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Wood Doctor outdoor furnaces burn with little smoke (VIDEOS)

admin | September 3rd, 2010 | No Comments »

Wood Doctor HE10000 Outdoor Furnace Burning


Properly Size Your Outdoor Wood Furnace

admin | September 1st, 2010 | No Comments »

The size of any regular outdoor wood furnace or any EPA outdoor gasification furnace should be matched to the requirements. All wood furnace manufacturers use either a BTU rating or square footage capabilities. Since the BTU’s in wood vary, the only true way to state maximum heating capabilities of an outdoor wood furnace in square feet. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Base Calculations
In Canada and Northern USA, start your calculations by using 75% of the stated maximum square footage. This is usually a safe place to start under most conditions. When you exceed this amount, be very careful in your calculations. Upgrade to the next size of any outdoor furnace or EPA outdoor wood gasifying furnace long before you reach the maximum heating capability.

Ceiling Height
Calculations of an outdoor wood furnace heating ability is always based on new construction with an 8 ft. ceiling. For a 16 foot ceiling consider adding up 40% to 50% to that area.

Basement & Upstairs
VERY IMPORTANT Also add the square footage of the basement and the upstairs and any other area to be heated.

Building Age
The older the building the less likely it is to have adequate insulation and be airtight. New R2000 buildings have lower heating demands on the outdoor water furnace.

Distance From Furnace to Buildings
The better the underground insulation then the less impact from long distances. Some of the better underground insulations loose almost no heat in 300 feet.

Easy Rule of Thumb Solution
Once you pass the 3/4 mark on square footage, consider moving up to the next larger size of outdoor furnace. Over sizing never hurts; it will allow more time between fills. You do not want to regret buying a small wood stove that is maximized.

Problems Caused by Under Sizing
When filling a properly sized outdoor boiler, you would normally add wood either morning and evening, or once per day, depending on the season. If the firebox is too small and it is a really cold night and you are using lots of heat, and most of the fire wood is already burned up; your outdoor furnace may not be able to continue making more BTU per hour than you are using. When you are low on wood in a high demand time, the temperature of the water in your outdoor furnace may drop from 180F to 160F to 140F to 120F. Anytime you are 150F or lower in any outdoor furnace the difference in the temperature between the water jacket and the firebox will cause condensation in the firebox. This condensation can cause steam in the firebox, which will cause a poor fire burn. It may seem like you are gobbling up wood and getting very little heat. Sometimes the quickest way to recover from this is to turn off the circulator until the water reaches 180F, and then the temperature will stay up there. With a properly sized firebox, this will never happen.

If you have an older home, multiple buildings, or simply would like to know for sure give us your measurements and we will calculate the proper sizing for you. Simple fill out our contact form and we’ll reach you to go over the information.

Outdoor wood furnace news – The Good and Bad

admin | August 30th, 2010 | No Comments »

newsProposed Wood Furnace Ban Provokes Controversy
Rep. Richard Roy, D-Milford, had to halt an exchange over a ban on outdoor wood furnaces between the president of Environment and Human Health, Inc. and Rep. Bryan Hurlburt, D-Tolland, during a public hearing before the legislature’s Environment Committee Monday. [read more]

Outdoor wood boiler rules being drafted
The King George Board of Supervisors last week unanimously voted to give the go-ahead for a formal review of draft rules to address the use of outdoor wood boilers in King George. The issue has been under review since last fall, after complaints had come to light about some users of wood boilers who have them installed close to property lines, creating a smoke nuisance for near neighbors. [read more]

W. Hartford joins Granby in banning outdoor wood furnaces
In a vote last Tuesday evening, West Hartford town officials became the 11th Connecticut town to ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces. They join the Town of Granby in making this decision. [read more]

Lancaster City Council won’t crack down on burning
The Lancaster City Council will not regulate or ban the use of outdoor wood-fired furnaces, despite a recent complaint from a local business owner. Skyview Drive-In owner Walt Effinger, who addressed the City Council at its meeting Aug. 9, said a nearby outdoor boiler… [read more]

Foes of outdoor furnaces vow to turn up the heat
A push to ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces appears to be picking up steam. The issue has divided health advocates, who cite studies showing the dangers wood smoke, and farmers, who rely on the devices to heat homes, barns, greenhouses and outbuildings. [read more]

Save money! Tips on winterizing your home – Part 2

admin | August 26th, 2010 | No Comments »

So last time we talked about areas on the interior of your home where you could prepare for winter and make adjustments. This time we’re talking about the exterior completing the list 10 things that you can do to save energy.

woodfireplace6. Have you chimney cleaned
Calling in a chimney sweep every year or two is always recommended. Not only will they ensure your system is clean and working properly but they’ll also inspect the dampers ensuring that they close properly keeping heat in the house from escaping.

7. Pack your outdoor hoses
Try not to leave garden hoses filled with water and connected to the house. You should always drain the garden house but also the shutoff the line leading to the outside. Freezing in these lines can lead to burst pipes but also bring the cold inside.

8. Clean up the yard and deck
An easy way to save money is to not replace the outdoor things you use during the summer. Protect the items each year by bring them indoors or at least protecting them from the elements with a tarp.

9. Inspect your roof, siding, gutters, downspouts, etc…
An area that is often overlooked is the exterior of a home. Check your home for vulnerable areas. Dirty gutters lead to ice damns and ultimately water damage inside and outside the house. Check for loose or damage siding and replace it. Trim branches and trees that are close to the home. When it snows, the branches can hold the ice and snow against your home creating damage over time. Sweep your roof of leaves and pine needles. These help snow and ice accumulate on the shingles and reducing the life of your roof.

10. Prune your shrubs and bushes
Address the landscaping around your home by trimming pushes, weeding out annuals that have died and correcting mulch beds. This all prevents unnecessary damage to your home from snow, ice and water because of landscaping near your home.

Save money! Tips on winterizing your home – Part 1

admin | August 24th, 2010 | No Comments »

Well it finally rained and the temperatures have fallen below 80, at least for the time being. It was a reminder that it’s nearly September and that winter is right around the corner. We’re all looking to save a dollar and save on our energy usage so over the next 2 posts, we’re gonna share 10 things we can all do to prepare for winter. Here’s the first five:

insulation1. Check your insulation
Maybe the insulation in the walls is something for another day but you can control the insulation in your attic. Heat rises so add to your R-value up there and keep some of that heat in the house.

2. Feel for drafts
Areas around windows and doors are the obvious ones and are easy to address. A little caulking, some new weather stripping or even those sheets of plastic that come in kits to put around windows will help. But don’t forget about electrical outlets and areas where piping comes up through the floor for sink water or heating.

3. Get your furnace inspected
Having a heating professional clean and inspect your furnace will help keep it running its best. Changing filters annually can also be help.

4. Tuck in your hot water tank
Thermal blankets for hot water heaters have been proven in to help keep your water hot and save you money. Personally, a third of my electric bill can be attributed to hot water so I’ll be tucking my hot water tank in this year.

5. Check your water pipes
Take a look at where your water pipes are and address those that may be more likely to freeze during the winter. Also, locate your hot water pipes especially if you are heating the house with them. Wrap your pipes with thermal tubes to keep the water hot until it reaches its destination and help prevent pipes from bursting.

Learning about firewood – Stacking Firewood

admin | July 26th, 2010 | No Comments »

There are many ways to store firewood. These range from simple piles to free-standing stacks, to specialized structures. Usually the goal of storing wood is to keep water away from it and to continue the drying process.

Stacks: The simplest stack is where logs are placed next to and on top of each other, forming a line the width of the logs. The height of the stack can vary, generally depending upon how the ends are constructed. Without constructing ends, the length of the log and length help determine the height of a free-standing stack.

woodstackThere is debate as whether wood will dry quicker when covered. There is a trade off between the surface of the wood getting wet and allowing as much wind and sun to access the stack. This cover can be a large piece of plywood or an oiled canvas cloth, although cheap plastic sheeting may also be used. Wood will not dry when completely covered. Ideally pallets or scrap wood should be used to raise the wood from the ground, reducing rot and increasing air flow.

There are many ways to create the ends of a stack. In some areas, creating a crib end by alternating pairs of logs helps stabilize the end. A stake or pole placed in the ground is another way to end the pile. A series of stacked logs at the end, each with a cord tied to it and the free end of the cord wrapped to log in the middle of the pile, is another way.

Under a roof: There are no concerns about the wood being subjected to rain, snow or run-off. The methods for stacking depend on the structure and layout desired. Whether split, or in ’rounds’ (flush-cut and unsplit segments of logs), the wood should be stacked lengthwise, which is the most stable and practical method. Again though, if the wood needs further seasoning there should be adequate air flow through the stack.

Storing outdoors: Firewood should be stacked with the bark facing upwards. This allows the water to drain off, and standing frost, ice, or snow to be kept from the wood.

Round stacks can be made many ways. Some are piles of wood with a stacked circular wall around them. Others like the American Holz Hausen are more complicated.

A Holz hausen, or “wood house”, is a circular method of stacking wood which results in accelerated drying and a small footprint. A traditional holz hausen has a 10-foot diameter, stands 10 feet high, and holds about 6 cords of wood. The walls are made of pieces arranged radially, and tilted slightly inward for stability. The inside pieces are stacked on end to form a chimney for air flow. The top pieces are tilted slightly outward to shed rain and are placed bark side up. If constructed correctly, this method of stacking can produce seasoned firewood in as little as three months.

The above text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Originally written at

Heating With Wood – Vintage-Style Energy

admin | July 23rd, 2010 | No Comments »

Old Is New Again

The newer things become, they more they return to the past. This is true of heating with wood. From the dawn of time, heating with wood was a natural emanation of the need to stay warm in cold temperatures as well as a means with which to cook. The return to heating with wood is no surprise. Until the early 1900’s most homes were heated with wood stoves and wood-burning fireplaces. Most meals were cooked on wood stoves.

Where Did All That Wood Come From?

With careful conservation methods, wood used for heating and cooking was never in short supply. It was grown in heavily wooded areas or on designated tree farms. Care was taken to insure wood stoves were properly venting fly ash so that fires were rare. Chimneys and flues received regular meticulous cleaning by expert chimney sweeps.

In big cities, fireplaces and large open hearths provided enough heat from wood even in three-story Victorian homes. Wood for these homes and businesses was brought in from lumber yards. The lumbering process was so exacting that there was little in the way of waste. Twigs, branches and short sawings were used as fat wood to help a wood fire start. Sawdust was used in any number of ways: to patch holes in wood as well as to line walkways and chicken coops. Whatever remained was returned to the earth as mulch. Wood was carefully selected for heating purposes.

Vintage-Style Energy

Though heating with wood may be a vintage-style energy source, it is effective as a means of energy. It does require knowledge of the types of wood that can be safely and cleanly burned. Hardwoods like oak, maple, beech and sycamore as well as fruit-woods like apple, crab apple and cherry are some of the types of woods that make clean burning fuel for heating with wood. Among others, nut-woods like walnut, pecan, chestnut and almond also give off a lovely fragrance while burning.

Choose hardwoods, fruit-woods or nut-woods that are aged. One tip is to look for orchards that are in the process of removing dead woods. In most cases, the wood will be sold for firewood. Unaged, green woods retain sap and therefore need to be dried before they can be used for heating with wood. Sappy woods create dangerous sparks and as a result burn faster.

Wood Stoves Today

Today’s wood stoves make heating with wood more efficient than those of the past. Venting systems for these wood stoves has been greatly upgraded to produce thorough efficient heating with wood. Aged woods for wood stoves are sold in large lumber and hardware stores as well as by individual sellers of wood. In most cases, these woods are already split and bundled. Wood is sold in stacks and cords for heating with woods in wood stoves. Cords of wood need to be shielded from too much dampness or dry rot will occur fairly quickly.

Be sure to stack your wood so that it is protected from ground moisture. Also, it’s a good idea to use a moisture-proof tarp to cover your wood pile or, use log holders and hoops.

Written by Craig Daniels and used under the Creative Commons License.

Learning about firewood – The Basics

admin | July 22nd, 2010 | No Comments »

firewoodFirewood is any wood like material that is gathered and used for fuel. Generally, firewood is not highly processed and is in some sort of recognizable log or branch form.

Firewood is a renewable resource. However, demand for this fuel can outpace its ability to regenerate on local and regional level. For example in some places in the world and through history, the demand has led to desertification. Good forestry practices and improvements in devices that use firewood can improve the local wood supplies. As a Biofuel, some consider firewood to be a form of solar energy and to be relatively carbon neutral.

Firewood terms
Since firewood has been used by humans for a long time, there are many terms and concepts to describe it.

North America
Firewood can either be seasoned (dry) or unseasoned (green). It can be classed as hardwood or softwood. In most of the United States, the standard measure of firewood is a cord or 128 cubic feet, however, firewood can also be sold by weight. The BTU value can have an impact upon the price.

Harvesting firewood
Harvesting or collecting firewood varies by the region and culture. Some places have specific areas for firewood collection. Other places may integrate the collection of firewood in the cycle of preparing a plot of land to grow food as part of a field rotation process. Collection can be a group, family or an individual activity. The tools and methods for harvesting firewood are diverse.

North America
Some firewood is harvested in “woodlots” managed for that purpose, but in heavily wooded areas it is more usually harvested as a byproduct of natural forests. Deadfall that has not started to rot is preferred, since it is already partly seasoned. Standing dead timber is considered better still, as it is both seasoned and has less rot. Harvesting this form of timber reduces the speed and intensity of bushfires. Harvesting timber for firewood is normally carried out by hand with chainsaws. Thus, longer pieces – requiring less manual labour, and less chainsaw fuel – are less expensive and only limited by the size of their firebox. Prices also vary considerably with the distance from wood lots, and quality of the wood. Buying and burning firewood that was cut only a short distance from its final destination prevents the accidental spread of invasive tree-killing insects and diseases. Generally speaking, a distance of 50 miles (83 km) from cut site to final burning site is considered the longest distance that firewood should be moved.

Normally wood is cut in the winter when trees have less sap so that it will season more quickly. Most firewood also requires splitting, which also allows for faster seasoning by exposing more surface area. Today most splitting is done with a hydraulic splitting machine, but it can also be split with a splitting maul.

The above text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Originally written at

Outdoor wood furnace or boiler can solve high energy costs

admin | July 22nd, 2010 | No Comments »

What if there were a way to provide heat for your home, a way to give you all the hot water you and your family would need for showers, baths, laundry and more – all your family would need to heat your pool, spa, and anything else you wanted to keep warm with a truly efficient, completely renewable resource? What if you were able to help the environment while you were heating your home? What if you could do all this for FREE?

freefirewoodCertainly, there’s the up front cost of the equipment in the beginning, but I’ll ask you to demonstrate to me a heating system that doesn’t demand a substantial initial purchase price. Being able, then, to do everything in the preceding paragraph truly sounds great, does it not? Wood is the resource that matches all of these needs. It is right down the road or in the backyard. Yes, we are talking about wood.

Naturally, you might say that that is old-fashioned and inefficient. That’s not the case anymore. Wood heating has finally come of age. The modern outdoor wood furnaces Alternative Heating & Supply has take advantage of the latest developments in heating technology. Once one is installed outside your home, and using water and heat exchangers, our furnace burns efficiently and cleanly. Normally it can be attached to your existing system to distribute the warm air wherever your home needs it.

Due to the fact all of your fuel, the wood, is kept outside, you will not have the mess associated with indoor stoves. The furnace will burn all dimensions and types of wood, too, even those unsplittable knotty pieces. And, the cool thing is you only have to add to it once or twice a day, even in the coldest weather. That’s terrific, isn’t it? Load it up in the morning and again in the evening, and the unit will do the rest. Normal water heated to 185 to 200 degrees surrounds the firebox, and then courses through tubing to your home where heat exchangers change it to hot air that is dispersed by your present system.

Gas, oil and coal are fossil-based, non-renewable resources. And in the last year, costs for these commodities have soared toward the moon. You know this to be true. Power prices are rising, too.

The environmental impact of these fuels is significant and must be taken into account. The methods used to extract fossil fuels are damaging to the ecosystem. Home systems, unless they are constantly and professionally maintained, are not really efficient burners. And electricity is often produced by coal-fueled plants or by hydroelectric dams that affect our fragile ecosystems.

So, when you take it all into mind, there’s no other source of heating your home to provide you all the advantages of a timber-fueled method. Wood is environmentally friendly, efficient and cost-effective. And with a little extra work, you can get all this at no cost. This is an energy resource which grows virtually everywhere. Areas are frequently being cleared and what remains are excellent for your personal use. Haul it home and you and your loved ones can stay toasty all winter season for the price of a tank or two of petrol.

Written by sillyfrank and used under a Creative Commons license.

Calculate potential outdoor furnace energy savings

admin | July 7th, 2010 | No Comments »

One of the first things you should do before purchasing an outdoor furnace is to calculate your energy costs. Take these numbers and compare them to the potential costs of installing and running an outdoor furnace and we think you’ll find that the the financial benefit is there. And of course, the environmental benefit is a given.

For the calculation, you’ll need to know the amount of heat created or used in your home or business. It’s is measured in BTU’s. An average home uses 200,000,000 BTU’s of total energy for heating per year. Approximately 25% of that number is exclusively for hot water. Depending on your appliances, you could be higher or lower. Also, with how your home is insulated, the types of windows, etc, you may use more or less energy. However, using the average home and based on this total consumption, the following amounts of fuel would be required to produce 200,000,000 BTU’s.

Heating Method Annual Requirements Cost Per Unit Total Annual Cost
Fuel Oil
Natural Gas
Wood (Birch)

The data above was provided by and all the prices are in Canadian funds. However, using simply math in a chart like this spefic to the costs in your area, you’ll get a good idea of your potential savings.