Drolet Heat Commander

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

trx250r87

Burning Hunk
Nov 30, 2012
162
NE Wisconsin
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?
The manual for the HC does specifically say not to use a manual damper and it does allow for a barometric damper, however, I have used my manual/key damper for the past 8 years without an issue. I really don't like the idea of a barometric damper for many reasons.

My draft does change when the HC auto dampers adjust. I do manually adjust to -.06 once firebox heats up and I check draft from time to time as I'm drinking a beer enjoying the fire. The HC is pretty forgiving, unlike the Tundra. If my draft isn't set perfect the HC can usually compensate and never have I seen anything close to an over fire. I am yet to see the HC go into "thermo protection" mode either, which would be indicated by a rapid flashing green reload light.

Eric
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,278
NE Ohio
If my draft isn't set perfect the HC can usually compensate and never have I seen anything close to an over fire.
The issue is not so much too much draft (causing an overfire) as it is low draft...and potential for fumes in the house....
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,674
Wisconsin Dells, WI
I have used my manual/key damper for the past 8 years without an issue. I really don't like the idea of a barometric damper for many reasons.
Just think of a BD as an infinitely self adjusting key damper in which you don't have to sit around to babysit. :)

I'd think the pros of a BD would outweight the cons...vs using a key damper.
 
  • Like
Reactions: andym

trx250r87

Burning Hunk
Nov 30, 2012
162
NE Wisconsin
Just think of a BD as an infinitely self adjusting key damper in which you don't have to sit around to babysit. :)

I'd think the pros of a BD would outweight the cons...vs using a key damper.
I see them as another piece that can fail, stick open or closed, introduces cool air into the flue and contributes to negative pressure in a tight house because it's always sucking air.

I have used a baro in my last house where I also burned a wood furnace . That house was older and not as air tight. I already have issues with negative pressure so I didn't want to add something that contributes to that. Since then I got used to a key damper and installed an ERV to help with negative pressure and fresh air.

I also have the ability in an emergency to reduce air to my flue and I don't have a gaping hole with a plate flapping in the breeze. No squeeks, no metal on metal bouncing and keeping me up all night because the furnace is just below my bedroom . No back-puffs can escape from my key damper like they could from a baro, no stink either. It's not for everyone but it works for my setup.

Eric
 
  • Like
Reactions: sloeffle

laynes69

Minister of Fire
Oct 2, 2006
2,596
Ashland OH
I couldn't complain this morning, -6f and the house was 69 after 8 hours. I reloaded at 4:30 am with locust rounds and when I got home at 2:00 pm the house was 73 and the low 20's outside. The breaker is off on the LP furnace so it's all or nothing!
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,674
Wisconsin Dells, WI
I see them as another piece that can fail, stick open or closed, introduces cool air into the flue and contributes to negative pressure in a tight house because it's always sucking air.

I have used a baro in my last house where I also burned a wood furnace . That house was older and not as air tight. I already have issues with negative pressure so I didn't want to add something that contributes to that. Since then I got used to a key damper and installed an ERV to help with negative pressure and fresh air.

I also have the ability in an emergency to reduce air to my flue and I don't have a gaping hole with a plate flapping in the breeze. No squeeks, no metal on metal bouncing and keeping me up all night because the furnace is just below my bedroom . No back-puffs can escape from my key damper like they could from a baro, no stink either. It's not for everyone but it works for my setup.

Eric
I don't have any negative pressure issues in this house! ;lol I just didn't like sending heated air up the chimney, so that's why I installed a OAK on my BD. It seemed to have made a difference in how the house heats.
 
  • Like
Reactions: trx250r87

FixedGearFlyer

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2010
207
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
IMO, that seems a bit high when on cruise.....?
I haven't been concerned about it, since it's delivering more heat, more evenly, and longer than either of our previous wood furnaces.

I trust that magnetic gauge about as much as someone from Microsoft calling to help me get rid of viruses on my computer.

I'm not interested enough to put my own gas temp probe in the flue, but SBI's data pack has one that I installed. I can ask them for the actual flue gas temps.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sloeffle

Suppwood

New Member
Feb 13, 2021
7
CT
Just wanted to throw an update in. Short story.....I like it. Much easier to use, no more fear of runaways in the middle of the night, push the button light it and you’re done. Consistent burn times of around 7 hours and plenty of hot coals after 10 hours to just load it and walk away. Hottest exterior temps measure on pipe and stove face have been 400(f). Only recommendation is be prepared with duct work for heat delivery it’s got heat to give and if it got no where to go where it sits will be hot
 

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
834
Central Ohio
Just wanted to throw an update in. Short story.....I like it. Much easier to use, no more fear of runaways in the middle of the night, push the button light it and you’re done. Consistent burn times of around 7 hours and plenty of hot coals after 10 hours to just load it and walk away. Hottest exterior temps measure on pipe and stove face have been 400(f). Only recommendation is be prepared with duct work for heat delivery it’s got heat to give and if it got no where to go where it sits will be hot
Can you expound on what you mean by runaways ?
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
1,001
South Central Minnesota
Can you expound on what you mean by runaways ?
A combination of conditions like a full load of wood, a thermostat holding the inlet damper open for very long periods (house too much sqft for furnace), no barometric damper and a good windy / cold night would cause my Tundra to get into overfire range. On some very windy and cold nights, even with the inlet damper closed the flue temps would get a bit too high and I had to partially cover some of the air inlets. In my case a proper barometric damper would solve it.