Drolet Tundra converted to pool heater?

Bwfried1

Member
Feb 15, 2015
6
Nj
Hey guys,
I currently have a drolet tundra , the original version. I haven't used the wood furnace in a few years for a couple reasons. Not to happy with the performance of it. Pool season is coming up and I was wondering if I could convert it into a pool heater for my inground pool @ 35,000 gallons. Has any one tried to make a heat exchanger out of 1.5" copper and fit it inside of the furnace? Just checking around before I sell it.

Thanks for the help!
Brian
 

Gearhead660

Member
Dec 20, 2018
236
WI
Haven't heard of anyone successfully turning one into a hydronic heater. If you do try, i would suggest using stainless pipe inside, not copper.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,816
NE Ohio
Sell it...no way will you turn it into a good pool heater.
That said, what was the problem with it?
Did you ever read through the big Tundra thread here? Link in my signature line.
My T1 went from dud to stud after some aftermarket controls we're added...all info in the above mentioned thread.
 

ABMax24

Feeling the Heat
Working in a pressure piping shop I've always thought it would be cool to build a wood fired pool heater. The problem I see is wood stoves heat air, so if some escapes through the sides by radiation no big deal, even your furnace will do this, so if some radiates off the sides into the room instead of going out the ducting its no big deal. With a pool heater this is now just waste heat. Second I think it's hard to build a coil to efficiently capture all the heat without becoming a creosote trap. The next issue is the heating values, what info I can find rates a Tundra at 50,000 BTU/hr at max output, even if you can capture all of this heat and manage to run the stove at max output constantly you will only increase the temperature of your pool 1 degree F every 7 hours, or 70hrs of burn time at max output for a 10 degree F temp rise.

It's incredible how much energy it takes to heat water, especially a volume as large as a pool. The local gas company loves people with pools, when I upgraded my meter to 500,000 BTU per hour to support my furnace, tankless water heater, fireplace, garage heater, range, gas dryer, and BBQ they said they had just finished an upgrade on a guy's house to support 2,000,000 BTU/hr for his pool heaters, they figured his gas bill would be $240 per day when running his heaters to bring a fresh change of water up to temp.

I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, just beware that it won't be a miracle heater. I would like to see what you come up with if you do proceed. Also keep in mind steam makes a bomb really easily, don't allow the water to become blocked in the boiler tubes by valves or any other device, and please put a pressure relief valve on it.

But as others have said you might be better off to sell it and then use that against a ready made wood heater.
 

Bwfried1

Member
Feb 15, 2015
6
Nj
thanks for the replies guys. so my main concern was not being able to fit enough tubing inside to heat up the water. The house had a couple things working against me for the tundra to work well. i have 150' + feet of duct work in my house and it was not centralized well. The furnace could not get the house past 66, which was ok but then we had a kid lol.
I was looking at the furnace last night when I had this idea and realized it has all cracks on the face of it now so I have to start the warranty process.
Thanks for the ideas and help but i think this is a dead project at this point.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,816
NE Ohio
thanks for the replies guys. so my main concern was not being able to fit enough tubing inside to heat up the water. The house had a couple things working against me for the tundra to work well. i have 150' + feet of duct work in my house and it was not centralized well. The furnace could not get the house past 66, which was ok but then we had a kid lol.
I was looking at the furnace last night when I had this idea and realized it has all cracks on the face of it now so I have to start the warranty process.
Thanks for the ideas and help but i think this is a dead project at this point.
FYI, when going through the warranty process, other people in the past have been able to get Drolet to allow credit from the Tundra to go toward a new Heatpro...might want to check to see if they will give you the option of going with the existing Heatpro model, or since we are getting so close to May 15th, maybe you could upgrade to a "Heatpro II"...which doesn't officially exist, but the rumors are out there...I'm sure they have something ready to roll out, otherwise they are out of business in the USA soon! But then that puts you in the position of (potentially) owning a "first year" new model again...and we all see now how well that worked out on the Tundra 1!