Shelter SF1000E Relocation & Controls Project

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NorMi

Member
Nov 18, 2021
110
Northern LP, MI
I've had this furnace in the basement of my bank barn since September last year and I'm starting a new, crazy project to basically turn it into a forklift-mobile outdoor hot air furnace shed, as I now have a use/need for a wood furnace in 2-3 locations on the property - but only ever need one location heated at a time. The current install is fairly basic, goes out through the 12" cinder block wall in the picture to a 15' triple wall SS duravent stack that terminates at the eave on the barn. In this location it's nearly always burning at the cat 3-4 rate, and in one of the new locations (house) it may be throttled down more frequently due to the tighter/smaller building envelope, so I've been testing the cat. 1-2 performance and the burn times at lower rates this week. I tried to do some reading on this furnace but it seems no one has really posted about the phase 2 "E" model to any major degree here, which has a different primary/pilot air pathway setup vs. the older ones that a few members seem to have had significant trouble with. It's been trouble free over the past year in all weather with 2-3 cords through it when I'm using it in the shop, and so far it's been good during my cat 1-2 testing, although I don't much like the binary on-off nature of the forced draft control system for a house application, so that will also be part of the project to test some various control methodology as well.

The first part of the project is to add some instrumentation in its current location so i can get some idea of what the draft and temperatures are doing in the current spot, since I know it works well there, before I go and change things. There doesn't seem to be much interest here in this furnace due to some significant problems on the older models, but I figured I'd offer to document this project in case there might be some interest in how it goes.

shelter_furnace.jpg
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,845
Northern Maine
Sounds like a fun project to me.
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,751
NE Ohio
but it seems no one has really posted about the phase 2 "E" model to any major degree here, which has a different primary/pilot air pathway setup vs. the older ones that a few members seem to have had significant trouble with.
Didn't know they changed it...it's about time, the way the old setup was designed was REALLY bad! Even a dummy like myself could see that it would never work!
Part of my issue with these guys is that they kept defending that stupid design forever, rather than admitting this isn't working out real well (and issue a stinkin recall, they were (are) dangerous!) and the other issue is the rest of the furnace(s) (the larger models were a complete disaster too...but I don't think they could pass the EPA test and are no longer made) were not holding up...warping, cracking, and I guess that's pretty understandable when you see pictures of them glowing red on the front, just from normal use (and the factory guys saying that its not working because people weren't getting the load hot enough before letting the combustion blower shut off...and forced draft, blech!)
Sure hope for you and your family's sake that they really did change them and they work MUCH better now...although I still personally wouldn't own or recommend one...just for the above listed reasons/history.
 

NorMi

Member
Nov 18, 2021
110
Northern LP, MI
It's honestly been the best stove/furnace I've ever owned or used for 20 years, which is why I decided to do this set of projects with it. I didn't know about the other models problems until well after I bought this one, at the time I just read the online reviews on the main websites that were and still are carrying the furnace, which was still a very new model when I bought it. This one was bought September 2020 and manufactured in April 2020. It starts fast, burns clean from start to finish, and now that I've done enough low and slow testing, it looks good for the house application too from what I can tell. My cordwood tests did overnight heat delivery for an average of 9.5 hours, and the 12 brick sawdust test I just ran overnight delivered heat for just about 12 hours until the duct fan stopped cycling. That was the part I wasn't sure about since I was using it in my shop the first season at higher heats only, but after that long burn testing I can't really fault it.

From the pictures I've seen, it looks like they did two main things for the "E" models - placed a movable damper on the draft fan that opens to ~1/2" for normal operation and closes for "power failure mode", and added (6) 1/4" holes in the ash door for pilot air, which is about 0.29 square inch of pilot. I can't tell if they changed the routing of the primary/secondary tubing from the draft fan, but it looks similar to the others. It also doesn't glow red on the front unless you have all the lights off you can see a barely noticable dull red above the door on a fresh fire. I don't have a draft guage on it yet, but I'm fairly certain im not pulling 6x the rated draft with my short stack, which could be the reason for that difference as well.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,751
NE Ohio
From the pictures I've seen, it looks like they did two main things for the "E" models
The early ones were "E" models too.
I can't tell if they changed the routing of the primary/secondary tubing from the draft fan, but it looks similar to the others.
All the air came from the same place (blower) down the same channel...totally asinine!
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,780
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Didn't know they changed it...it's about time, the way the old setup was designed was REALLY bad! Even a dummy like myself could see that it would never work!
Part of my issue with these guys is that they kept defending that stupid design forever, rather than admitting this isn't working out real well (and issue a stinkin recall, they were (are) dangerous!) and the other issue is the rest of the furnace(s) (the larger models were a complete disaster too...but I don't think they could pass the EPA test and are no longer made) were not holding up...warping, cracking, and I guess that's pretty understandable when you see pictures of them glowing red on the front, just from normal use (and the factory guys saying that its not working because people weren't getting the load hot enough before letting the combustion blower shut off...and forced draft, blech!)
Sure hope for you and your family's sake that they really did change them and they work MUCH better now...although I still personally wouldn't own or recommend one...just for the above listed reasons/history.

They would have had to re-test if they made any changes to the original one. Although the original technically didn't pass 3 out of the 4 burn categories and was still given a pass.

Hopefully this new member is not an employee or someone on their payroll like the last guy was who came on here recommending one of these.....and who we have not seen post since being outted. ;lol

 
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NorMi

Member
Nov 18, 2021
110
Northern LP, MI
Are you sure those were the phase 2 models? Those threads I was reading were back in the 2018 timeframe, and when I bought this one in September it was listed as a a "new" product at Tractor Supply. I looked at the EPA test reports, and there are two on the website, one for the older model FC1000/SF1000 and another pdf for the one I have the FC1000E/SF1000E. I definitely don't work for this company, this project is partly about changing the controls to make it run more how I want it to run, which I think would void the warranty doing such things.
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,780
Wisconsin Dells, WI
one for the older model FC1000/SF1000 and another pdf for the one I have the FC1000E/SF1000E.

The non "E" version is the much, much older model from before the 2020 standard was even around. What you have is the same as what the others have and have complained about. It was given a "pass" even when failing 3 out of the 4 burn categories.
 

NorMi

Member
Nov 18, 2021
110
Northern LP, MI
Hmm, that doesn't seem right. The test date for the 1000 version is 2017, and the test date for the one I have, the 1000E is from 2020. Not to mention in those other threads they said all the air comes from the draft blower on their furnaces, which does not match the way the one I have is built/setup from the factory? But, I can't really relate to the problems those guys had either, which makes me think *something* is pretty majorly different, or just luck of the draw? Either way, I just want to geek out on the controls and instruments I'm building for it and build my little shed for it mainly. 😀
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,751
NE Ohio
The non "E" version is the much, much older model from before the 2020 standard was even around. What you have is the same as what the others have and have complained about. It was given a "pass" even when failing 3 out of the 4 burn categories.
The older "smoke dragon" models (back when FC/Shelter made some half decent stuff, as old school stuff goes) were 3 digit numbers IIRC...like SF500, or something like that
Edit: nope they were higher numbers, like SF2626, 2631, and 2639
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,780
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Hmm, that doesn't seem right. The test date for the 1000 version is 2017, and the test date for the one I have, the 1000E is from 2020. Not to mention in those other threads they said all the air comes from the draft blower on their furnaces, which does not match the way the one I have is built/setup from the factory? But, I can't really relate to the problems those guys had either, which makes me think *something* is pretty majorly different, or just luck of the draw? Either way, I just want to geek out on the controls and instruments I'm building for it and build my little shed for it mainly. 😀
The older "smoke dragon" models (back when FC/Shelter made some half decent stuff, as old school stuff goes) were 3 digit numbers IIRC...like SF500, or something like that
Edit: nope they were higher numbers, like SF2626, 2631, and 2639

I stand corrected. This one is not 2020 certified though.....or if it is/was, it was after this manual was printed.

 

NorMi

Member
Nov 18, 2021
110
Northern LP, MI
Here's the link to my Operator's Manual SF1000E and the 2020 EPA report for the version I have. The Operator's manuals also seem to all be embedded in the EPA report as well. I didn't compare them page by page, but they look similar.
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,780
Wisconsin Dells, WI
I'd be real curious to see if they did indeed change something AFTER they were "approved". If so, that's grounds for immediate re-testing.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,751
NE Ohio

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,780
Wisconsin Dells, WI
So is getting caught cheating! ;lol :mad:
Very true! ;lol

This makes me wonder, back when -THIS- was posted by Mr Hy-C, I wonder if he knew something about any changes that may have been made and was trying to market the "new version" knowing about those changes...? Something had to be done, as they could double as a mini IED. They can't come out and say they "fixed that" for obvious reasons, so coming on a well known forum to push their "revised" product under cover may make sense.

OK, I'll remove my tinfoil hat now. 👽 ;lol
 
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NorMi

Member
Nov 18, 2021
110
Northern LP, MI
I'm not totally following your conversation, but I don't know about any changes on this furnace since I bought it, I "think" it's the same one they still sell in the stores. I don't think you can buy the phase 1 furnaces in the US any more like the users Medic and Mr. Pelletburner had. From the sounds of it, those probably shouldn't have been sold in the first place given the problems, although at least in Mr. Pelletburners case it was a bad install with wicked high draft on top of the other potential furnace issues; but then I think I was reading they told him to not install a baro, either, so that's just asinine tech support gore as well on top of all the other mess.

I'll tell you how I ended up with this furnace. I moved up here to northern Michigan last year in June from NE Ohio. We bought this place and they had taken the wood stove out of the barn/shop area. At the time, I knew tractor supply used to carry stoves and my buddy liked his a lot, it was a green furnace, I think an older US Stove model. So I knew I wanted heat out there and I popped onto the website and all they had was stoves, no furnaces, and I was bummed. I got a new flyer a few months later in my email and they said they had a EPA 2020 furnace on sale as I was like, oh cool! So I read the reviews after searching the model number, which were few, and took a shot on it since it was available locally and only cost $1800. At that time I didn't even know that Shelter and Fire Chief was the same thing. But, anyway, it all turned out ok and I was really happy with it so I just figured the EPA furnace was a good thing. Then, I wanted to do this project to heat a few more locations and potentially lower my house electric bill a bit (currently heat with a ductless mini split I installed when we moved in last year). So I started searching the 'net to see if anyone had done any control mods and I found this forum and the posts about the older furnaces, but nothing about the one I have. So I figured I might as well make some posts in case anyone else wants to look into mods as well. So I either lucked into a good version of a bad furnace, or just a plain ol' good furnace that had it's younger brothers history swept under the rug!
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,751
NE Ohio
I'm not totally following your conversation, but I don't know about any changes on this furnace since I bought it, I "think" it's the same one they still sell in the stores. I don't think you can buy the phase 1 furnaces in the US any more like the users Medic and Mr. Pelletburner had. From the sounds of it, those probably shouldn't have been sold in the first place given the problems, although at least in Mr. Pelletburners case it was a bad install with wicked high draft on top of the other potential furnace issues; but then I think I was reading they told him to not install a baro, either, so that's just asinine tech support gore as well on top of all the other mess.
There is no "phase 1/phase 2" furnaces to my knowledge...there is the old school models with the shaker grates (listed above) and then there is the FC/SH 1000E/1500/1700 (of which the1000 is the only one left) none of which has never properly passed the EPA2020 test AFAIK...while they did get approval, someone reviewing documents from the testing later on found that they DID NOT meet the required parameters for 3 of the 4 parts of the test. I have personally seen the data (it was shared in confidence though, cannot post it) and the last I knew they were being made to re-test and never heard that they ever actually managed to pass. Something still smells fishy with all that.
As far as Mr PB's high draft...it may or may not have been posted here, but that was corrected, with very little difference in the operation of the furnace.
But I suppose I have derailed your thread enough already...interested to see your results...moving it around to various buildings sounds like a real PITA to me, but hey, whatever works for ya! Maybe you'll start a new trend ;lol
 
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JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,780
Wisconsin Dells, WI
OK, so the SF1000 is what you are referring to the non-EPA "phase 1" and the SF1000E as the EPA approved "Phase 2"?

The SF1000E is the one which was found to have not correctly passed 3 out of the 4 burn categories and has been recommended by the EPA to be re-tested.

Mr. Pelletburners case it was a bad install with wicked high draft on top of the other potential furnace issues
He sold it to someone who also had issues with it though.....and I believe the new owner sent it out to pasture shortly after.

They are just a company I have zero trust in, They put $$$$ over safety, period. They also were dishonest and lied their way into being 2020 certified. That furnace should NOT be certified and therefore should not be on the market right now.

That's cool you want to play around with it though. Wire that sucker up and lets see the numbers. :)
 
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NorMi

Member
Nov 18, 2021
110
Northern LP, MI
Yes, I am going off the dates of the EPA tests and what it says on the Intertek reports. I am using the word "phase" when I guess I should be using the word "step". SF1000 (2017) test report says "
This test demonstrates that this unit is an affected facility under the definition given in the
regulation. The emission rate of 0.198 g/hr meets the EPA requirements for the Step 1
limits."


On the 2020 report for my SF1000E stove in the conclusion section it says "
This test demonstrates that this unit is an affected facility under the definition given in the
regulation. The emission rate of 0.142 lb/MMBtu Output meets the EPA requirements for the
Step 2 limits.
The models FC1000E, X1020, and L1020 are identical to the tested model SF1000E with the only
differences being the exterior color and the name casted into the fuel door."


I'm not 100% understanding your 3 of 4 test failure reference, either. There are 4 burn categories for testing, but there is no such thing as a pass/fail for each category, only for the overall test from my reading of these pdfs. It says they do a weighted average of the stove/furnace and that average is the number which indicates the pass/fail for EPA step1/step2 compliance of the furnace. I also can only see one of four tests, the cat 3, that exceeds the overall particulate limits for step 2, unless I'm reading the report wrong - which is quite possible.

I can understand you guys have had your opinion of the company colored, quite fairly, by the history, which is bad, very bad. All I can say is this history happened before I bought this thing and has no real bearing on how this stove works or anything, it's just, history, and stuff that I didn't know about before hand. From my personal experience with this furnace, which is just sample size=1, it just works as a cheap, set and forget, smoke free furnace, with zero problems over multiple cords and seasons which is what I like about it.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,751
NE Ohio
it just works as a cheap, set and forget, smoke free furnace,
I thought you said that it was smoking when burning the pressed sawdust bricks the other day?
I'll let @JRHAWK9 field the EPA test issues...
 

NorMi

Member
Nov 18, 2021
110
Northern LP, MI
Yeah, it smokes when I put a full box of cold wood or bricks in until it reaches temps. I mean it doesn't smoke in operation, after I load it. In that latest test I did last night, it smoked for 20 minutes on the 40lb. overload of bricks I tried in it, and would still smoke if I turned it to low/no draft until I hit 50 minutes due to all the offgassing they do. With a normal sized cord wood load when I do a fresh load, it does a light smoke for the 5 minutes or so I keep the doors cracked for cold start, then I close it up and it's clear, draft on or off. On my older stoves and furnaces I've used at other places, they would tend to smoke, sometimes quite a lot during operation, at varying degrees when you crank them down to low settings especially. I never saw a furnace or stove that doesn't smoke at all when you are starting from coals with a full load. The test I did last night was basically to push the limits of those bricks in this particular furnace to see how they behaved.
 
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JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,780
Wisconsin Dells, WI
I'm not 100% understanding your 3 of 4 test failure reference, either. There are 4 burn categories for testing, but there is no such thing as a pass/fail for each category

Yes, you -must- pass ALL four of the test burn categories below in order to be 2020 certified.

Cat I: <35% of max capacity
Cat II: 35-53% of max capacity
Cat III: 53-76% of max capacity
Cat IV: max capacity

It was discovered after they "passed" that they did not follow proper procedure for 3 out of the 4 category tests, therefore invalidating them. It was found the furnace was not tested per the test method requirements. This is in regards to when they tested the first week of October 2018.

Looks like they retested again Sept 2020 though.
 

NorMi

Member
Nov 18, 2021
110
Northern LP, MI
@JRHAWK9 I did some searching to see about that EPA test, and I see you're right, I found a thread where others were discussing it https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/epa-phase-2-certification-discrepancy.181946 - It showed they didn't hit the low burn BTU's or other problems on an earlier test like you said, 3 out of 4, which another manufacturer found out about it. It does look like Intertek hit the proper category BTU numbers on the most recent 2020 test? I didn't know there were multiple tests/retests on this furnace, my apologies. I always thought since it was independent testing facilities that it would be handled properly, but I guess not!
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,780
Wisconsin Dells, WI
I totally forgot that thread was posted!

I had no idea there were multiple test dates either. I have a copy of the original test results that I downloaded and saved soon after it was made public. It was originally tested back in Oct of '18. The retest was Sept of '20.

I always thought since it was independent testing facilities that it would be handled properly, but I guess not!

One would think that would be the case!
 

NorMi

Member
Nov 18, 2021
110
Northern LP, MI
I read that memorandum right from the EPA in the first post from the "MTG" measurement technology group leader from the EPA, and in that one they are referring to the tests performed on October 24, 2019. It's an illuminating memo to read in a sort of academic, kind of boring, yet interesting way! https://www.hearth.com/talk/attachm...cerns_mtg-review-of-lab-responses-pdf.262370/ No wonder lampmfg was none too happy...