New Furnace Day: Drolet Heat Commander

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sleewok

New Member
Jan 27, 2021
58
USA
Figured I would post a little update today. I'm burning much dryer wood this season and I'm getting great burn times. In fact, I loaded up this morning at 8AM. It got quite warm outside today (60s) so I didn't need to do another load. I just went to light it up at 10:30PM. I was shocked to find lumps of coal still burning. Enough to start a fire. 👍
 
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NSGUY

New Member
Nov 30, 2021
62
Canada
So an update on my furnace, As I said earlier I spoke with SBI about what happened with the first run, It was looking like it could have been one of the thermocouples or possibly the board but not likely. long story short after speaking with SBI I traced out both thermocouples to make sure the top and bottom was in the correct port on the board, In the process I found what seemed to be a loose connection on one of the ports on the board, after making it tight I tried the furnace with a small fire and it seemed to be fine, I made 2 more since and the furnace has run prefect to the best of my knowledge. so i believe that was the problem. and I am very impressed with the HC
 

sleewok

New Member
Jan 27, 2021
58
USA
Good to know. Hopefully it is as simple as that! It could be worth checking the wires annually to make sure everything is tight. I'll be checking mine in a bit as I have had some odd behavior with my HC at times.
 

NSGUY

New Member
Nov 30, 2021
62
Canada
Question for you guys, in the front of your furnace down low on the bottom of the ash removal door, when the blower is running and you put your hand there, can you easily feel a fairly large amount of air there. I certainly do on mine and I think its feeding the fire, both drafts are closed on back of the furnace, but she is still getting air somewhere. its burning really hot its no slow burn, its supposed to be -14 c by morning so I put 5 pieces of wood in all about 3" dia. so not a lot, but I don't trust it at all, looks like i'll be up watching it most of the night. really starting not to like this furnace.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,517
NE Ohio
IIRC someone posted about this issue before...I just don't recall if it was this thread, or another...
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
2,077
Iowa
How is the ash drawer secured/sealed? Ash removal plug or system askew/misaligned?
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,517
NE Ohio
How is the ash drawer secured/sealed? Ash removal plug or system askew/misaligned?
It has a grate, no ash plug...the ash drawer is in its own separate compartment, and it has a gasket on the front to seal it from room air.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
2,077
Iowa
It has a grate, no ash plug...the ash drawer is in its own separate compartment, and it has a gasket on the front to seal it from room air.
Gotcha. So the trouble shooting recommendations recommend verifying that the ash pan seals correctly. Good idea no? _g
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,517
NE Ohio
Gotcha. So the trouble shooting recommendations recommend verifying that the ash pan seals correctly. Good idea no? _g
No doubt
 

NSGUY

New Member
Nov 30, 2021
62
Canada
How is the ash drawer secured/sealed? Ash removal plug or system askew/misaligned?
No everything there seems to be good and the door itself seems to be sealing well , Not the removable ash tray but the whole ash tray insert, if you look at that and the face plate on the front of the furnace there is a little gap between the too the whole way around. well underneath the ash door, kinda in behind the bottom edge of the ash door, there is a lot of air being forced out there, you can hold your hand at least 6" away from the bottom of that door and feel the air blowing. Infact the whole bottom front edge of the furnace, where the face plate meets the bottom there is a litte gap that runs the whole way across the front right on that bottom edge, you can also feel air coming out of that the whole way across. Question is, Is that normal with everyone else's furnace when the blower is running.
 

NSGUY

New Member
Nov 30, 2021
62
Canada
So here is a little more to last night, I made a fire specifically at about midnight because thats when the temp really started to drop and I wanted the house warm for morning.

Started it with some kindling and added 5 or 6 pieces of wood on top of that, the fire box would have been a 3rd or a hair more full. once it was lit good, I had the door closed and it was burning good, before I left the basement I remember hearing the drafts close ( i assume ) and the blower was already running. I noticed right from the start when I got the furnace, when make a fire it doesn't take long for the blower to kick in. when I started the fire the house was 68 thermostat set at 74

By 1am I could smell the furnace, that hot smell. So I went down to look, and the fire was burning pretty hard . Honestly not sure if the drafts were open or closed, just took some temps on and in the furnace and came back upstairs. just did some reading to see if I could find out what the temps should be and stuff and went back down at about 1:20. At this point I noticed the house was already up to temp , or close to it, I did check both drafts on the back of the furnace with a flashlight at that point and they were closed.

I know by 130 the house was at temp and a I had a flashing green light however there was no change in how hard the fire was burning. when I posted at 1.43 Like I say I had a flashing green light and the blower was cycling, a long cycle on for a longer period and off for a short period. the last time I went down was at 2.30 by this time there was noticeably a fair bit of wood burnt, I took the poker and kind of arranged the wood and coals so it was over/covering the grate. At this point the fire was starting slow down a bit. and at this point I said frig it and went to bed, but I did notice the house was 76

By 6am when the wife got up it wasn't running or ran at all since then and the house was down to 71.

Now you guys with more experience with the furnace then me will no, Does this seem to be normal operation.

To me this seems like a hot front end loaded burn , personally I'd like to see a more even heat over a longer period of time.
 

NSGUY

New Member
Nov 30, 2021
62
Canada
Here is what I noticed this morning, shorty after 9 I went down , checked both drafts they were completely open, and there were just a couple coals in the fire box.

So I pushed the green button as to make a fire, re checked the drafts. if facing the back of the furnace the draft on the right stayed completely opened but the one on left was open just a small crack, it was pretty much closed.

So put some kindling in and 4 smaller pieces of wood, 2 soft 2 hardwood , once it was going good I waited to hear the drafts move. once they did I checked , the right side one went 3/4 shut and the left one closed. fast forward to about 11am , had a nice little bed of coals, right side draft was completely opened left side closed. pushed green button as i was going to load a couple more pieces of wood , right side draft cycled closed then fully open left side only opened a hair again. should the left side draft be opening when I push the button ? otherwise they seem to be working
 

NSGUY

New Member
Nov 30, 2021
62
Canada
I don't recall if you mentioned what your draft was set at or how tall your glue is...

Eric
I'm in the process of trying to get a proper gauge for in my stove pipe to make sure its in that .04 to .06 range, when i cleaned my chimney here a month ago I measured it, its 7in dia. a total of 20 feet high
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,517
NE Ohio
I've heard of the dampers sticking open a bit before...but when that happens I think the computer has a fit and does not allow normal function after that, until things are reset.
 
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NSGUY

New Member
Nov 30, 2021
62
Canada
I've heard of the dampers sticking open a bit before...but when that happens I think the computer has a fit and does not allow normal function after that, until things are reset.
In the Manual it says when relaoding
it is necessary to press the reload button. When
you press the button, it will flash rapidly three times. Automatically the combustion air supply
will be increased to its maximum

so if its opening to maxium both drafts on the back should be opening full, Mine is not, right side opens , left side only a hair. So there might be a problem with the left side and maybe it wasn't 100% closed last night. I don't know lol but I think I got one that was built on a friday.
 

SBI_Nick

Member
Oct 15, 2020
26
Quebec city, Canada
In the Manual it says when relaoding
it is necessary to press the reload button. When
you press the button, it will flash rapidly three times. Automatically the combustion air supply
will be increased to its maximum

so if its opening to maxium both drafts on the back should be opening full, Mine is not, right side opens , left side only a hair. So there might be a problem with the left side and maybe it wasn't 100% closed last night. I don't know lol but I think I got one that was built on a friday.
Hi,

First, you should press the button anytime you start or reload the furnace. Also, it is normal that when you press the button the right damper open fully and the left one partially (looking from the back).

As some mention, first thing to check is your chimney draft. It should be adjust when you have a good fire going and under maximum burning operation. Then you could check for air leak into the combustion chamber, for example if the door and ash drawer door are tight. You could also verify if the dampers are tight with the back plate.

Finally, it is normal to have some air leaks from the furnace jacket around the front.

Thanks,

Nick
 
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sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
1,072
Central Ohio
I'm in the process of trying to get a proper gauge for in my stove pipe to make sure its in that .04 to .06 range, when i cleaned my chimney here a month ago I measured it, its 7in dia. a total of 20 feet high
My pipe is 6” x 20 or 24 feet and I’d regularly see my baro wide open and my draft higher than .06 on a windy day. A 7” pipe is going to draft significantly more than a 6” pipe too.

You have to measure the draft when you have a fire going. The measurement needs to be taken between the furnace and the baro.

IMHO - you are over drafting the furnace and the computer can’t compensate for it. If you don’t have a baro on your stove pipe I’d get one on there ASAP and then report your findings back.
 

NSGUY

New Member
Nov 30, 2021
62
Canada
Hi,

First, you should press the button anytime you start or reload the furnace. Also, it is normal that when you press the button the right damper open fully and the left one partially (looking from the back).

As some mention, first thing to check is your chimney draft. It should be adjust when you have a good fire going and under maximum burning operation. Then you could check for air leak into the combustion chamber, for example if the door and ash drawer door are tight. You could also verify if the dampers are tight with the back plate.

Finally, it is normal to have some air leaks from the furnace jacket around the front.

Thanks,

Nick
Hi Nick, Thanks for your reply

The furnace seems to have issues with being wide open or nothing , not a a lot of middle ground, when it runs , it runs hot with heavy flame and it doesn't seem to start to die down until the wood gets burnt up, last night was the worse case of this , it doesn't act like its pulling the fire up the chimney if you know what i mean, and on the other end when its down to its last little bit where you still have a couple small wood chunks it will smoulder, I can smell it in the basement. but more so over the last week I noticed the light flashing improperly at different times.

Today I unplugged it , when I plugged it back in it started doing the very same thing as when I first got it and plugged it , I have a fast flashing green light, the left dampener opens up 1/4 the right side full after about 2 minutes they both close after about the same time they open to the same places, and keeps cycling that way . its unplugged right now to see if it will reset itself to normal
Thanks
 
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NSGUY

New Member
Nov 30, 2021
62
Canada
My pipe is 6” x 20 or 24 feet and I’d regularly see my baro wide open and my draft higher than .06 on a windy day. A 7” pipe is going to draft significantly more than a 6” pipe too.

You have to measure the draft when you have a fire going. The measurement needs to be taken between the furnace and the baro.

IMHO - you are over drafting the furnace and the computer can’t compensate for it. If you don’t have a baro on your stove pipe I’d get one on there ASAP and then report your findings back.
Yes you could be right, I can't say for sure yet until I get a meter hooked up, I will say though its doesn't act like its over drafting., and last night there was no wind . Its got a little glitch in its giddy up somewheres lol, but I'l get it figured out
 
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sleewok

New Member
Jan 27, 2021
58
USA
Question for you guys, in the front of your furnace down low on the bottom of the ash removal door, when the blower is running and you put your hand there, can you easily feel a fairly large amount of air there. I certainly do on mine and I think its feeding the fire, both drafts are closed on back of the furnace, but she is still getting air somewhere. its burning really hot its no slow burn, its supposed to be -14 c by morning so I put 5 pieces of wood in all about 3" dia. so not a lot, but I don't trust it at all, looks like i'll be up watching it most of the night. really starting not to like this furnace.
I feel like I have a similar situation. When idling my lower will kick in every minute. My draft has been calibrated to 0.6. I just dropped it to 0.45 for tonight. My question is, when the heat is called for, should there be a change in the dampers? Afaik once the fire is going full my dampers never change until I hit coals and the plenum has cooled. Is that the way it should operate?
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,517
NE Ohio
For you guys that have been using your HC's for a while now, have you ever cleaned your thermocouples?
The maintenance schedule says to do it after every cord or so...between the upper and lower TC's and the RTD probe in the plenum, that's the only info the computer has to make decisions about what to do and when.
The manual says they (TC's) just need a light cleaning with a brush...upper one accessed by sliding the baffle boards forward...flyash is a pretty good insulator...I can easily see how being dirty could throw things off.
1669380554526.png
 
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So here is a little more to last night, I made a fire specifically at about midnight because thats when the temp really started to drop and I wanted the house warm for morning.

Started it with some kindling and added 5 or 6 pieces of wood on top of that, the fire box would have been a 3rd or a hair more full. once it was lit good, I had the door closed and it was burning good, before I left the basement I remember hearing the drafts close ( i assume ) and the blower was already running. I noticed right from the start when I got the furnace, when make a fire it doesn't take long for the blower to kick in. when I started the fire the house was 68 thermostat set at 74

By 1am I could smell the furnace, that hot smell. So I went down to look, and the fire was burning pretty hard . Honestly not sure if the drafts were open or closed, just took some temps on and in the furnace and came back upstairs. just did some reading to see if I could find out what the temps should be and stuff and went back down at about 1:20. At this point I noticed the house was already up to temp , or close to it, I did check both drafts on the back of the furnace with a flashlight at that point and they were closed.

I know by 130 the house was at temp and a I had a flashing green light however there was no change in how hard the fire was burning. when I posted at 1.43 Like I say I had a flashing green light and the blower was cycling, a long cycle on for a longer period and off for a short period. the last time I went down was at 2.30 by this time there was noticeably a fair bit of wood burnt, I took the poker and kind of arranged the wood and coals so it was over/covering the grate. At this point the fire was starting slow down a bit. and at this point I said frig it and went to bed, but I did notice the house was 76

By 6am when the wife got up it wasn't running or ran at all since then and the house was down to 71.

Now you guys with more experience with the furnace then me will no, Does this seem to be normal operation.

To me this seems like a hot front end loaded burn , personally I'd like to see a more even heat over a longer period of time.
Until you said I would have never noticed as my unit I have sitting directly on the floor, but yes when the blower is on there is a considerable amount of air being pushed under the unit. The one thing I’ve noticed is the unit doesn’t really care for smaller loads like that even though it’s hard not to because it’s mild so far I find it full tilt all the time as you say as well. However this year I hooked up a baro and got a manometer and dialed the draft to 0.5 and I can tell you it made a big difference from last year I get noticeably
longer burn times and when the stat is satisfied now the flame almost looks like it dies out but it’s still going. 0.4-0.5 is the sweet spot. I think once you get that set up and running you’ll notice a difference.

A0C9E352-A9D7-46C5-A629-9879704CD2F7.jpeg
 
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NSGUY

New Member
Nov 30, 2021
62
Canada
Thank you Rockstar, I do believe that the draft could be some of my issue or maybe all , hopefully by the first of the week i'll have a manometer hooked up. and from what I'm told that air that is coming out there is not an issue. I first thought it maybe getting into the fire box but I don't think it is at all. thanks for the info though appreciate it
 
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Thank you Rockstar, I do believe that the draft could be some of my issue or maybe all , hopefully by the first of the week i'll have a manometer hooked up. and from what I'm told that air that is coming out there is not an issue. I first thought it maybe getting into the fire box but I don't think it is at all. thanks for the info though appreciate it
For sure friend keep us all updated. I think you’re functioning alright but for some reason 1/3 full these stoves just don’t like it as much. I’ve yet to try a full load this season because it’s been so mild. I mean next week Thursday it’s gunna be 12 and rain..
 
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