Unplugged Energy Independence

Alternative home heating solutions, plus 5 tips to save this winter!

Posted by Kelsey Loeffler on Tue,Jan 13,2015 @ 10:36 AM

"More Shivery and Shovelry" are the words the Farmer's Almanac chose to describe their prediction of this winter. I don't know about you, but after last years long, brutal winter those are words I didn't want to hear. That leaves most of us wondering, could it be as bad as last year?

According to the 2015 edition of the Farmer's Almanac, the winter of 2014-2015 will see below-normal temperatures for about three-quarters of the nation. The most frigid temperatures will be found from the Northern Plains to the Great Lakes. Over the eastern third of the country, expect an active storm track with a number of storms delivering copious amounts of snow and rain.

alternative home heating solutions

Millions of Americans do not currently use alternative home heating solutions and rely on fossil fuels and their volatile pricing. The propane shortage last winter affected around 14 million Americans and it was very difficult for them to pay the inflated prices.

Interest in alternative home heating solutions seems to be growing immensly after last winters unexpected fossil fuel prices. Many Americans are searching out these solutions so that they have a stable home heating for this chilly winter ahead of us.



EIA is predicting a likely 9-13 percent increase in heating costs this winter. Whether you use an alternative heating method to heat your home now or haven't yet jumped on that band wagon, here are 5 tips to keep warm and help you save this winter.

1. Plug leaks and drafts.

Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around chimneys and recessed lighting, and  sliding draft guards under your doors and you can save up to 20% on heating bills.

2. Maintain your HVAC system.

Make sure to clean or change your furnace filter regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm and costing you more money.

3. Let your thermostat think for you.

Don't waste money heating an empty home. Install a programmable thermostat and schedule your homes heat to lower when you are away or asleep.

4. Invite the sun in.

Yes it feels like the sun has abandoned us during the winter, but that doesn't mean we should abandon it during these shorter days. Open curtains and allow sunlight to naturally heat your home.

5. Use LED's.

LED light bulbs save you money year round but especially during the holiday season when you are lighting up your lawn with the most colorful display possible. During the holiday season, LED lights use up to 90% less energy and can last up to 40 holiday seasons.


Whether you use an alternative home heating solution or not, we wish you the best on staying warm and saving money this winter!

I'll end this post with a quote from the Farmer's Almanac; "All of us at the Farmer's Almanac suggest you stock up on firewood, sweaters and hot cocoa. It certainly looks like another long winter of shivery and shovelry is on tap."

Topics: woodmaster stove, affordability of wood heating, affordability of heating with wood, wood home heating, energy-efficient heating, alternative energy

Alternative home heating solutions, plus 5 tips to save this winter.

Posted by Kelsey Loeffler on Mon,Oct 06,2014 @ 11:39 AM


"More Shivery and Shovelry" are the words the Farmer's Almanac chose to describe their prediction of this winter. I don't know about you, but after last years long, brutal winter those are words I didn't want to hear. That leaves most of us wondering, could it be as bad as last year?

According to the 2015 edition of the Farmer's Almanac, the winter of 2014-2015 will see below-normal temperatures for about three-quarters of the nation. The most frigid temperatures will be found from the Northern Plains to the Great Lakes. Over the eastern third of the country, expect an active storm track with a number of storms delivering copious amounts of snow and rain.

alternative home heating solutions

Millions of Americans do not currently use alternative home heating solutions and rely on fossil fuels and their volatile pricing. The propane shortage last winter affected around 14 million Americans and it was very difficult for them to pay the inflated prices.

Interest in alternative home heating solutions seems to be growing immensly after last winters unexpected fossil fuel prices. Many Americans are searching out these solutions so that they have a stable home heating for this chilly winter ahead of us.



EIA is predicting a likely 9-13 percent increase in heating costs this winter. Whether you use an alternative heating method to heat your home now or haven't yet jumped on that band wagon, here are 5 tips to keep warm and help you save this winter.

1. Plug leaks and drafts.

Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around chimneys and recessed lighting, and  sliding draft guards under your doors and you can save up to 20% on heating bills.

2. Maintain your HVAC system.

Make sure to clean or change your furnace filter regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm and costing you more money.

3. Let your thermostat think for you.

Don't waste money heating an empty home. Install a programmable thermostat and schedule your homes heat to lower when you are away or asleep.

4. Invite the sun in.

Yes it feels like the sun has abandoned us during the winter, but that doesn't mean we should abandon it during these shorter days. Open curtains and allow sunlight to naturally heat your home.

5. Use LED's.

LED light bulbs save you money year round but especially during the holiday season when you are lighting up your lawn with the most colorful display possible. During the holiday season, LED lights use up to 90% less energy and can last up to 40 holiday seasons.


Whether you use an alternative home heating solution or not, we wish you the best on staying warm and saving money this winter!

I'll end this post with a quote from the Farmer's Almanac; "All of us at the Farmer's Almanac suggest you stock up on firewood, sweaters and hot cocoa. It certainly looks like another long winter of shivery and shovelry is on tap."


 

Topics: woodmaster stove, affordability of wood heating, wood home heating, energy-efficient heating, alternative energy, alternative home 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

_______________________________________________________________________________

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________

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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2014 Winter Outlook, According to the Farmers' Almanac

Posted by Todd Strem on Tue,Sep 24,2013 @ 10:59 AM

WoodMasterI generally do not consider myself as an old fashioned individual. Here at WoodMaster we believe we are open minded and constantly researching, developing and on the lookout for new and creative ways to use alternative, natural energy. But when it comes to the Farmers’ Almanac and the Old Farmer’s Almanac I do tend to be old fashioned. I suppose it’s from being raised in the Midwest in a farming community. Of course a main topic was always the weather and how it will affect the crops and of course the Almanac’s were always brought into that conversation. Even today when you go to the local coffee shop you hear the conversation center around the forecast that the Almanac’s have predicted.

Whether you read or believe in the Almanac’s is totally your choice. Personally this is one old habit I am not going to break. I have come to trust what they say because it at least gives me an idea of what to expect and if I happen to be a little over prepared because of it that’s OK.

What are they saying for this coming winter? Well the Farmers’ Almanac is using words like “piercing cold” along with “bitterly cold” and “biting cold.” Take a look at their map of the U.S. and you will get the idea.

Almanac

As for the Old Farmer’s Almanac according to Janice Stillman, editor “This winter is shaping up to be a rough one.” She goes on to say “Sweaters and snow shovels should be unpacked early and kept close by throughout the season.”

What I’m getting out of this is get ready for what may become a long cold winter and for those of you that like to play in the winter wonderlands’ you should have the snow cover to really enjoy yourselves. Here in the Midwest I’m sure we will be enjoying great skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing if this forecast is accurate.

It’s still early enough to take a look at how you are going to heat this winter and if you need help in what’s available and how you can become oil independent just give us a call and WoodMaster can assist you. WoodMaster furnaces keep winter's harshest chill away. Tell old man winter to visit your neighbor.

Topics: woodmaster stove, EPA, wood burning outdoor stove, outdoor wood heat, woodmaster, pellet furnace, EPA qualified furnace, EPA qualified, outdoor wood furnaces

Wood Pellet Heat is a Viable Energy Alternative

Posted by Kelsey Loeffler on Mon,Sep 17,2012 @ 10:47 AM

wood pellet heat

According to ecoRI, oil has long been the primary heating source across much of the Northeast. However, the number of households seeking viable alternatives such as wood pellet heat to expensive oil has continued to rise since about 2008, when the price skyrocketed to more than $4 a gallon in some places.

Sales of pellet stoves and furnaces consequently have been increasing in the United States as more Americans seek affordable alternatives to costly home-heating oil. Attempting to find much-needed relief from record-high prices, consumers are willing to pay the upfront cost for pellet stoves.

In general, pellet stoves pay for themselves in about four years. Both Lowe’s and Home Depot charged $4.18 for a bag of 40 pounds this past winter in the Providence area. Pellets are usually delivered on a 1-ton pallet of 50 40-pound bags that costs between $200 and $300. On average, it takes 2 to 3 tons a year to heat a home, which translates to spending about $900 to heat a typical three-bedroom home with a pellet stove.

Wood pellet heat also offers price stability, as buying an entire year’s supply of pellets in bulk avoids the often-volatile cost of heating oil. For instance, a 250-gallon tank of oil at $3.50 a gallon would cost $875, but the price of oil constantly fluctuates.

Pellet fuel can substitute home-heating oil as an economically viable source of thermal energy for both residential and commercial applications. Pellet stoves first emerged in this country in the 1970s as a response to fuel price instability, according to the Pellet Fuels Institute, a trade group based in Arlington, Va. Pellets typically are made from wood waste produced at paper and saw mills and at furniture manufacturing plants.

Wood pellet heat offers consumers efficiency and environmental benefits over cordwood. Pellets burn more cleanly and more efficiently than wood, according to the Pellet Fuels Institute, because they effectively generate more heat while emitting less pollution.

The sharp rise of heating oil prices has fueled a consumer thirst for viable alternatives such as wood pellets. Pellets so far have replaced about 8 million barrels of oil annually, according to the Pellet Fuels Institute. Such energy displacement helps stimulate the American economy while enhancing national security and helping protect the environment.

Interested in wood pellet heat? Check out the Flex Fuel, Force20, and our newest money-saving product, the Ultra Series.

Contact Us for more information today!

Topics: woodmaster stove, wood pellet, wood pellets, woodmaster, pellet fuel, pellet furnace, alternative energy, wood pellet heat, wood pellet heating, wood master

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.

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How WoodMaster helps customers heat in style

Posted by Kelsey Gagner on Fri,Feb 10,2012 @ 02:49 PM

Eric Brannon, owner of Lawn Masters & MoreEric Brannon has been selling firewood for 15 years, but it wasn’t until spring 2011 that he began selling WoodMaster stoves. His reasoning for becoming a dealer? Good ol‘ competition.

“There’s only one person in the area who sells wood furnaces, and I decided he needed a little bit of competition,” says Eric, founder and owner of Lawn Masters & More in Athens, Ohio.

Lawn Masters & More is a contracting and construction landscape business, but they also distribute firewood, which Eric uses to supplement his income during the winter months. Selling wood stoves is a natural fit to accompany Eric’s firewood distribution, and the business the stoves bring in have helped further bridge gaps in his income.

Eric is currently selling all the WoodMaster outdoor wood burning furnaces, and his best-selling stove is the WoodMaster 4400. He has sold six in less than a year and says every customer has been pleased with their stove’s natural energy and ability to lower heating costs.

Eric runs his business on the tenet that home landscaping is an expression of your personal style, which is one of the reasons he said he chose to sell WoodMaster.

“The unit is pretty refined in looks, compared to others in the market,” says Eric. “If you are going to burn firewood for your main source of heat, then WoodMaster is a no-brainer for both energy efficiency and aesthetics.”

Topics: woodmaster stove, dealer spotlight, eric brannon, lawn masters & more, woodmaster outdoor wood-burning furnaces, Wood furnaces, woodmaster 4400, ohio woodmaster dealer, energy-efficient stove, natural energy, wood master, WoodMaster Dealer, lower heating costs

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

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