New Furnace Day: Drolet Heat Commander

FixedGearFlyer

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2010
143
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
It's new furnace day! Our Drolet Heat Commander was just dropped in the driveway by our freight service amd will be slipped into the basement to replace our Tundra I this afternoon.

I have no objective feedback, yet, other than saying that it looks very well built and many of the weak points of the Tundra are clearly addressed with more radiused corners, additional welds, additional firebrick, etc.

Also, a big kudos to Drolet for including both a thermostat and a moisture meter!

The install will happen over the weekend and I'll look forward to reporting the first proper burn.
 

Attachments

trx250r87

Member
Nov 30, 2012
80
NE Wisconsin
It's new furnace day! Our Drolet Heat Commander was just dropped in the driveway by our freight service amd will be slipped into the basement to replace our Tundra I this afternoon.

I have no objective feedback, yet, other than saying that it looks very well built and many of the weak points of the Tundra are clearly addressed with more radiused corners, additional welds, additional firebrick, etc.

Also, a big kudos to Drolet for including both a thermostat and a moisture meter!

The install will happen over the weekend and I'll look forward to reporting the first proper burn.
I received mine on Monday. It appears to be heavier than my Tundra!

Eric
 

Attachments

FixedGearFlyer

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2010
143
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Soooo heavy!

And, the two lifting eyes on the Tundra look a lot more stout than the one on the Heat Commander. I'll be picking it up by the lifting point with a front end loader in about an hour, so it will get a workout...
 

trx250r87

Member
Nov 30, 2012
80
NE Wisconsin
Soooo heavy!

And, the two lifting eyes on the Tundra look a lot more stout than the one on the Heat Commander. I'll be picking it up by the lifting point with a front end loader in about an hour, so it will get a workout...
Do you plan on having a couple fires before installing in the house to burn off the oils and paint?

Eric
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gearhead660

FixedGearFlyer

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2010
143
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Do you plan on having a couple fires before installing in the house to burn off the oils and paint?

Eric
I should, but, no. I'll just open the windows and Bilco door in the basement and smoke it off inside before I connect the ductwork.

Because it has the plenum thermocouple to control the blower and the fire box thermocouples control the primary and secondary air without any manual adjustment, I don't want to light it off until the plenum is on and it has proper draft.

Probably being paranoid, but I don't want to put another 600+ pound furnace in my basement again for at least a decade...
 

FixedGearFlyer

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2010
143
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
The two little welds on the lifting hook held and she's safe and sound in the basement. It's going to take some work to shift from the dual 8-inch supply trunks to the plenum with 6-inch ducts, so I'm afraid the next update will take a while - hopefully sometime this weekend.
 
  • Like
Reactions: trx250r87

trx250r87

Member
Nov 30, 2012
80
NE Wisconsin
The two little welds on the lifting hook held and she's safe and sound in the basement. It's going to take some work to shift from the dual 8-inch supply trunks to the plenum with 6-inch ducts, so I'm afraid the next update will take a while - hopefully sometime this weekend.
Breaking mine in tonight in the driveway. Slow speed fan so far, nice and quiet!

Eric
 

Attachments

Last edited:

FixedGearFlyer

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2010
143
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Breaking mine in tonight in the driveway. Slow speed fan so far, nice and quiet!

Eric
Beautiful!

I think we have an equally perfect night over here in Marquette. Stars are out, dead calm, mid-September temps.

We just took a sauna (wood fired, 200*F or don't even bother 'cause we're Yoopers...) and I think we'll strike up a bonfire.
 
  • Like
Reactions: trx250r87

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio
So are you guys both beta testing for SBI, or straight up out of pocket purchase?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Highbeam

trx250r87

Member
Nov 30, 2012
80
NE Wisconsin
So are you guys both beta testing for SBI, or straight up out of pocket purchase?
I paid for mine at a discounted price, in exchange for my feedback.

I'm pretty excited for this thing but install is going to be tricky. Like @FixedGearFlyer , I have dual 8" into my gas furnace main trunk that I'll need to modify for at least six 6" ducts with anti-backdraft dampers.

I'm trying to figure out how to adapt my current dual 8" to the new Heat Commander.

Eric
 

Attachments

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio
I'm trying to figure out how to adapt my current dual 8" to the new Heat Commander
Might be easiest to hook the plenum straight into the supply duct like a normal furnace, skip the 6" pipes? If they will allow that...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Case1030

laynes69

Minister of Fire
Oct 2, 2006
2,515
Ashland OH
I'll be curious to see how they work out!
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio
I received mine on Monday. It appears to be heavier than my Tundra!

Eric
The first thing that jumps out at me in that pic from the rear is that the controls box looks to be right where creosote will drip on it from the chimney connector...seems like every Tundra I have ever seen has a black stain on the top of the blower box from that...first fire of the year (at least) always seems to drip a bit...hopefully things are sealed up well enough that any creo juice drip doesn't cause problems. If not, looks like a good place for a metal splash shield?
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio
How do I become part of the cool kids club ? ;)
Pay the $2599 membership fee... ;) ;lol
 

trx250r87

Member
Nov 30, 2012
80
NE Wisconsin
The first thing that jumps out at me in that pic from the rear is that the controls box looks to be right where creosote will drip on it from the chimney connector...seems like every Tundra I have ever seen has a black stain on the top of the blower box from that...first fire of the year (at least) always seems to drip a bit...hopefully things are sealed up well enough that any creo juice drip doesn't cause problems. If not, looks like a good place for a metal splash shield?
My T1 had the creo-juice drip only the first couple times that I used it, however, since then it has never been a problem. I sealed my pipe joints up pretty well using rope gasket. After firing up the Heat Commander last night using kiln dried pallet softwood, it caused a large 3"-4" diameter puddle as well. I put a large paper towel over the puddle to minimize the mess.

A couple other items I noticed:
-no fire blanket inside
-fire bricks all seem a little loose and will likely move and shift
-the door does not open as far as it does on my Tundra
-fan on low is very quiet

Eric
 

FixedGearFlyer

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2010
143
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
My T1 had the creo-juice drip only the first couple times that I used it, however, since then it has never been a problem. I sealed my pipe joints up pretty well using rope gasket. After firing up the Heat Commander last night using kiln dried pallet softwood, it caused a large 3"-4" diameter puddle as well. I put a large paper towel over the puddle to minimize the mess.

A couple other items I noticed:
-no fire blanket inside
-fire bricks all seem a little loose and will likely move and shift
-the door does not open as far as it does on my Tundra
-fan on low is very quiet

Eric
I put a small metal tray under the pipe joint on our Tundra to catch any creosote and will do the same on the Heat Commander. Looking at the tray right now, it has a dozen drops of creosote and a lot of dust from the past 6 years. :)

I noticed the same with the fire brick and also noted that some are very soft pumice-style bricks, while a few are the harder clay-style bricks. Not sure what the rhyme and reason is for the different types.

Also agree with the door. The Tundra hinges allowed the door to swing 180*, but the Heat Commander hinges only let it open a bit past 90* before the door touches the face of the furnace.

Overall, the build looks solid and the welds look great. Of course, I'm a hack welder, so anything thats smooth and unspattered looks dandy to me. :-D

I was skeptical of the single lifting point thats held with two, small welds, but it handled the journey into the basement while hanging from a chain just fine.
 

Gbawol42

Member
Dec 16, 2018
102
Northern Michigan
Following as I was really close to joining you guys with trying out this furnace. Just can't justify it enough yet as I have my heatmax 2 dialed in right where I want it.
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,501
Wisconsin Dells, WI
noted that some are very soft pumice-style bricks, while a few are the harder clay-style bricks. Not sure what the rhyme and reason is for the different types.
I have seen the varying quality of bricks for sale at stores as well. I will no longer buy my bricks from Menards...they carry those lightweight cheap junk ones. One of them is cracked already with just one season on them. The local hardware store carries the much more robust/heavier ones that pretty much look/feel like the ones that came with my Kuuma....BUT they are also way more expensive. They hold up much better though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FixedGearFlyer

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
706
Central Ohio
Pay the $2599 membership fee... ;) ;lol
I'm more interested in the discounted price personally, especially for a new to the market product. :)

Honestly though, I'd have to do a ton of duct work re-work to make it work. Do you have to keep the plenum on it that they supply ?
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio
I put a large paper towel over the puddle to minimize the mess.
So it misses the new controls box and still drips onto the blower box then?
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio
I'm more interested in the discounted price personally, especially for a new to the market product. :)

Honestly though, I'd have to do a ton of duct work re-work to make it work. Do you have to keep the plenum on it that they supply ?
That's a good question...I don't see why you would have too...I'm sure they will still use a standard plenum on the Caddy version when it comes out...which will still be just a different flavor of the same furnace I'd guess...(wood only model Caddy vs Heat Commander)
 
  • Like
Reactions: sloeffle