New Furnace Day: Drolet Heat Commander

RockyMtnGriz

Member
Apr 19, 2019
87
SW Montana
Could be, you shouldn't believe everything you read in the marketing materials. Also, could be, that was recorded at the optimum static pressure in your output ducting. If that's low, the power required to run the blower motor will go up. Nothing wrong with that, really, as you'll be circulating more air, but it will affect the power draw from the blower motor. Kind of like the difference of running the blower on medium vs. high.
Why I didn't see Brenndatomu's more concise reply on this thread, before I offered mine -I do not know. But we're thinking the same thing.
 

FixedGearFlyer

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2010
143
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Okay, it's in and doing what it does! :)

Still need to do a few odds and ends to wrap up the new supply and return trunks and ducts, but it's 100% servicable.

I'll offer updates as I have them, but, so far, it's impressive and does a beautiful job of delivering efficient, even, long burns. It's been going all day (30*F outside and we have to open the windows all afternoon) on two small loads. It's just down to small coals now after a total of just under 12 hours burning. The first load was a dozen wrist-size splits and the second load was half that.

The plenum and larger blower are a huge upgrade from our Tundra and being able to build proper supply and return trunks (vs having two 8" takeoffs) already makes a big improvement in how even the heat is through our house.

Bring it on, Old Man Winter. My skis are waxed, we have 5 full cords of seasoned maple in the basement, and the blower is on the old Ford tractor!
 

Attachments

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio
It's been going all day (30*F outside and we have to open the windows all afternoon) on two small loads.
So is that a result of the thermostat control not working out real well, or just loading too much wood/too soon?
 

laynes69

Minister of Fire
Oct 2, 2006
2,515
Ashland OH
With my experience here, a thermostat doesn't shine until the weather drops low. However, our house was 74 with essentially no heat after around noon, until about a half an hour ago where I put a few punky pieces of wood. My buddy on the other hand has less than half the square footage than us, lives about 1.5 miles down the road and has 3 baseboards heaters and a gas basement heater running and can't take his house above 60. He would cycle the thermostat, we don't.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FixedGearFlyer

FixedGearFlyer

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2010
143
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
So is that a result of the thermostat control not working out real well, or just loading too much wood/too soon?
Oh! Nothing wrong with the furnace or t-stat. It was a testing and adjustment day. The comment was meant as a positive impression of how long two small loads burned and put out meaningful, well captured heat.

I was pushing t-stat and plenum temps to check heat distribution and balance around the house with the new ducts, check plenum and duct temps, check static pressures at different fan speeds, find and seal any remaining duct air leaks, etc.

I did find that when the t-stat was satisfied, the fan never cycled because the hot air would rise up the trunk to the second floor while the first floor trunk would reverse flow cold air into the plenum and keep the thermocouple from kicking on the fan due to low temps.

I had a damper handy, which went into the second floor supply trunk and was sufficient to stop the air movement when the fan is off. Now, the fan and plenum temps cycle as expected when the t-stat is not calling for heat.

If we'd been burning for comfort, the small morning fire would have been sufficient for the entire day's heat load.
 

brenndatomu

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

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio
Going to have the ductwork all redone on the house!
I had to have some major changes done on the ductwork back when I installed my old Yukon furnace...called for a couple estimates and was blown in the weeds...fortunately my neighbor is the tin knocker for the local HVAC shop...he fixed me right up...and wouldn't take a dime, we did work out a barter deal though. I helped him as much as possible and learned a lot.
Fast forward to the exit of the Yukon, and install of the Kuuma, had to rework some of the ductwork again, but the neighbor said his employer had them all sign a non compete order a couple years ago, so couldn't help this time...but I had learned enough about it the first time around that I was able to do it myself this time!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Matt78 and andym

Matt78

Burning Hunk
Jan 28, 2015
106
New Washington , Ohio
I had to have some major changes done on the ductwork back when I installed my old Yukon furnace...called for a couple estimates and was blown in the weeds...fortunately my neighbor is the tin knocker for the local HVAC shop...he fixed me right up...and wouldn't take a dime, we did work out a barter deal though. I helped him as much as possible and learned a lot.
Fast forward to the exit of the Yukon, and install of the Kuuma, had to rework some of the ductwork again, but the neighbor said his employer had them all sign a non compete order a couple years ago, so couldn't help this time...but I had learned enough about it the first time around that I was able to do it myself this time!
That would be awesome knowing someone!
 

Rockstar1346

New Member
I had to have some major changes done on the ductwork back when I installed my old Yukon furnace...called for a couple estimates and was blown in the weeds...fortunately my neighbor is the tin knocker for the local HVAC shop...he fixed me right up...and wouldn't take a dime, we did work out a barter deal though. I helped him as much as possible and learned a lot.
Fast forward to the exit of the Yukon, and install of the Kuuma, had to rework some of the ductwork again, but the neighbor said his employer had them all sign a non compete order a couple years ago, so couldn't help this time...but I had learned enough about it the first time around that I was able to do it myself this time!
Haha did you tell him non compete orders are for leaving the company and starting your own also stealing workers in the process not just helping a buddy out? Anyways that’s awesome to have learned the first time around! Keep updates coming on this thread I’m following for sure!
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio
Haha did you tell him non compete orders are for leaving the company and starting your own also stealing workers in the process not just helping a buddy out? Anyways that’s awesome to have learned the first time around! Keep updates coming on this thread I’m following for sure!
Maybe he called it something else...basically a standard non compete, plus not supposed do side work, and are only allowed to use shop equipment after hours for working on/replace/repair their own personal household systems.
 
  • Angry
Reactions: andym

Case1030

Feeling the Heat
Dec 12, 2017
304
Manitoba
Who here replaced their T1 with the new Heat Commander? Curious about burn times. Are they getting similar coals after X amount of hours for relight/reloads?

Edit:
@trx250r87 did you have a temp controller installed on your t1?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: brenndatomu

FixedGearFlyer

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2010
143
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Who here replaced their T1 with the new Heat Commander? Curious about burn times. Are they getting similar coals after X amount of hours for relight/reloads?

Edit:
@trx250r87 did you have a temp controller installed on your t1?
We did, but I can't comment on your question, yet - it really hasn't been cold enough to do more than single loads.

On those single loads of equal size, I feel like the heat commander is burning longer and more evenly than our T1 did.
 

Case1030

Feeling the Heat
Dec 12, 2017
304
Manitoba
We did, but I can't comment on your question, yet - it really hasn't been cold enough to do more than single loads.

On those single loads of equal size, I feel like the heat commander is burning longer and more evenly than our T1 did.
Probably a little cooler in your basement now with the extra front cover and cover insulation. (Better delivery efficiency)?
 

Case1030

Feeling the Heat
Dec 12, 2017
304
Manitoba
Also here are some questions that were answered by one of the Drolet reps that I have been in contact with regarding the Heat Commander that others might find usefull.

  1. Is the Heat Commander plenum the same size as the Tundra II for retrofit purposes?
  • Plenum size are the same on both furnace (W 22 3/8’’ x D 26 7/8’’).
  1. The Heat Commander firebox is a little larger than the Tundra II.
  2. Do we know the plenum temps kick-in and kick-off points for the fan?
  • We have two KIP, one at 130°F when the furnace is “ON” and thermostat is calling for heat and the second KIP is at 190° when the furnace is “OFF on Stand-by” set room temperature has been reached.
  1. Do we require q barometric damper on the install under certain circumstances?
  • Most installation will not require a barometric damper.
  1. Fan speed will adjust to maintain even plenum/room temperature.
 
  • Like
Reactions: brenndatomu

trx250r87

Member
Nov 30, 2012
80
NE Wisconsin
Who here replaced their T1 with the new Heat Commander? Curious about burn times. Are they getting similar coals after X amount of hours for relight/reloads?

Edit:
@trx250r87 did you have a temp controller installed on your t1?
No sir, I only used a countdown timer on mine. I also had all the updates from SBI installed.

Eric
 

trx250r87

Member
Nov 30, 2012
80
NE Wisconsin
Does that mean a connected thermostat is required?
I installed the supplied Honeywell t-stat in the same room as my Heat Commander. I found that the t-stat cycled too often, causing the fan to cycle as well. I since have removed the t-stat and just jumpered the connection at the back"T" terminals. So far I like this setup better.

Eric
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: andym

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio
I installed the supplied Honeywell t-stat in the same room as my Heat Commander. I found that the t-stat cycled too often, causing the fan to fan to cycle as well. I since have removed the t-stat and just jumpered the connection at the back"T" terminals. So far I like this setup better.

Eric
Depending on which stat that is, they can be adjusted to stop frequent cycling.
Doesn't the jumper wire make it think the tstat is calling for heat non stop...run hot/burn fast/overheat the house in mild weather?
 

trx250r87

Member
Nov 30, 2012
80
NE Wisconsin
Depending on which stat that is, they can be adjusted to stop frequent cycling.
Doesn't the jumper wire make it think the tstat is calling for heat non stop...run hot/burn fast/overheat the house in mild weather?
Yes, but I have been loading the furnace with wood based on weather and heat demand.

Eric
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio
Yes, but I have been loading the furnace with wood based on weather and heat demand.

Eric
That would be the equivalent to running a Kuuma on high...and I have been running on low/short loading just to keep temp under 73-74 inside!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Case1030

andym

Member
Feb 6, 2020
233
Hicksville, Ohio
What does the furnace do when you reload and press the button? Does it burn wide open for a period to 'fire' the load as the manuals recommend for the older models? I always feel like that process is unduly long and is the main culprit of the heat surge from a new load. If the Heat Commander can minimize that time and spread that heat out through the rest of the burn, it will definitely be an improvement.
 

trx250r87

Member
Nov 30, 2012
80
NE Wisconsin
That would be the equivalent to running a Kuuma on high...and I have been running on low/short loading just to keep temp under 73-74 inside!
I don't like that much heat sitting in the plenum without the fan running. I'm still finalizing the duct connections from plenum to main gas furnace trunk so thinks may change.

Eric
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,529
NE Ohio
I don't like that much heat sitting in the plenum without the fan running. I'm still finalizing the duct connections from plenum to main gas furnace trunk so thinks may change.

Eric
So the blower is off if the tstat is satisfied? If so, wouldn't care for that either...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Case1030