Unplugged Energy Independence

Setting the Wood Stove Standard

Posted by Kelsey Loeffler on Wed,May 07,2014 @ 01:25 PM

WoodMaster Commercial SeriesRed Lake Falls, MN – Northwest Manufacturing, the builder and distributor of WoodMaster wood-burning furnaces, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded an H stamp from ASME, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The H stamp signifies that ASME has carefully reviewed Northwest Manufacturing's wood-fired pressurized boilers and certifies that they are built in strict accordance with ASME's exacting standards for safety and performance. Northwest Manufacturing is the only company in Minnesota that is ASME-certified to build wood-fired pressurized boilers. Almost every single pressurized boiler manufactured in the United States is ASME approved, and now there is a safe wood-fired boiler option built in Minnesota.

“ASME has set the bar for manufacturing boilers and pressure vessels for almost 100 years,” says Bruce Gagner, co-founder of Northwest Manufacturing. “We're extremely proud to say that our wood-fired pressurized boilers have been tested and found to meet that standard.” WoodMaster's boilers can heat buildings from residential to larger commercial sizes, and all boiler models offer complete combustion for low emissions. Their three-pass boilers increase heating efficiency and provide a British thermal unit (BTU) output as high as 6.8 million Btu/hr with the option of burning wood pellets or chips.

ASME certification opens up the potential savings of using wood-burning boilers to people and businesses that currently use fossil fuels to heat their buildings. Wood can be a much less expensive fuel option compared to typical sources of energy, saving big money for those who replace fossil fuels or electric power. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential propane prices have trended upward since 2000, and spiked to nearly $3.50 per gallon during the past winter. “With the price of propane and other fuels on the rise, burning cheap, renewable, locally sourced wood just looks more and more attractive,” says Gagner.

And now a reliable, Minnesota-built and ASME-certified option to do exactly that will be widely available. 

About ASME

ASME is a not-for-profit membership organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing, career enrichment, and skills development across all engineering disciplines, toward a goal of helping the global engineering community develop solutions to benefit lives and livelihoods. Founded in 1880 by a small group of leading industrialists, ASME has grown through the decades to include more than 130,000 members in 158 countries. ASME is the leading international developer of codes and standards associated with the art, science, and practice of mechanical engineering.

About WoodMaster

WoodMaster furnaces are manufactured and distributed by Northwest Manufacturing of Red Lake Falls, Minnesota. Since 1989, WoodMaster has built industry-leading outdoor furnaces, continually finding innovative uses of natural energy and alternative fuel sources. The company is now the first to manufacture bioenergy flex fuel furnaces.

The company's growing network of dealers and contractors helps consumers find the right WoodMaster furnace for their heating requirements. All WoodMaster dealers carry a full line of parts and accessories and provide attentive, expert service at installation and throughout the life of each furnace.

Northwest Manufacturing also provides underfloor heating, water distribution systems and snow and ice melting systems, as well as other HeatLink solutions.

Topics: commercial boiler, commercial boilers, Commercial Series, woodmaster, pellet furnace, Pellet furnaces, renewable fuel, WoodMaster boiler, renewable energy, wood pellet heating, WoodMaster Commercial Series, affordable heating

Getting gouged by propane prices?

Posted by Kelsey Loeffler on Thu,Jan 30,2014 @ 09:54 AM

alternative heatingGetting gouged by propane prices? If so, you're not alone. Some 14 million Americans who rely on propane have been shelling out more and more to heat their homes while the strong demand has outpaced the already low inventories, energy officials say.

Now is a better time than ever to switch to alternative energy. Free yourself from the rollercoaster of fluctuating fossil fuel prices.

Don't just take our word for it. Here are some recent articles from around the U.S

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Scott Walker declares state of emergency on propane shortage.

Citing another wave of frigid weather bearing down on Wisconsin and dangerously low supplies of propane, Governor Scott Walker has declared a state of emergency. Walker directed all state agencies "to assist as appropriate" in helping residents deal with the propane shortage, which has sent prices soaring and left some users struggling to find a supplier who will provide fuel.

Nearly 250,000 Wisconsin homes heat with propane, many in rural areas not served by natural gas lines.

The shortage — attributed to a colder-than-normal winter, the shutdown of a key supply pipeline earlier in the season and heavy use of propane by farmers to dry grain last fall — has sent prices for many customers well above $5 a gallon. Read the full article here.

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Midwest faces propane emergency as more cold weather moves in.

Millions of residents in the Midwest and Northeast who rely on propane to heat their homes are facing a severe shortage and spiking prices as another wave of freezing weather heads east. Now, states across the region are deploying emergency resources as a result.

Blame for the propane shortage lies with the wetter-than-usual fall, which meant that farmers used more propane than usual to dry corn crops; an unusually cold winter; and a temporary shutdown of a major pipeline for maintenance this year.

As a result, propane prices are setting new records. The average price of a gallon of residential propane for the week ending Jan. 20 hit $2.96, according to the Energy Information Administration, up 60 cents from mid-October, the highest price ever recorded by the agency. Prices in the Midwest are even higher; on Friday, prices ended at $4.30 a gallon in the Midwest, down from a peak of about $5 a gallon. Read full article here.

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Propane shortage slams farmers.

A propane squeeze caused by January’s bitter cold has put the hurt on Minnesota’s livestock industry, as farmers scramble to find costly fuel to keep their animals warm.

Some turkey growers are being told by suppliers that the propane spigot might get turned off if the cold keeps up over the next week.

Shortage worries are particularly acute in the ­turkey industry, and Minnesota is the nation’s leading turkey-producing state, with about 250 growers.

Fuel suppliers have told some farmers that they have “five days left of propane,” said Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. “The big concern is availability.”

Farmers — along with propane users of all stripes — are paying huge premiums for the fuel these days. Wholesale spot prices in Minnesota have gone from about $3.75 per gallon a few days ago to just south of $5 a gallon. Last fall, the propane price was $1.55 per gallon, and most of the run-up since then has occurred this month. Read full article here.

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U.S. propane shortage hits millions during brutal freeze.

Millions of Americans are feeling the pinch of a propane shortage this week as brutal cold exposes the supply vulnerabilities of a fuel that heats homes, schools and businesses across wide swathes of the United States.

Prices of the fuel, a liquefied petroleum gas, have rocketed to all-time highs in Midwestern states, distributors are rationing supplies, and some schools have shut due to a lack of the fuel during this year's second bout of Arctic weather.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued emergency orders suspending the limits on the amount of time truck drivers can spend on the road for 10 Midwestern states and 12 Northeastern states, a rare regional order. Read full article here.

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Prolonged cold blast worsens propane shortage across Midwest.

America’s chronic cold is creating a significant propane shortage across the Midwest — leading Wisconsin to become the latest state to declare an energy emergency in advance of more arctic air blasting eastward this week.

Some 14 million Americans who rely on that type of fuel have been shelling out more and more to heat their homes while the strong demand has outpaced the already-low inventories, energy officials say.

Twenty-four states, including Ohio, Illinois and Alabama, have already declared energy emergencies — which helps to loosen transportation rules so that out-of-state truckers can drive longer hours to make needed propane deliveries. Read full article here.

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Now is a great time to research alternative heating products. Take the time to learn about the products available to you and the changes the EPA will be making to the wood burning industry.

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Wood/Solar Combination Heating

Posted by Kelsey Loeffler on Thu,Mar 21,2013 @ 09:42 AM

Certified WoodMaster dealer, Kim Quirk with Energy Emporium, shares the following article relating to a recent Flex Fuel install.

Here in New England many home owners have their own source of wood they can use to heat their home. Or, they may decide that local wood or pellets can replace fossil fuels helping them achieve a level independence from foreign oil.

Working with a few of these customers, I have had the opportunity to put together combination wood and solar heating systems for both home heating and domestic hot water.

Burning wood or pellets in a highly efficient gasification boiler will provide more heat then a typical home can use each hour…especially in the spring and fall. So many of the new wood or pellet boilers recommend (or even require) a large water storage tank.

Solar hot water systems also require a water storage tank because the sun can only provide heat during the day. That heat needs to be saved until it is required.

Since both systems can benefit from a water storage tank, then it makes sense and can save money to design one storage system that can be heated by either energy source. The wood does most of the heating in the winter; and the sun for the summer. The heated water can provide house heating, which we only need in the winter, and domestic hot water, which we need year round.

The Energy Emporium recently installed a large, very well insulated, 2000 gallon water tank from American Solar Technics that is heated with both solar (Sunda evacuated tubes) and a gasification wood boiler (WoodMaster’s FlexFuel30).

Solar / Wood storage tank

Solar / Wood storage tank

Wood/Pellet Boiler

Wood/Pellet Boiler

Solar Thermal Collectors

Solar Thermal Collectors

In the pictures above, the storage tank is in the process of being completed. Once the liner is sealed, 3-4″ insulation is added on top and then a final layer of 2″ foam board will be added on all sides.

The Woodmaster Flexfuel is used with cord wood or pellets. It can decide to start or stop the burn (for pellets) based on temperatures it reads in the water storage tank. It can also block out some times (daytime, for instance) when it will not burn so the sun has the chance to do as much heating as possible.

The solar thermal collectors were built in two rows with northern row 3′ higher than the southern row to avoid shading. The angle is optimized for winter heat production. Each solar collector array has its own coil in the storage tank.

We added datalogging equipment on the solar loops and temperature sensors at 3 places in the tank as well as the boiler in and out. Over time we can report on the efficiencies of cord wood versus pellets and how much energy the sun is adding to this tank. The expectation is that in the spring, summer, and fall the solar collectors will provide most of the heating.

In the image below, the green line indicates the temperature of the storage tank. The red and blue are temperatures of the heat exchanger and the shaded red area indicates that heat is being transferred to the storage tank. Notice that, even in February, when we have a nice sunny day, the solar heating between about 9:30am and 3:30pm was able to boost the 2000 gallon tank temperature. At about 5pm the pellets kicked back in to boost the water temperature for the evening.

Solar Hot Water Data

Solar Hot Water Data

Topics: bioenergy flex fuel furnace, woodmaster, woodmaster flexfuel series, WoodMaster FlexFuel, Flex Fuel, alternative fuel, affordable heating, alternative home heating

Do Electric Rates Impact Outdoor Wood Heat?

Posted by Kelsey Gagner on Tue,Aug 21,2012 @ 11:49 AM

outdoor wood heatWhen the price of oil goes up, it goes up for everyone. But electricity rates vary by state with residents of some states paying half of what people living in other states pay. New York and Connecticut are saddled with the highest electricity rates in the country, which may have contributed to the rapid rise of wood heating in those states. In the South where electricity rates are the cheapest, the use of outdoor wood heat decreased in most states between 2000 and 2010.

Electric heating has surged in recent years, though not as fast as outdoor wood heat, in part because of efficient heat pumps. The economic disadvantages of fuel oil and propane as heating fuels are often discussed, but electricity is a more complex story.  More than a third of American homes use electricity as the primary source of heat (US Census) and another 24% use it as a secondary heat source (EIA).

An electric boiler costs an estimated $35.05 per million Btu, according to EIA, and an electric space heater, a common appliance used for secondary heating, costs an estimated $34.32 per million Btu.  An EPA certified indoor or outdoor wood stove running at 72% efficiency, in contrast, is estimated to cost only $12.63 per million Btu.      
Consumer rates in Alaska, California, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington DC are on the high side at 14-17 cents per kWh (an average of $41-$50 per BTU for electric heating). The majority of homeowners in the South, West, and mid-West pay 9-13 cents per kWh, which works out to be $26-$38 per BTU. That is a much cheaper rate than some states, but still twice the cost of heating with wood.
Check out the Alliance for Green Heat to read the full article and to view a map of the United States electric rates.
Learn more about outdoor wood heat and see how much money you could save by switching to this renewable, alternative energy heat source.
$800 OFF Summer Promo!

Topics: woodmaster outdoor wood-burning furnaces, affordable fuel, woodmaster furnace, alliance for green heat, affordable heat, affordable heating source, affordability of wood heating, EPA, outdoor wood heat, woodmaster, affordable heating, energy independence, outdoor wood furnace, outdoor wood furnaces

WoodMaster Supplies Flex Fuel Series to Silver Bay Greenhouse

Posted by Kelsey Gagner on Tue,Aug 07,2012 @ 11:40 AM

describe the imageThe business park the city of Silver Bay acquired in 1993 is finally filling up.

Victus Farm has joined AmericInn on the property, which the city now calls its eco-industrial business park. The new farm, a collaboration with the University of Minnesota Duluth, will provide jobs as well as local food and energy for the region.

"This really was a big effort," Lana Fralich, Silver Bay city administrator, said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place on Sunday. She thanked the City Council and officials for their foresight in bringing in local jobs for future generations.

The farm is a combination of new technologies. The process starts with fish, tilapia to be exact, grown in large tanks. Next is the greenhouse that holds produce and algae. The fish will provide nutrients for the plants and the plants will oxygenate the water for the fish.

The algae will be made into biofuel, the tilapia will be sold to Harley Tofte, operator of Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais, and the produce will be sold locally.

Ellen Anderson, adviser to Gov. Mark Dayton, made the trip to Silver Bay for the ceremony. She addressed a crowd of more than 100.

"Local foods and local energy means local jobs and local economic prosperity," Anderson said.

The story started in 1993, when the city purchased land for a business park from Lake County.

"Since the early 2000s, we've tried to make it work," Silver Bay Mayor Scott Johnson said.

The city courted many businesses, but AmericInn was the only one they could convince, until now.

The city began discussions with the Center for Sustainable Community Development at UMD more than three years ago and held the groundbreaking ceremony for the facility in October 2011.

"This is exactly the innovative, important project UMD should be involved with in the 20th century," said Susan Maher, dean at the UMD College of Liberal Arts.

The city and Lake County, supplemented by numerous local and state grants, supplied the $1.3 million needed for the farm.

The first grant of $300,000 came from the Minnesota Legislature. Fralich and Mike Mageau of the CSCD at UMD did their best to stretch their money, Fralich said.

All the construction labor was local. City crews did the prep work, Lakeside Masonry did the concrete work and Ray Riihiluoma Inc. completed most of the construction. WoodMaster, a local biomass company, supplied the pellet boilers that will heat the facility and water.

The final step will be the installation of a wind turbine near the water tower to power the facility. The city is in the process of finalizing the agreement.

The city hopes to expand the eco-industrial business park to include a pellet manufacturing facility that can feed the boilers at Victus Farm, Fralich said. The nearest pellet facility is in Hayward, Wis.

The farm will bolster the local economy and serve UMD, too, Mageau said. The site will be used for education, research and as proof that a system like Victus Farm can work in a small community like Silver Bay.

"This has really been an amazing project," Mageau said. "Silver Bay has been by far one of the best communities to work with."

 

Learn more about WoodMaster's Flex Fuel Series.

Topics: affordable fuel, bioenergy flex fuel furnace, alternative energy sources, affordable heating source, EPA qualified furnace, EPA qualified, Flex Fuel, affordable heating, energy independence

Homeowners Investing in Energy-efficiency

Posted by Kelsey Gagner on Mon,Apr 09,2012 @ 02:35 PM

According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 61% of homeowners say they are unaware of any current tax rebates and/or incentives for energy-efficient home upgrades in their area.

If you are in this category, there are many resources available to help you out.  One of the best we have found is DSIRE.

DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.  Established in 1995 and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the N.C. Solar Center and Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

With two easy ways to search for incentives in your area, this site is very user-friendly. 

Go to http://www.dsireusa.org/ and use one of the following two options to find incentives in your area:

    1. Click on your state.  A list of incentives for your state will be brought up.

    1. Click on the ‘Search DSIRE’ box and fill in the information that pertains to you and a list of the incentives available will be brought up.


 To find a WoodMaster dealer near you check out our dealer locator.

Topics: eco-friendly, woodmaster stove, clean burning, wood stove, woodmaster, flexfuel, energy-saving boiler, high efficiency furnace, energy-efficient stove, Flex Fuel, alternative heating, wood master, northwest manufacturing, WoodMaster Dealer, affordable heating, carbon footprint, energy independence, clean burn, home heating, heating systems, alternative home heating, lower heating costs, outdoor wood furnace, clean energy, outdoor hydronic heater, outdoor wood furnaces, green technology

If you have the wood, we'll bring the heat.

Posted by Kelsey Gagner on Fri,Jan 20,2012 @ 02:52 PM

Jason Osborn, owner of C & C HeatingThat’s the motto of Jason Osborn, founder and owner of C & C Heating in Nokomis, Ill., and one of WoodMaster’s new dealers.

Jason has been in the heating and cooling business for 20 years and started selling WoodMaster stoves in October 2011.

“I’ve been really surprised at how it’s taken off,” says Jason. “I didn’t think we’d sell any stoves by the end of the year, but we sold nine.”

Jason is a WoodMaster newbie, but he’s no rookie to the wood stove industry. After installing stoves distributed by other companies for nine years, Jason decided C & C Heating might as well carry its own line of energy-efficient stoves. Jason currently sells all the WoodMaster stove models, and his best-selling model is the WoodMaster 4400.

“Selling WoodMaster gives us an advantage because we’re now the only heating and air company around that does everything, from selling the stove to installing and maintenance,” says Jason.

One of Jason’s business goals is to offer his customers affordable heating options, a mission in which WoodMaster’s energy-saving stoves fit perfectly. Jason’s customers benefit from lower heating costs, and C & C Heating profits from the increased business.

Jason says he always calls customers to see how they’re liking his products, and every customer that has purchased a WoodMaster stove has been more than pleased with their purchase.

“Everyone loves them and most people wish they would have done it years ago,” he says.

The best thing about being a WoodMaster dealer? The inside edge it gives his company, says Jason.

“If you don’t do something different than everyone else, you don’t stand out. Selling WoodMaster has helped us quite a bit because we offer things that other heating and air companies don’t,” says Jason. “I couldn’t ask for anything better in the stoves.”

Topics: woodmaster stove, dealer spotlight, woodmaster 4400, woodmaster furnace, jason osborn, c & c heating, lower heating cost, heating and cooling, illinois woodmaster dealer, cost-friendly energy, woodmaster, energy-saving boiler, energy-efficient stove, energy-saving stove, WoodMaster boiler, wood master, WoodMaster Dealer, affordable heating, lower heating costs

9 reasons why we're fired up about the WoodMaster Force 20

Posted by Kelsey Gagner on Thu,Oct 13,2011 @ 11:12 AM


WoodMaster Force 20We’re excited to announce the release of a new furnace that fresh off the production line: the WoodMaster Force 20. This compact and efficient furnace is ideal for garages, workshops, homes and more. Here are 9 reasons why we’re fired up about the new Force 20 furnace:

    1. The Force 20 maintains a steady temperature and requires almost zero maintenance.

    1. Ignition is fast—because of its high efficiency Renovator 20kW burner with automatic ignition.

    1. A built-in thermometer allows the burner to be easily adjusted to the desired temperature.

    1. The burner also has an optional automatic air cleaning system, making clean-up a breeze.

    1. The Force 20’s fan starts automatically when the air has reached 140 degrees and provides warm air to the heated area.

    1. The fan is also controlled by a PT100 sensor, which regulates fan speed from 0 to 100 percent.

    1. Chimney connections are easily accessible on the back of the unit.

    1. Warm air can be discharged from either the left or the right side.

    1. For larger heating appliances, the Force 20 furnace can be connected in modular systems.


View the Force 20 in the production line.
Force 20 in production

The WoodMaster Force 20 retails for $5,195.

What features of the new WoodMaster Force 20 are you most excited about?

Topics: eco-friendly, clean burning, Chuck Gagner, compact furnace, Force, forced air furnace, Force 20, woodmaster, high efficiency furnace, pellet furnace, alternative heating, wood master, northwest manufacturing, WoodMaster Dealer, affordable heating, clean burn

WoodMaster provides affordable heating alternative

Posted by Kelsey Gagner on Thu,Oct 06,2011 @ 11:15 AM

Choosing a WoodMaster heater is an investment, but it’s a smart one. With the many financing options available, buying and installing an indoor/outdoor WoodMaster furnace can be a very affordable heating alternative.

When you add it all up (purchase + installation), the up-front costs can certainly be intimidating, with amounts from $6,000 up to $20,000+ at times. But think of it as you would buying a home—with the right financing and long-term ROI goals, your monthly payments can be as low as $150 per month.

Always consider the long-term ROI. With the right financing plan in place, WoodMaster can provide a very affordable heating alternative—and even save you lots of money in the future. For example, over the course of 20 years with a WoodMaster furnace, you could return over $150,000. The ROI time will vary depending on the product you invest in, but with WoodMaster you will get a return and the freedom from fossil fuels. Now that’s a very affordable heat source.

When was the last time you got any return on your investment with fossil fuels? That’s what we thought. Affordable heating doesn’t always mean settling for the cheapest product on the market.

Topics: Wood furnaces, furnace financing, save money on heating, low cost heating, woodmaster, Pellet furnaces, Flex Fuel, alternative heating, wood master, northwest manufacturing, affordable heating, home heating, heating systems

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