Fire Chief (HY-C) honors warranty, drops.... jury is still out

Mrpelletburner Posted By Mrpelletburner, Feb 28, 2019 at 11:35 PM

  1. Mrpelletburner

    Mrpelletburner
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    See updates at end of first post.

    As much negativity or bad reviews we have seen of late of these new EPA rated Fire Chief or Shelter (HY-C) wood furnaces, I wanted to take a moment and recognize HY-C and their willingness to stand by their product.

    Last year, I did not have luck with the FC1000. So after call after call and a ton of emails, HY-C flew 2 individuals out to my house to review my setup. After reviewing the setup, it was recommended that I have a return air duct installed and they were willing to pay the bill. Let's just reflect... I bought their entry line unit and not only did HY-C fly 2 reps out to my house, but they were also willing to pick up the tab for ductwork to be installed? What company does that? One that has invested a ton of $$$ into the market and is willing to do everything they can to keep the reputation they have established over the years.

    Fast forward... After a lot of back and forth, it was determined that my house did not have that extra space or a proper location to install a return duct that was not going to cost 2x as much as the unit that I had purchased. So after some back and forth, the rep I was dealing with, offered a deal that I could not pass up to upgrade me to the FC1500. I believe this option was offered as HY-C had visited my location and had a lot of data and wanted to see how the FC1500 would perform.

    Fast forward... HY-C claims 12hr burn times, with outside temps under 35F, I have yet to achieve 8+ hours burning 2 and 3-year-old oak (I believe others have been able to hit 10hrs). Once again, HY-C offered to schedule another visit (once again, standing by their product). Well plane ticket purchased, hotel booked.... and then I discovered the unit had a crack. I emailed my contact on Superbowl Sunday and 20 mins later received a response. Without debate, HY-C stated they were standing by their product and sending out a replacement unit. A replacement unit was shipped out via 2-day delivery and the shipping company just dropped the ball. So HY-C shipped out another unit, with a different carrier and the replacement unit arrived today. With the replacement unit, the first thing I noticed was the suggestions I had previously provided regarding shipping packaging was addressed.

    Now HY-C does still have the option on the table to visit and help with the setup to ensure the maximum burn times and I still have a ton of questions.

    Other items they address/assisted with..
    - Replacement door for the FC1500 as the door installed did not align correctly
    - Shipped out an additional secondary air control air box
    - Prototyped and shipped out a couple of different sized of the smoke shield (BTW the one that works best, is the one shipped with the unit).

    By now, I am sure HY-C has paid out at least two times the cost of my initial investment.

    Just wanted to take the time and say thank you to the folks at HY-C for standing by their product.

    BTW... I am sure, if you call them, the first 10 suggestions from customer service will be a canned response. It is the nature of the business when you don't know the setup, location, and fuel. Just like anyone responding to a thread on this forum, the first X responses will be canned responses.

    ****update March 12th 2019****
    HY-C is no longer responding to emails.

    I had expressed concerns regarding hooking up the replacement unit. After all, just replacing the unit, does not address the original issue. It’s like driving a car with no brakes and smashing up the car. Replacing the damages body panels doesn’t solve the original issue.

    Update 3/12/19 - I have asked repeatedly what is the correct max draft or temperatures the unit should not exceed. HY-C either cannot or will not answer this question.

    Update 3/14/19 - Emailed again today without a response. Question is simple... at what internal temperatures will one damage the firebox. Not looking to repeat history.

    Update 3/15/19 - Emailed again today and included and additional person. They responded stating everyone was at a trade show. Later that night I received an email that someone would connect with me on Monday 3/18/19 and nothing.

    Update 3/16/19 - Still no email back.
     
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  2. Case1030

    Case1030
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    That's great and all... except you are sounding alot more like a beta tester for hy-c than a guy who simply got a defective furnace. Sounds like they are trying to improve their furnaces just enough to stay afloat (with help of unhappy customers).

    Hopefully the epa follows through with these new emissions. It will be interesting to see who is still in business.
     
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  3. Mrpelletburner

    Mrpelletburner
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    Yes, I do feel as if the design is still in a “beta” stage and at times I do feel as I am “beta testing” the unit, but that could just be me also.

    My top questions for HY-C, which are STILL not answered are...

    1) What is the recommended draft setting? Why are we told that this design DOES NOT require a BD?

    2) Why is the stove pipe temperature, 18” from the rear of the stove, so darn HIGH?

    3) Why, no matter how I load the firebox or set the thermostat or set the draft, why can I only achieve 7 to maybe 8hrs max burn time with REAL heat output? Yes, 8 hours later, you will have hot ashes to help quickly restart, but nothing that will keep the house warm.
     
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  4. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu
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    Its not just you.
    So do you feel well compensated for all the time and headaches you have experienced since buying the original HY-C wood incinerator/bomb launcher? Not to mention the safety issues you have experienced...and all the smoke you have breathed!
    To me the only thing they have done, that they would not have to do, was to "upgrade" you from a 1000 to a 1500. And also come out to your house.
    To me, repeatedly replacing burnt up 3-6 month old parts/assemblies is barely adequate customer service on a poorly designed unit like these are...if it was me riding this "HY-C martyr train", at this point I would be expecting them to replace their burnt up crap, and occasionally throw in various types of freebie HY-C products...just to make the whole bitter pill easier to swallow...maybe even an occasional gift card to "XYZ" store or restaurant chain.
    99% of the population would have jumped off this nightmare ride long ago...they should really thank their lucky stars for the proponent they have found in you!

    You should probably forget about ever installing a Kuuma furnace...I think they are too boring/vanilla for your scene ;)
    The most exciting thing I have had happen to me (related to wood heat) this winter was when I almost dropped a split on my bare foot while loading! :eek: ;lol
     
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  5. Mrpelletburner

    Mrpelletburner
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    @brenndatomu - At this time, I do not see myself continuing operating any HY-C model next season as simply switching out the unit will only repeat history.

    The FC1500 (and assuming the FC1700) does output a ton of heat and can go from a cold start to heat output within 30 to 40 minutes. However, in my case, you have to reload the firebox every 7 hours!!! Which is no where close to the marketed up to “12 hours”. I strongly suspect this is because of the draft blower, which in theory burns more wood as it is a forced draft rather then a natural draft, which the Tundra setup has.

    At 7 hours, I have consistently found that the distribution blower is no longer cycling enough to keep the house warm. With that said, I wouldn’t consider my house old (built in 77), or not well insulated as I have had the house measured for leaks when I first purchased. I am under the impression that the FC1500 is the correct size for my ~2,000 sq/ft.

    I have tried everything to achieve between 8 to 10 hours of “real” heat output and the result is either worse case 5 hours or a max 7 hours. HY-C has not been able to provide a reason for the short burn times. They have admitted to being stumped and perhaps the reason behind wanted to visit to witness my setup.

    In the end, until HY-C can provide a solution to achieve a longer burn time (real heat output), I cannot justify the time switching out a furnace with the same unit, only to potentially having the same result. Further, after close inspection of the firebox after 90 days of use, besides the crack, the stainless steal heat shields on the left, right and rear are completely bent and warped, I honestly don’t see how this firebox could survive more than 1 season. The lower front primary air tube is deformed and has the appearance that it is rusting away.

    At the moment I am leaning to trying the Tundra II, if anything I would be on the short list to compare the 2 units in the same setup.
     
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  6. KC Matt

    KC Matt
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    Think about the outrage when the Tundra came out and had it's problems and then refer to this choice. In comparison the Tundra is an engineering masterpiece.

    The FC is a death trap and should be discontinued and all existing units recalled and disposed of via a certificate of destruction.
     
  7. lampmfg

    lampmfg
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    People don't understand all of the testing and real-world usage that has gone into our Kuuma Vapor-Fire. When my dad was telling me this years ago when the Tundra first came out, I didn't really comprehend it well at first either. I'm not a fan of the public beta testing, which is what I've been seeing a lot the past couple of years.
     
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  8. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu
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    No matter how much time you put on in the lab...sooner or later you have to start installing them in peoples homes and let them run them, and I'm sure that opens up a whole new can of worms that are almost impossible to foresee sometimes...not sticking up for HY-C in any way though...they obviously didn't put anywhere near enough lab time in! (as in, not even ready for beta testing)
     
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  9. Medic21

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    I had a truck oncebthat I bought new and it had more time in the shop for warranty repairs in 6 months than I had it in the road.

    I don’t have that truck anymore....or that make of a vehicle....

    Just saying....
     
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  10. JRHAWK9

    JRHAWK9
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    I had a Ford once too. ;lol ==c ;)
     
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  11. Medic21

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    That doesn’t even cover the F150 that ate transmissions.
     
  12. KC Matt

    KC Matt
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    I know that all manufacturers lay an egg here and there, but my brother just dumped a newer Ford Exploder after having unimaginable problems with it. After it was gone he said 'The two best days in a Ford owners life is the day you sell it and every day after that' I thought it was funny. Then again I've never owned a vehicle that required a new transfer case with every oil change.
     
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  13. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu
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    You guys wanna start a Ford bashing thread, take it over to the Ash can...this is the thank God for Hy-c's warranty thread! ;) ;lol
     
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  14. Medic21

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    I don’t know which one is easier to bash. Ford or HY-C...
     
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  15. Case1030

    Case1030
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    When it comes to a gasser (truck) Id have to lean to a newer dodge or older chev truck.

    Now when it comes to a diesel pickup in my mind their is no choice. I can sum it up in a few words. In-Line-6... don't see v8s in semi or tractors. Not about band or name... it's about proven theory. On the other hand, if I found an amazing deal on a ford I'd have to think twice... lol don't get me wrong I would only keep it a short time before something breaks. :)>>
     
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  16. salecker

    salecker
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    That isn't entirely true
    I have Mack with a V8 was rated at 500HP at the rear wheels,haven't driven a truck that would out pull that one yet.
    Had a Frieghtliner Cabover with a Cat 3408 another V8,and a White that had a 8V71 Detroit a V8.
    And i have a MCI bus converted to a RV with a 8V71 Detroit same V8 configuration.
    All proven motors with millions of miles of history.
     
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  17. Medic21

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    Challenge accepted. My Kenworth has a 600+hp C16 Cat in it. I’ll gladly hook a little V8 for pink slips lol.
     
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  18. Case1030

    Case1030
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    I've heard of a few older trucks using v8s but that was short lived... inline 6s took over for quite a few reasons. Reliability, less moving parts, fuel economy. Dad used to do ice road trucking he's owned a few trucks equipped with v8s but cost per mile was to high.

    On the farm we use a kenworth with a cat c15 from factory rated at 550hp that thing can pull, Claas Lexion 575 Cat C12, Case Steiger 9370 with an N14 cummins, old tandem grain truck with c13 On top of that the same motor 5.9 that is found in my pickup is used in 3 of our smaller tractors.

    End of the day what ever can get the job done without making you broke.

    Last post regarding this topic. o_O
     
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  19. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu
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    There are lots of trucks and tractors out there with V8 gas and diesel engines.
    Oliver/White used the 3208 Cat (among others) and I think IH and Massey did too...MF also had Perkins V8s. Pretty sure MiniMo and Case had a V8 model or two.
    JD used a big V8 in their articulating 4wd tractors in the early/mid 80s...probably other models out there too.
    Ford had a few V8s...heck, I think they all have at one time or another.
    I know there were various makes/models that used V6 and V8 Detroit diesels too.

    I'm not versed well enough on heavy trucks to know what all makes/models used V8s, but I do know there where quite a few...dad had (has?) a Ford Louisville with a Ford 534 gas/Allison automatic in it...actually had 2 at one time...only ones I (and most people) ever seen. Heck, even Wikipedia doesn't list that 534 as an option, but these were both factory built that way.

    In the end though... @Case1030 is right...the I6 is a better design for a diesel...even a gas engine, I can't think of one I6 gas engine in any car/truck that was junk (gutless maybe...)

    Following Case1030's lead...my last post on this topic here...::P
     
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  20. Mrpelletburner

    Mrpelletburner
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    Back to the main topic...

    So far 3 owners (members of this forum) have had the firebox/unit crack and HY-C has replaced 2 units. Perhaps a 3rd soon. Based on the S/N of the unit I just received, it appears that HY-C has only sold/shipped ~100 units of the FC1500. Also, it appears they have updated their materials and process. They have also update their package, offering better protection during the shipping process.
     
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  21. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu
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    100 of the FC brand...the Shelter labeled ones are probably numbered separately...and since those are sold at Menards, I bet there are more of those out there than the ones labeled as FC...hopefully everybody is leaving negative reviews on these things wherever they bought them (or wherever they can)
    Here would be a good start... https://www.hearth.com/talk/ratings.php
     
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  22. Medic21

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    I’m sure they have sold “hundreds” of the units without problems if you ask them.
     
  23. salecker

    salecker
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    Sure come on up,make sure you import the truck so it can stay here:cool:
     
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  24. salecker

    salecker
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    That is one of the nice things about the old Mack V8's is they were easy on fuel,compared to a 475 Cummins,or even a 400 Cummins.
     
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  25. Medic21

    Medic21
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    Lol Do you realize that a stock C16 cat has 800-1000 ft lbs more torque and about a hundred more horses than is capable out of the biggest V8 Detroit made?

    I’ve reprogramed mine to max out what the injectors are capable of combined with all emissions being deleted. I can pull away from empty trucks when I weigh 90,000+
     
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