Drolet Heat Commander

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Suppwood

New Member
Feb 13, 2021
7
CT
How many relights are you guys doing? Usually when I started the Tundra the fire didn't go out until spring. Just curious on the average burn times the new Heat Commander are getting.
Typical New England weather has prevented good testing. Reached 52(f) today. It’s flipping February. I’ll get back to you next cold snap for a real test. If I take last nights stats about 30(f) outside loaded at 11 it was still pushing warm air at 8-8:30 this morning. Load was about six 18” maple logs one was a 4 inch round.
 

trx250r87

Burning Hunk
Nov 30, 2012
162
NE Wisconsin
Typical New England weather has prevented good testing. Reached 52(f) today. It’s flipping February. I’ll get back to you next cold snap for a real test. If I take last nights stats about 30(f) outside loaded at 11 it was still pushing warm air at 8-8:30 this morning. Load was about six 18” maple logs one was a 4 inch round.
52 Fahrenheit?!!! 19 degrees here in NE Wisconsin, felt like summer.
 
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JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,674
Wisconsin Dells, WI
52 Fahrenheit?!!! 19 degrees here in NE Wisconsin, felt like summer.
Got up to 16° by us. You are right, it felt damn near warm! So much so that I forgot to throw some wood in the wood furnace earlier today. LOL Ended up re-loading with minimal coals. First time that has happened in probably two weeks. Back down to below zero tonight.
 
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JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,674
Wisconsin Dells, WI
-15° when I got up. Although I kinda let my guard down thinking it was only going to get down to -8° like they forecasted....and with a forecasted high today of almost 20° I gave the Kuuma a break and turned it -way- down yesterday already. I was surprised when I woke this morning and saw it was as cold as it was (it was actually -18° down by the creek, about 150 yards from the house). House was still 68° though, surprisingly.

1613570202099.png


-2 here this morning. I'm ready for winter to be over with.
I love this $hit. ==c Winter is actually my favorite season, followed by fall. Summer is my least favorite. Much rather have this than 80'-90's and high humidity. At least in the cold I can dress to be warm. I can't get rid of enough clothes to be comfortable in the heat/humidity. ;lol
 

Gbawol42

Burning Hunk
Dec 16, 2018
127
Northern Michigan
Quick 1 hour time lapse video of reloading 12 3"-4" diameter red oak splits at 20% moisture content, log cabin style in Heat Commander. Loading on some hot coals at 6:20pm, 3*F outdoors. Upstairs thermostat says 71*F, HC thermostat started at 65*F and at 7:16pm satisfied at 69*F.

-6:15pm push reload button, reloaded 12 splits red oak
-6:32pm HC auto adjusts damper partially closed
-6:35pm HC auto adjusts damper open
-6:37pm HC auto adjusts damper partially closed
-6:46pm draft is established, I adjust key/manual damper to .06" wc on Dwyer Mark II
-7:16 HC thermostat satisfied at 69*F, HC enters energy save mode, auto damper closes, green light flashes, blower fan cycles @60 seconds on/60 seconds off


Eric

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I need to try this log cabin style of loading. I usually just toss in 6-7, 4-5" logs just front to back load. Wonder if it would burn differently?
 

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
834
Central Ohio
When I reload to increase the temperature of the house or in the morning when I have minimal coals, I use the log cabin method. When I load at night with colder temperatures and for a longer burn, I pack the pieces in with less air space between, and load all N/S. I also tend to use larger pieces over night and generally burn red oak.

I do not weigh any of my loads but I usually fill the firebox height wise. I don't know that the HC is much more efficient at burning, but more efficient at getting more heat into the house.

Eric
I've been playing with how I load my furnace this year. I generally cut my wood at around 16 - 18" so most of the time it won't fit log cabin style. When I have some short pieces I will load it log cabin style and it seems to burn a little better. I think I'm going to intentionally cut some pieces short this winter when I'm processing wood so I can take advantage of that more.

From the feedback you and others have been providing it sounds like the HC does a much better job in the coaling stage than the un-modded Tundra's or Caddy's do. My wood generally starts to coal after 5 or 6 hours and the heat output goes downhill along with it. :(
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,278
NE Ohio
I generally cut my wood at around 16 - 18"
Why so short? You are effectively reducing the size of the firebox by doing so...unless you are cutting short enough to load E/W
I personally wouldn't cut less than 20" for a Caddy (other than some shorter if you want to be able to do the log cabin style loading in warmer weather) all my wood was 22" when I had the Tundra, and that fit fine...could even squeak 24" pieces in at an angle on smaller loads.
More wood lbs. in a load, the more heat you get out...and for longer.
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,674
Wisconsin Dells, WI
^^^^ I agree. I cut all my wood 20-22".....for the reasons Brenn pointed out above.

Another advantage of longer splits is they have a less of a chance of tipping over when stacked. ;lol
 

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
834
Central Ohio
My totes are only 42 inches wide. If I cut my wood at 18" I can stack it on the left and right hand sides of the tote and then run a stack perpendicular to those stacks up the middle. I'm also not use to playing with big wood. ;lol

Now I know why you guys are getting these magical 12 hour burn times. :p
 
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JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,674
Wisconsin Dells, WI
My totes are only 42 inches wide. If I cut my wood at 18" I can stack it on the left and right hand sides of the tote and then run a stack perpendicular to those stacks up the middle. I'm also not use to playing with big wood. ;lol

Now I know why you guys are getting these magical 12 hour burn times. :p

Well, it's a good thing your totes are not 30" wide, you'd be cutting your wood 10" long and wondering why you are only getting 4 hours of burn time! ;lol :p

You probably should be cutting your wood to the lengths to which it will actually heat the house the best. ;)
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,278
NE Ohio

trx250r87

Burning Hunk
Nov 30, 2012
162
NE Wisconsin
I need to try this log cabin style of loading. I usually just toss in 6-7, 4-5" logs just front to back load. Wonder if it would burn differently?
I have found there are pro's and con's to the log cabin style of loading.Loading this way makes a faster and hotter fire that tends to burn clean. I didn't plan on purchasing the Heat Commander so most of my wood is cut around 18"-22" to fit my old Tundra. I'm going to start cutting some, maybe 20% closer to 16" long. I can then use these smaller pieces for log cabin style and/or loading E/W. I can also use these pieces to make kindling or just smaller pieces to get a fire started since I purchased a Kindling Cracker King, which is the XL version.

Eric
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,278
NE Ohio
Currently I just eyeball the length I'm cutting my wood. What tool do you recommend using so I can get everything at a very specific length ?
I have tried about everything, except a Mingo Marker...have made some measuring tools...half the time I end up using a mark I made on my chainsaw bar (or just the 20" bar itself)
 
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Smackcat

New Member
Feb 5, 2021
7
Minnesota
Quick 1 hour time lapse video of reloading 12 3"-4" diameter red oak splits at 20% moisture content, log cabin style in Heat Commander. Loading on some hot coals at 6:20pm, 3*F outdoors. Upstairs thermostat says 71*F, HC thermostat started at 65*F and at 7:16pm satisfied at 69*F.

-6:15pm push reload button, reloaded 12 splits red oak
-6:32pm HC auto adjusts damper partially closed
-6:35pm HC auto adjusts damper open
-6:37pm HC auto adjusts damper partially closed
-6:46pm draft is established, I adjust key/manual damper to .06" wc on Dwyer Mark II
-7:16 HC thermostat satisfied at 69*F, HC enters energy save mode, auto damper closes, green light flashes, blower fan cycles @60 seconds on/60 seconds off


Eric

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Wondering if you can help me a bit.
watching your video is amazing. I now understand the “top down” burning method. It seems to engage itself when the secondary burn really kicks in. I’ve only seen this happen once on my unit so far and it didn’t last too long... I’m wondering if I possibly have too much chimney draft!? I haven’t bought a tool to measure it yet, but that’s the only thing I can think of. Magnetic thermometer on the exchanger door usually reads in between 250-325 depending on what stage the burning is in.
I see your Dwyer Mark 2. Does that go to your chimney connector pipe and then do you regulate your “key” in the connector pipe to meet your .06” reading!? Does that key just turn a plate inside the connector pipe to slow down / speed up chimney draft!?
I’m just curious for any information on how to obtain the wood saving secondary burn more... because I seem to be burning more wood than it should as well as the amount of smoke coming out of my chimney is more than I understand it should be.
thanks!
 

trx250r87

Burning Hunk
Nov 30, 2012
162
NE Wisconsin
Wondering if you can help me a bit.
watching your video is amazing. I now understand the “top down” burning method. It seems to engage itself when the secondary burn really kicks in. I’ve only seen this happen once on my unit so far and it didn’t last too long... I’m wondering if I possibly have too much chimney draft!? I haven’t bought a tool to measure it yet, but that’s the only thing I can think of. Magnetic thermometer on the exchanger door usually reads in between 250-325 depending on what stage the burning is in.
I see your Dwyer Mark 2. Does that go to your chimney connector pipe and then do you regulate your “key” in the connector pipe to meet your .06” reading!? Does that key just turn a plate inside the connector pipe to slow down / speed up chimney draft!?
I’m just curious for any information on how to obtain the wood saving secondary burn more... because I seem to be burning more wood than it should as well as the amount of smoke coming out of my chimney is more than I understand it should be.
thanks!
Yes, too much draft will send more heat up the flue and decrease burn times. You should also pay attention to the auto dampers at the back of the furnace. Once your fire starts to take off and get up to temperature the left side damper (when facing the rear) should be closed, this supplies air to the grate at the bottom of the firebox. The right side damper should eventually close to around 25% open, this is the primary air. It will close down further when your thermostat is satisfied which puts the HC into "energy saving" mode. At the rear, located in the center is an opening for secondary air, this opening is fixed and does not change.

I get better secondary flames when wood is stacked close to the top of the firebox. A log cabin style method of stacking creates awesome secondaries, especially with smaller diameter pieces pf wood less than 20% moisture content.

As you can see by my magnetic thermostat on the clean out door and I also verify with a digital IR thermometer, my temps usually max out around 325*F and I don't think I have ever seen anything over 350*F there. The Dwyer manometer connects to the flue pipe closet to the furnace, before any manual or barometric damper. After the firebox heats up I then manually adjust the key damper (basically an adjustable metal plate within the flue) to slow the draft down to -.06" WC.

To address your last statement make sure:
-firewood is dry (15-20% moisture content, Drolet even gives us a meter to test this!)
-draft is correct (-.04" to -.06" of water column)
If both these are correct and the rest of your install meets the requirements in the Heat Commander manual you should be all set!

Take a video and upload it to youtube then post a link to it here. I'm sure we can help!

Eric
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,278
NE Ohio
before any manual or barometric damper. After the firebox heats up I then manually adjust the key damper (basically an adjustable metal plate within the flue) to slow the draft down to -.06" WC.
Is a key (manual) damper allowed on these? Some wood furnace manuals specifically say no manual dampers. If you adjust the damper to -.06" when the furnace has the dampers closed down to minimum, your draft will drop when the dampers open up fully.
Also, any specific reason for running your draft at the upper end...to try and stay in the -.04 to -.06" range when the dampers open maybe?
 

Smackcat

New Member
Feb 5, 2021
7
Minnesota
Yes, too much draft will send more heat up the flue and decrease burn times. You should also pay attention to the auto dampers at the back of the furnace. Once your fire starts to take off and get up to temperature the left side damper (when facing the rear) should be closed, this supplies air to the grate at the bottom of the firebox. The right side damper should eventually close to around 25% open, this is the primary air. At the rear, located in the center is an opening for secondary air, this opening is fixed and does not change.

I get better secondary flames when wood is stacked close to the top of the firebox. A log cabin style method of stacking creates awesome secondaries, especially with smaller diameter pieces pf wood less than 20% moisture content.

As you can see by my magnetic thermostat on the clean out door and I also verify with a digital IR thermometer, my temps usually max out around 325*F and I don't think I have ever seen anything over 350*F there. The Dwyer manometer connects to the flue pipe closet to the furnace, before any manual or barometric damper. After the firebox heats up I then manually adjust the key damper (basically an adjustable metal plate within the flue) to slow the draft down to -.06" WC.

To address your last statement make sure:
-firewood is dry (15-20% moisture content, Drolet even gives us a meter to test this!)
-draft is correct (-.04" to -.06" of water column)
If both these are correct and the rest of your install meets the requirements in the Heat Commander manual you should be all set!

Take a video and upload it to youtube then post a link to it here. I'm sure we can help!

Eric
Awesome Eric, thank you for your help with all this.
I just ordered a Dwyer Mark 2 and will be interested to see what my readings are at.
I will measure the sections of stove pipe and create an accurate diagram to show lengths, bends and connection points to hopefully give you an idea of what I’m working with. In short, I have more horizontal piping to work with than vertical. I’m assuming the manual damper can also be used in a horizontal pipe... it would help regulate the air in the same way I’d imagine!?
And here I had it incorrect, I assumed the Dwyer would take the reading AFTER the damper, not before it (closest to the stove).
So if I understand correctly, it would go like this...wood furnace>Dwyer meter>manual damper>chimney to outside...?
Again, I look forward to uploading a diagram to help give an idea of what I have to work with. Thank you for taking the time to help me on this.
Feel free to shoot me a text if you are comfortable doing so. If not, that’a OK too. :) I’ll PM you!
 
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