Need help choosing a Fire Chief Model

dchance

New Member
Jan 14, 2020
10
MO
first post. Here is my situation. My home built in 1978 has an indoor Powrmatic Wood furnace add on to a Propane furnace. The firebox has deteriorated and it is time for a replacement. Locally we have clearance sales on Fire Chief wood furnaces. My home is brick and insulated really well but is approx. 3400 square feet. I get differing results when searching for which furnace is sufficient. The FC1500 or the FC1700.

The wood furnace has typically only got the call once temps are consistently freezing or below I would say. I didn't fully trust the other stove as it was pretty inefficient but heated the home well so it did not run continually. I live on 40 acres of oak and hickory woods so free wood is no issue.

So, of these 2, would the FC1500 be enough for my home or do I need to step it up to the FC1700? Thanks all.
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
850
South Central Minnesota
Do a lot of searching on those models, lots of issues on the newer Fire Chiefs. I've done 3400 sqft with a Drolet Tundra but it really needed a bit bigger furnace. SBI max caddy, Drolet Heatpro or Kuuma VF100 are the only ones I would recommend.

Of course you are a bit warmer than I am so who knows- the Tundra may work - all depends upon the heat load your house requires.
 
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woodey

Member
Feb 8, 2018
122
ST. Lawrence Valley N.Y.
As stated above I also would not even consider a HY-C product. I also agree with above post that I would only consider the Caddy, Drolet both manufactured by PSG. or the Kuuma Vapor Fire. I did a lot of research and narrowed it down to the Max Caddy and Kuuma. I went with the Kuuma and couldn't be happier. Do your research and call either company with any questions you have before any purchase.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,597
NE Ohio
It’s simple, look at something else. There is no HY-C product that will ever be in my house again. Piss poor products and a customer service that blames you for everything.
To OP, this ^ ^ ^...do the research, heed the warnings, or prepare for a long bumpy road...maybe worse!
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,311
Wisconsin Dells, WI
ahh, come on guys....this place just isn't the same without HY-C owners coming on here posting videos of barometric dampers being blown across the basement from firebox explosions. Who doesn't like a little humor at someone else's expense. ;lol ;)
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,597
NE Ohio
True...that was entertaining, (for us) but I wouldn't wish that mess on anybody!
Too bad too, Fire Chief used to make good stuff!
 

woodey

Member
Feb 8, 2018
122
ST. Lawrence Valley N.Y.
. Locally we have clearance sales on Fire Chief wood furnaces
The reason for the clearance sale is probably due to the fact that neither the FC 1500 or the 1700 are EPA 2020 certified so they may have to unload them before this May or scrap em.
 
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JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,311
Wisconsin Dells, WI
True...that was entertaining, (for us) but I wouldn't wish that mess on anybody!
Too bad too, Fire Chief used to make good stuff!

I know, that was just my dry sarcastic humor coming out.....which does not come across the same in type.
 

dchance

New Member
Jan 14, 2020
10
MO
The reason for the clearance sale is probably due to the fact that neither the FC 1500 or the 1700 are EPA 2020 certified so they may have to unload them before this May or scrap em.
Yes this is exactly the reason. I have done some research and results do vary. Have seen many satisfied folks and good CS reports. Also some bad ones. It does seem many issues with them are found here on this forum hence the reason I joined and asked here. I also want to express that my use compare to what most seem to have here is minimal. The fire only really gets used 3 months or so and even then not 100% of the time. I have been burning wood for 3 years now with that old anything but airtight Powrmatic. Anything has to be better than what that thing was. With all the warnings here, what are the specifics to the poor reports/quality?

For an add on that is used minimally I don't have interest or means of dropping 4-7K in an indoor unit
 

Medic21

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2017
637
Northern Indiana
Yes this is exactly the reason. I have done some research and results do vary. Have seen many satisfied folks and good CS reports. Also some bad ones. It does seem many issues with them are found here on this forum hence the reason I joined and asked here. I also want to express that my use compare to what most seem to have here is minimal. The fire only really gets used 3 months or so and even then not 100% of the time. I have been burning wood for 3 years now with that old anything but airtight Powrmatic. Anything has to be better than what that thing was. With all the warnings here, what are the specifics to the poor reports/quality?

For an add on that is used minimally I don't have interest or means of dropping 4-7K in an indoor unit
If you want a stove that will fill your house up with smoke, just as easily run away as go out, and never last longer than 5-6 hours on a burn than this is for you. The door frame cracks, the door itself will warp, and if you like to babysit a stove this is for you.

All I’ll say is you have been warned.
 
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Gearhead660

Member
Dec 20, 2018
138
WI
For how little you say you will use it, have you looked at the classifieds for a used unit? I see many units in my area regularly, comparable in design to the fire chief.
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
850
South Central Minnesota
I have a new original Drolet Tundra I'd sell for less than 1k. You'd have to come to Southern MN to get it. I could even demonstrate the add on control set up that makes it fully automatic - (except the wood loading part;-)
 

dchance

New Member
Jan 14, 2020
10
MO
I have a new original Drolet Tundra I'd sell for less than 1k. You'd have to come to Southern MN to get it. I could even demonstrate the add on control set up that makes it fully automatic - (except the wood loading part;-)
It may be a bit far lol. I am originally from SE MN. little town called Elgin.
 

Case1030

Feeling the Heat
Dec 12, 2017
251
Manitoba
It may be a bit far lol. I am originally from SE MN. little town called Elgin.
Good deal, but Ouch 15 hour drive lol. How much are the Drolet Tundras/heatmax selling for at the big box stores? Must be around 2k.

Also I hope you take everyone's advice and stay clear of Fire Chief furnaces! !!!
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
850
South Central Minnesota
Good deal, but Ouch 15 hour drive lol. How much are the Drolet Tundras/heatmax selling for at the big box stores? Must be around 2k.

Also I hope you take everyone's advice and stay clear of Fire Chief furnaces! !!!
I was assuming Missouri, I'm under 400 miles to Kansas City, MO :)
 

dchance

New Member
Jan 14, 2020
10
MO
Everyone is saying Drolet, however the Tundra II says it is for up to 2500sq ft. My house is 3400 sq ft. ????? Also, it doesn't look like they even have any dealers in the state of MO
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
850
South Central Minnesota
Just saw that one....however no dealers here in MO

Locally other options look like models of Ashley, Vogelzang, and Shelter
Shelter is the same manufacturer as Fire Chief. Ashley and Vogelzang are low cost manufacturers with limited users here, I would be very wary.

At the price point you are looking (under 4k) at the Drolet Tundra II or Heat Pro. These are really your only options unless you want to chance the lower cost manufacturers. Right now most manufacturers are prepping new models to meet the new EPA regs for May 2020 so availability is really up in the air right now and existing stock somewhere may be your only option.

My Tundra does ok with 3400 sqft down to about 10F outside temps. Lower than that or lots of south winds (no wind break on south side) I would need to fire up a 2nd stove or let the propane assist. It really depends on your heat load. I have colder temps in MN but my house insulation is probably different than yours - I have 2x6 walls with spray foam on the plus side but lots of 1982 windows and an outside wall brick fireplace on the negative side. If you are looking for heating assistance that can handle 80-90% of the load the Tundra/Tundra II would do that just fine.

The problem with the Shelter/Fire Chief and possibly the other low cost units is the low cost doesn't mean they will work OK but just not have the same life expectancy, users here have experienced serious design flaws that can make them un-usable from day 1.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,597
NE Ohio
Yup, Tundra II, or if you think you have that kind of heat load (or like it hot in the house) go for the larger Heatpro.
You can buy Drolets furnaces from various places online...sometimes you can catch great sales, sometimes even free shipping…when Menards carried them, they were the cheapest, but now if I were going to order one it would be an online order I believe...like here maybe...(their online factory store)
 
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jsab9191

Member
Dec 7, 2015
26
Maine
Englander makes a good manual wood furnace 28-4000 ,very reliable ,easy to operate and will put out a tremendous amount of heat. I have3 fires a day when it’s cold and less when it’s mild. Always coals there when I restart up to 11 or 12 hours. I like simple in a wood burning device, less to go wrong. Good luck in your search.
 
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