probe is in was already in the adapter. I added the hole for the damper.
 

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I believe that I have an air leak by the glass in the stove door.
Consider this:
STT = 570 F
Draft is .04 "
Flue = 750 F
Primary air is fully closed.
Stays like this for 1/2 hour. then.....

the flue temp starts to slowly creep up. and up and up. The air flowing over the glass starts to ignite. At first just a bit. Soon there are flowing flames at the front of the stove They reach about 1/2 down the glass. Secondary flames from the tubes are robust and completely throughout the firebox. See first pic and video.

After the wood has burned up, the glass looks like the second picture.

I have diligently worked to seal the door and it passes the $ bill test. I do not recommend anybody does this, but, I sprayed a little compressed air at the glass gasket and have had flames ignite inside the fire box. Thus I am going to replace it, or maybe seal with RTV.
I do have a new OEM glass seal on order.

I just wonder how small of a leak would cause this?

Dialing in the Drolet Escape (1500, 1800 and inserts) Dialing in the Drolet Escape (1500, 1800 and inserts)
 

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