The WaterStove Newsletter
Short to-the-point articles for homeowners considering investing in a WaterStove
Written by: Mike Thompson  publisher of the 
WaterStove Directory

 

WaterStove
Newsletter

Issue 1
April  2006

1)  Heating With Inexpensive Fuels Can Save You a Stack of Money
2) 
Sources for FREE or Very Inexpensive Fuels
        
Solid Fuels: Wood, Mill Ends, Corn-on-the-Cob, Peach Pits, Etc.
         Liquid Fuels: Waste Oil, Other Liquid Fuels
         Not an Incinerator
3) 
All WaterStoves are NOT created equal
         Two Types: Standard WaterStoves and Premium WaterStoves
4) 
EPA
                         Topics for next month's Newsletter
 
     
Go to the WaterStove Newsletter homepage
 
Go to the WaterStove Directory
 
 
 

 

 
 

So, you’ve decided you want to heat your home for next to nothing and have some independence from the big energy companies. That’s not too much to ask, right?
                       The choice is clear, you need a WaterStove

 
 

 

 
 
  (First, a definition: A WaterStove is a furnace that burns wood (or other fuels) to heat a water reservoir up to 210 degrees (almost boiling). This hot water is stored in the water reservoir until a thermostat signals a pump to send the hot water to heat transfer devices (radiators, baseboards, forced air, hydronic floor heat, etc.) to heat the air and domestic hot water in homes or businesses.)  
 
 

 

 
 
  (Second, a clarification: WaterStoves are called many different things. Here is a partial list of terms that mean the same thing: Outdoor (or Outside) Furnace, Outdoor (or Outside) Wood Furnace, Outdoor (or Outside) Wood Burning Furnace, Outdoor (or Outside) Wood Boiler (OWB), Outdoor (or Outside) Wood-Fired Boiler, Outdoor (or Outside) Wood Stove, Wood-Fired Hydronic Furnace and Non-Pressurized Boiler. All are designed to burn wood; many can be adapted to burn other fuels.  
 
     
 
 
 
  1) Heating With Inexpensive Fuels Can Save You a Stack of Money  
     
 

All WaterStoves are initially designed to burn wood. Most can be fitted with burners that will burn liquid and gaseous fuels. Being able to change fuels whenever you want is comforting in these times of energy uncertainty.

This chart shows the dramatic differences in heating costs with the different fuels. Keep in mind that if you have free fuel (wood on your property or waste oil from your business) your heating costs will be next to nothing.

It only makes sense to use the least expensive fuel available to heat your home or business. Unfortunately, most conventional furnaces are designed to use only one kind of fuel putting you at the mercy of that fuel supplier. 

These figures are based on the average retail cost of the different fuels as of 1/1/06. Fuel prices are always fluctuating and can vary dramatically depending on which part of the country you live in.

Cost of 1,000,000
Useable BTUs

$ 3.85..   Coal
$ 5.60..   Wood
$ 6.40..   Waste Oil
$ 13.97..   Natural Gas
$ 20.77..   Fuel Oil
$ 25.88..   Electricity
$ 28.53..   Propane

(the calculations of these figures are available in this .pdf file complements of Turbo Burn) 

 
 

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  2) Sources for FREE or Very Inexpensive Fuels  
     
 

Solid Fuels:   Wood

Free solid fuel is everywhere but a little sweat investment will be needed. A chainsaw, some gas, a pickup truck and some gloves is all you really need. The first place to look for free fire wood is the downed, dead or dying trees on your property. When that is gone ask neighbors, friends and relatives that have some land for permission to clean it up. Because you will be improving their property value they will almost always say ‘yes’. 

In most communities you will be able to find students that are willing to work cheap. And many of these kids will have their own chainsaws and trucks. 

The worst case scenario is to purchase wood by the cord at the going rate. Fortunately, you don’t need to purchase the pretty, split ‘fireplace quality’ wood so the price could be a little less than ‘average retail’. 

       Mill Ends

In most communities there are woodworking craftsmen that have to pay the refuse company to haul off their wood scraps. In many cases they will give this wood away to those who ask. 

Also check with sawmills, lumber distributors, builders and salvage companies.

       Corn-on-the-Cob, Peach Pits, etc. 

These waste products can be a great source of cheap heat. Air dried corn-on-the-cob and peach pits have almost as many BTUs as wood and can be free for the asking. Check with area farms and processors to see if their waste can be your heat source. 

 
 
     
 

Not an Incinerator 

Keep in mind that WaterStoves are not incinerators and should not be used to burn household garbage, plastics, debris, etc. There are three primary reasons for this 1) it is illegal in most counties, 2) it is environmentally irresponsible to put carcinogen laden toxic smoke into the air and 3) it can shorten the life of a WaterStove (some corrosive materials can slowly eat away at the lining of some of the WaterStove’s internal walls). Plus most garbage doesn’t burn very well requiring the stove to be cleaned more often.

 
     
 
 

Liquid Fuels:  Waste Oil 

Some WaterStoves are set up to be retrofitted with a waste oil burner. Good places to look for free waste oil are quick lube shops, auto shops and motor pools (for crankcase oil), manufacturers and factories (for lubricating fluids) and restaurants (for fryer grease). 

In most cases transporting small quantities of these waste oils do not require permits where transporting large quantities will require permits. Be sure to check the local laws. 

Another good source would be a region waste oil processing company.  These companies will usually sell their processed waste oil for less than a dollar a gallon. Recycling centers can direct you to the company where they send the waste oil they collect.

Other Liquid Fuels 

Sadly, we have yet to find sources for free or inexpensive natural gas, fuel oil or propane. 

                                      (Note: in our next newsletter we will discuss the use of free solar energy and 
                                                cheap electricity with WaterStoves)

 
 

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3) All WaterStoves are Not Created Equal

 Two types of Water Stoves

Standard WaterStoves burn a continuous wood fire. When there is no heat demand the fire goes dormant (fresh air is cut off and the fire smolders). When there is a heat demand the fire is given fresh air and a hot fire follows. Standard WaterStoves have small water reservoirs, usually less than 500 gallons. In the winter wood needs to be added to the fire two or three times a day. Because of the on-and-off smoke generated 24 hours a day this type of WaterStove has become unpopular in many densely populated areas.

Premium WaterStoves burn only one short, hot fire per day in the winter. The fire receives forced ventilation so the temperature can reach 2,500 + degrees which is hot enough to burn most of the gasses and creosote, thus, producing very little smoke. All the heat from that one short hot fire is stored in a large water reservoir (700 to 2,000 gallons). Premium WaterStoves are larger than Standard WaterStoves and are usually more expensive.

 
 

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 4) EPA

 Because of air quality issues the EPA and community health officials around the country are currently ruling on, and sometimes banning, the use of wood burning WaterStoves in populated areas.  

Fortunately, in most cases using liquid or gaseous fuels (waste oil, fuel oil, natural gas, propane, etc.) to heat the water in a WaterStove the air quality problems are not an issue. The reason for this is because those burners have already met the strict EPA standards. 

Even with the new regulations both Standard and Premium WaterStoves remain popular with the cost conscious, energy conscious and independent thinking homeowners.

 
 

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  Coming in the May WaterStove Newsletter  
 

 

 
 
 

How to build a perfect fire
The importance of the right insulation
Using solar energy and electricity with a WaterStove
Current EPA and local government rulings
and more

 
 

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BACK TO THE WATERSTOVE DIRECTORY

 
 
 
 

Thank you for reading the WaterStove Newsletter.
Suggestions and comments to this Newsletter are welcome.
Unfortunately,  time constraints will allow me to personally respond to very few emails.
Mike@OmniM.com

 
 
 
 

This Newsletter is sponsored in part by the following businesses:

 
 

 

 
 
 
Northwest Alternative Energy
  .
 
     
 
 

NCSS
North Coast Sales & Services, Inc

 
 
     
 
 

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