Apr 22, 2013
The winters in Augusta, Maine can be brutal not only outside, but on one’s monthly heating budget as well. In February 2013, Jacob Michaud had had enough. He and his wife were burning through 200 gallons of fuel oil each month to heat their 3,500 square foot home. At current prices, this translated into a monthly heating bill of $700 or more. The thermostat was set to a modest 69 degrees, with every degree fluctuation translating into serious dollars. Jacob admits that they were hyper-aware of even opening the front door too long or warming the house another degree, in fear of what it would cost them.
Jacob grew up in a house that used traditional oil, with a supplemental wood stove. He was aware of the savings associated with burning wood, but definitely didn’t want the hassle. When several of his friends and co-workers switched to pellet stove heat, Jacob was intrigued. “I would go over to my friend’s house and see how warm and toasty they all were. I kept hearing how much people liked their pellet stoves, and what other people were spending. I did the math, and it really was a logical choice.”
Jacob continues, “I found a great deal on a Magnum Countryside display unit, and did my homework. I called American Energy Systems and the heating technician knew exactly what I needed to help me get the pellet stove home, installed, and pumping out heat. I can’t speak highly enough about their customer service. This company is personable, very helpful, and their follow-up is impeccable. I know there are other pellet stove manufacturers out there, but I’m certain I wouldn’t get the same level of care and concern I get from the staff at American Energy Systems.”
With this being Jacob’s first year owning and using a pellet stove, he’s experimented with several kinds of wood pellets. He’s found he prefers a quality wood pellet with a 35% soft wood content to generate the most heat in his stove. He’s considering giving corn a try, but is quite happy with the heat he’s getting now. Although he’s only had his stove a few short months, Jacob already estimates it has saved him hundreds of dollars.
His advice for others considering a pellet stove? “Do the math. Spend a few minutes in someone’s home who has a pellet stove, and you’ll understand how much heat is generated for considerably less money. This Magnum Countryside pellet stove is minimal work, but the payoff is big!”
Mar 12, 2013
We want to share one of our customer’s stories with you. Their story addresses their decision to burn wood pellets versus corn at the current rate (2012-13) per bushel, and they are willing to share their experience with you. This family is in the Upper Midwest and owns a Magnum Countryside 3500P.
Last summer when he watched the severe drought sweep across the country, Steve’s mind naturally wandered to our nation’s farmers and their crops. When the rain just didn’t materialize, crops failed and the price of corn steadily rose. By fall it was clear that the price of corn was going to be considerably higher than last year at the same time, so Steve started discussing his best fuel options with his wife.
Four years ago they purchased a Magnum Countryside, and immediately started burning corn. They fell in love with the hot, consistent heat that corn provides. No matter how cold or stormy the harsh Northern winter got outside, corn was able to keep their two-story home on a hill very comfortable. Yet, they bought the stove to save money and they needed to make sensible decisions.
After consulting a farmer, their local supplier of corn, the decided they should switch to wood pellets for the winter. Burning wood pellets would save them a little money, although they really debated whether or not they should just buy corn at the $7.50/bushel price. In the end, they opted to buy a good quality wood pellet with low ash content and give it a try. “He actually told us he wasn’t planning to burn corn in his own stove, so we thought we should strongly consider wood pellets,” says Steve.
The first thing they noticed was less ash in the pan, which was nice. However, wood pellets seemed to create more smoke and ash in the burning area (that just didn’t make it to the ash pan), and they continually fought to keep the glass clean. Eventually, they gave up trying to keep the glass clear and realized burning wood pellets would be a different experience than corn.
While the heat output was sufficient, it wasn’t near as hot as corn. When they usually burned corn in the stove on a level 1 for mild winter days and a level 2 for colder winter days, they had to burn wood pellets in the stove on a minimum of a level 3 to reach the same level of comfort. Higher levels burn through fuel faster, and while they knew they were saving much more than burning propane, they started to doubt wood pellets were actually saving them money from corn.
They report that their biggest struggle with burning wood pellets was an inconsistent flame and pellet build up that just didn’t happen with corn. They had to continually adjust air flow, shut down to clean up all the excess ash, etc. In hindsight, they wished they would have at least mixed wood pellets with shelled corn for a steadier and hotter flame.
It was a good experience burning wood pellets for an entire season, but Steve and his wife now appreciate the benefits of burning clean, dry shelled corn. Furthermore, they are thankful they decided on a flex-fuel appliance that will always give them options; leaving them in control of what they burn.
Do you have a story you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear from you! Contact us today!
Mar 4, 2013
If you own a pellet stove, then you are used to regular maintenance, cleaning out the hopper, emptying the ash pan, etc. A part of your regular maintenance should include removing any dust from inside your stove, around the motor and internal parts. Just like dust can build up over time on your television or bookshelves, dust can accumulate on and in your pellet stove. We know what tough workhorses our pellet stoves are, but they still need preventative maintenance so you can enjoy warm, reliable heat all season long. Therefore, make sure you gently remove dust from inside your stove.
If you run your furnace fan to circulate air, make sure you change the filter to trap more dust. Also, if it’s been a while since you’ve had your house vents and duct work cleaned, doing so can greatly reduce the amount of dust in the air and around your house.
Feb 27, 2013
As you meet with your accountant or tax preparer to prepare 2012 taxes, remember to mention the purchase of a qualifying renewable energy appliance in 2012. You will want to make sure you get the proper tax credit for your purchase. If you have questions about what qualifies, you can read “25C Tax Credit Reinstated: Biomass Stove Tax Credit” and share this information with the person preparing your taxes.
In addition to this tax credit, there are quite a few other miscellaneous tax credits and tax deductions that are often overlooked and could be potential savings for you. Take a look at this list and see if any might apply to you.
If you’ve purchased a stove already in 2013, then be aware that this reinstated tax credit also applies to qualifying purchases in 2013. Make a note in your tax file to discuss next year.
Jan 29, 2013
If you own a wood burning fireplace or stove, we’ve assembled some helpful resources, ideas, and tips right here. We want you to get the most out of your wood burning experience.
For fireplace maintenance tips, read “Maintenance Tips for Your Wood-Burning Fireplace.”
For ideas on how to build the best fire in your stove or fireplace, read “How to build the perfect fire in your wood burning fireplace or stove.”
For a simple, yet great idea for making wood chopping a little easier, watch this video. The use of an old tire helps keep wood in place while chopping.
For technical questions about your Magnum Countryside or Country Flame stoves or fireplaces, consult your manual, search our YouTube Channel or contact Techcenter1 at 320-227-2902 or email email@example.com
If you have a tip or link to a great resource, please share it in our comments section. We love hearing from you.
Dec 27, 2012
The reasons for heating with a pellet stove are compelling, and the information isn’t just coming from industry experts and manufacturers. Home owners are expressing interest in alternative ways to heat their homes and save money in the process. Publications outside hearth industry are featuring excellent articles, and people with an interest in clean energy and investing in American produced energy are helping get the word out about renewable energy.
Popular Mechanics recently published an article to their readership titled “Why You Should Use a Pellet Stove.” This article makes some very good points, and is a great compliment to a previous article they published right before the election, “The Renewable Energy Neither Candidate is Talking About.” With the election over and popular debates in less of a lime light, we all need to work to continue the important discussion of clean energy. The points we published earlier this year in “Are the Candidates Talking About Clean Energy?” are still valid. Moving your home heating system off fossil fuels and away from traditional, less efficient means of heat is important for our future. Installing a pellet burning fireplace, wood burning fireplace, wood stove, pellet stove or any other heating system that relies on renewable fuel starts with giving us a call or requesting our free buyer guide.
Dec 5, 2012
What exactly is a corn pellet stove anyway?
This question is likely in response to the confusing term “corn pellet” more than people wondering about a pellet or corn burning stove. With so much information online, the people we talk to often know that some pellet stoves can burn corn. Therefore, the search term, “Corn Pellet Stove” gets used to research appliances and information related to what the industry calls a flex-fuel or multi-fuel stove.
American Energy System’s pellet stoves burn corn and a variety of renewable fuels, which makes them flex-fuel appliances. However, our stoves burn corn kernels. Instead of a “corn pellet”, our appliances are technologically advanced to burn pure shelled corn for an intense, readily available and efficient source of heat for your home. We recently published an article outlining the benefits of Magnum Countryside and Country Flame pellet stoves equipped to burn a multitude of renewable fuels.
“When you’re picking the fuel that works best for you, it often comes down to cost, availability and personal preference”
If you have a topic on which you’d like to see more information or have a question we can answer, please leave us a comment or contact us today.
Oct 31, 2012
If the impending cold weather has you rethinking your choice in heating, you’ve likely heard people talking about pellet stoves. Maybe you’ve even had someone tell you that you should get a pellet stove. Whether you supplement an existing heating system or completely switch to heating your entire home with a pellet stove, the choice is yours. American Energy Systems wants to help you in your search for a pellet stove and make sure you get your questions answered. We offer a free guide to finding the best renewable energy appliance, as well as a toll-free number(1-800-495-3196) to call one of our heating specialists.
American Energy Systems has been featured on national television shows and magazines. You can read about some stories of people who were looking for a pellet stove for specific reasons in the most recent issue of Highlander Magazine. You can watch our pellet stoves featured in a segment on Designing Spaces, a popular home improvement show on Lifetime television. And people really seem to love the three-part movie that Ron Trot did for Great Lakes Outdoors.
We’re glad you are looking for a pellet stove, and we sincerely hope we can answer your questions and help you find the right heating solution for your family.
Oct 18, 2012
American Energy Systems has been manufacturing corn stoves in Minnesota since they first developed the technology in the mid-1980′s. The company relocated to Hutchinson, MN to expand operations in 1984 and has continued to lead the hearth industry in renewable fuel appliances.
Minnesota is one of the top corn producing states in the country and has a rich history in both agriculture and natural resource preservation. Minnesota is also a manufacturing hub, with technological and engineering innovations recognized around the world. Minnesota corn production and manufacturing technologies pair well, as is evident in the production of Magnum corn stoves shipped to every corner of the United States and Canada, and the vast ethanol production facilities found throughout the state.
If you are looking for a corn stove in Minnesota, we’re proud to be just down the road! For those in other areas, we have a vast network of dealers and can ship anywhere in the United States when purchasing online.
Oct 16, 2012
If you have questions about buying a wood fireplace, you’ve come to the right place. According to Census data, over 2.4 million homes heat with wood and the rising percentage is “faster than any other heating fuel,” as published in USAToday. More people every day begin researching whether this alternative heating option is right for them. With foreign oil prices high and the economy struggling to rebound, it’s understandable that Americans are looking for less expensive ways to heat their homes.
People explore wood fireplaces for a variety of reasons, but the common include:
An ample supply of wood for fuel. If you live in an area where wood is readily available and abundant, a wood fireplace or wood stove may be a good option for you. Not all wood is the same, and it’s not all the best for burning in your home. Learn more about kind, quality, and condition of wood you should burn in a fireplace.
Saving money on heating bills. This is another driving force for most people. Wood burning stoves and fireplaces are not the same as they were years ago. They’ve come a long way in technology, heat efficiency, and esthetics. Heating with wood can save you plenty of money, put out more heat than an older, traditional furnace, and “exceed expectations” as one owner puts it.
Inclement weather. Living in an area with frigid weather, frequent storms, and cumbersome power-outages is often another reason people seek out the reliable heat of a wood fireplace. Wood fireplaces and inserts can keep your house or business warm during a power outage, and we’ve posted more details here.
Whether you want to join the ranks of other American families who are happy with their choice in heat or simply want more information on the differences in fireplaces, American Energy Systems is your “go-to” place for information. You can speak with a heating specialist about your specific questions or concerns, or post them here and we’ll respond.